It is summertime, and I normally don’t work too much so today I spent much of it looking at my competitors marketing materials on the net. First off, there are SO many more (consultants / coordinators) than there were three years ago. In looking at those present, there are the same 6 who were here back in the day along with 20 new ones. I have seen them come and go.
It is disheartening to see my copyrighted content on their website. Unfortunately they didn’t even have the know how to change some of the verbiage up. Oh, well – I’ll send them a friendly email sometime. They do say imitation is a form of flattery, so flattered I am.
So on this topic, I thought I would put some tips on here for your benefit:
- What is their formal training? Have they gone through any certification process, and I mean a real one – like Nuptial Essentials, June Weddings, Wedding Beautiful. We have gone through Weddings Beautiful and Wedding Careers. Did they just wake up one day and claim to be a wedding / event planner?
- Do they have a formal education? Any college at all? Any professional education which lends itself to teaching you the aptitude to get the job done? We have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree as well as our other planners have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree.
- How many weddings have they done? Not for friends or family, but real weddings, which require real work, which they were paid. Ask for references, for email and number of former and current brides.
- How have they solved problems with those weddings? If they say they haven’t had any – it’s just not true. Even as a seasoned professional – I encounter problems. It is the nature of the beast. The seasoned professional will get through it and often times, the bride never even knew.
- Are they a one stop shop? Do they also rent linens, photography, catering, etc.? While it is nice to dabble here and there (We also have a stationery business). What is the primary goal of the business, quantity or quality? Be wary of the one stop shop – there are bargains to be found, but not always. Our jobs are to get to know you then make recommendations based on your personal style and budget, not because we sell, rent it or have it. I would not even try to be a photographer or a makeup artist, nor do I need to rent you linens and chairs. My focus is you and your plans – we’ll find the rest together.
- How do they charge? Wedding Consultants charge for their services in three ways: a percentage of the total expense, an hourly fee, or flat rate. In some cases, a combination may be used. The best way to determine the cost for a wedding coordinator in your area is to call several and ask about their fees. For the couple on a limited budget, a wedding consultant may seem like an unnecessary additional cost. This is not true! Couples on a restricted budget need a coordinator the most. One of the services provided by the wedding coordinator is planning the event the bride and groom want while conscientiously keeping within a predetermined budget. We prefer flat fee. We don’t charge percentages because what you spend has nothing to do with the work we do. You pay us to advocate on your behalf. Nothing irks me more than percentages or kick backs.
- Do they have assistants? Every consultant should have assistants who, if necessary, can take charge of the event. The unexpected can always happen to a consultant– sickness, a last minute accident, death in his/her family. The bride should always be given the assurance that the consultant will have written records of all planning, contacts made, and contracts signed. In case of an emergency, the wedding will go on, without any problems, through the help of an assistant. We have two current assistants and agreements with other professionals in the event the worst happens.
- Is this coordinator a member of any other professional organization such as NACE, ISES or ABC? We are members of AWEC and ISES. These memberships are important because we receive continuing education on various business topic in the special event industry.
- Do they have liability insurance? You would be surprised how many businesses operate without such assurances.
Any other questions you would like answered? Please email us and we are happy to respond.
This photograph is from Winfield Little Photography. It is one of my favorites.