Sunday, April 5, 2009

hiring an event planner

Photo Credit: Karin Dalziel

Whether it's because you don't have the time, desire, resources, know-how or nerves, hiring a professional event/party planner/coordinator for your celebration can be a lifesaver. They can do the behind the scenes tasks, hire vendors, negotiate contracts, set-up your event, manage your event and guests and may even cut you some money-saving deals.
If you've decided that you want to bring in professional help to coordinate your event, there are many questions you will want to consider before hiring. How do you know what the planner can bring to the table? What exactly can they do for you and your event? is really a wonderful resource for all things party. Recently I came across this list that they posted called 13 Questions to Ask Party Planners and being a party planner myself, I thought I would share it.

(1) Will the coordinator commit to your budget and not push you in the direction of things you simply can't afford?

(2) Will the coordinator devise a master plan mapping out all the little details, from announcement to zebra-striped decor? (This will clue you in to organizational prowess and a willingness to keep you in the loop on every matter imaginable.)

(3) Can the coordinator name the best and most original locations in your area (that would be suitable to your party size, style, and budget)?

Photo Credit: Evan

(4) Is the coordinator familiar with the best florists, photographers, caterers, bands, and DJs in your price range? Can he/she explain their strong points to you briefly? (Ask yourself: Does the coordinator seem both knowledgeable and passionate?)

(5) Can the coordinator score you some discounts with any vendors? (Coordinators bring volume to favored vendors; often vendors will reciprocate by slashing prices or throwing in extras.)

(6) Will the coordinator read over the vendor contracts for you? What are some common traps to look out for?

(7) Can the coordinator create a timeline that tells everyone involved in the planning process -- vendors, family members, etc. -- what to do and when to do it? How will she/he make sure that everyone sticks to the schedule?

(8) Will the coordinator handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing?

(9) Can the coordinator counsel you on etiquette matters and alert you to hot trends on the party horizon?

(10) Will the coordinator organize delivery, arrival, and setup times with photographer, florist, musicians, caterer/banquet manager, et al?

(11) For the day of the event, will the coordinator be willing to oversee the entire event by supervising vendors, troubleshooting emergencies, and soothing nerves? Can she/he share any anecdotes that required performing above and beyond the call of duty?

(12) Will the coordinator be willing to step in as your advocate, conveying your visions and desires to vendors when you don't feel up to the task?

It is important to remember that these are simply guidelines. You may not feel the need to ask your planner/potential planner all of these questions. For instance, your event may not require your planner to handle the invitations. There are definitely other things to take into consideration when hiring a planner. What is their educational background? What events have they worked on in the past? What is their main strength/signature style? These may be questions that are important to you!

Make a list of what is important to you about the event and what you can't do on your own. This can help you decide what questions to ask the planner during the hiring process.
Have you ever hired a planner/coordinator/event designer? How did you make your decision?


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