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8 Stupid-Simple Tips for Vetting Perfect Wedding Vendors

  • Bridal Basics • Last updated April 30, 2018
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It’s time to start finding the wedding vendors that will make your day all that you dream it to be. Choosing those perfect vendors may feel like an impossible task, but it’s not. You really just need to take it one step at a time and be prepared.

Follow these eight tips and you’ll be fast on your way to locating and reserving vendors for your venue, photographer, caterer and perhaps even a wedding planner:

1. Set a Budget

In order to begin you and your fiance need to discuss, and agree on, the budget for each type of vendor you’ll need. Take the time to determine what are your ‘wants’ and what are your ‘must-haves’.

2. Research

No matter what type of vendor you’ll need, some research is going to have to be done in order to find the right one for you. Start by determining who is in your area.

  • Attend local bridal shows where vendors are waiting to meet you. This is also good because you can meet them in person and get an initial feel for how they mesh with you.
  • Talk to friends who have recently been married
  • Look at social media pages for vendors in your area

3. Schedule Appointments

When you find vendors that have peaked your interest, call to set up an appointment to meet with them. You should call at least three vendors per category. (venue, photographer, caterer, florist, etc) Meeting face-to-face to discuss what they offer will help you determine if your personalities mesh as well.

4. Get Referrals

Ask if there are a few past clients that you can contact for a referral. Look for online reviews as well, just keep in mind that what’s important to one person might not be important to another. So have an open mind and watch for the most important points of the reviews, such as; service, costs, extra details attended to, etc.

You can also ask the vendor for a referral for another type of vendor, such as asking a photographer or wedding venue if they know a good florist.

5. Make a List

Meeting with a vendor may go really well and you might find that the conversation can veer a bit off course. Be sure to have two lists with you; the things you want and the questions you have.

Having a list of what you want at your wedding will help you determine which vendor is willing and able to provide it to you. And coming prepared with questions will keep you on track to getting them all answered.

Be sure to ask if there are any restrictions, or things the vendor won’t do or allow. Maybe you have a caterer in mind but the venue doesn’t allow outside catering. Or maybe you want to release doves, but the ceremony venue won’t allow it.

6. Negotiate

If you thought that the advertised price is written in stone, you are mistaken. It’s not impossible to receive a discounted price. Or maybe instead of paying less, you get more. If you have optional packages but want to mix certain features of two of them, just ask, the worst that can happen is that they say no. Just be sure that whatever you are negotiating you handle it with kindness and respect.

7. Sign on the Dotted Line

With each vendor you need to have a contract signed by both parties. Read it thoroughly to verify that all of the details, including your wants and needs and perhaps those extras that you negotiated, are listed in the agreement. Speak up before signing it if something is incorrect or missing. Remember that, no matter how personable your vendor seems, you are not their only client and they likely won’t remember those extra details that you discussed. You’ll need to get receipts for any and all deposits you make as well.

8. Hiring a Pro

Determining whether you should hire a wedding planner really doesn’t just come down to money. After all, you are likely to end up saving money by utilizing a wedding planner. Wedding planners are there to assist with keeping you on budget, as well as negotiating legal contracts. They can save you money in areas that you might not think of. They will keep the whole day progressing just as you had planned, which takes the stress off of you (and your parents). For weddings taking place at one location, they are very good at handling the switch from ceremony to reception.

A few last tips:

  • Don’t sign the contract after meeting with the first vendor because you liked them so much, you never know what the next has to offer.
  • Choose a vendor that specializes in your wants, such as an outdoor venue or upscale cuisine. If they’re experienced in those areas your wedding will benefit from that.
  • See them in action. Whether it’s a venue, a florist or a band or DJ you should ask to see them in action. Visit a venue with a wedding taking place, they will ask permission of the wedding party to allow you to peek in. For a florist, ask to see a sample of what you are requesting. Go visit a band or DJ playing in a public venue; and ask the photographer to see a start to finish portfolio of one or two weddings, rather than just their best photographs.