Hiring wedding vendors may seem simple (just google “wedding vendors near me,” right?), but the fact is that choosing the wrong wedding vendors can lead to drama and disappointment. It’s so common that this excellent article with tips for breaking up with problematic wedding vendors was written.
Obviously, the best way to avoid vendor drama (and breaking a wedding contract) is to choose the best wedding vendors. Extensive research is the key to finding the best wedding vendors and hiring them for your wedding reception. However, we know that planning a wedding comes with a long list of steps that don’t always leave a lot of time for finding the best wedding vendors. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of quick tips that can help you find the best wedding vendors for your big day.
Have a system.
The first step is to get organized. There are quite a few wedding apps and planning checklists (like this wedding planning checklist from Real Simple) that can help in the process. Start at the top of the list of wedding vendors and work your way through each vendor:
- Wedding Venue
- Wedding Attire (Dress & Tux)
- Invitation Printer
- Wedding Website (use these tips to create an excellent wedding website)
- Baker (for the cake or a non-cake dessert if the caterer cannot)
- Entertainer (DJ or Band)
- Table Décor
As you go through the list, this is where the quick checks in each box should slow. The process for hiring each vendor should start by finding wedding vendors and compiling a list of options.
Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations.
The path to finding wedding vendors doesn’t have to be a lonely one. One of the best ways to find vendors is to ask other wedding professionals for recommendations. You (hopefully) hired your wedding venue staff for their expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask them to recommend vendors they have worked with in the past. If you don’t have the time to do vendor research, choose a venue with experienced event planners you can utilize to do some or all of the wedding planning.
Your friends and family may also have suggestions for vendors. Be careful when taking this approach. After asking, you may get, “my friend used…” or “my brother runs…” Try to weed out these second-hand recommendations from reviews that stem from first-hand experiences.
Research, research, research.
Once you have a list of wedding vendors, do your research to ensure you are working with are quality vendors. Look for common red flags such as bad business reviews, no business address, or any hint that the company has a lack of experience. Ask every wedding vendor if they have a contingency plan for those “just in case” situations. What is their plan if an employee is sick or there is an equipment breakdown? Choose wedding vendors with favorable reviews, photos, videos, satisfactory business ratings, and a back-up plan.
Interview every vendor.
Once you have a list of vendors, contact each vendor and ask about basic details, such as if they are available on your wedding day and cost. You may be able to cross vendors off the list that aren’t available and don’t fit your budget. (Use this specific list of questions for your wedding venue.) A meeting with a wedding vendor is a standard part of finding wedding vendors for your big day. Head to every meeting with a list of questions such as:
- What services do you offer?
- What does the cost cover?
- Do you have any past experience?
- What is your business back-up plan in case of an emergency?
- Do you carry insurance?
- How should we contact you?
- What deadlines do we need to meet?
Be prepared to walk away from vendors who don’t have a business location to meet, seem inexperienced, don’t listen to you, have hidden fees that push the cost over budget, or want you to sign a contract with fine print that makes you uncomfortable.