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.