A Wedding Planner Answers Her 10 Most Commonly Asked Questions
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How many weddings do you typically take on in a year?
Eight to ten – maximum. I find it’s the only way to keep things fresh and give my clients the best service I can. Anyone who’s done it will know planning a wedding requires a lot of work – from venue hunting to selecting the vendors, negotiating the contracts, work on the timelines, design, technical visits, details etc... Most events require two to four days co-ordination as well, so we need to keep it limited every year to ensure we give our couples the best energy, availability and creativity.
What experience should a good wedding planner have?
A good wedding planner is someone who already has years of experience. We learn something at every wedding and come back the next season with more skills and adaptability. They are someone who will make you feel at ease. You’re going to spend a lot of time together planning this event, so you want to feel safe and understood. However, this all goes hand in hand with availability. A good planner will take the time to answer your email within a reasonable timeframe and won't leave you waiting. Testimonials are a good way to understand if your wedding planner is worth the fee. Try to find out whether previous couples felt reassured and understood – they should always share the details of previous jobs if they’re proud of their work. Being featured in blogs and magazines is also a good indication of quality – plus, you’ll be able to see their design and creativity skills this way.
What sort of budget do you really need for a wedding planner?
This is going to sound steep but, if I’m honest, it’s probably around £50,000 for the wedding. That would cover all your vendors – the venue, catering, entertainment, flowers and décor – and the services of someone who really knows what they’re doing. A proper planner will dedicate all their time to your wedding and the fees are a reflection of this time and energy. If a wedding planner is too cheap, that's not a good sign.
What kind of services does a wedding planner offer?
For me, a real wedding planner should offer an all-inclusive solution. After all, if you want to hire a planner, it’s with the intention of making the process stress free. From venue hunting to vendor research, negotiating the contracts to creating a unique design, they can do it all – including help with budget tracking and all the technical aspects like hotels and transport. Then, on your wedding weekend, you want someone to be there to co-ordinate and make sure everything runs smoothly, be it welcoming the guests, setting up, co-ordinating the vendors or just generally respecting the timeline.
What was your most challenging wedding and how did you handle it?
We once had a very bad storm roll in on a wedding day and the bride just didn't want to accept it. She really resisted us when we said we should implement the plan B, which was to take the entire celebration indoors. As per the contract and to respect the guests and the vendors, we implemented the contingency plan anyway and I’m so thankful we stuck to our guns – the weather was just horrendous! But it was hard to deal with, not being trusted or listened to.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give all brides?
You probably saw this coming due to my last answer, but it’s definitely to trust your wedding planner. Our sole purpose is to make you happy, and we want everything to be perfect – but we also have years of experience and, in most cases, we know what works, what doesn’t and what’s going to be best for you and your wedding day. Relax – we’ve got it covered.
What’s the most common mistake you see couples make?
Underestimating the budget. We have a very clear idea of how much everything costs – again, we’ve done this before – and we’re always super clear with our clients to make sure it doesn't come as a surprise. If they think we can go lower, what follows often comes as a disappointment. That's why budget isn't a taboo subject for me when the process starts. Also, many couples aren’t willing to work out a plan B to be able to still enjoy the day if something goes wrong – even if it’s as uncontrollable as the weather.
What’s your charging/fee structure?
Personally, I have different packages starting from about £8,000 for planning and co-ordinating a one-day event for up to 130 guests. This rises to about £13,000 for a three-day event with up to 130 guests. That said, I often adapt this fee depending on the number of guests and the sort of event my clients have in mind – everything is a discussion and most final quotes are completely bespoke.
Do you only work with certain suppliers?
I have a fantastic network of vendors but the team and I are always happy to start a new collaboration after we guarantee that the other party meets our standards. Having a solid team that you can trust is crucial on a wedding day. After all, we’re responsible for producing an event all together and if one vendor is not meeting the others’ standards this can make everybody look bad.
How much can you be there on the day to ensure things run smoothly?
I always have the best team of wedding co-ordinators available to clients on the day – it’s crucial to be present and make sure everything is under control. So many unforeseen things can happen and you want a professional to be there to handle it. We’re the smiling faces that arrive early in the morning to welcome the vendors and make sure you're enjoying you're getting ready moment. We set up everything to make sure it’s perfect. We’re also responsible for welcoming your guests and ensuring they have a good time. We keep the timeline on track and co-ordinate all the vendors to make sure things happen when they’re supposed to. For us, a wedding day is the result of months of hard work and we wouldn't trust any else to co-ordinate it.
For more information visit ClaireYossman.com & follow @ClaireYossmanWeddings on Instagram.
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