For all you lucky couples who had a three day weekend, I hope you didn’t spend the entire weekend working on your wedding, but got some down time or friend time in there. It’s important to take time for yourself and not get too wrapped up in wedding planning because it can stress you out and it should be fun, not a chore. Just a little friendly reminder to breathe. Now on to this week’s Wedding Wednesdays question.
Q: I’ve booked my venue and I’m now starting to look for various wedding vendors for my wedding and I’m just not sure who to hire and/or who to trust. What should I be asking or looking for? How do I choose the right wedding vendors?
This is a wonderful question! Without going into each individual vendor and what you should specifically be looking for or asking them, here are some general guidelines to help you select the right wedding vendors.
1. The first step is to check out their website. Like it or not, their website will give you an idea of who they are. Take a look at both the pictures, but also the words. What are they saying on the website? Does their philosophy jive with what you like and/or are looking for? Do they have experience? Do they look professional? Do they have testimonials? What kind of feeling do you get from the website? Do you like their style? Do you like them? You want all the answers to these questions to be positive. If they aren’t then you should move on and if they are close, then you can keep them in the running for step two.
2. Step two is to check out their reviews on 3rd party sites like Yelp and Wedding Wire. The testimonials they feature on their website are of course going to be good, so you want to see what others are saying about them that they can’t control. Keep in mind that most businesses who have been around for a while will not have an absolute perfect rating, but you’re looking for a good/excellent rating and a decent amount of reviews.
3. Step three is to talk to them either in person or over the phone. You’ll immediately get a sense of their personality and usually whether you like them or not. It’s like meeting anyone for the first time, you usually have a feeling about them. Trust this feeling! If you like them, great and if not or if you’re unsure, trust your gut and walk away. You want to be comfortable with the vendor you choose because you’ll be working with them on something important whether it’s your entire wedding with a wedding planner or what you’ll look like on the wedding day with your hair/makeup artist.
As you’re speaking to them, ask them about their background, how they got started, how long they’ve been around and if they do this full time. See if they are passionate about what they do or if it’s just a job. Ask them what makes them different from other vendors and what couples they best work with. Ask them what their strengths are and why someone would hire them.
If there is something specific you want or need for your particular wedding (e.g. photographer with a big team, an officiate who can speak Chinese, a wedding planner who can handle a large group, etc…), make sure to ask them about it and how they would handle that situation. If you have any specific concerns (e.g. catering to an older crowd, religious specifications, destination weddings, etc…), ask them those questions as well. Your goal here is to get to know them as a person, but also as a professional. You want to see that they can be both a friendly person you like, but will also get the job done.
4. Step four is evaluating their communication. Pay attention to how long it takes them to respond to your emails. After you meet or speak with them, see how long it takes to get a proposal or a contract or additional information. If the time frame is too long and you have to follow up, that is not a good sign. If they can’t take care of you in the beginning, they won’t be able to take care of you at the end and it will only cause you more stress. True professional wedding vendors will be able to create and execute what you want, but can also handle the business side and be able to take care of you so that you always feel like their only client.
The above steps do not incorporate budget or specific questions to each individual vendor, but it should give you a good foundation to understanding who is a good choice for you and how to select the right wedding vendors.