10 Questions to Ask Your Event Planner and Designer
So, you’ve got a big event coming up, and you don’t know quite how to get everything accomplished.
An event's design is a crucial part of its overall vibe—and, in many cases, its success. To ensure that you have a good working relationship with your event designer, here are questions to ask before and during the planning process
1. What types events do you handle the most?
If you have a corporate event you need help with, the last thing you want to do is hire someone who spends most of their time planning weddings. Be sure the event planning professional you choose has had experience in the type of event you are putting on.
2. What skills does your team have?
Understand what they can and can’t do for you. Event registration? Promotion? Vendor coordination? What else? While Aria event Design has access to a wide range of skills and talents because of its size, not all event planners do.
3. Can you work within my budget?
This is “the most important question ever,” says Jes Gordon, creative director and owner of New York-based production company Proper Fun. “Many folks come to us with a major fantasy in mind, and often their budget does not meet this particular fantasy. It's important to let your designer know a realistic budget range that is comfortable for you to work within."
4. What is included in your fee?
Be sure you are clear on what the event planner is planning on providing you. Make certain everything is spelled out in the contract, and that you and your planner are both in agreement on what is included. If there is any doubt or confusion, get it cleared up ASAP.
5. What's your communication style?
To ensure a smoothing working relationship, “It's good to know up front if your designer is an emailer, a texter, a phone-caller, or a face-to-facer,” says Kelli Bielema of Shindig Events in Seattle.
6. How long do you need to set up?
Ask your designer to be up front about any additional fees for set-up time. “If we sell a design that needs an overnight load in and the client is not willing to pay for that extra time, that could be disastrous,” Gordon says.
7. Will I be dealing with you or your staff?
Some event planners have assistants that help them pull off events. Depending on how busy the planner is, their assistants might be your only means of communicating with them. For some people, that won’t be an issue as long as things go smoothly. If you would prefer to deal only with the owner, you need to state that up front.
8. When things don’t go as planned, how do you handle it?
There is only so much that we can control. And weather just isn’t one of them. Of course, there are lots of things that can go wrong with an event, including the invitations, registrations, and more. Ask if they have any stories of previous events that required some quick thinking on their part, and listen to how they responded to the issue. Remember Murphy’s Law? If your planner isn’t planning for it, you might consider moving on to another option.
9. Are you going to be the lead on this job from start to finish?
Occasionally, McDonald says, an assistant designer takes over a project at some point. So it's important to know if your lead contact will change at any point during the planning process.
10. What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Just as things can go wrong with an event, situations can arise that require you to cancel. Asking about the cancellation and refund policy up front will alleviate any disagreements on how much you might end up owing the event planning professional if you have to cancel after they’ve begun work on your event. This should also be spelled out in the contract you sign with them.
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions of your possible event planner as you’d like. And if the answers don’t leave you feeling like they’ve got it all under control, consider moving on.
Do you have other questions that you’ve asked your event planning professional? Let us know.