Posts tagged Advice for Choosing Wedding Vendors
The First 5 Things To Book When Planning a Wedding
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You’re ready to start wedding planning: Awesome! But now what?

Wedding planning can be a complicated web of to-dos, so here’s a basic list of where to get started and in what order.

1. Wedding Planner

Whether you’re looking for a full-service planner or a ‘day of coordinator’, you’re going to want to hire them first. Planners are key in providing recommendations and consulting on big decisions, and often can help you save money on the other vendors you hire. Most people start off planning thinking “I can do this myself” only to eventually realize (after a lot of unneeded stress and extra costs) that they really do need a planner. Make the smart call and hire the planner before anything else. You’ll get to truly take advantage of all the value a professional brings to the table.

2. Venue

For many couples the venue will be their biggest expense, so knowing what you’re spending is key to building an accurate budget. Details about the space will ultimately dictate other expenses, like whether or not you’ll need to account for furniture rentals, transportation, lighting, or portable restrooms. Venue availability will help narrow down your exact date, which most other vendors will require for booking. It also sets the tone for theme and décor decisions. Plus, since rental rates will likely increase over time, you’ll lock in the best rate by booking early.

3. Photographer

At this point, your next stop is the photographer. (Yay! Time to call me!) In-demand photographers can book up quickly, so if photography is important to you, you’ll want to book earlier over later. An added perk: If you’re planning on doing engagement photos, you can have them ready when you make your save the dates or set up your wedding website.

4. Caterer

Catering is usually the second biggest chunk of the wedding budget (next to venue), so it’s a good idea to start talking to caterers next. Knowing your budget for food is helpful because there are often unexpected costs in this category (ie.: kitchen and serving equipment, servers, generators, trash disposal, staff tips) Catering will help fill in some important logistics gaps (like whether or not you need a kitchen brought in to your venue).

5. Florist

It’s a good idea to consult your florist as you start envisioning theme, colors, and décor. Some flowers may be out of season or over budget, so if your vision centers on a particular look, you’ll want to know before you really commit. Knowing your floral plan will help you decide how to fill in the rest of the décor.

 
5 Steps for Hiring Your Wedding Vendors
10 Signs You Shouldn't Hire That Wedding Vendor
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Odds are you've never hired a wedding vendor before, and internet horror stories can certainly tell you that it does not always go well. How do you hire the right people that will make your day awesome? I've got you covered. Here are ten warning signs that wedding industry pros know to watch out for...

 

1. Their Portfolio is Inconsistent

Skilled, established wedding vendors should have a portfolio that reflects their style and ability. If their portfolio features some great work and some less-than-stellar work, you probably will be able to expect the same inconsistency if they work at your wedding. You should also be wary of very contradictory styles. If a photographer has bright pastel images one minute and in the next switches to vintage black and white, you won't be able to know what to expect from them. (And in some cases, this can be a sign of a stolen or misleading portfolio.) You should like at least 70% of a vendor's work, anything less means they're probably not for you.

2. They Take a Long Time to Respond to Emails

Vendors want your business. Any professional wedding vendor will respond to you within 48 hours at most. The occasional slow email may be unavoidable (vendors are people too, after all), but if they consistently take several days with every response, they are not valuing you. When you're stressed out the week before your wedding, you'll regret having hired someone who leaves you hanging for days.

3. They Don't Have a Contract

Contracts are meant to protect both you as a client and the vendor. Having everything written down in advance helps everyone be clear on what they're committing to and what happens in case something goes wrong. If you're paying a vendor but have no contract, there's no guarantee as to where that money goes or what happens if they cancel. There are honest wedding vendors who just don't tend to use contracts, but they should be willing to provide you with everything in writing if you request it. If you can't get some kind of record of your agreement, you should walk away.

4. You Can't Find Any Customer Reviews

Unless your vendor is new to the industry, a quick google search should turn up some customer reviews. If you can't find a Yelp page, Facebook reviews, a WeddingWire page, or something like that, this might be a red flag. There are genuine reasons a business might not be a member of review sites, but you should be able to find something. Testimonials on their own website can be useful, but since they're custom curated by the vendor you'll want to find some other referrals.

5. They're a Really Great Deal

If you've been quoted $1000 for the same cake everywhere else, and suddenly you've been quoted $500, there's a reason behind that—and they should be able to give you a good explanation. If the vendor is just starting out and gaining experience, a much lower price might make sense, but out-of-nowhere low prices can be a sign that something is up. It may mean the vendor is compromising on quality or service, or it could even mean they're untrustworthy. If someone's price is unusual, be skeptical and use your best judgement.

6. You Don't "Click"

When you meet in person with your vendor, you should walk away feeling excited about your wedding. If you feel odd, uncomfortable, or awkward, they're probably not the vendor for you.

7. They Don't Have Insurance

Insurance protects you, your venue, and everyone else from anything going wrong. Professional businesses need their own insurance if they have anyone on-site at your wedding, and many venues even require all vendors be insured. If a vendor doesn't invest in insurance, you know they're already okay with cutting corners.

8. They Gossip

If a vendor is gossiping about other vendors or putting down other couples they've worked with, you should run in the other direction. Wedding vendors should behave professionally and, while they can definitely let you know which vendors to avoid, they should be doing it in an appropriate and respectful way. The best wedding vendors build strong and positive industry relationships that you can benefit from as a client. And if they're complaining about other couples or making fun of them, you can never be sure they're not doing the same to you.

9. You Can't Get A Price List

Pricing is tough for small businesses, so some vendors may be hesitant to give you an exact number, but if you ask for a price, they should be able to give it to you. For some businesses this will be a price list or catalog and for others this will be a detailed invoice. Prices should be predictable and consistent, and they should be able to tell you if and when prices will increase.

10. They're Always Late

Being late happens to everyone, but when vendor meetings always start with 30 minutes of toe-tapping waiting for them to arrive, it's a problem. They aren't respecting your time and they'll likely be unpredictable and late on your wedding day.


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