6 Ways to Find the Best Vendors for your Wedding

best vendors for your weddingBest Vendors for Your Wedding

Finding the best vendors for your wedding can be tricky! These 6 tips are a guide to help you navigate hiring the best vendors for your wedding. You are essentially planning a big party, with a lot of people contributing to it. It can be overwhelming, and more times than I care to admit, I have heard horror stories about everything to florists, to bakers, DJs and venues to {gasp!} photographers. You don’t want that to be you! To help you make the best decisions possible, here are a few tips from my experience both as a bride and as an industry professional.

Contracts

Have one!

Promise me now, you will not hire any vendor without signing a contract. A contract you have read and understand. This piece of paper isn’t there to just protect the business owner; it’s there to protect you too. It sets the expectations for both parties to come together and do business. The wedding industry is made up mainly of self-employed individuals, and if you know the ‘right’ person, you might get a great discount {yay you!}, but don’t hire them if there isn’t even a whisper of a contract. That contract holds them accountable for their services to you and outlines payment, among other things.

When I got married I had contracts with all my vendors, and one of them was delayed in delivering their product. When I contacted them about it, I referenced the agreed to timeline and they rectified the situation. I am thankful I had it in writing when I contacted them.

Read it!

I am being honest here, you will be signing a lot of contracts. Please take the time to read the entire thing. Contracts detail timelines, deliverables, possible extra fees in certain circumstances, things you need to be aware of. If you sign a contract and haven’t read it, you might be disappointed down the road because you might want extra editing on an image or to substitute a different food and are unaware of the cost involved. And don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification! The contracts will have been drafted by lawyers and are not the easiest to read. A vendor worth their salt {and your time} will be more than happy to walk you through the contract.

On a side note, most vendors have drafted the contract to protect both yourself and their business so I caution against trying change the entire document or sending them one of your own. Again, a vendor worth their salt will explain why a clause within the contract is important or necessary. If it is something you are not comfortable signing and they are not comfortable removing, then it might the right fit.
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Haggling

There are vendors out there who will be more than willing to do your wedding for exposure or to drop their prices for you. This is where a good chunk of my horror stories come from. When paying for a service for significantly less or not at all, these vendors are truly not as motivated to provide their service to you at a high quality. Or at all. The amount of vendors who conveniently got the stomach flu the day of a wedding who had bartered for the business is exceptionally high, from personal experience.

Think about it this way, vendors cannot pay their bills with exposure. If they are spending money on food or flowers for your wedding day, I would be nervous about what would show up. I would also worry about getting food poisoning. And believe you me, I know how expensive a wedding is. Just promise me you will find a vendor within your budget and pay them at their current pricing.

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Helpful

When I got married a few years ago, my favorite vendor took the time to get to know my story. They realized I was planning my move to Houston at the same time as my wedding. The vendor went out of their way to not only provide me with a list of vendors they loved, but to give me advice on where I could save a bit of money painlessly. They also took on more than they had in their contract and it made me less stressed out.

I try to be a resource to my couples as well. From sending them “what to wear” guides, I will also let them know which vendors I have had great experiences with in the past. I don’t necessarily have a preferred vendor list, but I will give couples two or three amazing options for bakers or florists, if they need help.

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What About Awards?

So you find this amazing linen company and you notice they don’t have any awards from The Knot or Wedding Wire. You start to second guess yourself, how can they be good if they don’t have an award? Here is the truth behind those awards–they are given out to thousands and thousands of vendors. In fact, by giving out these awards, it increases traffic to their websites. A lot of these claims are arbitrary and in some cases are a marketing ploy and thus are not even real.

So don’t second guess yourself if you have found a vendor you love who hasn’t been showered in awards. If they are passionate about what they do, their work is exemplary, then do a happy dance! You just booked someone who will make your wedding day amazing!

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Or They are Published?

A vendor who has their work published is different than awards. It means that a publication has seen their work and love it and want to promote it. Only 15% of vendors who submit to publications get published. if you see a button on a vendor’s website saying “As Seen On”, I encourage you to click on it and see their work.

Now, a caveat, some of the published work is styled and not a real wedding. If you are looking at the work of a calligrapher or baker, you are seeing a true representation of their level of quality. For the photographer, it isn’t necessarily 100% a true representation of their work. Yes, you are getting a feel for how they photograph couples and details, but they also have an abundance of time to capture these things. As well, the couple in the images might be models, and thus are able to work a pose and look visually dynamic. All of this leading me to…

C Wright Photography

Ask for Samples

A true gage of a vendor’s work is in seeing what they produced at a wedding. For caterers and bakers, it won’t be a day-of wedding tasting, but they still do those. I would also ask to see samples of a florist’s work and photographer from a recent wedding. That way you can compare what you have seen of their work on their website to what they have delivered to a client. This will give you a much better idea of who you are hiring & what will come on your wedding day.

Conclusion

You do not need to spend a ton of money on your wedding. Prioritize what is a priority and invest in that. At the end of the day, you are planning an awesome party and marrying the love of your life. This is the most important thing. So take a deep breath and take the planning one step at a time.

 

Houston, TX PhotographerLove my work? Want me to capture you and yours? Let’s talk!! It’s easy, my email address is Christine@cwrightphotographyhouston.com. Let’s have a heart-to-heart, get excited about the possibilities of your wedding or session and come up with a plan that is uniquely you! I want to hear from you!