{HOW TO} Hire the Right Event Planner

There are so many event planners in the industry and, quite frankly, they are not all good. Moreover, they are not all the right fit for you. If you are looking for an event planner, doing a simple Google search is probably not going to make you feel better about the process. Rifling through 10,000 event planner websites doesn’t do much to determine if you’ve found a good one. So – here are a few tips that you can employ to make sure that the planner you choose knows their stuff and can help you through the planning process.

My guess is that you are hiring an event planner because you aren’t sure about the planning process. Licenses, fees, vendors – all a bit overwhelming? Make sure that the planner you work with helps you feel at ease about this process by knowing what they are talking about. They should chime in with examples of formats that might work best or venues they think will be great. Of course – this is largely the role of the planner once you hire them, but they should know some of this information to help you off the cuff as you are going through your consultation.

One thing to look for when you are comparing proposals is how customized the proposal is for your particular event. If it looks like they just hit SAVE AS from a different proposal, you’ve got problems. If a planner won’t take the time in the very beginning to research your event, help you envision what the event will look like and lay out various options for the event, they aren’t likely to do better after you’ve given them a check. I really believe that planners need to work a bit to bring in new business – and this work is often showcased in the quality of the proposal they submit to you.

Always, always ask for recommendations. Ask for them to share how they know that particular client and to show you pictures of their events. What you are trying to avoid is hiring someone because they had stellar recommendations – only to find out later that those recommendations came from their mother and sister. I say that you should ask for pictures because pictures tell a huge part of the story. Does the “feel” of the event fit what you imagine? How many people are there?

Once you hire an event planner, you’re going to be working with them a LOT. Make sure you consider their personality and working style in the equation. You want to make sure that they are not going to annoy you or be overbearing … or perhaps they are overbearing and that’s just what you need. There is no “perfect” personality for event planners. Only you can be the judge of whether a particular planner will work well with you.

From the fees that they charge to the terms of contracts you will sign – make sure that the planner you work with is very transparent with you. Rather than signing a contract, make sure they can explain to you areas of potential concern and edits that can be made to protect you. Don’t be comfortable just signing anything they put in front of you. You can start to tell how transparent a planner is in their proposal. If their fees are just random numbers, ask some questions and see how they came up with that rate. If they are transparent in their work with you, you can assume they will continue that process as they get to work with you more.


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