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Questions You Should Never Ask Your Future Wedding Planner

Wedding magazines and books always have these atrocious questions that they feel brides should ask their vendors. This has always perplexed me, as it’s coming from an unaffiliated third party.  I cannot tell you how we cringe at the questions we hear, and the looks on the faces of the poor couples that ask them—as they feel they are truly legitimate.

Wrong:  What were you doing before you became a wedding planner? (This may not be any of your business, and if your planner feels uncomfortable or offended, it’s not a good way to start your consultation).

Right:  What from your past experiences makes you a better planner?

Wrong:  Which was your favorite wedding? (That’s like asking a mother which is her favorite child)

Right:  What is your favorite part of the wedding day or what is your favorite part of the wedding planning process?

Wrong:  What was your most difficult wedding?  (You’re asking family secrets and are not yet part of the family.)

Right:  What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced during the wedding planning process or on the wedding day?

Wrong:  Give me five adjectives that describe yourself.  (This is not the Miss USA pageant. It is a business interview)

Right:  Tell us about your approach to the wedding day management or wedding planning process?

Wrong: What kind of discounts will you get us?

Right:  There is no right way to ask this.  Magazines and books leave you under the impression that your wedding planner or coordinator is a walking, talking Entertainment book—full of good info and discounts.  While most planners are always happy to extend any professional courtesies from other vendors to their clients, these courtesies are never guaranteed and are given at the discretion of the vendor.

Wrong:  Who is the best {insert vendor category here} or Who are your preferred vendors? (No good will ever come of this…)

Right: Which {vendor category} do you think is best suited to our style and budget? (Be prepared to get a general answer—if your planner offers vendor selection as a service, s/he may not divulge specific names without getting to know more about your wedding style…or being paid.)

Wrong:  Why  should we hire you over {your competitor}? (Again, no good will come of this.)

Right: Not really a right way to ask this.  (It is up to you to make decision who is best for you. It is the planner’s job to stand out with her charisma and experience and stand up for her business and her professionalism—not compete or compare herself to someone else so that you can bargain shop.)

 

There are other questions that are, for lack of a better word “questionable”, too.  The answers you think you want to hear may not have much stock:

Questionable Question:  How many weddings do you have you done?

Why It’s Questionable:  Just hearing a solid number will not help you make your decision because those numbers could be misleading.  For example, let’s say Planner A’s answer is 200.  Planner B’s answer is 25.  Does that make Planner A better than Planner B?  In your mind, does it determine that Planner A is more experienced?  What if I told you that Planner A, did indeed work 200 weddings; however, half were elopements, the others were coordinations, and a few full service planning.  What if you found out that Planner B’s 25 weddings were million dollar full service planning weddings full of details.  A better question would be to ask the scale of the weddings the planner has in her repertoire:  amount of guests, budgets, details, locations, etc.

Questionable Question:  What associations do you belong to?

Why It’s QuestionableBelieve it or not, the wedding planning industry is not a regulated one.  Any Barbie, Skipper or Ken can open up a wedding planning company provided they meet the guidelines of their state with operating a business.  Associations and trade groups have different bylaws, rules and education requirements, which makes it a bit inconsistent.  Depending on your location, local chapters of said organizations may be non-existent.  A far better question is to ask your planner about their continuing education and networking.

It will be very important for you to draw from what has been said, but also what has not been said.  Pick up on your planner’s tone, warmth, humor and /professionalism.  Do they put you at ease?  Do you feel like you are handing your wedding off to a professional who not only cares about your event, but your well being, too.  Have a conversation with your planner about your event—allow them to ask questions, offer insight and answer your inquiries. 

Brides—How did you know your planner was for you?

Planners—What do you feel are some great/awful questions?