Thursday, August 4, 2011

4 Basic Guidelines to Follow When Hiring an Event Planner

While shopping for an event planner, there are many things one should consider. Most people scour the Internet for great pictures and recommendations and read all the hot blogs and websites to find what they think is the most credible and professional option.

While blogs and websites offer great insight, keep in mind that just because a planner is mentioned or has great pictures, it doesn't mean that they are the right fit for you! For example, an overexposed planner may be too busy to give you the kind of attention you need and deserve while planning your event and really, pictures are just pictures. They don't really tell you what a planner is actually capable of.

After asking dozens of questions on what to look for in a planner, I finally decided to make a check-list to help those of you looking narrow down your options!

1) References and Referrals - What are other people saying about the planner you are considering? Do you know someone who has used them and has had a positive experience? If you get more than one negative review, I suggest you search elsewhere.

2) Professionalism and Responsiveness - How was your initial contact with the planner? Did he or she respond to e-mails and phone calls in a timely manner? If it takes a planner longer than 48 hours to respond to an initial inquiry, it's usually a good indication that they will take the same amount of time to reply to all your correspondence attempts.

3) Initial Consultation - It is VERY important that you schedule a consultation with your prospective planner. If possible, you should sit down with them. If not, a phone call works as well. Have a copy of the planner's contract on hand during the consult so that you can ask them questions and clarify details. You can usually tell right off the bat if the planner in question knows what they're talking about just by their demeanor and their comfort while answering questions.

4) How well your personalities mesh - Although it's true that hiring a planner is not a popularity contest, you MUST get along with him or her to do effective business. Imagine spending the next few months to a year of your life constantly communicating with someone with whom you clash. Nightmare, right?!

I could probably come up with a laundry list of other suggestions, but it my opinion, these 4 are definitely the most important! No one wants to get stuck with a planner they don't like, or worse, with someone they are forced to fire (GASP)!

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