Congratulations, you’re engaged! It's now the most exciting and wonderful time in your life, but at the same time, it can be extremely overwhelming. Now the most strenuous and stressful period of the wedding begins - selecting the perfect wedding vendors to help make your dream day a reality.
Today’s wedding landscape is over over-saturated with wedding professionals vying for your business. List after list of “Top of This” and “Best of That” bombard you from every angle. Throw in various social media platforms, wedding magazines, friends' recommendations, reality TV, and a score of other influences - and it is just daunting to even think about. So how do you sort through all this clutter? Common sense, a little research, and trusting your gut. I’ve been observing for the past 13 years as clients of my own tread cautiously and tirelessly through this same jumbled sea of wedding details. Here are a few things I have learned over the years that may be helpful to you in your own selections.
Peel back the layers. You can quickly find out a lot of information about a wedding professional through internet research and social media. Check out the vendor’s Twitter feed, Facebook page, Instagram, and Pinterest boards.Take a deeper look at the owner’s personal page if you can. How do they conduct themselves behind the curtain? What are they saying and how are they saying it? How does all this match up with what you are seeking?
Look thoroughly at their portfolio. Most vendors showcase their best work online and in their storefront. Don’t be wowed by skin deep beauty- look a little deeper. Set up personal visits with a list of your favorite vendors. For a photographer, ask to see a FULL wedding, not just some samples here and there. Check to make sure their entire workflow matches their featured showcase pieces.
Personality matters – A LOT. You have friends, you enjoy hanging out with them, and some of them will even be part of your wedding in the bridal party or as guests.You enjoy their company because they offer you value and harmony. The same should be said of the people you work closely with for your wedding. You should see eye to eye on multiple levels. You’ll be spending an incredible amount of time with your vendors over the next several months. Make sure the vendor gives off the kind of vibes you want around during the process, and that they truly make you feel as comfortable as possible through every step.
Variety and Consistency are the spice of life: Consistency is key, but variety PLUS consistency is a better balance. Yes, it is extremely important that their work is consistently high quality, but you also want to see personality sprinkled in for every project. After all, you want your wedding to be unique and not cookie cutter. A diverse and consistent portfolio showcases the range of work that the vendor can offer and offers a platform for them to bring out your personalities as well.
Vet through experience: There is no need to tip-toe around this question. Come right out and ask them “How long have you been in business and how many weddings have you worked exclusively?” Look up vendors online and check them out through the better business bureau. Equally as important as years of experience is years working exclusively on their own. In other words, there are vendors out there that have been “assisting” for years, but how many weddings have they been solely responsible for? Determine your special criteria then ask vendors about their experience in dealing with them.
Take awards with a grain of salt: Don’t focus on their awards lambasted all over their website; Many of these awards are campaign-based, AKA, they may have solicited for this award. This doesn’t mean the award wasn’t justified, but sometimes this kind of clutter can be misleading. Inquire about their awards; How did they earn them? What were the criteria for the recipient? Maybe even find out who their competitors were.
A day in the life. Ask them to take you through their workflow process from beginning to end. Be very wary if this question catches them off guard. Does their process meet your personality? Are they too overbearing or too casual? Read their reviews on Google, theKNOT, Wedding Wire, and YELP. Past clients reviews will tell you a lot about their process and how well they interact and work with their clients. In the photography world, there are some amazing photographers, but the question is, is their customer service up to par with your standards? The same question should be asked of your DJ or band, caterer, florist, venue director, wedding planner, etc. Once you've found your perfect match, stop looking! Don't second-guess your decision by continuing to look at what you could have chosen. You made an educated decision to hire; Now, trust the professionals and enjoy the rest of the planning experience!
Were these tips helpful? Have some tips of your own? We would love to hear about them in the comments box below.