First appointment with a wedding planner in Italy: What to ask?

10 ninja questions to make sure you don’t hire a wrong one for you and your Indian wedding

Oftentimes couples set calls with wedding planners they select online without having any idea of what they should really ask. They just want to know the costs, see if a planner can propose some venues to look at, discuss the kind of venue and decor they want for their Indian wedding in Italy and check if a planner has connections with some suppliers they need for their celebrations, that’s it. And maybe they don’t even ask those questions that definitely come before any venue or decor, but that can lead them to make a wrong choice, if not checked from the beginning. Because every planner can put together some pictures of impressive decor or of some stunning venues to show you, but is he or she truly the right person to entrust your precious event to?

You’re putting your dream in their hands and you must be 100% sure that planner is the right one for your Indian wedding in Italy. I have therefore prepared 10 questions that will help you scout the best wedding planner for you. Because there are a lot of good professional planners in Italy, but the solutions they propose could not work for you. So, make sure you have asked them all, to be able to make your choice.

Question #1: How experienced are you with Indian weddings? 

This question is very important if you want to have an authentic Indian wedding in Italy, if you care about your traditions and want to make your parents and your guests happy. Sometimes Indian couples meet planners who make things too complicated and not feasible in Italy, leading them to renounce an important part of the celebrations.

So, how to evaluate if a planner is truly experienced or not? First of all, talk with them, see how informed they are about specific pre-wedding events, about particular religious or cultural aspects, even about the items you would potentially need for your celebrations. Because if they just know about the Mandap and henna girls, and look at you as an alien when you mention puja or choora, then something doesn’t square.

Then ask them to send you photos or videos from Indian weddings they planned, and of course ask for references. Only by talking to other Indian couples who hired that planner for their wedding in Italy can you find out what exactly they did for them. Because many planners would potentially tell you that they are very experienced, that they have planned many Indian weddings. But is it truly so?

Question #2: How many couples do you work with each year? 

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This question is crucial, because many agencies or planners accept as many weddings as couples willing to commit to them. The more the better, so that they can earn more money. That’s absolutely understandable, however you can ask yourself if you would be happy with a planner dealing with other 40-50 or more couples. I have already approached the topic of “assembly line kind of agencies” HERE

So, how do they decide whom to prioritize? First come, first served, so that you need to book them fairly in advance to have their attention? Or in order of the wedding date, so that if your wedding is in 10 months you have to wait for months because they have other weddings to deliver before yours and you have to wait for your turn? Or depending on the budget a couple has to invest, and if your budget is not very large, you would wait for all the other couples with more money overtaking you? I suggest you check that with them.

Question #3: Are you available for our date / period?

Sometimes couples have just one fixed date. And maybe they find a planner which could potentially work for their wedding, but who is already hired for their date. Of course, it’s important you ask your priest or grandparents for auspicious dates in advance. Possibly ask for more than one set of dates, so that you have some alternatives to check with a planner directly during the appointment.

Question #4: What is your planning process?

Ask them how they work, if there is a specific order of things they do, what comes first and what after, etc. This way you can understand the logical way of how they will bring you from point A (where you are now, probably a little bit confused, with no clear ideas of where to start) to point B (the day of your amazing wedding, when your dream will finally come true). Of course, that means that they do have this logical way because it’s not granted at all. Some may jump directly to the decor or photographers while you have to sort out other important things first. And especially it’s important to not zigzag here and there, because it would only add confusion and stress. I’m sure don’t hire a planner to become more confused but rather to have a smooth planning and wedding in Italy.

Question #5: What would you actually do for me?

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This aspect is directly connected to the previous one, it helps you understand the services they provide within their planning fee. For example, if they propose venues, would they just give you websites, or show you venues listed on their own websites with no real names, or maybe send you short presentations with just a short description, a few pictures and some characteristics such as capacity, timing and price or could you expect something more elaborated and more useful to help you choose your ideal wedding venue? And of course would they accompany you to see the venues, and what happens if you aren’t able to come? 

