Wedding Wednesday; finding a wedding planner

imagesWhen we got engaged we never really thought about having a wedding planner. Both of us have been working in the hospitality industry, and with my background in events management we thought this would be something we would both be able to do without any help. In my opinion, wedding planners were for people with an unlimited budget, or for those who have no experience in planning such an event, or when you have a demanding job that gives little or no time to get organised.

After we finally set a date and a location where we would get married, I still did not think about having a wedding planner. I did not have a job, I would be able to organise all of this, I had loads of  experience in organising big events, even if we were living on the other side of the world where we wanted to get married. In this time of internet, it must surely be easy enough to get organised and find whatever supplier we needed to have.

The first task on hand would be to find a great location, and here it all went a-wire. Where could we possibly find good locations? Which ones are perfect for a wedding? How will we get in contact with the supplier? And what if they don’t speak English? Within seconds I knew we needed to have someone on location to help us out – even if it would only be for the location. I did not want to worry yet about all of the other things that come with organising a wedding…

But how do you find a wedding planner? My family was familiar with the area, but not in the field of wedding planners. So here started my quest to find the perfect wedding planner in Altea, Spain. This is how I went to work.

1. What do we want?

Before I wanted to go and reach out to anyone for the wedding, I wanted to make sure what we wanted for our wedding? As there would be a big chance that I would be going to Spain alone to meet wedding planners and find the perfect location. So it was important to discuss all of this before I started finding a wedding planner.

So Ruben and I sat down and wrote a list with our ideas of:

  • Our budget: how much money did we have set aside for this huge event? With this in mind it would be easier to approach someone, and see whether they would be able to work within our budget.
  • Amount of people at the wedding: we knew we wanted to keep the wedding intimate. That’s why we chose to marry abroad and not in our home country. We were hoping though, to have around 80 people coming to the wedding.
  • Wedding date: Depending on the locations availability we wanted to get married in June or September, so that it would not interfere with the summer holidays that are planned in Holland (where most of our guests would be coming from).
  • Vision for the wedding: as said we wanted an intimate wedding with our closest family and friends to be there. We once visited a destination wedding from friends, and we loved the fact that it was a wedding over a couple of days, with a welcome dinner on the eve before the wedding, the wedding day itself {obviously}, and as everyone stayed in the same hotel everyone met up (with or without a hangover) for breakfast the next day.
    With that in mind, we also knew that we wanted to get married on a special location. As we are living in Phuket, we did not want to get married at a beach – as there are not a lot of European beaches that can top the beautiful beaches here. And as both of us always worked in hotels, we did not want to have a wedding in a hotel.

I was hoping all of this would help me in our quest to find our wedding planner.

2. Who are there?

weddingsWe did not know anyone who had ever gotten married in Spain, and we needed someone on a specific location. So here is where internet came in and helped me out. Over the next couple of days, I started looking for wedding planners in the Costa Blanca region. In a matter of minutes I found a list of wedding planners that were operating in this region.

From that point onwards I went to look on their webpages and Facebook pages to see what kind of locations they were working at, how the wedding looked like. I was trying to find the style of the wedding planner, to see what their niche was. I wasn’t looking for a wedding planner who organised huge over the top weddings – we wanted to keep it small and intimate – so I started browsing anything I could find about them. Obvioulsy this included finding references, and seeing what other people had to say about their services.

3. Contacting the ones that stood out

After going through all the information on the wedding planners I was able to find, I decided to send them an email. In this email I asked them questions such as:

  • What types of planning services they offered.
  • What locations they work with and which would fit our vision.
  • What they charge for their services.
  • Whether they have availability in the months of June and September.

I got a quick reply from two ladies. Both seemed to have good credentials and sounded as if they knew what they were doing. Also their fees fell within our budget, and I could decide how much (or how little) I wanted them to be involved for the wedding.

A week after the ladies replied, I received another email from one of the wedding planners I contacted. It was a very friendly email, however they gave me so much information that I was so overwhelmed, that I decided not to go and meet up with them. It just seemed planning a wedding was already stressful enough, and to receive an email with so much information, made me feel more stressed out than I was before I started looking for a wedding planner…

So once I booked my tickets to visit Spain – with my mom – I arranged meeting the two ladies and to check out the locations they recommended for our wedding.

4. Meeting the wedding planners

Why-Hire-a-Wedding-Planner-ImageBefore meeting the ladies, I went on a frantic Pinterest tour. Finding anything and everything I thought was important for planning our wedding. In this way, I would be able to let them know exactly what we envisioned for our wedding. Besides this, when meeting them, I also wanted to get a sense of the events they’ve done and knowing who they work with, and I wanted to make sure that I would be able to work with this person. She had to help me organise our wedding, so I wanted to make sure that it felt right.

The first lady we met was, kind of, love at first sight. She had a friendly and open personality, and what I liked best was that she was organised. {Something I find very important when organising my own events at work} She drove us around, having a file with her with information and price lists for each location we would be going to. The people she worked with were always in time, and were able to sit down and answer each of our questions taking the time to explain us whatever questions we had. It felt very comfortable to be around her. After a while she understood what kind of wedding we wanted to have, so came up with other locations we did not have on our list. She immediately called the locations and made sure that we were able to go and have a look that same day.

The second lady we met, was more or less the opposite. The first location we went to did not know we were coming, so we had to go to another location first and come back later in the day for this location. From that point onwards it all went down hill. I had the feeling she was more looking at what would be good for her to organise, then what I really wanted to have.

After each of the meetings, I went back and asked myself:

  • Did we feel heard?
  • Did the planner understand our vision?
  • Was there a good connection and did our personalities work well together?

My decision was made in a heartbeat, but it would obviously also depend on our budget and the location we wanted to have. So I went back home and discussed everything with my husband-to-be …

5. Sealing the deal

After going through and comparing prices, impressions, notes and the proposals we received from both planners, but also looking at the photos I took on each location we went to, we made a decision. We decided to work with Wedding Planner number 1; which was the fabulous Marcella from Your Dream Wedding in Spain (visit her Facebook Page here).

I immediately send her an email, and received such a positive reply from her that she would love to work with us that I got even more excited about our wedding. We paid the deposit and that was it – we signed the deal and she was part of our wedding day plans!

We finally made a beginning and I was looking forward to what all of this would bring us! Stay tuned for more Wedding Wednesday’s on Frei’s Days! 

One thought on “Wedding Wednesday; finding a wedding planner

  1. Pingback: Wedding Wednesday; Finding your wedding day suppliers  | Frei's days

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