If you are in the midst of wedding planning, you know that choosing your wedding vendors is a daunting task. It’s a bit like going through the dating process all over again..except that you have to do it about 10-15 times. In all seriousness, it’s super important that you choose your vendors wisely and do all your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. They are going to be the ones that play a big part in making your wedding day dreams come together, and you don’t want to entrust that to just anyone.
But with so many options out there, how to you decipher between the bad, the mediocre, the good, and the best? And how do you find someone that matches your personal vision? Today I’m going to give you some basic tips for choosing your wedding vendors and hopefully, give you some insight into what to do and things to look out for before you say yes! And if you’re looking for more, download my FREE Wedding Vendor Selection Planner. It’s 82 pages filled with personalized “must-ask” questions for each vendor all in a classic black and white aesthetic planner you can print out and bring with you anywhere.
Decide On A Budget
Before you do anything, set a budget first. You and your partner should have this conversation before you start consulting Google or set any meetings. If you go in blindly without knowing what you can spend, you will either end up super disappointed or spending way more than you thought. It is really important to stay within your budget since pricing can vary dramatically between vendors. However, you can do some research beforehand on what pricing is normal for each vendor so that you are not blindsided by the costs, and can allocate your budget accordingly.
Once you have found a range of costs for each vendor, sit down with your fiance and discuss what your priorities are between the vendors. If photography is super important to you both, but the cake is not, you can allocate more money towards the photographer than the baker or cake designer.
Now that you know what vendors are most important to you and what you feel comfortable spending for each, you’re ready to move onto researching! This is where the daunting feeling comes in because there are just so many options. First, there are several wedding planning sites (theknot.com, weddingwire.com, etc.) that are super helpful where you can look up vendors in your area, read testimonials or reviews, and find their websites. Even going to Google and typing in “wedding photographer near Denver, Colorado” will bring up lots of good results to check in to. Both of those options are great starts. You can also reach out to anyone you know that’s gotten married recently and see if they would recommend their vendors or at least have a starting point for you.
Start sifting through vendors that catch your eye. Look at where they are located, their pricing (if provided), their portfolio or previous work (super important!), and check their Facebook and Instagram for a deeper look into their business. It’s okay to feel a bit like a stalker during your research! Make sure to write down 2-4
people for each category of vendors that match the theme you are wanting, are within your budget, and have great reviews. This process can take several weeks so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t find ones that pass your checklist on your first day.
Start the Conversation
Once you’ve done your due diligence and have narrowed down your favorite picks for each category, you are ready to reach out and start conversations. Most vendors will have a contact form on their website that you can fill out or at least have an email address that you can send an initial email to for more information. From my experience, email seems to be the best form of communication in the wedding industry, and it’s a great way to get more information when you are early on in the process.
In your introductory email, include yours and your fiancé’s name, wedding date (if you’ve already chosen one), budget range, and a snippet of what you’re looking for in that particular vendor. This way, they can get back to you and right away, they are able to know if they are even available on that date, within your budget, and match what you are looking for.
If you feel comfortable with their answers, you can move on to a phone call or an in person meeting to talk details further. Don’t feel bad about taking up their time or feeling like you’re inconveniencing them with a meeting; they know that it’s a necessary part of the process to narrow down your choices and ultimately find the best fit for your wedding day. And sometimes it takes a couple calls or meetings for you to feel 100% about choosing them, and that’s okay too! You need to feel super comfortable and have all of your questions answered before you sign any contract.
Ask Important Questions
During your phone calls or meetings with potential vendors, it’s a great idea to bring your fiancé and maybe your mom or a trusted friend along. They will bring a different perspective and along with it, different questions that you probably wouldn’t think of otherwise. Speaking of questions, ask lots! Write down all the questions you have before your meeting and bring that paper with you so you can jot down the answers. You’d be surprised how much you forget or how unclear things can be when you’ve talked to so many potential vendors already. And many times, you’ll get deep into conversation with the vendor and forget all about those questions you thought of beforehand. During your meeting or phone call, new questions will likely pop up and make sure to write those down too and address them later on or in another meeting. It’s a bit like a job interview. You are feeling each other out to make sure it’s a compatible fit for both parties.
If you’re not sure of what questions to ask or even where to start, my free Wedding Vendor Selection Planner is a great resource for making sure you’ve asked all the right questions! In it, I provide specific questions from an expert’s perspective for each potential vendor so you’ll know you’ve asked all the right things and haven’t left anything behind.
Trust Your Gut
When it comes down to it, you need to trust your gut when it comes to picking the right vendors. If everything looks good on paper, but when it comes to actually meeting with a vendor and you don’t feel good about it, move on and find someone else. There’s no shame in letting them know that you don’t think they are a good fit for what you are looking for.
It’s so similar to dating where if the chemistry isn’t there, it isn’t there and you can’t magically find it. Or if you feel that the customer service aspect isn’t what it should be or you just have a negative experience with a potential vendor, trust your gut. Would you trust them with a piece of your wedding day? If you honestly answer no, it’s time to move on to pursuing other options and finding one that you can 100% trust with executing your vision.
I know it feels totally overwhelming to work the process of choosing the perfect vendors for your wedding day, but I hope with these tips and a download for my free Wedding Vendor Selection Planner, you’ll be well on your way to having successful meetings, asking lots of questions, and finalizing your dream team for your big day.