Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times as you prepare to celebrate finding the love of your life! In addition to setting a date, a budget, and finding a venue, one of your first moves is going to be focused on finding the right wedding coordinator.
Some brides-to-be opt out of using a wedding coordinator, but we think having a professional walk with you during this process is critical to creating the wedding of your dreams. As the wedding industry grows, you’ll find many options for your wedding coordinator, and it might be overwhelming.
When you’re interviewing recommended wedding coordinators, you’ll want to have a game plan for what questions to ask and areas that are important to explore. Even though you are interviewing to hire someone, you’ll want this meeting to feel like a conversation to get to know the wedding coordinator in front of you. Having a coordinator whose personality or design vision clashes with your own could lead to months of frustration and discomfort, so we hope this checklist will help you ask straightforward questions to find out. All that to say, don’t forget to be you! Relax and have fun!
Date– First and foremost, if you’ve already set the day of your wedding, you’ll want to know right off the bat if the wedding coordinator is even available. If you haven’t set a specific date, ask the wedding coordinator to give you their availability. You may not have a specific date, but most brides-to-be have a general season or even month they want for their nuptials. Make sure every wedding coordinator you talk with is potentially available.
Clients- If the wedding coordinator says they are available on your wedding day, be sure to ask if they have another wedding at a different time on the same day. Some coordinators will book multiple weddings on one day. No matter what type of availability you ask them to clarify, you’ll want to know how many clients they take on. This will help you in the planning process and on the day of your wedding. As the bride, you’ll ultimately make the decision if you’re comfortable with this possible scenario or if you need to know your wedding coordinator is one hundred percent focused on you.
Venue- Whether you have already decided on your venue or you’re open to suggestions, you want to screen for limitations on wedding venues. If you’ve already decided on a venue, ask the wedding coordinator if they have every coordinated a wedding at the venue, what they think of the venue, and their overall experiences. If you’re open for suggestions, ask the wedding coordinator if they have suggestions for venues they really enjoy working. Chances are, they’ll have a few suggestions. If you are planning a destination wedding, you’ll need to clarify that they will help you.
Vendors– You’ll want to check on how each coordinator handles choosing and recommending vendors. Let’s say you have a certain florist you’re dying to work with, but this coordinator only works with a pre-selected list of vendors. That could pose a big problem after you’ve signed the contract. So just be sure to get clarity on how they recommend or accept your ideas.
A major component you need to clarify for yourself right away is the level of involvement you want from the right wedding coordinator. Some brides want a wedding coordinator that is all in: a coordinator that not only will help design and coordinate planning and the day of, but that will be present at pre-wedding activities such as a wedding shower or taste tests or the rehearsal dinner. At the other end of the spectrum, you may only want a wedding coordinator on the day of your wedding to help the flow of your day, so you can relax. No matter what your preference for their role, this needs to be clarified with them in the first meeting. If you want a wedding coordinator to help you make your vision come to life by simply doing what you ask, that’s a big difference from finding a coordinator to help you come up with color and flower schemes. Get clarity with each wedding coordinator what their role is and has been in the past. It’s helpful to ask them what role they are most comfortable in as well.
Your budget– Finding a wedding coordinator that will help you stay within your budget is worth the money you’ll spend on them! Some wedding coordinators have built relationships with vendors and can get deals or packages that aren’t open to the public. This could be helpful on your budget. It’s good to make sure that the wedding coordinator will keep your budget in sight as they help you make choices regarding one of the most special days of your life.
Fees– Sometimes we want to jump to fees right away and if it seems too high or too low, we’ll just keep moving down the list. It’s important to get their total fee, but also a break down of all the services included in that fee and if there are any additional fees they’ll charge: such a gas/travel, food, parking. When you walk through the fee breakdown with each coordinator, you may find that either the price is well worth the service or that it will actually help save you money in the long run. This will also be helpful to know what is included so if you decided you want something specific, you know whether its included in the fee. Also find out how they expect to receive payments from you as the planning takes shape.
