How do I pick Wedding Vendors?
Updated: May 4
Vendors - they are the people you are going to spend the better part of your wedding day with and honestly, a majority of your engagement with as well! We are going to start a little mini series surrounding all the categories of vendors and will take a deeper look at what each vendor brings to your wedding day. Considering the fact that we both are iPhone photographers and Spotify DJ’s, we clearly are not geniuses when it comes to what a specialized vendor can bring to your big day. We have asked different wedding professionals to write about what they do, but before we dive deeper into each vendor category we are going to give tips on what to look for in a vendor and what questions to ask when searching for a vendor.
There are so many vendors in the wedding industry - with more popping up everyday. In the age of social media and the idea of always putting your best self forward, how do you know that you aren’t looking at a photographers one good shot out of one-hundred? Or that maybe the food LOOKS delicious in photos but really is too posh for your palate? We are going to dive into questions you may have, when you should start booking vendors, how to thank great vendors, and more!
How to pick ‘em. The best way to start narrowing down your list is to start looking at style, what they offer, and how they fit into your budget. Narrow it down to about four to five vendors in each category then start researching them and looking into their reviews on all sites people can leave reviews on. If they have a few negative ones (thats okay - nobody’s perfect), but ask them what happened. It could be that someone was never going to be happy with anything they did but the vendor tried their best to accommodate everything the couple wanted. Or maybe something really did go wrong and they own up to their mistakes and have grown. Ask to see full galleries of photos or videos they have done. Ask for a tasting with specific food you are wanting for your day. Ask for a trial bouquet providing photos of what you want for your wedding. These things may cost you money but in the end, spending a little money and avoiding a bad vendor is better than spending a lot of money and not having a vendor live up to your expectations.
When to book ‘em. First and foremost, you want to have a venue and a date in place before hiring most vendors because your venue could end up having a vendor included in the pricing! After you have a venue and a date, you want to nail down the vendors whose businesses are run by one person and can’t have more than one wedding a day. Sometimes this is a photographer who is just them and a second shooter or maybe it’s a small catering company that doesn’t have the resources to do more than one wedding a day. All of this to say that if you have an absolute favorite videographer, coordinator (whoop), DJ, or any vendor and you want to book them the second you have a place & time - DO IT! The more you have under your belt, the better you will feel moving on to things you aren’t certain about! Whoever it is - start with them so they don’t get booked up and become unavailable! As daunting it may feel, try to keep trucking to get vendors booked - you don’t want the reason you did not get a specific vendor because too much time had passed or an inquiry wasn’t sent with enough time in advance.
Vendor Issues. The only vendor that you have a lot of communication with before your wedding typically is a planner or a coordinator. You will meet with a photographer for an engagement shoot or a caterer for a tasting or a florist to pick flowers - but everyone else can be dealt with through email or phone. So what happens when wedding day arrives and a vendor shows up late or worse yet - doesn’t deliver their services to your expectations. To ensure this isn’t so stressful to you on wedding day, make sure you have a planner (see a trend here) that you are working with up to and through your wedding day. A planner will know your expectations for the day and will take the brunt of the stress if a vendor is late or unprepared and will come up with a way so you don’t even know there was ever a problem. If something is out of the planners hands, don’t let it stress you out on your wedding day. Roll with the punches and enjoy mingling with your friends. The best way to handle how you felt is in an email, a phone call, or a coffee meeting with that vendor after your wedding to explain where they dropped the ball and how it made you feel. This will help them improve as vendors so they don’t make the same mistake for other brides down the road.
Hiring Friends/Family. Sometimes, a way to cut costs on wedding day is to have family and/or friends do the job of a vendor. We understand that this can be very enticing and will really help with the budget. One thing that isn’t thought about is that hiring friends or family will almost always bring you stress unless that person is a Wedding Professional! The Wedding Industry is very, very different from other industries - it is high stress and so very personal. If something were to go wrong, you wouldn’t want to hold it against someone you are close to or share blood with - and besides, you want your friends and family to enjoy the day and not work on it! The best thing to do is hire a professional to take care of your day so everyone can relax!
Tipping. This can be hard to determine who gets a tip on wedding day. There are some vendors that have tipping in their contract and proposal but others don't. So how do you know which vendors to tip?! Typically the rule is, who would you tip on an average day? When you go get your haircut and colored, do you tip? When you go out to dinner, do you tip the server? At the bar getting a drink, do you tip the bartender? Those are all required if it isn’t laid out in their contract. Everyone else isn’t expecting a tip but it is always appreciated! It is just a way to say thank you for all you did!
These next few months we will be diving deeper into other vendors that you may hire for your day along with what you can expect from them and what they expect from their couples! We are excited to share with you the wisdom that some of our friends in the wedding industry have to share about their own experiences in the wedding business. We hope you will enjoy it!
If you are a vendor and want to write a blog for us about your side of wedding life, we are totally open to having anyone guest write for us! Just shoot us an email!
- Megan & Mallory