What to do and what not to do when choosing and hiring wedding vendors!
You have your guy, you know the style of your wedding but now the confusing part comes. Picking out your vendors. Besides getting married that day choosing the right vendors is the next biggest thing. If you choose someone because they are cheap you probably will end up getting what you paid for. But at the same time you don't need to break the bank to have the absolute best services either. So what do you do and not do when choosing amd hiring wedding vendors?
What to do when looking for and hiring wedding vendors.
1. Set a budget
The MOST important thing to do before even looking at wedding vendors is to set a budget! Budget is everything. When sitting down with my bridal couples I set out a blank vendors list including; venue, caterer, bartender, wedding planner, photographer, videographer, florist, officiant, hair & makeup, baker, music, jeweler, attire, rentals, transportation and stationer. I ask them to tell me an overall budget of what they want to spend on their wedding and then from that budget we spread it out and cross of things they don't want. When doing this I also ask "what is the MOST important vendor to you that day"? Some brides say venue while others say photographer and so on and so forth. So while everyone's budget is different it is important to put the maximum you will want to spend on that vendor and make sure you don't go above that budget. If you find someone that you have to have for your day then you will have let some money go elsewhere that way you still stick to your overall budget.
2. Look at the vendors pictures and videos.
The famous quote "pictures are worth a thousand words" are as true as it gets. When you are in the market for a certain vendor you have to not only make sure they fit your budget but that you love their work. Unfortunately in many cases a lot of vendors don't put their prices on their websites or social media. I cannot speak for all the vendors out there but I have to assume for some reasons it may be because they are charging a higher price and want you to fall in love with "them" or their services first. Or possibly because they don't have set prices and it depends on all your wedding details. Whatever the case may be, it can be frustrating especially if you have a tight budget. However, and I will bring this up again there are a ton of different vendors out there. Back to my main point though. When you are choosing vendors it is key to look at their work whether it be through pictures or videos. If you are hiring a photographer, wedding planner, florist, hair & makeup team, baker, or stationer you will want to look through their gallery and make sure before you send them a message that you like their style or what they have done. If you are hiring a videographer, officiant or music you will want to look at their videos to make sure you like their style. Because again not everyone is the same!
3. Look for their testimonial's page!
I feel like this may be a given but it should still be said. When hiring ANY vendor make sure you find a testimonial's page or ask them for past references. This is a big one guys, please do your research before you give anyone money! I cannot tell you how many times I have seen brides and grooms say that they found someone who is only charging $100 and decided to give them a go even though they didn't have many references, and then that person either didn't show up or they really got what they paid for (not in a good way)! However at the same time just because someone isn't charging an arm and leg or just started their business doesn't mean they are bad or wont show up either. I will have a part more about that too later on. Just make sure when you are looking to hire any vendor that you look at their reviews or talk to people who have used that vendor before.
4. Meet that vendor in person.
This is another very important one, and I say this from experience! Please meet your vendors in person. Set up a meeting to talk with them about their services ask them questions and get to know them for a minute. I say this because you need to have a connection with this person. When it came to picking out a DJ , I did meet him face to face at a meeting but he seemed like he knew everything (in a very I'm the very best of the best type of way) and although I was very turned off and didn't like him I still booked him. Why you may ask? Because he was in my budget and I waited kind of last minute to book a DJ, so it seemed like my only option. Well I ended up paying for it because I didn't look at reviews, I didn't look at videos of work he had done and I picked him too fast. Come the day of the wedding after the head table was done eating and cake cutting was done he still hadn't called for us to do the first dance. He was still playing dinner music... dinner was at 5 and we didn't start the first dance until about 7:30. Which was not part of my schedule that I gave him. So after the first dance, dad & daughter dance, mother & son dance, anniversary dance, teddy bear throw, bouquet toss, garter toss he FINALLY started up dancing music. And by that time a lot of my guests had l left. I didn't want all of those bundled up one after another, I wanted them more scattered. So it is a huge thing to meet these vendors in person and make sure you see their personality and that you click because you don't want to try and deal with someone on your wedding day that you don't really like or have a hard time talking with.
