Tips for Choosing a Wedding Planner Q&A with Local Vendors

The time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day is often referred to as “engagement season” with a high percentage of couples getting engaged during this time. Since so many couples are newly starting their wedding planning journey, we reached out to some of our vendor friends to help give more insight into planning different parts of your wedding.

When it comes to choosing a wedding planner, you might have a sense of what you want and what you need help with. Or you might be totally lost and overwhelmed. Many couples, having never planned a wedding before, are not familiar with all the different elements that need to be considered for a wedding, what kind of timeline is needed, or what vendors stand out for what they do.

With the help of Event Studio, Anne Kelley Events, and Happily Hitched, these three are sharing their insights on the wedding planning process and passing along helpful information that all couples should consider when hiring your wedding planner.

13_AnneKelley_Backyard_StyledShoot_IMG_0171 Astrid Photography

Anne Kelley Events with photo by Astrid Photography

What are some of the things that couples should ask about when looking to select a planner for their wedding?

  • I have an unusual way of looking at a wedding plan. I ask the couple: What do you want folks to say when they see your photos 30 years later? Will your wedding reflect you as a couple or will it be a reflection of the trends of the year? Both answers are correct. A couple who is determined to showcase their unique style, hobbies, jobs or interests is going to approach planning differently from a couple who wants to take advantage of the current trends and styles. A good planner can help you to create a day that will showcase the beauty of your wedding 30 years later. Speaking of photography, I always say to do the most research you can to find the best photographer. In 30 years, all you have are your memories and the photos. Be sure you find the photographer who photographs in a style that you adore. There are as many styles available as there are photographers. I always say never skimp on photography. A good planner can help you find the perfect fit. – Event Studio
  • More than any one specific question a couple can ask, I think the client-planner relationship is so important. When interviewing potential wedding planners, a couple should focus on that connection they feel to a planner. Just like any relationship, there should be some “chemistry”. You should have a strong sense that your hired planner really understanding your wants, needs and style for your wedding. It’s also important to ask about a planner’s communication style. Do you prefer mostly emails? Phone calls? Will you get monthly updates and/or checklists? I think expectations are important and a couple should be really upfront about the communication style and approach they prefer. – Anne Kelley Events & Design
  • Ask what type of planner they are! We all have different fortes and styles, and just like you spend time analyzing the different styles of your potential photographer or tasting the food from a caterer, you will want to spend some time getting to know what makes each wedding planner different from the rest. Do they do planning and floral design, or do they just handle logistics to help you stay organized? Do they provide rental items as well? Get clear on their range of services so you can find the best match for you and your wedding day needs. It’s also common to find many planners offering these three types of packages – Event Management (couple does all the planning and coordinator executes their vision in the weeks leading up to the wedding), Partial Planning (planner helps couple plan and design some of their wedding), and Full Planning (planner helps couple plan and design the whole wedding). When you first meet with a wedding planner, get specific on exactly what it is they offer because it can vary from planner to planner. If you’re expecting something specific from the wedding planner that you hire, put your expectations out on the table. It’s always good to know what the planner doesn’t offer as well! Lastly, you’ve got to have a contingency plan, one that you’ll be happy with. There are so many great venues with outdoor ceremony or reception options, but if the weather doesn’t end up cooperating on your wedding day, you’ve got to have a back up plan that you love. – Happily Hitched

Reception Tables Happily Hitched - Bakerture Photo & Video

A Happily Hitched wedding at Riverside on the Potomac with photo by Bakerture Photo and Video

What are some of the things that couples might not realize about planning a wedding that you think they should know?

  • The one detail that often isn’t considered in the planning process is the end-of-night plan. There are so many things to be done at the close of the reception. A good planner helps you with an exit strategy. Who is taking all the flowers? What about the left-over food or alcohol? Who is in charge of the cards and gifts? These responsibilities need to be decided long before the last song of the night. – Event Studio
  • Just enjoy the process! Soak up the fun moments of your engagement and wedding preparations and don’t sweat the small stuff. – Anne Kelley Events & Design
  • If you’re concerned about your budget, the quickest way to scale back is by trimming the guest list. So many other expenses associated with your wedding are fueled by your guest count. The more people you have, the more food you need, the more drinks, the more tables and chairs, the more wedding favors, and the list goes on! Also, book your hotel blocks as soon as you decide on your venue! Just like many venues book up a year or more in advance, so do hotels. And, of course, please keep your relationship first! Never forget why it is you’re even talking about linen colors and the perfect pair of shoes. Your wedding day will be a wonderful celebration deserving of all the hard work you’ll put into it. Your relationship and future marriage is even more deserving of that same attention. – Happily Hitched

1P3A3349 Event Studio - Hay Alexandra Photography

Event Studio with photo by Hay Alexandra Photography

If you want to learn more about these planners or how they can help you with your wedding, check out their websites at www.annekelleyevents.com, www.eventstudiova.com, and www.happilyhitchedweddings.com.

At 48 Fields, we are a Leesburg Virginia wedding venue for celebrations of all sizes.
Our rustic barns and vast fields are peacefully set in the heart of Northern Virginia wine country.

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48 Fields is a cider house that hosts unforgettable barn weddings for couples who want to impress their guests in a relaxed, authentic environment. Go from being in love to sharing a life in Northern Virginia wine country.






48 Fields is a cider house that hosts unforgettable barn weddings for couples who want to impress their guests in a relaxed, authentic environment. Go from being in love to sharing a life in Northern Virginia wine country.





48 Fields is a cider house that hosts unforgettable barn weddings for couples who want to impress their guests in a relaxed, authentic, and fun environment. Go from being in love to sharing a life in Northern Virginia wine country.