Category Archives: wedding vendor list

Quick Tips that Help You Find the Best Wedding Vendors

wedding pictures from beautiful wedding done by wedding vendorsHiring 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)
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Caterer
  • Baker (for the cake or a non-cake dessert if the caterer cannot)
  • Entertainer (DJ or Band)
  • Florist
  • 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.

‘Must Have’ Wedding Vendors You Need to Book

beautiful wedding venue for romantic weddingAfter all the wonderful feelings of your engagement wears off, it’s time to face the wedding planning list—and hold the necessary conversations you need to have with your family and fiance. Once you’ve decided on the location, budget, guest count (tips for crafting your guest list here), and date (or season-use these tips to choose the right wedding date), it’s time to go down the list of wedding vendors and start booking the wedding vendors you need for your big day.

Venue

Your wedding venue is a key part of wedding planning, so make sure you book “the one.” Once you’ve decided on your venue style (rustic, historic, elegant?), it’s time to start searching for the venue that checks off all the boxes on your wedding venue checklist. Ask each wedding venue these important questions (“Is my date/season available? How many people can you accommodate? What is the cost? What does it include? Do you allow caterers to come in?” and these other questions) before you tour the site—and never skip the tour. Contact the wedding venue to set up a tour; don’t rely entirely on the venue’s website or social media pictures. Use your venue tour to look for spaces you need on your wedding day, such as a welcoming foyer, mingling areas, handicap access, changing areas, and a beautiful area for your dinner and dance.

Ceremony Site

If you want to hold your ceremony at your wedding venue, ask your venue if they have an area available for ceremonies (and don’t visit venues that can’t accommodate you). If you prefer to hold your ceremony at another site, visit the site and make sure that it logistically makes sense. You don’t want your guests to go from one end of the earth for your ceremony, only to have to drive forever to get to your reception.

Wedding Planner

bride and groom on steps of elegant historic wedding venueOverwhelmed by all those wedding planning details? Hire a wedding planner to help you wade through all the decisions (or to make the decisions for you). If you don’t want to make another call, contact your wedding venue to see if they offer wedding planning services. You can also ask your friends or family for recommendations for a wedding planner.

Caterer

Wedding food is a key part of your guests’ experience, which is why choosing and hiring a caterer is toward the top of your wedding checklist. Your wedding venue may require you to use their caterer (if they have an open vendor policy, they don’t). If they don’t, ask them for recommendations or poll your friends and family for a wedding caterer who makes delicious wedding dishes.

Entertainer

The best bands and DJs are in demand. Decide on what kind of entertainment you want at your wedding, and start contacting your preferred entertainment vendors. Now that you have secured your venue, you can give the information to your entertainer and start putting together a timeline for your special day.

Invitation Printer

Once you’ve got all your major details nailed down (where and when), it’s time to plan out your invitation strategy. Today’s couples have more options that couples of 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. Inviting your wedding guests is about more than just locating a printer and sending out invitations in the mail. Couples today can use many channels, and it’s your job to locate a vendor that can assist you with invitations and the graphics for your wedding website and social media sites.

Videographer/Photographer

wedding foodIt’s time to choose the wedding vendor that can help you capture all the special moments of your wedding day. Decide whether you want a videographer or photographer (or both), and start asking around for recommendations. You can also start by researching local videographers and photographers online, but make sure you choose a high-quality videographer and photographer. Don’t forget to read the fine print in the contract so both of you are satisfied after your wedding day is over.

Décor

Your wedding decorations are a great way customize your venue (though it doesn’t need to be a budget buster if you use these tips). Talk to your wedding venue for recommendations of décor vendors that can make your dream wedding a reality.

Cake Baker, Wedding attire, Flowers…

Once you have all your major wedding vendors booked, it’s time to fill in the blanks. Your caterer may be able to make your cake, or you can ask your event venue, friends, and family for suggestions. Use these tips for organized wedding planning and this wedding planning checklist to help you stay on deadline right up until your special day.