by Annette Naif

Choosing an event planner can be very overwhelming. Here are some tips on what to consider when choosing the perfect planner.

  • Is the event planner listening? Make sure they get what your event is all about.
  • Do your personalities match? There will be a lot of communication back and forth during the planning of your event so be sure you pick a planner that you like and trust.
  • Make sure you are picking the right type of planner for your event. If you are getting married you may want to consider hiring an experienced wedding planner.
  • Check at least 3 references. It’s a red flag if the planner does not have references.
  • Check the planner’s website. You can learn a lot about the planner and their work from their website. If the planner does not have a website, be wary. Even the most successful event planners have a website.
  • Does the planner understand your brand and vision for your event?
  • Does the planner have relationships with vendors in your area. Keep in mind planners get many discounts when working with vendors.
  • Determine what you want the planner to do – everything from nuts to bolts or just a portion of the planning. Understanding how much time you have free will help you determine how much you want the planner to do.
  • Make sure the planner understands your budget requirements, will take your budget seriously, and keep a close eye on the spending of the money as if it were their own. Always make sure they check in with you whenever there is a concern about going over budget.
  • Is the planner open to being flexible? There will be plenty of changes during planning. You want to make sure the planner is flexible with change and is willing to accommodate all changes if necessary.
  • Is the planner creative? If you are not creative and need someone to help you with the creative process, be sure to pick a planner that is creative.
  • Interview at least 3 planners.
  • Is the planner good with negotiating? You want a planner who knows how to negotiation to save you money.
  • Will the planner have a backup plan if something should go wrong (e.g. weather, vendors who don’t show, etc.)?
  • Have a say in the vendors your planner is presenting to you. Check out their previous work. It could make or break your event

Questions to ask the event planner…

  • Do you give a free consultation?
  • What is your experience as an event planner?
  • How many events have you produced similar to this event?
  • What services did you provide for the event?
  • How many people attended?
  • Did that meet or exceed expected attendance?
  • How much money did the event raise (for Fundraisers)?
  • How much time do you have to promote to this event?
  • What are your thoughts about staying on budget? (Make sure you are on the same page!)
  • Do you have sufficient staff for this event or do we have to provide staff?
  • Is there a cost for additional staff?
  • Do you handle invitations?
  • How often do we communicate (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) and by what means (e.g., telephone, text message, Email, face-to-face, etc.).
  • Will you be there on the day of the event? If not, who will be there?
  • Can you provide letters of recommendation?
  • What is your fee?
  • Do you charge a flat fee, hourly or percentage?
  • What services do you provide?
  • Do you help with speakers and sponsors? (live coaching events)
  • Do you help with social etiquette?
  • Do you stay up on the latest trends?
  • Do you help with getting butts in the seats? (live coaching events)
  • Are travel and expenses billed separately?
  • When are payments due to you?
  • What forms of payment do you accept?
  • Do you pay the vendors upfront or do we?
  • Do you have event planning liability insurance?
  • What is your experience with negotiating with the venue and vendors?
  • Are you familiar with contract language?
  • Who are your preferred vendors?
  • How will you manage things if they don’t go as planned?
  • What is your refund policy?
  • Why should I hire you?

Listen to the questions the event planner asks you as well. Those are just as important as the questions you are asking. The event planner should ask a ton of questions about your event. If they don’t, be wary.

You know you have a good event planner when…

  • the planner has good ideas;
  • the planner is experienced with design and décor;
  • the planner communicates a plan;
  • the planner can coordinate multiple tasks by delegating to a team;
  • the planner does an event evaluation at the end of the event. Checking in with you to see if the event was successful or not, and makes suggestions for future events;
  • the planner is a good communicator;
  • the planner is as passionate about your event as much as you are!

The most important thing to remember in your search for finding the perfect event planner is to make sure you are comfortable with them. If there are any red flags, don’t hire them! You have to trust your event planner. If the event is a failure, the guests won’t blame the event planner they will blame you. Having the right planner on board will create the most memorable event that your guests will talk about for a long time.

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