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Allix Cott is the Head of Editorial Communications at Carats & Cake. Launched in 2013, Carats & Cake curates the best of weddings across the country in order to allow couples to find top vendors and venues by location. The platform empowers local businesses by bringing their brands to life through real content and enabling them to run more efficiently through smart, elegant tools.

Planning a wedding, whether as a couple or with a wedding planner, is an undertaking that can be overwhelming for even the most experienced. Asking the right questions (and lots of them!) will help ensure that your big day runs seamlessly. We asked some of the wedding industry’s top planners for advice on which questions couples should be asking to guarantee their day stay flawless from the design stages to the walk down the aisle.

What differentiates you from other wedding planners?

“There are major differences with how wedding planners work and what they do. Are they just coordinating or are they designing and producing the event as well? Do they only do full-service, or do they have a partial services option? All companies are different in what they offer or specialize in, so it is great to cover that right at the beginning and make sure your expectations are aligned.” – Morgan Childs, Founder and Creative Director, Moana Events

Where should I be looking for inspiration when finalizing my color palette?

“When picking colors or a design pallet for your wedding, don’t be afraid of making a bold statement. A fantastic place to start your inspiration search for colorful expressions is through your flowers. Mother Nature has blossoms of all shapes and sizes, colors and textures. Mixing some of your favorite bright blooms with accent colors that complement the attire of your bridal party is a natural next step.” – Alicia Fritz, Founder, A Day in May Events

Will you be present on the day-of, and if so, will you bring a team with you to execute our design?

“A wedding planner should personally be present at the event and should arrive with an appropriate team to support the event (at least two others). Your wedding should be the only one your planner is focused on that day.” – Lauren Chitwood, Owner, Lauren Chitwood Events

Why is committing to a rain plan so invaluable?

“Tents can shape, inform, and direct the entire atmosphere of your big day, plus they provide exponential opportunities for installing lovely lighting and thoughtful decor, like a grand entrance.” – Calder Clark, Owner and Creative Director, Calder Clark

What makes location such an important factor when planning a destination wedding?

“When picking a destination wedding the most important thing to consider is the location. Are you more both more into the mountains, or more interested in the beach? You want to pick a location that reflects who you are as a couple, but also a location in which you know your guests will enjoy.” – Ali Phillips, Owner, Engaging Events by Ali

Will you provide recommendations for rentals and necessary day-of vendors?

“Typically, planners will affiliate themselves with vendors they trust as well as vendors they think exemplify a certain credibility and work ethic, making them happy to give their day-of recommendations to any couple they are working with. Vendor recommendations are one of the benefits of hiring a planner that aligns with your preferred design-style and budget.” – Kimiko Hosaki, Founder and Creative Director, Elements by K.H. and Co.

What is the necessary timeline for having my official guest count finalized?

“Generally, décor companies need the count ten days prior to your wedding, and the venues five days prior. Keep this in mind when sending your invitation and due date for response cards.” – Andi Dyal, Founder and Principal Consultant, ANJE Soirees

How do we determine if a sit-down dinner is right for us?

“There are a lot of factors that can determine the options available for a post-ceremony meal—your guest count, whether your event is formal/informal, and the layout of your reception space. If you want to stay away from the formality of a plated, sit-down dinner, alternatives include food stations, food trucks, or a bevy of hors-d’oeuvres. Customize your menu to what ultimately works best for you and your spouse.” – Adam Donovan-Groves, Owner, Donovan-Groves Events

What are some of the benefits of including live entertainment in your reception lineup? Is there anything we should be aware of regarding our design layout when reserving a live band?

“Live entertainment enhances your wedding, by immediately bringing energy and spirit to your party. Most bands can transition from jazzy dinner music, to party favorites with ease, which keeps guests entertained and engaged. Most live entertainment will offer a versatile playlist that appeals to all audiences and will keep the dance floor packed. Be sure you account for the band’s needs for space and power requirements, as well as meals and dressing space.” – Lindsay Sims, Founder, Toast Events

Are favors necessary, and if so, how can I personalize them to our event?

“Favors are a wonderful way to show consideration for your guests and the time they spent dedicated to your big day. Favors can also be a personal nod to aspects of your relationship. For example, if you and your spouse are wine lovers, mini bottles of bubbly are an adorable parting gift for your guests.” – Tessa Brand, Owner, Tessa Lyn Events

Want more wedding planning advice?

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