Wedding planning can be demanding at the best of times, but destination weddings require an extra layer of coordination. That’s why I always recommend that couples hire an Irish wedding planner. While every business has a slightly different offering, planners generally help with everything from creative design and styling to sourcing and managing suppliers, both before and on the big day. However big or small the item on your to do list, we’re there to help and it makes the whole process so much smoother and less stressful. But how do you actually hire an Irish wedding planner? Where do you start? What research do you need to do first? How can you be sure you’re making the right decision?
To help you, I’ve broken down the process of how to hire an Irish wedding planner into six easy steps.
STEP 1: Do your research
Start by researching Irish wedding planners, both online and through your network of contacts. Ask for recommendations from family and friends, look at your favourite wedding blogs, and search online (including social media – you can often get a good sense of someone’s personality from their social media feeds!) Start making a list of planners whose work resonates with you. Look for recent examples of their work and check their websites to see which services they do (and don’t) offer. For destination weddings in Ireland or Europe, it’s important that your planner has experience in and knowledge of the area. It’s also a good idea to look for information on any awards or accolades they may have won, as well as their membership of relevant professional associations. Overall, this should give you a picture not only of each planner’s style and approach, but also of their levels of experience and professionalism.
STEP 2: Reach out
The above research process should help you narrow down your picks to two or three favourites. Now is the time to reach out by phone or email. If you already have a wedding date, the first question to ask is whether they have availability on that date. If they do, you’ll also want to clarify the types of services they offer as well as their price range. If both of these fit into your needs and budget, make an appointment to meet. In-person meetings are of course ideal, but for destination weddings, a virtual meeting via video call also works well.
STEP 3: Your first meeting
It’s a good idea to prepare for your meeting so that you can get the most out of it. Think about the kind of wedding you would like to have. Save pictures on your phone or to a Pinterest board. Discuss the kind of look and feel you want with your partner. And, of course, know your budget. At your meeting, you will be able to ask your planner questions, so write down the most important ones in case you forget. You’ll also be able to get a sense of whether you ‘click’. You’ll be working closely with your planner for some time to come, so it’s important that you feel comfortable with them. It’s also essential that you feel like they are listening to you and what you want.
One important note. While it’s important to ask questions at this first interview, don’t ask your potential planner to give you a list of recommendations or contacts. You wouldn’t expect them to give their expertise away for free, after all. Once contracts have been signed, they will share this information.
STEP 4: Call their references
This is a step many couples don’t both with, but that can be a mistake. Always ask a wedding planner for references and follow up with a call or email. Ask questions like how closely the planner stuck to their given budget, how well they listened to their clients’ ideas, what tasks they performed, whether they were a pleasure to work with, and how they handled any issues.
STEP 5: Weigh up your options
By now you will probably have a good idea of who you would like to work with. But if you’re having trouble deciding, consider the following elements when weighing up your options.
- Their portfolio and references
- Their quotation and proposal (if relevant)
- Their response times to correspondence
- Their contract
- Whether you connect with them as a person
STEP 6: Seal the deal
Once you’ve made a decision, it’s time to move forward. Don’t wait! Good planners get booked up well ahead of time and you don’t want to be disappointed. Call immediately to let them know you would like to book their services. You’ll then be asked to sign a contract and pay a deposit.
And that’s it! You’ve hired your Irish wedding planner!
Slán go Fóill,