The last couple of years I had the pleasure of working with some incredible wedding planners and my already hight respect and admiration to their skills and contribution to the wedding day has completely skyrocketed. I just cannot recommend investing in a professional wedding planner enough! For those of you who just started your wedding planning journey, I asked lovely Valentina of The Stars Inside to give her top tips on finding your perfect wedding planner. The Stars Inside is a bespoke planning and design studio, specialising in soulful elopements and intimate destination weddings all over the world. Valentina’s specialty is creating magical atmospheres that couples can enjoy to the fullest. She loves working closely with her brides and grooms to help them weave their passions, stories, and values into their celebrations. Her work is all about making time and space for creating deeper connections with loved ones through heartfelt, elevated, welcoming wedding experiences.
The Stars Inside – International Wedding and Elopement Planner
Wherever you are on your wedding planning journey, it’s possible you may have considered hiring a wedding planner – maybe you’ve heard of a friend who had one and loved it, or you’ve seen it in a film, or maybe you’ve decided you definitely need some support but aren’t sure what that looks like. You might be wondering whether wedding planners are only for celebrities, or for couples with complicated plans and big budgets. The truth is, wedding planners are for anyone who wants to invest in their time; they’re for couples who want to plan their celebration with a guiding, expert hand by their side, in an intentional way. There are planners for every style, every budget, and every approach – some are more logistical, and some more style-driven, but what we all have in common is that we’re here to help you tell YOUR story, whatever that means to you. We support you in saving time, spending well, remaining calm, finding a fabulous team of vendors, staying true to you, and – most important of all – being present, every step of the way.
So how do you go about finding your match? The most important thing I can advise if you’re considering hiring a wedding planner, is to take your time. It’s going to be a very special, and quite intense relationship of partnering on a complex long-term project, and the best thing you can do for you is to afford this decision the care, joy, and attention it deserves. I would suggest the following steps:
- Start researching planners. When we build our websites, we try to make it easy for you to find us: we choose words we think you’ll love, images we hope you’ll resonate with, and we describe our work in ways that we believe will stand out to you. So when you’re entering your search terms in Google, try thinking of words that speak to you: are you imagining a wedding that is intimate, modern, relaxed, luxurious… or perhaps your vision is for your wedding to be in a city, or a marquee, or a Cliffside in Greece. The physical location of your wedding planner doesn’t actually matter very much – I’m based in Buckinghamshire, and next year I have a wonderland of weddings all over Europe and Africa. What does matter is affinity: the single most important thing is that your planner understands and shares in your values, so take your time during the research stage and narrow down a few whose websites and social media profiles (particularly Instagram, as we tend to use that the most!) click most with you.
- Daydream about your wedding. Before emailing your shortlist, I would recommend sitting down with your partner to write down some thoughts. What are you most worried about when it comes to wedding planning? What have you enjoyed most about being a guest at other people’s weddings? What questions come to mind when you think about working with a wedding planner? Don’t worry about questions being simple or obvious – write everything down. Having some clarity on approximate number of guests, approximate location preference, approximate total budget, and what your priorities are for your wedding will also allow you to have a really productive call with the wedding planners you’ve chosen. Pour yourselves a glass of wine / hot chocolate, daydream about your wedding, and scribble some notes you can keep to hand when you’re reaching out to planners.
- Book some discovery calls. This is the really exciting step: emailing your favourite planners and booking video calls or in-person meetings. My suggestion here is to be YOU, and be generous with the details: in your enquiry message, share your story, your vision for the day, and what you love about that planner’s work. Show your personality, and let us start falling in love with you! And when it comes to details, write down as much as you can – as this will allow us to better tailor our response to you, suggesting services that might align with what you’re looking for, and also quoting for what you need. Many of us charge differently for different size weddings, weddings in different locations, or based on complexity, so the more we know, the more bespoke our quote for you can be.
- Get to know us. During that first call or meeting, ask anything that comes to mind! Here are some suggestions of topics to discuss with your wedding planners:
- Weddings in different locations, or based on complexity, so the more we know, the more bespoke our quote for you can be.~
- Can you talk me through the wedding planning process? How do you work?
- What type/frequency of communication should we expect from you?
- Is there anything that isn’t included in your services that we should be aware of?
- How do you charge for your services? What is your typical payment structure?
- What happens on the wedding day itself?
- Do you work alone, or do you have a team?
- What is your background / experience?
- How many weddings would you normally work on in a year?
- How do you recommend suppliers to us? Do you only work with a preferred list?
- How would you describe the weddings you plan? Do you have a signature style?
- What are your favourite weddings to plan?
- Take your time. Once you’ve spoken to multiple planners, sit back and reflect on how each one of them made you feel. Did you feel understood, listened to, and in good hands? Did they answer your questions in a way that reassured you? If they are available on your date and align with your budget, the remaining decision should be based on chemistry: there is nothing more powerful to make you feel calm and content while wedding planning than a planner that GETS you. If you take the time to follow your heart, and pick by affinity, then I promise you that – by the end of the journey – you will be fast, close friends, and they will be just the happy, familiar, soothing face you need to see on your wedding day to know that everything will be AMAZING. And then the adventure begins!
You can find out more about Valentina’s work at: The Stars Inside
For more wedding planning advice please check out:
Top Tips for Working with Your Wedding Planner by Valentina of The Stars Inside
How to have a joyful wedding by Mwai Yeboah of Love from Mwai
Photo credits: Photo 2: Lydia Harper Photography; Photo 3 & 4: Rebecca Carpenter Photography