How to Find the Best Wedding Planners in Marin County CAMany girls dream of their wedding day. But a thousand things must be coordinated in order for that dream to come true. Enter wedding planners in Marin County, also known as bridal consultants or wedding coordinators. Good wedding planners in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael take the pressure off the bride by taking care of wedding invitations, caterers, wedding attire, music for the wedding ceremony and reception and much more.
The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best wedding planners in Marin County and issues related to hiring them.
Updated January 15, 2013
Top 10 Wedding Planners in Marin County
San Rafael, CA 94901
Areas Served: Novato, San Rafael, Sausalito, Corte Madera, Tiburon, San Anselmo, Mill Valley
526 3rd St
San Rafael, CA 94901
Areas Served: Marin, Novato, Sausalito, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Tiburon, San Anselmo, Woodacre
51 Manderly Rd
San Rafael, CA 94901
Areas Served: Tiburon, San Rafael, Novato, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Kentfield
|A Bride's Best Friend|
330 Sir Francis Drake Blvd # D
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Areas Served: Marin County incl. San Rafael, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Ross, Tiburon, Belvedere,
Anyone can call themselves a wedding planner. In Marin County and elsewhere in the country it doesn't require anything but a business license and a business card. There is no special licensure required, no government regulations attached. It is possible, however, to become a Certified Bridal Consultant through various correspondence courses or private schools.
In the United States there are well over 10,000 people calling themselves wedding planners. This includes both the high-end professionals and the part-timers doing it as a side business. A good many of these can be found in Marin County. Some bridal shops, catering companies and department stores have employees that use the title "wedding consultant," or "wedding planner," but many of these only offer services tied to that business. A full-service wedding planner offers so much more.
If you boiled down a wedding coordinator's main job, it would have to be to relieve stress from the bride. With so many things to consider, so many elements that must come together perfectly at just the right time, it's more than the bride can-or should be expected to-handle.
In Marin County there are many high-quality, experienced bridal assistants who are trained to take the mess that is planning a wedding and turn it into a seamless, flowing beautiful event, including handling all the disparate personalities involved, from the bride to the bride's mother, to all the well-meaning friends with an opinion.
A great wedding planner is an expert in "fire suppression" and crisis management. When there is a problem, the best wedding coordinators can make the right decision and solve the problem quickly and efficiently so wedding attendees don't even know there was a problem.
High-Quality, Experienced Marin County Wedding Coordinators Can Help Ensure Your Wedding Goes Smoothly
Whether you call them wedding planners, wedding coordinators, wedding consultants or bridal assistants, a good one is an expert at dealing with such things as choosing the wedding invitations and save-the-date cards, as well as tracking the responses to the sent invitations, choosing the site of the ceremony and reception, helping negotiate with and procure the various services such as photographers, flowers, food, and musicians, including scheduling meetings and follow-up. They ensure the wedding ceremony conforms with etiquette, ethnic and religious traditions. A good wedding coordinator has a sense of fashion, color and style and can help choose wedding dresses, themes, textures and other décor-related things.
Prices for all of these things vary depending on where your wedding is held. In Marin County, as in most areas, even small weddings can get expensive. A first-rate wedding planner will help you create and conform to a budget. They will create timelines for everyone involved in the wedding, from the wedding party to the vendors, and follow up to make sure things are happening as they should and everyone is where they should be at the appointed time. The wedding planner is everyone's contact person and a good one is available pretty much twenty-four hours a day as the big day approaches. Wedding planners help procure hotel rooms or other accommodations for out-of-town guests as well and deal with place cards and seating arrangements at the reception. If the wedding planner you choose is experienced and works well with others, he or she should have a good list of professional contacts in ancillary services needed for your wedding.
Wedding planners can even help with pre-wedding events such as bridal showers, luncheons, bachelor parties and bachelorette parties or any other special pre-wedding dinners or events. When you look at all a wedding planner needs to coordinate, think about and follow up on, it's a wonder their heads don't explode. This is why many Marin County wedding coordinators have a staff to help with everything. For a large, complicated wedding, it's too much for even the most experienced bridal assistant to handle alone. It can take hundreds of hours to plan a large wedding; a good wedding planner can make all the difference.
There Are Lots of Wedding Planners From Which to Choose in Marin County
Besides experience, a good match of personality and style are important when choosing a wedding planner. Find one that meshes well with your personality. Some are better than others at working well with a wide range of personality types and have experience to back it up.
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these wedding planners in Marin County: A Bride's Best Friend, Conti Nina, Cafefree Bride, Bella Celebrations, Mint & Magnolia, Creative Services, Mary V Imbimbo Consulting, Branching Out. Other wedding planners that might still serve Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael include: .
Look for Wedding Planners That Do More Than the Bare Minimum
When looking for a high-quality wedding planner or bridal consultant in Marin County, look for industry certifications and/or kudos from consumer watchdog organizations, such as high ratings in the Better Business Bureau or Diamond Certified designations. The Prime Buyer's Report has compiled a listing of reputable publications, associations, and resources for wedding planners. To view these links, see the article, "Key Consumer Resources for Wedding Planners in Marin County.
If you are lucky enough to be able to hire wedding planners to help make your wedding day perfect, there are lots of things the wedding planning services are going to need to know in order to gauge if he or she can do the job in the time allotted, and also if what you want falls into his or her area of expertise.
