Preperation & Considerations For Meeting With Wedding Vendors
There is an order to booking your wedding vendors. Working with them and juggling the different types can get to be a bit much on your own. Most brides have not had an experience like this before their engagement so the below are overall suggestions to help pare down the initial tasks.
Try not to let all of the endless resources and information overwhelm you, it can quickly. Friends, co-workers, and strangers will all bring you their own suggestions when they hear that you are planning a wedding. Take it all in stride. Accept the business card (you may actually need it one day) and try to stay grateful for the help. You can always rule out any no-go’s later on.
I’ve seen a little bit of both good and great wedding vendors. I met with a floral shop who made it feel more like a conversation than an interview. The ink on our save-the-dates completely faded to white, and the Etsy shop we purchased from had no solutions. Our caterer truly outdid themselves in the first meeting, with a full spread. My fiancé and I met with a photographer who made us both feel borderline interrogated by the end of our appointment. I’ve also had potential vendors not even bother to show up for our initial meet-ups! You’re going to meet all sorts of interesting people and vendors that will surprise in good and weird ways, it’s all part of the experience.
Do your research. Use the hashtags for services like furniture or decor rentals, makeup artists, hairstylists, videographers, or photographers. Follow The Knot and Wedding Wire if for no other reason than for inspiration ideas. There’s thousands of wedding vendors selling items but you can at least use those huge wedding websites, blogs, and magazines for searches. Look at portfolios and keep an eye out for consistency. Ask the people they have tagged for their opinions. Look for who is best for you, not necessarily who is the most popular. Do the trials! Most will not charge but some do. If you feel like its worth it, do it.
Prepare Before You Call A Vendor
You usually want to start with the biggest stuff first. These are usually the most expensive, but also will be the deciding factors for the smaller portions of your wedding.
Sit down with your future husband or wife and go through your budget. Get an educated number for the amount you can spend, and how much you two are willing to spend. Figure out if any one else is contributing to the wedding through monetary help or specific services. This could scratch some items off of your list, once secured.
After budget, for your own sanity, you might want to start in on some more fun aspects of the wedding. Set up an inspiration board on Pinterest or get some photos you can bring in on your phone, each time you meet with a wedding vendor. The more you can articulate what you want, the easier it will be on every one. I found it helped to bring in and show photos of things I absolutely did not like as well. This way, there will be less back and forth once you have selected a company.
Lock some basics down before you reach out to anyone at all. For the most part that’s three aspects: your wedding date, colors, and estimated number of guests. These three questions will be asked of you over and over AND OVER again. The numbers in your bridal party is sometimes a follow-up question too.
If you two are planning on using a wedding coordinator it’s time to start researching reviews for potential hires, since they would help with finding most of the other vendors. Check their website, but also check places like Yelp and Wedding Wire to get as much information as you can. Ask for references and actually reach out to them. From there, wedding locations for the ceremony and reception are generally the first step.
Initial Wedding Vendor Meetings
There are little bits that won’t even cross your mind in the initial wedding vendor intereview, that might change your mind in the long run. Be sure to consider the below since they might apply to you.
Bring those photos along with you! Whether you are dress shopping or setting up a time to check out flowers, overall photos will always be helpful. Bring something to write on as well. I thought it would be awkward if I was writing when we met, but there is so much information to take in! If you write it down you will be so glad you did a month later when it’s actually time to pay and talk logistics.
As you are securing wedding vendors along the way, you want to make sure that they all can coordinate with one another as well. Most vendors will ask if there are specifics that they can intersect with other vendors over (i.e. if the makeup artist and the hair stylist both want to be working at the same times). Sometimes vendors prefer to have a person or space all to themselves, they have time limits, etc. so don’t be shy about who you are already working with. They can also often recommend other vendors, or tell you who to steer clear of.
Don’t just go with the first wedding vendor you meet with. It’s like getting a second opinion, two or three initial meetings with different vendors is a good amount. You want to feel like you have a good idea of what the company offers and have a little something to compare it to. I found it best to narrow down my big list to our top two vendors before we actually scheduled an appointment with anyone. This made it a little less intimidating, but also kept us from overwhelming ourselves with too many options.
Two Money Tips
Bigger cities and locations sometimes have an additional service fee or tax, on top of the regular state taxes. When you get your estimate or invoice make sure to look for (or ask about) other potential fees.
Some vendors will ask you to go ahead and put down a deposit at the end of your first meeting. Don’t be alarmed, it’s their job to make money, so it’s their job to ask you for it. Most will bid you two goodbye and then email you in the next day or so, but for the few who are ready to roll, be honest. If you want to talk it over or compare them to the two other options, give them a date to follow up with you, and then mull it over until then.
Deposits are how you secure your desired wedding date and time, but this is not something to take lightly. The vast majority of deposits are non-refundable, so if you are in any way unsure, just wait. Ok, so that was three money tips (sort of) but who’s counting? The last one is more of a half-fact, half-tip anyway.