Category Archives: choosing perfect wedding vendors

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.

Choose the Best Wedding Vendors for Your Big Day

wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planningCaterers, photographers, videographers, décor. The list of wedding vendors needed to pull off your big day may be long, but that doesn’t mean that the vetting process should be complicated.

Before you go on the hunt for the right wedding vendors, make sure you are not violating any of the fine print in your contract with your venue; some venues only allow certain vendors and can provide you with a list of approved businesses they work with. Other venues have an open vendor policy, allowing you to select any vendor as long as they have the required licenses. Let the fun process of wedding vendor selection begin with these helpful tips.

Research your vendor options.

Shows, internet searches, asking friends…there are a million different ways to find the wedding vendors you need. Once you have compiled a list of potential vendors, let your fingers do the research. Make sure you look beyond the beautiful websites and snappy social media pages. Look for red flags, such as:

  • Poor business reviews
  • A residential address (may not be an issue, but can be a sign that the business is more of a hobby and may not be able to deliver all the services needed when needed)
  • Lack of experience

Instead, research each vendor and look for proof that they are an experienced business that can deliver. Look for favorable reviews, photos, videos, and satisfactory business ratings and customers (it doesn’t help if they are excellent at what they do if they can’t manage their appointments and finances).

Ask your venue staff for recommendations.

Wedding venue staff are in a unique position; they get to see the results (and interactions) of décor vendors, videographers, caterers at every event hosted at their venue. If you’re at a loss for a certain type of vendor or can’t find the right vendor, contact the venue staff for a list of vendors they’ve seen in action.

Set up a meeting.

A face-to-face meeting is one of the most important parts of selecting the right vendors for your wedding. If any of your wedding vendors are reluctant to do so, or don’t have a location to meet in, be prepared to walk away.

Make sure you have a wedding budget set (and all the important conversations done) before you meet with any vendors. Prioritize what vendors are most important to you so you can decide where to allocate the majority of your wedding budget.

Feel comfortable with your choice (and the method of communication).

When in the meeting, look for three important factors: compatibility, communication, experience. If you don’t feel comfortable with a vendor, or don’t communicate on the same wave length, follow your instinct and avoid signing on the bottom line. In the same way, ask for references and proof of experience from every vendor you meet with.

You don’t want your wedding to be the first experiment for your wedding vendor, but in the same way you don’t want to be one of so many that you don’t feel like they are focused on your special day. Your vendor should give their full attention to you during the meeting, and ask questions that let you know they are listening.

Ask your vendors how they plan and how you should communicate with them in the future. This is important so you don’t feel ignored and get the responsiveness you need. Make sure they have a line of communication you’re comfortable with; you don’t want to choose a vendor who’s only comfortable with electronics and ignores your phone calls (or vice versa).

Read the fine print.

Don’t sign a contract until you read through it thoroughly—or have someone you trust go through it with a fine tooth comb. You don’t want to miss any hidden fees, costs, or limitations (such as a certain number of hours, photos, etc.) that could make you regret your vendor choice.