01 / 03 / 2020

WAC & Company : Alison Bryan Destinations – Top 5 Tips On How To Pick A Planner

Welcome to our new series, The WAC & Company, where we ask our industry friends to share some of their best advice for couples who are in the throws of planning their wedding.  To kick things off, allow us to introduce you to Alison and Bryan who are the powerhouse husband and wife duo behind Alison Bryan Destinations. Specializing in luxury destinations weddings, they have been named by Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Over The Moon and Brides Magazine as one of the top wedding planners in the US and the world.  Alison and Bryan take a completely approachable and down-to-earth outlook on weddings and we thought our followers could gain some invaluable insight from what they have to say. We asked them to provide some “do’s and don’ts” when searching for a wedding planner and they very graciously indulged us.  We just know you’re going to learn a few things so head to our Instagram stories to hear them tell you first hand here on our stories the very first steps you should take once you’re engaged and planning your wedding.

Picking your planner can have a huge impact on the look, feel, and vibe of your whole day. It’s an essential relationship that will guide the entire process and outcome of your day. Alison and Bryan share below the most important steps you should take before you pick your planner.

Ok, so you’re engaged. Now what? First things first, here’s what you should NOT do: Do not look at venues. Do not get in touch with planners. Do not start shopping for a dress.

1) Determine your guest list.

The amount of guests you expect to have is going to set the stage for everything. You must, must, must know this first.

2) Determine your budget.

Once you have a rough guest count and an idea of your total budget you can determine how much that works out to “per head”. Your “per head” budget is going to set the tone for almost every choice you make moving forward.  A 200k budget for 50 guests is entirely different than a 200k budget for 300 guests.

3) Ask planners for their “per head ideal.”

When you begin to interview planners ask them what their “per head ideal” is, and see how well it matches with your budget.  Every planner has an “ideal” and an area of the market they specialize and a good planner should be able to tell you what kinds of events they are best suited for.

4) Gauge their communication style.

While it’s important to find a planner who’s aesthetic and price point resonates with you, it’s equally important to find one who’s communication style meshes with what you need. Do you want a bulldog who’s going to just “make it happen”? Or do you want someone who’s going to be more of a guide and emotional support person during the process?

5) Find the right fit.

Once you find a planner whose aesthetic, “per head” ideal, and communication style aligns with yours, congratulations – you’ve found your match! If their price point or style isn’t quite right, a good planner should be able to refer you to someone who will be a better fit. At the end of the day most good planners view themselves as operating in the business of hospitality and they just want to make sure people are taken care of.

Stay tuned by following the hashtag #WacAndCompany as we continue this series.


Bio photo of Alison & Bryan was taken by our industry friends Belathee.  All other photos were taken by our own Norman & Blake.