For years I’ve been talking to brides as they plan their big day. From tiny detail decisions, to seating arrangements, to selecting readings, managing challenging in-laws, to resolving final logistics. These brides have always been close friends or family members, and the conversations have been casual, over wine, via text, at events. Now, though, I’m digging up all of my courage and starting to make this a bit more professional. I’ve recently started consulting on wedding planning.
For today’s Saturday Sevens, I’m sharing 7 tips for starting off a positive relationship with a wedding consultant.
- Have a preliminary interview – by phone or in person. If you don’t “vibe” with your consultant, it’s going to present difficulties in a variety of places throughout your planning. Make sure you and your significant other get along with the consultant. If you hate how they respond to an email – do they type “u” instead of “you”? – then don’t hire them. Ask how soon you can expect them to answer your questions, what their role will be on the big day, what type of access you’ll have to them throughout planning – and anything else you might be wondering. This person will be a very big part of your life, and your wedding, and you want to be sure you like them – and not just that they’re in your price range.
- Be clear about your expectations – you’re the bride, or the groom, and you deserve to have a great planning experience. Make sure you communicate what you expect from your consultant – and be sure you share what you’re expecting of your vendors. You should also be clear about what you want your day to look like, feel like, and how you want it to run. If you want your consultant to hand things off once the reception starts, let them know. If you want them to design invitations, let them know. Communication – as you’ll see throughout these tips – is the most important piece of this.
- Introductions – Be sure that key players in involved with your wedding are aware that you’re working with a consultant. You might not want to give everyone access to that person, but it’s important that parents or the Maid of Honor know you have someone for back-up. When the time is right for you, introductions to ceremony site coordinators or venue staff will be key as well. What you want to avoid here is your consultant moving forward on action items the two of you have discussed, and someone else feeling like their toes are being stepped on.
- Set a timeline – if you’re a procrastinator, ask that your coordinator work to keep you on schedule in terms of projects. Figure out when you should have stuff done, when you’ll realistically have it done, and best practices for staying on track. If you’re a bit more type A, let your coordinator know that. You need that person to be responsive and timely – and that’s totally fine. Just make sure they know when you expect deliverables, and they’ll take it from there. Your consultant will also help you finalize a day-of timeline – which is absolutely paramount to a smooth wedding day.
- Be honest – about your dynamics. You might feel nervous about sharing a lot of personal information up front, potentially with a stranger, but if you want to have a positive and constructive relationship, you need to be clear. Is your mother-in-law a bit overbearing? Tell your consultant. Is your significant other a bit removed from planning? Tell your consultant. Are your floral arrangements the most important thing to you? Tell your consultant. Have you not considered anything about your wedding besides hiring the consultant? Tell the consultant.
- Come prepared to meetings – if you have a certain amount of time scheduled to meet with your consultant, be prompt. Have your notes and questions with you. Do some prep before and make the most of your time together.
- Actually collaborate- it’s your day, and your consultant is there to help make that day as nearly perfect as possible. Give feedback! If you don’t like the direction the consultant is suggesting, let them know! You have control – and now support – so don’t hesitate to share your feelings on it. Everyone will be coming together to make your day perfect, so be sure you’re all working in the same direction.