Hiring an event planner is similar to hiring an assistant, friend and manager all wrapped up in one. They are going to work closely with you for several weeks, months and days to make sure your event is exactly like or better than what you imagined, so you want to make sure you hire the right person for the job. With that in mind I think it is safe to say that you should interview and evaluate a few different planners before choosing the right one to make your event a reality.

To help guide you through this task I have gathered a few key questions you should ask your event planner prior to hiring them:

What type of events do you organise the most?

Not all events are created equal and there are many different types. Knowing what events the planner has managed and worked before will give you a better insight into their qualifications to execute your event.

Will you be my day-to-day contact for the event?

For smaller agencies you usually will work with the person you are meeting with, but for larger companies you can sometimes be assigned to someone else once the contract is signed. Part of the interview process is making sure that you have a good connection and feeling about whom you are working with, so be sure that you meet them!

What services are included in your fee? Are there any additional costs that I should expect?

While most planners are very upfront about all of their costs, sometimes services you assume are included are not. If you aren’t careful these little items, here and there, can quickly put you over your budget. Make sure that you discuss fee and services in detail upfront with your potential planner so that can avoid any surprises later.

Is there a limit to the number of calls and in person meetings we can have prior to the event?

If the planner does have a limit on these types of meetings, knowing the number will help you in your expectations and in your own planning. Make sure you know the cost of adding additional meetings so you can plan on either adding additional time up front or later on.

Do you have additional staff that work with you on the day of the event or will this be something you do by yourself?

Depending on the size and needs of your event this is a particularly important question. Onsite during events a planner can get pulled in a million directions for all issues, large and small. For larger events or events that have many different pieces, an assistant or colleague will take some of this off of the planner and allow them to focus on the bigger aspects.

Can you provide me with a list of references and/or portfolio of past events you have planned?

Every planner should have this available upon your request. If the planner is just starting out on their own they should still have a list of events that they have worked and planned for other companies or agencies. These references will help give you insight into how your planner has worked with clients in the past and what you can expect from them for your event.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?

No one wants to cancel, postpone or change their event, but sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. It is incredibly important to make sure you understand these terms for everyone you hire. Most planners will charge for all hours and services utilized up until the point of change and any purchases already acquired, but not all contracts are created equal, so make sure you know these details up front.


Shannon Anderson has been an active member in the event industry for over 15 years trying out every job she could from banquet server to Director of Events. Taking on challenges from the screens at the Sundance Film Festival, the exotic locations of destination weddings and the slightly scary convention centers in Cartagena, Columbia, she has been there, done that and made small children and clients happy.

Currently she can be found traveling the globe, providing an educational experience about her job in creative production and spreading her wisdom to anyone within earshot. As a person who spends equal time on two different continents she chronicles her explorations on her daily lifestyle blog for sanity and admiration.
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