Virginia wedding

Engaged over Christmas? Time to hire a wedding planner!

A wedding planner can cost somewhere between $2000 and $4000 dollars, and what they save you in peace of mind is priceless. What to look for in a wedding planner is up to you. Here are some tips and pointers to get started.

Get Recommendations

To find different wedding planners, search online for wedding planners in the nearest city or largest towns to where you want to hold your wedding (ie: wedding planners Richmond VA, wedding planners Williamsburg VA, wedding planners Roanoke VA, wedding planners Farmville VA, wedding planners Hampton Roads, wedding planners Virginia Beach). Also, if you have a venue you want to use or you are already talking to someone about your wedding dress, ask them for names they would suggest. Even the person who designed your engagement ring will know people in the industry. Word of mouth is a wonderful way to start.

Size Up Their Online Presence

Do some searches on the internet. Look at their website or note their lack of one. Look at their social media accounts. See if you like what you see before you call or email to schedule a consultation. If they have a professional website and social media presence, and then also respond in a timely and professional manner, you are already on the right track.

Set Up Your Consultations (plural)

You need to have at least 3 or 4 consultations so you can compare and decide on the right wedding planner for you. It should not cost you money and each one should take about 45 minutes.

Some wedding planners have packages and some offer their services a la carte, allowing you to pick and choose how much you want them involved. You’ll need to learn about the different packages and their a la carte options to decide which wedding planner will meet your needs.

Size Up Their Experience and Where They Are In Their Career

Find out how long they have been a wedding planner, how may weddings they’ve worked, what venues they have worked at, and what their past experiences have been like. Ideally you want someone who is familiar with the venue you want to use or who has connections to venues you are interested in. You also want someone who is invested in the area they are working in versus someone new on the scene or on their way out.  A new person may not have the valuable recommendations and connections. Someone retiring may have burnt bridges or may have already mentally left the game. You want someone who cares how their work will affect their future career.

Size Up Their Personality and Professionalism

From the way they answer their voicemail and emails, to the way they shake your hand and smile, you need to watch for anything that either denotes they are stretched too thin or if they are too laid back for your needs. You want someone who is organized, confident, open, and ready to get to work. And if you feel like something is off between you, recognize that some personalities aren’t meant to be around each other. They could be a competent wedding planner and just completely turn you off. They will be part of your memories so if their personality could tarnish your memories, find someone else. You should enjoy being around them and feel they are there for you. If you feel put off or put down, move on. There are other fish in the sea.

Get References (not just recommendations)

Recommendations are nice, but I find they are off by miles when they are off.  What you want are references that are endorsements from previous clients, vendors, and venues. The references from vendors and venue operators may be more valuable because these are people who will put their professional reputations on the line and say they like working with a particular wedding planner over another. They’ve seen behind the curtains. If someone interviews well, and then you talk to references that either are slow to respond or limited in what they will say, you might want to rethink your assessment. If the references won’t answer or return your call, let the wedding planner know, and see if they can respond with other, better references. If you find that the vendors the wedding planner works with are by and large unprofessional or unfriendly, those are indicators that the wedding planner doesn’t have the connections you need for a beautiful wedding.

Trust Your Instincts

Not every wedding planner has years of experience with tons of glossy references, but they have what it takes to be your wedding planner. If you see they are professional, energetic, and you enjoy their personality, but they haven’t tried a venue, that isn’t a problem. If they’ve wanted to do a wedding like yours, but haven’t yet, that isn’t a problem. If something feels wrong, reflect and get back to them. If you can’t seem to communicate well with them, reflect on why and get back to them. It could be that you had an off day or they did, or it could be you and the wedding planner are not to be. have you thought of hiring a personal assistant or wedding attendant for your wedding?


Virginia Bride Magazine features the best Virginia weddings and Virginia bridal shows. Find it all in one place. Check our blog posts regularly for the latest show information.

The author: Dawn Van Ness

Dawn Dickson Van Ness grew up at the beach and has published her work in print and online. With a BA in English and a MS in Mass Communications, she has used writing and multimedia to promote artists, art shows, writers, small businesses, and other self-employed individuals by building websites and maintaining social media pages. She feels most fulfilled when she is helping others achieve their dreams, which includes writing self-help and steps-to-success articles for various websites. It seems a natural fit for this wife and mother of two to write features that help soon-to-be wed couples. For more about Dawn, go to