5. Review their contract! Again another HUGE aspect of hiring any vendor. First of all if they don't give you a contract to sign RUN and run fast. If you do not have a signed contract that both parties sign, saying that you will pay that person and that person will show up providing services because they are being paid, what makes you think they wont take your money and run?! It is so much harder for you to prove that you had a in this case a "deal" with that person to show up. I have seen this happen many times so please make sure you have a signed contract with any vendor you are hiring. Next read the contract, and I feel I have to say that because some people skim through it and sign a contract or some people don't understand the contract and then don't ask either that person or someone else to "simplify" it for them and possibly end up getting burned in the end for various reasons. It is very important that you read the contract and understand it. I cannot say this about all wedding planners but for us here at Lavender & Lace Weddings we will read the contract the vendors give you, make sure its a good contract and make sure you fully understand the contract before signing it. Which is a huge perk about hiring a wedding planner.
Okay so I covered the 5 most important things you need to do when choosing and hiring a vendor now lets talk about what not to do when choosing and hiring a vendor.
What not to do when looking for and hiring vendors.
1. Choose the first person you love and rush into it.
So I said I would cover this topic later so here we are. Don't rush and choose the first vendor you look at and fall in love with. And I know you may be saying "but Megan you literally told us to love their style above". Yes I did but you also have to factor in, your budget, their contract and if you click with that person when you meet them. If this vendor meets all the criteria above then book them! However there are many fish in the sea. And by not looking at all of them how can you really know the first one you love is the right one? And I say this again with experience, because when planning my wedding if I found a vendor I loved I looked over the contract and signed it. Now although my day was amazing and beautiful, now planning my little sisters wedding I not only have much more knowledge and experience but I see vendors that I over-looked before for different reasons and would have liked much better for my wedding day.
2. Don't go over budget.
I realize that above I said budget is the most important thing and it is. You really don't want to go over budget especially if your tight on money. I also said if you find a vendor that you HAVE to have at your wedding and they are over budget you just have to move money around from other places. And while that is true before you book that over budget vendor, like I said right above number 1. of don't do's, look for other vendors with similar styles that fit your budget better.
3. Don't look outside a certain radius of your venue.
This one is tricky so try to follow along. This goes with budget, meeting that person and their contract. If you decide to get married locally you should definitely choose vendors that are local. Because choosing vendors that are more than an hour away will most likely cost you. More times than not they have a travelers fee, sometimes it may be reasonable other times its a little outrageous. So picking vendors outside of a certain radius may cost you extra, which could push you over the budget especially if that vendor was at your max budget. Also if that vendor is further away you may not be able to meet in person. Now that we have technology there is Facetime, Skype and all that other good stuff that could be a substitute and may have to do in that case. Another factor about hiring a vendor that is further away is the contract with the travelers fee. If you don't know or understand how to read a contract and you sign without realizing, that could put you over budget. If you try to get out of the contract you might not be able to or lose money doing so. So in reality its best to stick with vendors within 30 miles or a hour at most of your venue and always ask about a traverlers fee.
4. Don't hire someone with a small Facebook page or no website.
This is a harder subject. As of right now I am new to the wedding planning business. My Facebook business page has about 115 likes and I have a few posts. But what sets me aside from someone who is just looking to make easy money or possibly take your money and run is, although my business is new I am legit. I realize saying that, doesn't make me sound legit. But I applied for a LLC and EIN, I have liability insurance, I have a contract, I paid for a website domain, I paid for a separate phone number, my business has its own bank account and much more. So where I may be new I actually spent money to look professional to make money. Whereas some people just create a Facebook account for their business and call it good. Everyone has to start somewhere though so I'm not trying to say don't hire those people either just make sure they have a contract, insurance and that you like their style.
5. Don't pay way under budget.
There are people out there that just love what they do and do it more as a hobby and are amazing people. However they may be harder to find. There are also vendors out there that are just starting out and will do great on your wedding day but also know because they are starting out they can't upcharge you too much. The key here is to ask questions and then follow your gut. While looking for a DJ for my sisters wedding I came across someone who didn't have a business page or website and wanted to charge us $600 for the whole day. Where I'm located DJ's are about $800-$1,200 so he was cheaper and in the budget. However my gut told me don't waste your time. And turns out I was right. Another bride on a group page paid him and he ran with her money, blocked her on everything so she has no way of getting her money back. Unfortunately these type of people exist and the best way to avoid them is making sure they have a contract, asking questions, and following your gut.
Well there it is my tips and tricks on what to do and what not to do when looking for and hiring wedding vendors. I really hope this helped. And if you are looking for a wedding planner or wedding coordinator please consider us here at Lavender & Lace Weddings, we offer free consultations! Just head over to our contact page and fill out the contact form.
Owner | Planner | Coordinator of Lavender & Lace Weddings