A wedding planner may be assisting you right from the beginning of the planning process and involved in finding your location, choosing your vendors and helping you create a wedding that reflects you as a couple. Or they may be working with you later in the planning process and handling coordination of the wedding day. Either way, you end up working very closely with them, so trying to find the right person is very important. In my opinion a great wedding planner is organized, diligent, detail oriented, very personable, great at multi-tasking, tasteful and has the ability to remain calm and excel under pressure.
Aside looking through wedding blogs and magazines, ask for referrals from friends, family, your venue or your wedding vendors. Your wedding photographer or floral designer may have worked with wedding planners in the past that they think highly of that they can recommend to you. If a wedding planner is not available for your date, you could ask them for recommendations of others.
Read reviews of the wedding planner from previous clients. You can find these on independent websites like WeddingWire.com, ProjectWedding.com and Yelp.com. Alternatively ask for contact details of past clients that you can speak with to learn about their experiences.
Take a look at their body of work on their website, blog and Facebook page. If they have a similar aesthetic to you, it will help the process when they are recommending vendors like floral designers, photographers, rental companies and invitation designers. I feel you can learn a lot about a person from reading their blog, Facebook pages or Tweets. If they are actively using these platforms, their personality and style easily show through. See whether they have any notable press or accolades. Some vendor lists are more like advertising, where vendors pay to be on them. There is nothing wrong with this at all. Many wonderful vendors use different platforms to advertise. There are also some vendor lists, which are hand picked and invitation only. This is just something to consider if you are looking through vendor lists.
Most importantly meet with the wedding planner. If you do not live in the same city as the planner, set up a call or a Skype video chat with them. I have had Skype video chats with clients that live on the west coast, but are planning their wedding in New York, and looking for a New York based wedding planner. You likely end up talking to your planner more than any of your other wedding vendors. They are so involved in every step of planning your wedding. It still feels strange to me after the wedding when the emails and calls stop. I get so used to speaking with my clients weekly or even daily leading up to the wedding. You need to make sure that you get along well with them personally, that they understand your vision for the wedding and that you can see this person working intimately with you. Essentially you need to be able to trust this person to execute your wedding, so that all you need to do is enjoy your wedding day, and not have to worry about any of the nitty gritty details. Let them deal with all that.
Ask plenty of questions during the meeting. You should find out whom you will be communicating with during the planning process up to the wedding day. Who is in charge of planning your wedding and who will be managing everything the actual day of the wedding? Ask them if they take more than one wedding on a single day, and if so, who will be working on yours. If you have a large wedding or multiple locations, discuss how many team members will be present that day. Will the planner be running the ceremony rehearsal, which is sometimes the day before the wedding? If you are planning a breakfast or brunch after the wedding, and you want them to assist in setting up, will they be available? On the wedding day when will they start and when will they leave? Find out how much experience they have in planning weddings and their professional background. Request a detailed list of services and if they do not include something that you are looking for, ask if it can be added.
At the end of the day you want to find someone that speaks your language and gets you. That will be the right person to have beside you on your wedding day.