There are so many choices, so many considerations. It's best to write down as much as possible about what you envision for your wedding day—leaving no detail out—before you meet with Marin County wedding planners. This gives each wedding planner a chance to comment and bid on the same things, so the bids you will receive will be comparable.
Be ready also to ask lots of questions of your own. Listen not just to the answers to your questions, but to the interest and creativity the wedding planners respond with. If they don't seem to be completely interested and excited about your wedding, choose someone else. You want your wedding planner to be fully involved and to really care that everything goes perfectly. If you've gotten a good initial impression, ask some questions about the wedding planners' abilities, experience, and credentialing. Use the list of questions below as a guideline to develop your own.
• How long have the wedding planners been in the wedding planning industry?
• What training and certification do the wedding planners have?
• Do you the wedding planners have a business license and business insurance?
• How do wedding planners charge for your services?
• How many weddings have the wedding coordinators planned in Marin County?
• Do the wedding planning services take vendor referral fees?
• Will the wedding planners give you a list of past customers that you can contact?
• Are the wedding planning services readily available or are they too busy to help you?
• Will the wedding planners provide a written estimate that covers everything, including vendors?
• Do the wedding planning services have working relationships with florists, caterers, musicians, etc.?
• How much time do the wedding planners think it will take to plan the wedding you've described?
• What procedures do the wedding planning services put in place to provide a replacements if the wedding planners is unable to perform on the wedding day?
Through this question-and-answer period, consider first impressions, technical abilities, experience levels, and compatible styles of wedding planning services. Somewhere in this combination of facets you will find your wedding planner. When you've selected the most suitable Marin County wedding planner for you, make sure they are properly certified to handle planning your wedding.
Before you sign a contract, verify the wedding planning company's licensing, insurance and endorsements, such as Diamond Certification and Better Business Bureau membership. Before you sign a contract with any wedding planning services or wedding planners, insist on a written contract that details pricing, timing, and warranty information.
Take Time Choosing Your Wedding Planner.
Take your time hiring a wedding coordinator. It's a very important decision that can easily affect the outcome of your wedding day. Each wedding planner will come to the table with different skill sets, experiences, contacts, tastes, preferences and personality. If can plan early enough to interview several-even if you like the first one you meet, your odds of a successful wedding day will improve.
Write it Down.
We mentioned this in another article, but it's important. Think about what you have in mind for your wedding day. Jot down all your notes about the location, the season, the mood, the size, the food, the colors, the flowers, the music and the guests, and any other details that seem important. Sit down and write this out as detailed as possible; write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how trivial. By writing it down you'll be able to hand each potential wedding planner a clear, consistent summary of what you're looking for and expecting. It will also be easier for them to properly price the job based on your consistent description.
Get Several Separate Estimates.
When hiring a Marin County wedding planner, it's not about just finding the lowest bidder. Getting several estimates helps because it will not only help you get an idea of the market value for the work you're requesting, it will give you a chance to sound out the personalities and policies and customer service of each wedding planner before getting involved with them.
Documentation, Documentation, Documentation.
Nothing is official until it is written and signed. So insist that your wedding planner provides you with a detailed document that describes the work, pricing, any guarantee information, and the timeframe for completion. Get it in writing. You'll both feel better.
Do Your Homework Before You Sign An Agreement With a Marin County Wedding Planner.
To narrow down your choices, do some detective work. Research the wedding planner's licensing, insurance and reputation. To help with this, see our article: Key Consumer Resources for wedding planners in Marin County. Verify all of this information before signing the contract.
Be Available: Don't Disappear On Your Wedding Planner.
Don't simply sign a contract and walk away. We guarantee that your wedding planner will have questions for you as they work. Regularly check in with your wedding planner to monitor progress, answer their questions and ask any questions you may have. Good communication means good results and no surprises.
Know Your Rights.
If you have the misfortune of arriving at a disagreement or legal impasse with your wedding planner, you are protected by certain rights. Start with the California Department of Consumer Affairs Web site (www.dca.ca.gov).
If Your Wedding Planner Doesn't Measure Up, Fire Them.
If your wedding planner turns out to be inadequate in any way, look to the terms of your contract: what obligation do they have to make good? Do you have rights spelled out in the event of legal impasse? What are they? Essentially, a wedding planner's failure to perform under a contract constitutes grounds for dismissal. It's your money. It's your wedding day. Don't settle for second best.
Associations & Licensing for Wedding Planners in Marin County
BBB Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.com/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (http://www.dca.ca.gov/)
Media Regarding Wedding Planners in Marin County
Association for Wedding Professionals (http://afwpi.com/)
Bridal Association of America (http://www.allwedding.com/)
Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (http://www.acpwc.com/)
Bridal Guide Magazine (http://bridalguide.com/)
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Wedding Planners in Marin County within the following zip codes:
94901, 94903, 94904, 94912, 94913, 94914, 94915, 94920, 94924, 94925, 94929, 94930, 94933, 94937, 94938, 94939, 94940, 94941, 94942, 94945, 94946, 94947, 94948, 94949, 94950, 94956, 94957, 94960, 94963, 94964, 94965, 94966, 94970, 94971, 94973, 94974, 94976, 94977, 94978 and 94979