Hey y'all. If you're engaged, planning your wedding, and thinking through vendor selections, then this one's for you. There are so many components that make up a wedding and unless you are an event planner by trade, chances are you've never planned an event of this magnitude before. There are about a million moving parts, most of which rely on the expertise and professionalism of the vendors you book. Clients often come to me stressed over an abundance of vendor options and not knowing where to start. Options are good, but it's best if you can narrow things down. As someone who has been in the event planning industry since 2012 in some capacity, and as a recent bride herself, I would like to share with you some information to be mindful of when hiring your wedding vendors.
Find the Hidden Gems
Don't get me wrong here, there are some people who are killing the game and who anyone would be honored and fortunate to work with. But let's be honest, a lot of couples may not have the budget to hire these rock stars vendors. I have met and worked with some amazing folks who are just getting started in their craft or have been in the industry for a while but have been also working full-time, and haven't been able to dedicate 40+ hrs a week to their business. If you are willing to do a little research and digging, you can often find some hidden gems. The value add of these vendors is that they are more likely to work with you on price and will often bend over backwards to make you happy.
Personality is KEY
One of the joys of my job is working with vendors, but they can also be one of the biggest areas of frustration, not just for me, but for my clients as well. Some vendors are wonderful and pleasant to work with and some can be very difficult. Chances are, if you don't click or vibe with a vendor during your consultation, it likely won't get much better. A person can be as skilled as Martha Stewart, but if they are unpleasant and difficult, then they will likely bring that negativity in to your special day. You will be working really closely with some of your wedding vendors, (like your planner, officiant, and photographer); make sure they add to the joy (not stress) you feel about your upcoming wedding and marriage, and that they treat you with courtesy and value as a client. I have worked with Paisley & Jade, the east coast's premier vintage and eclectic rental company on three separate occasions now. Each time they made the process easy, streamlined, and pleasant for me as a fellow vendor. Even though I am one of the newest wedding planners in the region, they still treated me with respect and courtesy. One of the perks of being a seasoned vendor is that they pretty much have their process down to a science at this point; and they are not the only ones. In this first year of business, I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful, kind, and generous folks in the wedding industry.
Budget, Budget, Budget
I cannot stress this one enough. Having a clearly defined budget will make everyone's job infinitely easier. Get with your wedding planner or parent, or whoever is helping you plan, and figure out how much you want to allocate to each vendor. You can estimate at least 35-50% of the budget to go towards the reception. Break the wedding down into percentages and determine what is important to you. Is it killer photos? Is it tons of details and decor? Is it the dress? Is that band you heard that one time and fell in love with? I find that people often don't think through these things ahead of time (which how would you know to do that it being your first time and all?) and then are overwhelmed by what they see on Pinterest. If you know your budget ahead of time, this will help you narrow down your search as you look for vendors that can work within your price range. Finally, what is important to you, may not be important to the next couple, and that's okay. If you don't care a thing about decor, then don't spend your money there. You would only regret it later. Spend your money where it makes the most sense for you as a couple, and realize that you don't "need" everything that everyone is offering. I heard a vendor once say that all couples "needed" something that I knew as planner was a luxury, not a necessity. Determine what makes the most sense for you and your spouse-to-be and remember marriage is the ultimate goal here, not the wedding.
In closing, when considering what you want out of your wedding vendor, look for someone who: responds in a timely manner (or at least has an away message letting you know what times they respond to email), is friendly and courteous, has positive reviews, has a back-up plan in case of emergency, is organized, and is more interested in providing you a service that makes sense for you than just "selling" you their most expensive option. So there's just a few tips to help you along the way; I'll be sharing more to come in future posts.
Thanks for stopping by and happy planning!