There are 8 very important questions to ask an event planner during your initial consultation. While many professional planners have the experience and talent you seek, there are many run by night “planners” that lack the necessary skills and experience to produce and manage an event from beginning to end.
A professional event planner is responsible for making sure that your planning process is smooth, considers your budget during the vendor hiring process, and ensures that your event vision is created. Each planner is different, works with a variety of budget ranges and has their own unique style of running an event. You should have a mutual connection with your event planner, like them as a person and should ensure they’re a fit for your event.
By asking the questions below, you’ll get a better feel about the planner’s experience, creativity and listening skills. Does he/she understand your vision?
1. What type of weddings and events have you planned? An experienced event planner should be able to provide a good description of the types of weddings, events and budgets that he/she works with. A picture is worth a thousand words! An experience planner will have several to show you.
2. Are you completely accessible during the planning process? Some event planners set a maximum amount of calls and in person meetings you can have with them while planning your event. If you’re planning an event a year out, that maximum can add up quickly, leaving you feeling like you cannot access your planner when needed.
3. Do you carry liability insurance? A professional event planner does carry liability insurance. It protects them and you during an event. Most vendors like your venue, caterer, DJ and others carry liability insurance as well.
4. Will you attend my event? You want to ensure that if they are planning the event, an assistant does not manage it on event day. If an assigned event manager will be working your event instead, you should be informed of that up front. Remember, your connection is with the planner you meet in person during your consultation.
5. When things do not go as planned, how do you fix them? Murphy’s Law is inevitable. An experienced planner handles situations that may arise with ease, calmness and without worrying their client. Planners understand the importance of having Plan B and Plan C if needed. Ask your event planner what their alternate plans are and how they’ve executed them in the past (i.e. inclement weather).
6. Can you explain the legal language on my vendor’s contracts? Event planners have a lot of experience reading through various contracts, and understand the legal language that is used. This is especially important to discover if there are any hidden charges (i.e. cake cutting fees). Most event planners have a Rolodex of professional, reputable vendors that they constantly work with, and know what to expect from their services.
7. Do you charge a flat fee or a percentage of my budget? Planners may either charge a flat fee or a percentage of your total budget. A flat fee gives clients the peace of mind that they have already paid their event planner for their services, and do not have to be concerned about an increase in service price if they exceed their stated budget while planning their event.
8. Why do I need an event planner? An experienced event planner can eliminate the hard work that goes into planning an event. For example, there are many choices in vendors and prices to consider. A planner has already done their homework, and will save you time and money by providing you with vendors that he/she knows are a great fit for your event, eliminating your research and consultation time.
Event planners offer you value because of their knowledge and expertise to assist you with logistics at your venue, travel arrangements for your guests, the minor details that make your event completely you, and be the point of contact for your vendors while you’re at work. Have you ever tried planning an event during your lunch hour? When do you eat after you’ve spent all your time making so many phone calls?
Please feel free to leave a question in the comments section. I’ll do my best to answer each of them. If you found the post helpful, please let us know too!