Vendor shopping is so overwhelming when you start! Going to Google and typing “florists” and there’s what, like a gazillion results?! It can be SO HARD at first and definitely overwhelming. Once you narrow down your search, here are some tips on what to do next with your stand-out vendors. Here are our wedding vendor shopping dos and don’ts:
You are doing the hiring, so ask questions! If you meet with a florist and they use technical terms for flowers and you’re like “uuuhhh what the heck is a Tweedia?” then ask them to educate you on everything! The more educated you are about their processes and the materials and/or work itself, the more success you’ll have working with that vendor. And the more confident you’ll be about hiring them!
We had clients meet with us before they even have a color palette. This is super flattering that they want to work with us so soon, but can propose challenges. Be prepared with inspiration to give the vendor an idea of what you’re looking for. A few curated images that you really like will make it so much easier on the vendor!
A tip: the more cohesive images the better! Take note on what you like about each image vs. just throwing anything pretty onto a board. Also, don’t just look at wedding images – find anything that inspires you for your vision! Home decor, art pieces, nature, Airbnb decor, etc. – us creatives can go off mostly anything!
When narrowing down your search, look at vendors that all have a similar brand to what you’re looking for. Scrolling through their website portfolios, Instagrams and other socials are a great place to start. We suggest giving them a follow and see which vendors engage you the most during the week. Which ones do you connect with? You can tell just through socials if you’ll click with someone or not! One tip from my friend Mallory Dawn is to always ask for an entire gallery from photographers when searching. This way, you get to really see the end result of what you’ll be getting. You can see how they capture everything vs. the best photos that they highlight on their socials.
This way, you can give them a realistic range of what you’re able to do. If you’re not sure about what the vendor’s pricing range might be, it’s best to ask that before having them put together an entire proposal for you. Proposals take HOURS to put together, so don’t waste their time if you know you won’t be in their range. If you know you’ll be on the lower end of that range, tell them what your budget is so they can let you know the best they can do within that. They can even possibly give you a good referral for someone else in that range. Also be prepared with necessary information such as date, venue, and estimated guest count.
Would you go to your local shop or restaurant and ask them to stay open later just because you couldn’t come during work hours? Probably not, so remember that we are just like that even if we make our own hours. A lot of us have families and would like to be home with them for dinner. Some have sitters lined up during the day or for meetings. It’s important to take a step back and remind yourself that we’re people too! Some vendors are happy to make it work around your schedule, but it’s all dependent on the company. Be flexible and know that some meetings might just have to be over the phone on your lunch break. If a lot of your vendors have these policies, it’s best to take one day off and schedule as many meetings as you can in one day. Some are worried about fitting in these meetings within their own work schedules. In that case, we highly recommend a full-service wedding planner as they can do most of the communication for you and save you a lot of stress!
If you have not heard from them within a week, send a follow up email. Chances are they are currently busy tending to the weddings right around the corner. If your wedding is still a few months or even a year away, they are prioritizing their attentiveness to their most current bride. This will be the same attention you will also receive when your time is near. So, if they’re not replying to you right away, be patient and send a follow-up email before you write them off. Remember, most wedding vendors are a small team or a solo operation wearing many hats.
Most wedding vendors are a very small team, not a big corp. Therefore, they are usually giving you the best pricing that they possibly can. There’s a lot of time spent working on an event that you don’t see them punching the time clock for. This is why negotiating prices can be a slap in the face, as it seems like you’re not understanding the value of a small business. If you want to support those small businesses, support them by not asking for discounts (;
They’re all different! Each business has a different way of structuring their pricing so you can’t expect them all to be the same. It’s more than okay to gather a couple of proposals as you do need to see what’s best for you. It’s also okay to ask them what they can do within your budget, and how they structure their pricing. Just don’t question one vendor about their pricing by comparing it to another vendor’s proposal.
Hate to say it, but most of these are based on paid advertising, so chances are they just had the mula to get that “honor”. They can easily be forged with fake reviews and clients, and should not be a priority when hiring a vendor. Focus on their real weddings that they have done!
The time they carved out for you is precious as is the money they could have made in that time slot that you cancelled on them last minute. Sometimes it’s a single mom that had to secure a paid sitter for their little one and you have not only cost them that lost time with you, but an additional cost to them and their family. If you set up a meeting, make sure you take it seriously. We don’t mind if you don’t hire us, but please let us know before we carve out the time to meet with you.
Ghosting the vendors that you inquired with is super annoying. We can almost guarantee you that they won’t be offended if you let them know you decided to go a different direction. Communication for this is respectful to everyone’s time and you want to know how many leads ghosted me last year? 97! That’s too many! Just have some common courtesy to let them know so you can both move forward. We’ll appreciate it SO much!
There you have it, the wedding vendor shopping do’s and don’ts! Even though it’s expensive, it’s worth it to have a full-service wedding planner as they can really help alleviate a lot of stress and can help you navigate vendor communication. It can be intimidating, but it’s also super fun planning a wedding! Having a wedding planner (not just a day or month-of coordinator) will help you focus on the FUN parts of wedding planning! And we like to make the paper parts extra fun and easy for you too (; contact us for a wedding invite consultation!