Many brides hire planners to help them coordinate their wedding affair from the beginning till the very end. But many planners also offer day-of or even month-of packages. As an NYC bride planning a Key West wedding (my parents are based in Central Florida, about a seven hour drive away), I knew I wanted to have a planner, someone local to the island, help me pull it all together.
During a location-scouting trip with my mother, we met with Julie Shreck of Simply You Weddings. She came highly recommended by a fellow NYC bride, but I had my doubts about planners in general. Having been a bridesmaid several times over, I’ve had bad experiences with wedding planners before. At one friend's wedding, her planner didn't collect the bridal party bouquets after the photos, neglected to make sure the bride and groom were attended by the waitstaff, and showed up in jeans to a semi-formal event.
So when it came time to hire a planner of my own, I thought about these past experiences, looked up how-to hire articles on the Martha Stewart Weddings website, and made sure that I was prepared with the right questions for our meeting.
Here are just a few things to look for/think about:
- Trust: It’s important that you trust the person enough for them to be able to speak (and make decisions) for you and make sure that everything runs smoothly that day, since your focus will be on the groom and your guests.
- Aesthetic: I looked for a wedding planner who understood my vision and didn't try to overshadow it with her own. Someone who had a similar personality to mine (so I knew we'd get along) and top-notch organizational skills.
- Responsiveness: Julie got back to me within 48 hours of my first e-mail and has continued to be a reliable resource. Reliability is an important quality to look for in all of your vendors.
- Reputation: She has an excellent relationship with our venue and came highly recommended by everyone we met with on the island.
- Involvement: I wanted to know how involved Julie would be the weekend of the wedding and what sort of coordination she typically handles in a month-of arrangement.
I knew that Julie was the right fit almost immediately -- she instantly put us at ease and totally understood the wedding look and feel I was going for. After reviewing all of her package options and considering our overall budget, we decided to hire Julie for the month leading up to the wedding and for the wedding weekend.