1. Hire vendors that you feel comfortable with. Feeling good about the vendors you hire will reduce stress not only before the big day but on the big day as well.
2. I’m on a budget! On a budget can mean different things to different people. We have heard “budgets” from $500- $5000 for entertainment. The good news is that your vendor is on a budget too. We understand that priorities, needs, wants and income all need to balance. Like planning a wedding, running a business is a delicate balance of budgeting costs associated running a business, covering costs incurred with providing a service all while trying to create a profit so that we can provide for our families. So while we can’t afford to work for free we can do our best to work with you to create packages that work within your budget. If you can tell us what your realistic budget is we can help guide you toward products and services that might be the best fit. Communicate your desires and your budget to your wedding vendor and see what your possibilities are.
3. Don’t shop on price alone. If you have a strict budget its a good idea to stick to it or very close to it but when comparing vendors, don’t just go with the cheapest price. Products, experience and abilities may differ. Ask questions. What is included or not included for your fee? Is the vendor knowledgeable about your event before offering a price? If the vendor only knows a date and location, can you be sure he will deliver what you really need and want for your event? If there are miscommunications on needs and wants in the beginning, it could end up costing you more in the long run. Make sure your vendor has a clear picture of what is needed before offering a price to avoid surprises or heartbreaks later.
4. Hire professionals. You are going to throw one of the biggest parties of your life; consider hiring professionals an absolute necessity. Here is the hard part: Know that sticker shock is going to happen. As the plans build, so do the bills. Big visions and little money may send you searching for short cuts… Some of the biggest mistakes you can make is by hiring a non professionals. Instead of hiring craigslist caterer, why not change your plated meal for a buffet? Swap out the Steak for Chicken? There are ways to cut corners on expenses but not hiring a professional can cost you time, money, sanity and possibly precious memories. Having a friend or relative perform professional services on your wedding day can also have additional negative effects. When you hire friends or family they may not live up to your expectations or they may resent working during a time when everyone else is celebrating. When the quality of work is not up to your expectations or things do not go according to plan, your relationships could be strained.
5. Be cautious of those who call themselves professionals. With the recent years of the economy in decline, the wedding industry has become completely over saturated with weekend warriors looking to make some extra income. Wedding vendors are popping up every day with little or no experience anxiously undercutting long standing professionals to build their wedding portfolio. Be cautious of vendors who may not have the experience you need while leading you to believe that its not necessary or that they have ample experience when they do not. Use referrals when possible. Do your homework and ask long established venues and businesses about the vendors you are considering. Experienced and reputable wedding professionals understand what it takes to put on a large scale event so its worth your time and effort to make sure the vendor you are talking to is a professional.
6. We are human beings. When you begin inquiring about wedding services it does tend to get mundane. You want to gather many quotes and learn about many vendors. Its easy to forget that there are real people answering emails and phone calls. Sending generic bulk emails that require your vendor to promise the ability to perform a task or lock them into a price without giving much information about you or your event makes it difficult to begin the process of a potential working relationship. Please refer back to #1. You will be working with many wedding vendors for months from the time you first contact them… this is the beginning of your relationship. We love what we do and we get excited about the work we do. We want to work with you and we want you to have an incredible experience with us. Starting your communication off right with friendly honest communication will help you not only feel better about your vendor and feel confident in the services they provide but it will make your vendor want to do their best for you.
7. Read the fine print. If you don’t, you may end up with more or less of what you thought you were getting. If you are dealing with a professional, they will want you to be an informed consumer. A clear understanding of policies will help you relax knowing what you are getting and what is expected of you. Understanding what will happen in the event of an emergency, cancellation or rescheduling of your event will give you peace of mind. Figure this stuff out now, before misunderstandings or an emergency occurs.
8. Vendor etiquette. Some of the most asked questions among brides about vendors are about etiquette. Who do I tip? Do I need to provide a meal? Don’t be afraid to ask what is common and what is expected. Some vendors will put their expectations of meals and tips in their contracts but most do not. A candid conversation about what is expected and what is appreciated will not only help you budget but will deter any awkwardness when the time comes to offer a gratuity or a meal.
9. Use pinterest for inspiration not a rule book. Pinterest is fun and even addictive. It is a wealth of information and ideas to help you create that special day. Keep in mind that the things you see on pinterest are from weddings in the past. The photos you see were from someone else’s vision for their perfect day. Be inspired and show your vendors what inspires you but make it your own. Give your vendors the freedom to do what they do best and use their own creativity. You never know, your cake, special pose or detail could be the next big pin that everyone has to have.
10. Don’t let the details destroy your day. Are the details of your day important? Absolutely! Are they more important than your relationship and marriage vows? Nope. Your day is important and hopefully every detail will go off perfectly but what if they don’t? You still win the grand prize. Don’t let the craziness of planning your perfect day overshadow what that day is really about. In the end, if you both said I DO, it was a wonderful day.