Deciding on wedding coordinators should be the first big decision you make after you get engaged. The reason is this: ideally, wedding coordinators should be able to save you money on vendors and offer invaluable advice throughout the planning process, so the sooner you book her, the sooner you can use her wealth of knowledge and experience.
Decide what type of wedding coordinator you want. There are two main types: Personalized wedding planners and day-of coordinators.
A personalized wedding planner is usually with you throughout the entire planning process, helping you to select vendors, keeping you on track with timelines and checklists, providing you with helpful wedding planning tools, helping you to negotiate prices, helping you decide your menu, and potentially helping with a host of other details. This type of planner usually costs anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000.
A day-of coordinator can be invaluable. This person will take care of the million tiny details on the day of your wedding, hopefully bringing you incredible peace of mind. This type of coordinator usually costs between $400 and $3,000.
Do your research and get referrals. You want to make sure this person is thoughtful and understanding, as well as being organized, experienced, and knowledgeable. This person does not need to be bossy and overbearing to get the job done correctly, but you want to make sure that she knows how to execute tasks. Make sure you speak to former clients to find out if they were happy with this person.
Also, go with your instinct. A coordinator may be excellent, but simply not the right fit for you and your fiancé. You need to make sure this planner is a person who you can communicate honestly with, and who takes the time to listen and understand the type of wedding you want.
Understand how this person operates with vendors. Some wedding planners get a finder’s fee for referring you to certain vendors. For example, if you end up hiring a catering company that your planner referred you to, then the catering company will give your planner a commission. However, some people (vendors and clients included) do not feel comfortable with this. Vendors may feel it is unethical, while clients want to be completely objective when choosing a vendor. They don’t want to be pressured to choose a caterer because a wedding planner has a special arrangement with them.
However, (by getting a finder’s fee), other wedding coordinators feel this is a way to keep their rates low. It really all depends on how you – as the bride -- feel about it. The main thing is that you should choose your vendors based on what you truly like, no matter what type of planner you hire.
Figure out how your planner charges. There are many ways a wedding planner can charge. Some charge by the hour, some charge according to the services provided, others determine what you want and charge a flat rate, and other give you a pricing chart with different packages and options. It is probably a good idea to speak to a few different wedding coordinators to compare rates and prices.