Experience- While we don’t necessarily recommend only seasoned coordinators, its helpful to understand each wedding coordinator’s experience and business practices. New wedding coordinators can provide a new take on things and be a fresh voice. Seasoned coordinators often have built relationships and understand the wedding industry on a deeper level. You decide what is important to you.
Business Practices- Whether they are employed by an agency or are self-employed, it’s good to know how long they’ve been on the wedding scene, what their roles are/have been, and how they work. Even though it may not be important or needed, ask about professional and liability insurance. The hope is that you won’t need to worry about this, but it’s better to know upfront if each planner has insurance and how insurance works in their agency. An overlooked question to ask is: what happens if there is an emergency or you are sick- either during planning or on the day of your wedding? Each coordinator needs to have a thought out and clear plan to provide you before that type of scenario arises. Find out how to communicate with them and how you will work together. Things like: how will I communicate with you? Will I communicate with an assistant or you? How many meetings we will have? Will you be physically present during the planning and day of?
Understanding their business practices up front can help alleviate frustration along the way so you know how to best communicate with them, so you feel heard and seen by your coordinator.
Even if the wedding coordinator in front of you is a dream come true, look over that contract before you even verbally agree! Take your time reading each point to make sure you fully understand what you are and are not agreeing to with each coordinator. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they will lend you a copy of the contract for you to take home and review.
Review it all
Ask for testimonials and to see a portfolio of previous work so you get an idea of the wedding coordinator’s work from an outside source. It’s interesting to ask them to describe their favorite wedding in detail. After they’ve done this, ask them to show you in that wedding in their portfolio. This will help you understand how you communicate with each other. If you have a different idea in your head than what their portfolio shows, talk about it and ask more questions. It doesn’t mean they aren’t the right wedding coordinator for you, it just means you may need to explore how to communicate with each other. Side note: This is also a good practice in marriage communication!
Final Words on Finding the Right Wedding Coordinator
After reading through the wedding coordinator checklist above, write down ANY additional questions or thoughts that came up as you were reading or as you look through Pinterest for wedding ideas. This is your wedding, so don’t be afraid to express exactly what you and your future spouse want and who you are as a couple.
Most wedding coordinators want to make sure that you are a good fit for them and their business as well. Get to know each other in this interview and other communication before jumping into a decision to hire or not. You may know pretty quickly whether the relationship will be a productive one, but your first impression or initial hunch may not be on the money. A fun way to wrap up an initial meeting is to ask what their wildest wedding mishap was and how they handled it. You’ll get a funny story and you’ll find out how they deal with weird scenarios and high-pressure situations.
Ultimately remember that communication is key, and this is a FUN time in your life, so find someone who will fit in to that theme! Feel free to share your thoughts and dreams and ask as many questions as you need to feel confident in your decision. Don’t be afraid to take your time finding the right wedding coordinator. Follow our checklist and you’ll be sure to find the right wedding coordinator for your special day!
The Wedding Coordinator Interview Checklist
- Are you available on our wedding date?
- How many other weddings do you have on that date/weekend?
- How many weddings have you done before? Can I see design samples? May I contact a few former brides for testimonials?
- Have you ever worked at the venue you’ve chose? Or, do you have recommendations for venues in the area? If we’re planning a destination wedding, are you available to travel or coordinate remotely?
- Do you have a pre-approved list of vendors we must use, or are you happy working with the vendors we have already selected?
- How involved do you like to be in the planning and design process? If I have a vision in mind already, can you simply execute it and ensure the flow of the big day go smoothly? Or, if I don’t have any creative ideas of my own, can you help me with the design of the whole event from start to finish?
- Can you help me execute my vision within my budget of _____? Do you have special discount arrangements with any vendors or venues that will help me get more bang for my buck?
- Can you give me a break down of all of the fees included in your overall service?
- What’s the best way to communicate with you throughout the process? Will I communicate with an assistant or you? How many meetings we will have? What will you be present during the planning and day of?
- What are your contingency plans for emergencies? What if I’m sick during one of our planned tastings or tours? What if you’re sick? What if you can’t get to the wedding – do you have trained assistants ready to take over? What if the wedding is canceled or postponed?
- May I take a copy of your contract to review at home?
- What was your wildest wedding mishap, and how did it turn out?