Choosing the Best Wedding Vendors for a Great Wedding Day
The glow of the proposal still lingers, but the time has come to get down to business and start planning the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. Whether you’re thinking of something intimate or a large-scale extravaganza, the planning you put into making the best possible vendor choices will pay off when the big day rolls around. So sit down with your partner and start figuring out what will make that day special.
Spend Time with Your Partner Planning and Setting a Budget The first phase of wedding planning is spending time with your partner discussing what you both envision as the ideal wedding. Note the things you agree on and find the compromises you need to make where you disagree. Some elements of the plan may be more important to one of you, so you can always let that partner make the choices for that particular aspect of the wedding while the other chooses another element important to them. You should also begin prioritizing your needs as budget may dictate that you make cuts later. And speaking of budgets, you’ll want to have a ballpark budget in mind as you lay out your plan. As you begin researching, venues, caterers, photographers, and more, spending time researching various vendors will give you a sense of who and what you can afford and will lead you to those questions of compromise. Do I spend less on flowers so that I can have that sit-down meal? Should I cut live entertainment to get the photographer I want? Choosing Your Vendors Depending on the size of your wedding, your dream vision, and your budget, there are a number of choices you will have to make as far as vendors. The first booking you should make is for your venue. Popular venues can book as far as two years out, so the sooner you contact a favorite venue, the more likely it will be available for your wedding date. Another early decision that will make your process and your big day easier is to find a wedding planner or at least someone who can deal with the specifics on the actual day. Other early decisions would be for your photographer, caterer, and accommodations. Not only are these choices harder to book, particularly if you have a popular vendor in mind, but they may also influence your overall plan, so you will want to have bookings in place before you start sending out invitations. Once these cornerstone bookings are in place, you should order your invites and begin looking for vendors to complete your celebrations, such as florists, entertainment, cake, hair and makeup, an officiant, and transportation. Of course, you want things to go perfectly, so you’ll be looking for the vendors that fit your vision. Here are some planning steps that will help ensure you’ve found the right vendor for you. Do You Mesh While you can certainly get ideas for vendors from friends and relatives, don’t make the mistake of taking them at their word. Just because a vendor worked for someone close to you doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. As you choose vendors, it’s important to meet with them face-to-face, and, if you can’t, then schedule a video conference so that you can get a sense of who they are and how they conduct themselves. You should feel a chemistry with the person you’re entrusting this significant life moment to, and you should trust your gut if things don’t feel right. Look for warning signs such as a vendor making disparaging comments about other clients, pushing you to upgrade services, or judging you based on your budget. Learn More about the Vendor Ask for referrals from previous clients and have a list of questions prepared to ask them. If you’ve booked other vendors, you might ask if they have worked with a particular vendor before to get a sense of whether you should hire them. Get Every Detail in Writing A vendor should itemize every detail of what they are providing in the contract you sign. This can be important later if you have to dispute a cost when something is unavailable for unforeseen reasons. Be sure to review the contract carefully for hidden costs, delivery fees, set up charges, or wording such as “additional costs may be incurred.” You should also clarify the vendor’s policies on late fees, such as if the wedding runs past the agreed upon time. Negotiate Just because everything is presented to you in a tidy package doesn’t mean that you have to take the package as is. Do you have a friend who is a wine vendor? Then why not ask the caterer to cut spirits from their plan. Is there a favorite flower in your garden you’d like to include in arrangements? Negotiate with the florist to incorporate them at a reduced cost. You May Kiss . . . Your Worries Goodbye There’s no guarantee that your wedding will be flawless, but you’ll certainly increase your chances if you find vendors that are willing to work with you to create your ideal vision. Spending time planning and getting to know the specifics of a vendor will certainly make your wedding day easier!