You’ve said, “Yes” after your partner finally got down on one knee and you both find yourselves in a whirlwind of vendor emails, family advice, and wedding planning bliss (or chaos dependent on how you handle the stress of planning a big event. Haha!) So how do you prepare yourself to make the best decision when it comes to selecting vendors for your wedding?
Below, I will go over just a few of the pieces of advice that I offer my clients when it comes to seeking out everything from the photographer and caterer, to choosing the perfect artist for your beauty services – the advice can truly be applied to any vendor service you are seeking out!
1. First things first, start by deciding an appropriate budget that you and your spouse are comfortable with. Decide what is important to you, and what items you might be able to live without – place these items on a “wishlist” so to speak, so that as you are planning your big day, you can investigate them further.
2. Begin to seek out vendors in each service category that you are seeking for. Instagram and Facebook are a wonderful place to start, as well as TheKnot and WeddingWire. Review photos of the vendor’s work, read through the reviews, reach out to personal friends and family members that have also worked with the vendor for an overview of their experience. Really do your homework! Once you’ve found someone you are really interested in, send an inquiry email!
3. In your inquiry email, it is important to be as thorough as possible. The vendors understand that there are a lot of details you do not have figured out upon first contact, but big details to include are:
– What you are looking for: If you are reaching out about beauty services, it is helpful to specify if you are seeking hair services, tanning packages, or makeup applications.
– The date of your event: This will save you a lot of unnecessary hassle if you begin with the date of your event, as you do not want to get too far along in the proceedings only to learn that your vendor is not available for your event
– Location of the venue: Many vendors will charge a travel fee, so if you are working with a small travel budget for your vendors it is helpful to look for someone local to your venue
– Generic timeline for the date: Many vendors like to know what the time line of your wedding or other event will look like. Helpful details such as when you are able to enter a venue, the time of the ceremony or pictures, etc. will help to ensure things go smoothly with the booking process.
4. Respond promptly to all correspondence from the vendor. Chances are that you are not the only bride planning a wedding on your selected date, and if you love a vendor, there is a very high likelihood someone else does as well! By keeping up with correspondence from your professional, you increase the odds that you will be able to successfully book the vendor you love.
5. Complimentary phone consults – utilize them. By chatting with your potential vendors on the phone, you can gauge the vendor’s communication style, customer service level, and personality. It is important to feel really good about your communication and correspondence with your vendor as any second-guessing of your interactions could result in unneeded stress as your wedding approaches. If you do not love someone, that is okay! It is human nature not to mesh well with every single person you meet, don’t take it personally. Politely thank the vendor for their time and information, and find someone else. This is to be expected!
6. Book the vendor. Sign the contract. And pay the deposit. These steps often finalize the booking process for your vendors. I cannot urge the importance of the contract and deposit process enough. While each vendor will have their own booking process, I always suggest utilizing vendors that have a legally binding contract for you to enter into. This not only covers the vendor in the event that you should have to cancel services, but it serves as a wonderful tool for you, the client, to ensure that you receive all services and items agreed upon during the booking process. It ensures that the vendor agrees to be prompt, courteous, and work to keep your best interests and experience in mind. It also ensures that you do not have a poor experience where the vendor unintentionally double books themselves, or cancels due to a non-emergency. Get the contract.
There are so many, many other key components to successfully booking your vendor, and truly the list could go on. As a starting point, these are some key factors and components to consider when making sure that you have the opportunity to book the vendors that will bring your dreams to reality! Best of luck with your wedding planning, I wish you an amazing experience every step of the way!