Your date is set! Congrats! Now you’re ready to choose wedding vendors and get some actual plans set. YASSSSS.
But wait… before you start planning (and drinking all the wine, ha!), there are some key DOs and DONTs to know before you book the first wedding pro you find.
Today we’ll give you a few of the most common mistakes when hiring wedding vendors so you can avoid unnecessary stress (or regret, yikes!)
These are frequent mistakes that many couples don’t know they’re making until it’s too late, and unfortunately, can be expensive to fix.
This can all be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. Let’s get to it!
How to Choose Wedding Vendors
Choosing wedding vendors is easy if you avoid these pitfalls.
1. DO set a wedding budget first.
Before you hire wedding vendors, you must have a definitive budget in place. Of course, this number may change over the course of your wedding as you find yourself spending more on one area than another… or when something ends up costing more in the long run.
You may even find yourself scoring a deal somewhere (yay!) and saving a bit of money, so that’s always a bonus.
But before you hire wedding vendors, have a budget in place because that’s the first thing they’re going to want to know: “what’s your budget?”
Without a budget in place, you won’t know how much to allocate to photography, to music, to food, to drinks, and to that awesome pair of insanely gorgeous wedding heels.
So, yeah, definitely get that budget done first.
2. DON’T go based on the vendor’s price as listed.
If the price is listed on a website, it’s more than likely that is the starting point of the service costs — and could go up from there.
For instance, on many photographer websites, you’ll find a handy drop-down menu bar that usually says, “investment”. This is how much the photographer charges, and it is usually described in a range on the website (with more concrete pricing once you contact the vendor).
The number provided is an estimate of the actual pricing, and the lowest number is usually NOT for a wedding (but rather an elopement or an engagement session). The final price will rely on how many hours you require, travel fees, distance from the ceremony to the reception site, lighting, equipment, the need for more than one photographer, etc.
If your budget is already over the price posted at the low end of that vendor’s website then chances are it is not in your budget. It may be best to look elsewhere or trim other areas of your budget to add some wiggle room (if it’s a photographer — or another service vendor — you’re truly hoping to hire).
And when you do hire the wedding vendor, be sure to get the pricing in writing so you’re on the same page. It’s also helpful to budget in any extra fees and, of course, taxes that will be added later on so there are no surprises.
Lastly, remember: you’ll want to tip wedding vendors, so add a little extra to the total amount there, as well.
I know, so many costs — but you’ll be happy you accounted for them early on!
3. DO book wedding vendors early, when possible.
A common mistake couples make when hiring wedding vendors is to try to book them too late. You are definitely welcome to book as early as possible to ensure you can fit into the vendor’s schedule. With the pandemic, many couples are hurrying to book their wedding vendors ASAP, and many dates that were postponed are getting first dibs this year and into next. This means many services are booked in advance.
If you find a wedding vendor you like and want to hire, don’t wait: find out his or her availability now and go ahead and book it. You’ll be glad you booked early, as you won’t have to scramble to find an essential wedding service at the last minute. Oof.
4. DO read the fine print.
Ah, after years of clicking ‘agree’ to many long-winded policies and warranty agreements, you want to just overlook all that fine print, amiright?! But don’t miss the fine print when hiring wedding vendors because it is crucial.
Many times, this fine print or policies will outline everything you need to know about the day-of: what time you can expect them to arrive, what travel fees are in addition to the amount, what your contract looks like, how much it costs, whether or not you can cancel and be given a refund, when, and how much… and more.
Don’t skip it! Read everything BEFORE you book.
5. DON’T be afraid to ask questions.
Before you choose wedding vendors, you probably have a ton of questions floating around in your mind. Will they know where to go? What photos do I choose? When do we pick out the music? Are linens included? What time can we set up? Who takes care of the place settings?!
It can all feel very overwhelming. (P.S. We’re here to help, so just email us and we’ll swoop in to help!)
But don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you feel like it is a dumb question (there are no dumb questions) or is an obvious one. It’s your first time figuring this all out, so it’s expected to have a bunch of questions and any professional wedding vendor will be more than happy to answer anything that arises.
When/if you do ask questions, be sure to have a pen and paper handy (or this to keep everything organized) so you can keep track of vendor notes.
This will come in handy later on so you don’t have to repeat any questions you’ve already asked. ;)
6. DON’T expect them to hold the date.
If you find a photographer, planner, venue, officiant, DJ, etc. that you like, and they’re available on your wedding date, don’t wait too long to book! Without a deposit, your potential vendor could book someone else on your date. So, sign a contract, send a deposit, and book your vendor if you’ve decided to hire them.
7. DON’T forget to read reviews before you hire wedding vendors.
Before you book, make sure you read reviews. Online reviews are one of the best tools you have on your side when choosing wedding vendors. If a vendor has a poor review, read it carefully and keep in mind that sometimes, things happen that are out of the control of the vendor. So, don’t discount a vendor completely due to one poor rating.
However, if you see many glowing reviews or you see many poor ones, go with your gut: you’ll probably be able to determine pretty quickly if he or she is the right wedding pro for you.
Now that you have some ideas of how to choose wedding vendors, do you have any questions? Let us know in the comment box below.