Vendors are what make your wedding a reality. From caterers to decorators to florists and photographers, you have a lot of people that you need to come together and help you pull off your special day.
Unfortunately, some couples find the vendor selection process to be the most daunting. After all, there are dozens of vendors for each category and you want the best that also doesn’t break your budget.
This guide will walk you through the vendor selection process so that you can not only select the perfect vendor – but make sure the wedding goes great with the person you have selected.
Know What Type of Vendors You Need
You have already established your wedding budget, so you know how much you have to spend. Now comes the part where you decide what vendors you actually need for your wedding.
Think about what would make your wedding day special. Flowers? A videographer? Maybe a DJ? Will hiring an excellent band for the wedding be worth it when that means you can’t get the wedding cake you want?
You need to sit down and decide how much you want to spend in each category and if it’s worth it. By deciding how much you really want to put out per category, you can decide if you need a vendor or if you can skip the category all together.
Know the Caliber of Vendor You Want
You know your budget and how much you need to spend on each category. Now you need to decide the caliber of vendor and the type of services you want.
For example, when it comes to picking a caterer, do you want a fully plated, elegantly served meal or do you want a buffet-style event?
With a photographer, you may want someone that handles everything from engagement photos to save-the-date-cards to the actual wedding.
You need to decide the types of services and level of expertise you expect from each vendor. By knowing what you want from each, you can weigh your needs against what each one provides for their services – and how much those services cost. Sometimes you may be able to negotiate those “add on” services with the vendor too – such as adding on a compact disc of wedding photos for free if you pay upfront.
Get Recommendations and Do Research
You should never just pick the first vendor you see online or in the phone book. You, as the paying customer, should do a little due diligence.
First, ask friends, family members and even coworkers about their own recommendations. Most likely they have worked with a vendor during their own wedding or they know of a vendor from someone else’s wedding. First-hand recommendations are the best – because someone you know has used this vendor before and can attest to their value.
Even if you have a recommendation, you still need to research that vendor. Check out their customer testimonials, call for a consultation (most vendors meet with you for free) and see what they are like. Review their policies, ask for customer referrals (and actually call on those referrals) and just make sure they are the right vendor for you.
Never choose a vendor just because of your budget. Sometimes those low-cost vendors are cheap for a reason – and that could mean an unfavorable wedding outcome.
You shouldn’t just meet with one type of vendor. Instead, you should meet with two to three wedding vendors per category. Get to know them, get estimates and understand what you’re getting for the price. You may be surprised to find that some vendors charge a high rate and do not even provide a full list of services for that price – so know where each dollar you spend on those vendors is going.
Talk to Them and Be Honest
Sit down and talk to your vendors and be honest about what you want for your wedding. Remember that they are not in your head – therefore, they cannot predict every detail of your wedding. If there is something specific you want to see, share it with them and make sure they know what it is you want ahead of time.
You also need to be friendly and easy to talk to. Vendors are more willing to work hard for your business and make your wedding perfect if you are nice. Being rude or constantly nagging at your vendors will not get you very far – and they have the right to cancel your contract too remember.
Be considerate of your vendor’s time. You have one wedding, but vendors may be juggling as many as five or six weddings that same week (depending on the type of work they do). So, they cannot be there every minute of every day to accommodate every little thing you need.
A month before the wedding you will want to get in touch with your vendor more frequently to make sure everything is on track with the wedding. Most likely you will also meet with them to discuss any final details or changes. If your vendor doesn’t get in touch with you, call them to make sure everything is going OK.
Hire a Professional if It’s Too Much
If you feel like it is just too much to deal with, consider hiring a professional wedding planner instead. Planners have experience with hiring wedding vendors, and they often have a list of vendors they know and work with exclusively – which means they can guarantee everything will go as planned. But, also, a wedding planner can help discuss details with the vendor, keep you within your budget, and essentially take a lot of stress off your shoulders.
Hiring a wedding vendor doesn’t have to be daunting. By starting early (at least a few months out), you can make the process even easier and lessen the chances you’ll accidentally hire a bad vendor.
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