Do they manage your budget and prepare a budget spreadsheet for you? Or do they just send you proposals and then you have to check if they fit in your budget or not? Will they prepare a full itinerary for the days of your celebrations or is it something you will have to take care of and they will just execute what you put together? Feel free to ask. You need to find out if you are happy with the services they provide, if that’s enough for you.

Question #6: Do you provide packages, à la carte services or full planning?

This question is also connected to the previous one. If a planner works on a package basis, they will do for you only what is included in the package, nothing else, unless you pay for the extra things separately. Oftentimes couples look for packages because they think they are more affordable. Some planners offer a number of services included in a package and also give different packages to choose from. And if you are a “package oriented” couple, then make sure you thoroughly verify if a package truly covers everything you need or if you would have to add extra services. Because the extras are usually very pricey.

If instead a planner provides all the steps of the planning service separately so that you just choose what you really need (I mean just sorting out the venue, or just the help with the decor, or just the coordinating on the wedding day etc), then make sure that the sum of the separated services doesn’t come up to be higher than the full planning fee which would potentially cover the whole organization of your events. And if you want to read more about this topic, please check this post out.

Question #7: How will we communicate with you?

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Many couples think that when they hire a wedding planner in Italy, that planner will always be available for them, to quickly answer all their questions, to constantly communicate with them. And if you plan to use whatsapp groups, write to your planner in the evenings when you are back home from work, or during the weekends, when you are more free, you could find out that many planners don’t do that and are only available during the working hours in the working days. Sometimes, the only possibility to communicate with them is by email, and you have only a limited number of calls included in your contract. It’s quite common in Italy, so before you make your choice make sure you have cleared this aspect. 

Question #8: Will we have a team on site to coordinate our events?

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Sometimes planners split the planning of the wedding and the coordinating on site in two different services with two different prices. Therefore you could be asked for a supplement to have someone coordinating your event.

Also, if the coordinating is included, as it’s often the case, make sure you check if it will be the same planner you would do all the planning together or a different person. Because large agencies often have the main team working in the office and then different teams of coordinators covering different areas of Italy. That means that after you have spent a whole year planning your wedding with a specific person who knows everything in detail, you would meet a completely new person whom you have never seen before to coordinate the days of your celebration. He or she could be very well prepared, but such a situation will only add stress and worry. And you surely don’t want to worry on your wedding day.

Ask also how many people of the team will there be, because oftentimes it’s just one planner. And if you have 100-150 guests or even more and maybe 2-3-4 days of celebration, one person can’t manage all of that alone.

Question #9: What is your fee and how does the payment work?

It’s important to know if the planner’s fee fits in your budget or not. Different planners apply different fees, and it’s often connected to what they do for you, as you have verified with one of the previous questions. Because it doesn’t make sense to just compare fees without going into detail of what is included in that fee. Also check how that fee is calculated: if it’s a fixed fee which is the same for all the events, if they take a percentage from your budget, if the main fee covers just the wedding day and then there are additional fees for the pre-wedding days. Ask if you have to pay the whole amount once signed or if it’s split into a few parts. Is there a payment plan or not? 

Question #10: What’s next? What is the next step?

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Because if you sign with that planner, you need to know when they will be ready to start with you, what they expect from you, what is the first thing they will do. This way you don’t jump in the dark and then keep waiting for someone to get in touch with you, but are well aware of how the planning of your wedding will start.

As you see, there are so many questions to ask a planner to whom you could potentially entrust your Indian wedding in Italy. Sometimes couples take things for granted, because it seems strange to ask some things. And maybe they risk signing with a planner who is a very nice and lovely person and looks professional, but isn’t the right planner for that couple. It’s a very important and delicate choice. Please take it seriously, set video calls, go through all these questions and maybe add some more, if needed. Only this way you don’t risk frustration and misunderstanding later. And remember: the right planner can truly make the fate of your wedding!