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.