Don’t Hire a Wedding Planner Without Asking These Questions

The man of your life has proposed; you’ve posted the big sparkly ring on Instagram, your parents are ecstatic, your grandma is praying “Thank God, she’s normal”, and your best friends are planning their hairstyles for your big day.

But then you suddenly realise, “I don’t have time to plan this wedding!” Maybe you need a wedding planner.

You’re working 12 hours a day, your weekends are taken up by church, volunteer work, finding solutions to the Greek financial crisis, and generally making the world a better place. And worse; you can’t tell the difference between teal and turquoise, silk and satin, ranunculus and rhododendrons. You need help!

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What will wedding planners do for me?

There are many types of wedding planners. The most comprehensive ones will take care of your planning and decision-making end-to-end. Next are the planners who can help you choose your key vendors. Finally, there are planners who simply help with the floor-coordination on the day itself.

Here is the usual ‘menu’ of services your wedding planner would offer:

  • Style, theme selection
  • Budget planning and management
  • Management of invite list and RSVP
  • Selection of vendors
  • Coordination with vendors
  • Managing the floor activity on the day itself

 

 

The most important factors when choosing a wedding planner

When we asked other brides, we found that the main thing that you need to consider about your wedding planner is, “Will she take away my stress?”. To figure that out, ask yourself these questions:

 

1.  “Do I like her as a person?”

The wedding planner is someone that you will spend hours with going over concepts, themes, colours, budgets, selections, etc. The hours would pass so much faster if you like the wedding planner as a person, as someone you would have coffee with without a gun to your head.

Quick tip
Make sure you meet the wedding planner at least twice before agreeing to sign-up with her. If you still like her then, there is still a good chance you like her after your wedding is done.

milestone 2

Above: Wedding planning by Milestones from Petaling Jaya. Source

Review
“Throughout the whole process, she was very considerate not only of our expectations but also the expectations of our parents, and pointed out some things that we had not thought of discussing with them. Both of our families were very impressed and happy with the job that Mun Tzin and her team did as it meant they were able to just enjoy the day and not stress about the details.” – Rachel Yong reviews Milestones 

 

2.  “Do I appreciate her sense of style (even if it’s not the same as mine)?”

Brides always worry that their wedding planners don’t have the same style in mind.

“I don’t know whether she’s right for me – her clothes are so colourful and grungy, when both my husband and I want an elegant, understated wedding” worries Jane.

A good, professional wedding planner would seek to understand your style, personality and requirements very early on in the relationship so they would know what would work and what wouldn’t. Don’t worry too much if her style is not exactly the same like yours – people don’t need to look like their work all the time.

However, someone who has spent the last 5 years doing pink-hued Hello Kitty-inspired weddings is not likely to be able to churn out a James Bond-themed wedding without some realignment in expectations.

Quick tip
Ask to see her portfolio of previous work. If you like the general feel of how things were put together, that’s a good sign. But if you keep thinking “Oh that’s really tacky” while going through the album, take it as a warning sign that her style may not be right for you.

 

my love story

Above: Wedding planning by LOVE STORY from Shah Alam

 

3.  “Do I respect her advice?”

Ask any previous bride, and she will tell you that a wedding could start out simple but eventually turn out to be a complicated affair with 1 bride, 1 groom, 20 immediate family members, 100 relatives and another 300 friends and people you’ve never met before. You may have something specific that you’ve been dreaming about but there may be situations where you have to compromise.

“I have always dreamt of a destination beach or garden wedding. However, when we calculated the number of family members and friends who would need to fly out to attend our special day, and the logistics involved, we were advised to go for a hotel ballroom instead. Plus, none of my bridesmaids wanted to mop sweat off their foreheads while watching me walk down the aisle” laughs Jessica.

Dr Khoo Kien Ling, founder of Adamas Weddings has always advised brides who want garden weddings to be wary of the situations that can arise “I would generally be careful about about arranging a full sit down lunch or dinner in an open garden. Exchanging of vows or having pre-dinner cocktails is fine, but Malaysian weather is unpredictable and rain can come in 15 minutes. The venue logistics team may not be able to move the decor indoor in time and unless the couple is willing to fully-decorate a backup indoor venue, be prepared for a venue that is not decorated. One option is to move a fountain, or a wooden platform into the ballroom to create the outdoor garden ambience.”

“I would generally be careful about about arranging a full sit down lunch or dinner in an open garden. Malaysian weather is unpredictable and rain can come in 15 minutes. One option is to move a fountain, or a wooden platform into the ballroom to create the outdoor garden ambience.” – Dr. Khoo Kien Ling, Adamas Weddings.

Quick tip
Sometimes it would take a meeting or two before the wedding planner figures out whether you take advice well, or will turn into a stomping Bride-zilla. Either way, tell her early on whether you’d appreciate advice or prefer things to be done your way.

 

peak experience

Above: Wedding decor by The Peak Xperience. Photo source

 

4.  “Is she worth it?”

Wedding planning fees range widely depending on the scope of services that you need (refer to the Menu of services above). It could be RM 1,000 for just day-coordination services, or nearly RM15,000 for the whole range of services. But think about how much mental stress she could save you.

Wedding planners in Malaysia who have been in the market for longer, and have built a reputation and brand-name, also tend to be charge more than the newcomers. The benefit of using these experienced planners are that they have planned a wider range of weddings and know what issues tend to crop up, and how to deflect them before they escalate.

Weddings by ADAMAS. Photo by Edmund Tham

 

Above: Weddings by ADAMAS. Photo by Edmund Tham. Source

 

Professionally trained wedding planners in Malaysia also tend to charge more because they have undergone 6-9 month courses on the basics of planning, budgeting, vendor selection, coordination, and issue resolution. They tend to have all the toolkits and checklists that they can share with you, to ensure that you don’t leave anything out in your planning.

Dr Khoo, from many years of experience of running Adamas School of Weddings, have found that professionally trained wedding planners provide a lot of benefit to the couple.

“A professionally trained wedding planner is able to kickstart their career by learning from the experts in the industry rather than going through experiences themselves,”

“They learn how to choose the right vendors by going through the detailed budget comparison, how to communicate not only with client, but also with vendors and team members. They learn how to suggest the right attire for the couple, and importantly during an emergency, they can fix a bridal bouquet. They have a group of classmates (professionally trained wedding planners) that can assist in the coordination. Most importantly, they have good checklists to make sure that every aspect is taken care of.”

“A professionally trained wedding planner is able to kickstart their career by learning from the experts in the industry rather than going through experiences themselves” – Dr. Khoo Kien Ling, Adamas Weddings.

Quick tip
When comparing fees across different wedding planners, remember that they make their money in 2 ways. Some only charge service fees and do not take any commissions from vendors when you order something from them. Others have a much lower service fee, but have agreed commission rates with vendors (e.g. the designer will give them a 10% commission on any dress that you order). Ask the wedding planner directly how she makes her money, so that you can compare fees apple-to-apple, and avoid a situation where there may be conflicts later.

 

 

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Main photo by Dennis Yap Photography for The Peak Xperience

 

 

 

 

 

 

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