Today we wanted to give some general advice on choosing vendors for your wedding day. In addition to liking their portfolio, it really is imperative that you also like them on a personal level. More than anything, you need to have a team around you who you can trust.
Where To Find Your Wedding Vendors
Where do you begin? We suggest starting with your inner circle of friends and family (especially if they’ve been married recently). See whether they can recommend any wedding vendors. A personal recommendation is always preferable because you will be able to ask about their direct personal experience with the vendor(s). They can also let you know if there are any companies you should steer clear of!
Magazines, blogs, and online wedding directories are all great sources as well. Don’t just look at whoever is shouting the loudest and has the biggest ad – actually take the time to look at the kind of weddings they have worked on and what couples had to say about them.
You might not have thought of it, but social media is also an excellent tool for tracking down wedding vendors. The wedding industry has a huge presence on Instagram and most wedding vendors now have their own Facebook pages too, so you can find out more about them and interact with them virtually.
Check out the ‘About Me’ page of a wedding vendor’s website and have a look at their blogs to see what they’ve been working on most recently and to get a feel for their personality as well. It’s all very well if their work is amazing but you’re going to share a really important day with them, so ultimately you want to get along with them.
Finding The Right Wedding Vendors (for you)
Wedding vendors fall into two categories: those that you will mainly be interacting with in the lead-up to the day, for example your stationer, who you may be happy to interact with just via phone and email; and those that you will be spending most of the time with on the actual day, such as your photographer and wedding planner.
Once you’ve found a selection of wedding vendors that fit your needs and budget, you should arrange meetings with at least 2 or 3 of each type of vendor – anymore than that is likely to become overwhelming. Use meeting them as an opportunity to get to know them and how they work, not only on the day but leading up to it and afterwards, too.
TIP: Tears of Joy Events provides our contracted clients with a list of vendors already hand selected that fit both your needs and budget and can set up the meetings on your behalf.
Follow your instincts when meeting with vendors: can you imagine spending time with them or do you think your personalities might clash, especially under constraints of time and pressure? Of course you want to look back at fabulous flowers and stunning photographs, but if your overriding memory is of a vendor that made you feel uncomfortable or stressed then e suggest you steer clear.
Getting The Right Person For The Job
Be honest with your wedding vendors about your plans for the day and your budget; these businesses are experienced at catering for a wide range of budgets and will want to save your money and their time from the outset. There are plenty of florists, for example, that are willing to work with most budgets depending on the choice of flowers being used and scale of your design, but they do need a dollar figure to work with.
If you’ve done your research right you’ll only be meeting with wedding vendors that fit your budget, but if you find they are over budget, discuss whether there are ways they could adjust their service to fit your budget. This is not the same as asking them to provide the same service for less money. Never do that. Photographers, for example, may be able to reduce their hours on the day or allow you to pay for the album after the wedding.
If you do contact or meet with a number of wedding vendors, remember to go back to those that you don’t want to book and let them know that you’ve gone elsewhere. Don’t feel embarrassed to say no thank you. The vendor would much rather have a direct no than to be left hanging and not know what your decision was or why.
Once you have chosen you preferred vendors, sign a contract with them that clearly details the service they are providing and when all payments are due, from the initial deposit to the final payment. Also, pay close attention to little details like whether they’re insured, their contingency in the event of cancellation or equipment failure and whether they need anything specifically on wedding day such as parking, access to the venue or meal stipulations.
On the subject of food, I would always recommend that you provide food (preferably a hot meal) to any wedding vendor who is going to be with you for more than 4 hours; my motto is a fed vendor is a happy vendor! Most venues/caterers will provide reduced price vendor meals so you won’t necessarily have to feed them the same food as your guests. Do look over the contract carefully and question anything you are not sure of and discuss it with the vendor so you can both reach an amicable agreement over it.
Working With Your Wedding Vendors
Be considerate of your vendors’ time. You are only planning one wedding but they will be working on many more. Let them know of all your plans and notify them of any major changes that might affect them. Check to determine how long they need to do their job leading up to the day and on the day itself and put together a timeline so everyone is clear on your expectations and the timetable of events. If you hire a wedding planner, such as Tears of Joy Events, they will take care of this for you.
Finally, if after your wedding day you’re really happy with everything they did for you, do take the time to send them a little thank you, post a great review online and shout them out on social media. An email accompanied with a few photos of their work or a handwritten note always means a lot and is appreciated more than you know.
Have you got any more advice or tips to share on choosing / working with wedding vendors. We’d love to hear from you!