Start with Trust when Hiring a Wedding Planner with these BBB Tips

Evan Arnold-Gordon | Golden Gate Better Business Bureau
Photo Credit: Better Business Bureau

A couple’s wedding is one of the most important days in their lives, so it’s understandable they want everything to go according to plan.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy. Weddings have many moving parts: venues, officiants, caterers, cakes, DJs, dresses and tuxedos, limos, photographers and more. With all those moving parts, things sometimes go wrong for a few reasons. Honest mistakes are inevitable, but doing prior research is essential for investing in hiring a wedding planner.

In 2018, Consumers nationwide filed nearly 100 complaints on wedding consultants. Two of the most common types of complaints include sales and service issues.

Wedding services vary depending on your needs. Consultants can help you plan the wedding from start to finish, while “day-of planners” will only be there to help with the ceremony you already planned.

To help ensure your special day is stress-free, follow these BBB tips on choosing the right wedding planner:

  • Understand your budget. Knowing your budget for the wedding will help you determine if hiring a planner is right for you. Wedding day coordination planners may be the more budget friendly option; but, if hiring a full-time wedding planner is within your budget, it’ll save you time and stress. Keep in mind that planners usually charge in one of three ways: a flat fee; an hourly rate; or a percentage of your overall wedding bill. Typically, couples designate around 10-20% of the overall budget to hiring a planner.
  • Do your homework. Start your search for a trustworthy wedding planner at org. Be sure to check out the planner’s past work to see if it is what you imagine your wedding to look like. Odds are, planners have a certain wedding style they’re best at, so finding a planner that fits your aesthetic vision makes it easier.
  • Have options. Asking family and friends for recommendations isn’t a bad idea. If they have worked together in the past, you are more informed of how the consultant operates. When you have a list of potential planners, meet each of them in person to get to know them better. Having options to choose from eases the pressure of settling for one. You will be spending a good amount of time with them, so make sure you both mesh well.
  • Ask Questions. With many questions in mind, write them down before your meeting to make sure you get them all answered. A few common questions are: What’s your availability? How do you charge for your services? Will you charge extra for mileage and supplies used for the wedding? What will your service cover? Do you have references or certifications? What background knowledge do you have with event planning? Do you work with a team? Will you go with me to my dress fittings? The list goes on.
  • Get everything in writing. Before signing any contract, examine it carefully. Make sure the dates of service are correct and the compensation is what was agreed upon with no hidden fees. Don’t feel pressured to pay everything upfront before the service is provided.

Whatever your experience, BBB wants to hear about it. Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help warn others. If you have an issue with a business, you can file a complaint with your BBB. If you had a great experience, leave them a positive Customer Review. For BBB wedding resources, visit

You can reach your BBB at or (510) 844-2000, or by visiting