Establish a Budget
Before you become swept up in all the wedding planning glamour and fun, sit down with your partner and set a budget. This doesn’t have to be precise numbers down to the digit, but an accurate depiction will keep you grounded and help you set priorities. Perhaps your dream wedding involves lush florals or towering candles. Or maybe the musical entertainment and variety in food selections are your top priority. Either way, having a clear price range will make comparison shopping much easier! It’s important to be wise and leave a little cushion for unexpected expenses.
Note: It’s not always wise to go with the cheapest vendor. Keep in mind their experience and quality of service before making your final decision.
ALWAYS check reviews! We understand that many wonderful companies may have a handful of not-so-nice reviews, but generally, you can tell which vendors have consistently great reviews. Don’t hesitate to ask your trusted circle for their recommendations. At the very least, it’s helpful to know which vendors you’ll want to avoid.
Check for the Right Fit
Much like your first date, your first vendor meeting can be quite telling. Do they give you butterflies in your tummy or do they turn you into an anxious mess? Vendors are here to make your life easier - so don’t commit to them simply because they are inexpensive or because they check all your boxes. Because the most important box they need to check is your vibe.
Ask if They Know the Venue
This is most applicable to your photographer and videographer - it’s a nice bonus when your photo and video team is familiar with your venue. This often means they know of all the hidden gems and the best lighting, so your special day will be magically captured. However, if they are new to your venue, you might ask them to conduct a walk-through at the venue (if they are local).
Ask Many Questions
Ask lots of questions! Think of this as their audition to be in the wedding of the century! Keep in mind that vendors know you are comparing multiple options, so they will be more than happy to answer your questions so you are as informed as possible. This goes both ways, though. Potential vendors will also ask you detailed questions to provide accurate cost estimates, so be up front and honest.
Be Sure to Get it in Writing
Contracts rule! Be sure to receive itemized contracts from your vendors clearly indicating what each party is responsible for. Be as specific as possible and keep an eye out for confusing phrases or hidden fees. Often there are fees if the ceremony or reception runs over the original ending time, so be mindful of that.