What Happens at an Initial Meeting?
It's time for the initial meeting, but are you drawing a blank? Here's what you should know.
Every wedding planner will always offer you a complimentary initial meeting at the start of the planning process. Sometimes called a “Free Consultation” or “Initial Consultation”, the initial meeting is a key part of growing your relationship with your wedding planner. As an introductory meeting that helps inform you of their services, it can feel like a bit of a sales pitch, but it’s actually much, much more than that. The initial meeting is a chance to tell your story and allows the opportunity to hit the ground running at the start of your wedding planning.
Let’s skip ahead to a real-life scenario:
Okay, so you’ve inquired with a few planners, you’ve had a 10 or 15-minute phone call with each and you’re picking up on different vibes from each of them. There’s a possibility at this point that you already have an idea of who you like best. That’s a good thing - narrow down the planners who interest you most - at minimum, at least two. Now these planners both want to meet with you when you'd rather meet with just one, so why even bother dragging yourself to a meeting with both of them?
The answer is two-fold:
By meeting with multiple planners, you’ll get to see just how they stack up against each other, including how organized they are, how you’ll be treated (i.e. like another number or a VIP) and who is a good fit. This is especially important since phone calls and in-person meetings can show vastly different sides of people. Things that were not obvious over the phone will become apparent.
Are you going to feel confident booking with a planner who knows very little about you? How will you be sure that they understand your vision? Spending some time talking to a planner should quickly identify if they understand your version of “elegant and sophisticated” versus theirs.
The information that a wedding planner would have taken from you over the phone is what’s going to make it possible for them to quote you a price (most planners use a custom-pricing plan instead of a fixed-pricing plan). But at the meeting, you’ll truly understand what’s coming with that price - is the money going towards a planner that will make time for your questions or one who will be hard to get in touch with? Don’t kid yourself - not all planners are professionals! When you're spending thousands of dollars on a service, you'll want to be sure you're confident with your final decision.
What’s on the Agenda
It's important to understand what is included in an initial meeting, since most wedding couples tend to be confused at what to expect. While a planner may help you with some of your wedding planning questions and provide minimal advice, you can be sure they won't be giving away their secrets and offering in-depth consulting without a cheque in their hands. The points below on the agenda should help provide some clarity.
A typical initial meeting lasts about an hour, and if you're on a tight schedule, you'll want to let the planner know ahead of time. Here’s what you might expect on the agenda of your initial meeting:
Learning about you as a couple, and as individuals: the planner will want to know the story of how you met, when/how you were engaged, how long you’ve been together, as well as about your careers, families, and personal lives or hobbies.
Introduction to the business: you’ll hear a bit of a company overview and what sets the planner apart; they’ll also verify what kind of services you’re looking for based on what’s important to you, what stage you are at in your planning and your biggest needs.
What services are included in the price you were quoted - you may be run through the typical planning process here, including how your planner keeps you organized, in addition to any further services the planner can provide.
A demonstration of the planner's work, usually in the form of a portfolio.
Presentation of a formal contract.
From there, the planner will likely want to “seal the deal”, but if you’re not ready, that’s okay! Don’t let them pressure you. Sometimes we need to sit on such big decisions overnight.