Step 1: Visit Wedding Wire and enter in your location, where you will be provided with a list of planners in your area
Step 2: Read ALL their ratings. What I like to do is choose the option to list them in order of worst to best rating, that way I can see any red flags from the get-go.
Step 3: Send information requests to your top three choices.
Step 4: Meet with them in person, (or if that is not an option, like it wasn’t with myself, then have a skype meeting)
Here are some suggested questions from TheKnot.com…
1. Will the consultant commit to your budget and not push you in the direction of things you simply can't afford?
2. Will the consultant devise a master plan mapping out all the little details, from announcement to zebra-striped decor? (This will clue you in to organizational prowess and a willingness to keep you in the loop on every matter imaginable.)
3. Can the consultant name the best and most original locations in your area (that would be suitable to your wedding size, style, and budget)?
The consultant should have plenty of questions for you too, in an effort to determine your wishes, needs, level of maintenance, budget, scope of imagination, and more.
4. Is the consultant familiar with the best florists, photographers, caterers, bands, and DJs in your price range? Can he/she explain their strong points to you briefly? (Ask yourself: Does the consultant seem both knowledgeable and passionate?)
5. Can the consultant score you some discounts with any vendors? (Consultants bring volume to favored vendors; often they'll reciprocate by slashing prices or throwing in extras.)
6. Will the consultant read over the vendor contracts for you? What are some common traps to look out for?
7. Can the consultant create a timeline that tells everyone involved in the planning process -- vendors, members of the wedding party, bride/groom, and families -- what to do and when to do it? How will she/he make sure that everyone sticks to the schedule?
8. Will the consultant handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing?
9. Can the consultant counsel you on etiquette matters and alert you to hot trends on the wedding horizon?
10. Will the consultant coordinate delivery, arrival, and setup times with photographer, florist, musicians, caterer/banquet manager, et al?
11. For the day of the wedding, will the consultant be willing to oversee the entire event by supervising vendors, troubleshooting emergencies, and soothing nerves? Can she/he share any anecdotes that required performing above and beyond the call of duty?
12. Will the consultant be willing to step in as your advocate, conveying your visions and desires to vendors when you don't feel up to the task?
13. Will the consultant help plan and book your honeymoon?
Step 5: Get price estimates/quotes from them and a detailed list of the services they offer
Step 6: Hire him/her & start planning!