Next year is your parent’s 25th wedding anniversary. You and your siblings want to throw them
a big party but all of you have busy jobs and live out of town. You know the venue and the
caterer you want. So – really – all you need is someone to do the decor. That’s where an
event designer comes in handy.
Perhaps you know some designers; maybe you’re looking online for local designers.
Whatever the case, it is vital to ask questions BEFORE you sign a contract.

1. Do you have references and a portfolio?
Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Just because an event
designer has completed a list of events doesn’t necessarily mean he or she has done them
well. But looking at a portfolio and talking to previous clients will give you insight into whether
this designer is someone you want to consider.

2. Are you able to work within my budget?
As much as you want your event to be fabulous, you probably don’t want to go into debt for it.
Ensure that your potential event designer is committed to working within your financial means.

3. What is your refund / cancellation policy?
Medical emergencies and mishaps are not things you want to think about when event
planning. But what if the guest of honor is hospitalized the day before the event? What if
there is a death in the immediate family the day of the event?

4. What does your contract include?
You’re planning a party and would like to assume that everything will go well. To “assume”
they say, is to make an “ass out of “u” and “me”. Always read a contract carefully BEFORE
hiring anyone.

5. Do you require a down payment OR payment in full?
From the designer’s point of view, he or she wants to ensure full payment is made and all
expenses are covered. From your perspective, you want some leverage should plans go
awry. Decide the balance that makes sense for both parties.

6. What kind of insurance do you have?
Does your designer’s policy cover one of your guests hurting themselves on the dance floor?

7. Are you the person I will have day-to-day contact with?
Some event designers work by themselves until the day of; some have full-time staff. Find
out who you will be communicating with so that information does not fall through the cracks.

8. What is your preferred method of communication?
Clarify with your designer how he/she likes to discuss things. Is it by email? Is it only by text?
Are you able to talk face-to-face or call on the phone?
Very few things in life go off without a hitch, but asking questions before you hire anyone is
essential to avoiding big problems.

For more information about event designing and event planning, check out the Institute of
Wedding and Event Design at https://iwedglobal.com .
What questions would you ask before hiring an event designer? Post a comment. We’d love
to hear from you.