Although we chose our wedding planner two months ago, I was motivated to post about our planner search after our planner asked me to write a piece for her new website [details to follow soon].
Prior to even getting engaged, J and I acknowledged the importance of a wedding planner. We believed that a wedding planner would help us address any cultural or religious issues in an objective manner, and she could be the neutral party we could refer our parents to if there were any questions or problems. A planner could also guide us through the planning process and help with decision making.
Yes, wedding planners cost money. But, let’s be real here. We entrust others to cut our hair, thread our eyebrows, do our nails, wax our arms—and they ain’t free. Why the heck wouldn’t I want someone to help plan my wedding—one of the grandest events in my life??? Cost-wise, the industry standard for wedding planners is approximately 10% of the total wedding budget. Our planner is actually costing us less than that.
J and I wanted to get married within the same year, so we started researching planners a week after our engagement. Because we’re having a Sikh ceremony and the guests will be primarily from my (Punjabi) family, we wanted a South Asian wedding planner familiar with the customs and traditions. As we did not know anyone who had a planner, we searched online. Suhaag.com was a useful resource, as was our good friend Google. We came across 4 companies, and I emailed them immediately. 3 replied within a day or two; 1 planner replied 3 or 4 days later. I crossed her off the list—if she couldn’t reply to my inquiry promptly, could I depend on her during the planning process?
Potential Planner #1
Prior to our meeting, I asked #1 to bring her portfolio to see examples of her weddings, as her website did not have much info. She replied that she did not have a portfolio and all of her pictures were stored on her computer, so unfortunately, no pictures for us. Strange, I thought. We met with #1 at a coffee shop. She look nervous: her voice was shaky and she became flustered when we asked about her work. She said, “I feel like I’m being interviewed.” Of course she did because it was an interview! She did not present us with examples of her work, nor did she have a breakdown of her services. We asked her MANY questions. Oddly enough, she brought a laptop with her. When we asked for pictures of weddings she’s planned, she responded that her pictures were stored on an external hard drive she did not have with her. Inconsistent, much? To say the least, we did not leave the meeting impressed. Interestingly enough, her cost was the highest of all the planners we interviewed!
Potential Planner # 2
We met with Riccha Arora (the winner of our planner search) and one of her partners second. Instantly, J and I *felt* something. They were friendly and open. They asked details about J and me, they asked about our engagement, and they asked about our vision. They expressed genuine interest in us. We immediately felt comfortable and the conversation flowed well. I remember us having a few laughs and connecting about growing up in the same neighbourhood. They provided an exceptional presentation, explained the breakdown of their services, and showed examples of their weddings. They impressed that they wanted to be involved with the wedding and would give as much, if not more, thought into the wedding as J and I would. Riccha also had an assertive communication style, a quality I particularly appreciate in a wedding planner (if not most people–passivtiy/aggresiveness are pet peeves!!). My spidey sense told me that Riccha can get shit done and done well. Overall, Riccha was professional, yet approachable. J and I left the meeting feeling good and that we’d found our planner. I felt so positive about meeting with Riccha that I wanted to cancel our meeting with potential planner # 3.
Potential Planner # 3
We met with her anyway. #3 had the most experience. She had a good presentation and breakdown of services, but we didn’t feel a connection. She didn’t show much interest in my fiancé and me: we were just another couple who needed wedding planning. She even answered her cell phone towards the end of the meeting—a big faux pas! We found it inconsiderate and symbolic of her lack of investment in the process. Although we were positive she would do a good job, we thought she would care more about the end result and how her company looked rather than about our wedding.
Our last meeting helped cement what we wanted in a planner: professional, approachable, personable, invested, and involved. Riccha met all of the above.
And she hasn’t disappointed.
Hiring a wedding planner and choosing Riccha were the best decisions Jand I have made (other than choosing each other, of course). She has been elemental in our search for vendors, our creative process, our decision making, answering questions, providing suggestions, and, most importantly, controlling my stress levels and keeping me sane.
I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner. It is an investment with high returns!!