How to Know Your Wedding Vendors are Professionals - Denver Wedding Planning
As a wedding planner, I hear a lot of stories. (Ready to cringe? Here we go!)
”When my sister got married, her makeup artist showed up an hour late!”
”I was a bridesmaid in a wedding once, the wedding photographer was SO rude to us and kept making us do cheesy poses.”
”At my brothers wedding, the florist almost didn’t make it. She had written down the wrong day. When we called her, she came and started assembling flowers on the kitchen table while we waited to get into the limo. Her shirt was filthy and she smelled awful, too!”
I wish I could say these things never happened, but they do…so today’s blog post is what you should look for when hiring vendors for your wedding.
Even if you are shopping with a smaller budget in mind, you deserve to have wedding vendors who will give you their very best. As a wedding planner, this is some of my best advice for choosing professionals to work at your wedding!
How to Know That Your Wedding Vendors are Professionals
1. Find vendors through word of mouth
When a friend (or wedding planner) recommends a wedding vendor that they themselves had a great experience with, chances are you’ll be looking at a professional.
Ask questions! Why do they recommend them? What did they love about working with them? What made them want to hire that vendor in the first place?
2. Look for a professional online presence
A professional will have invested time and money in their online presence. They will have an appealing, easy to navigate website, may have been published, may maintain a strong presence on social media, and have great reviews.
Some vendors focus more on tangible media (brochures, magazines, etc.) and may not be super involved with social media; this is ok, just go with your gut here. The bigger picture is that an investment in some kind of media helps ensure that you aren’t hiring a fly-by-night vendor.
3. Check reviews
Fake reviews are a real problem. Look for reviews that feel authentic. Fake reviews often start with the same phrasing, tend to be short, and may have all been written around the same time. Real reviews tend to touch on specifics; how the vendor helped them, a personal connection, excitement they shared, and feelings they had about working with the vendor.
Once you’ve decided to reach out to a few vendors, don’t hesitate to ask for the following things.
4. Ask for entire weddings
This is primarily true for photographers; ask to see an entire wedding start to finish. Look at the wedding objectively; the couples style may not match your own; however the style of the photography should be consistent and match what you are looking for.
For other vendors…taste the cake! Ask to see real example menus that have been served before. Chat with your wedding planner (maybe me?) about what a wedding day looks like, start to finish, with them by your side.
5. Look for contracts
Not only is the contract important, but having a good one in place is a sign that the wedding vendors you want to work with are operating professionally.
Good contracts should cover at minimum liability, date changes, cancellation policies, weather, retainers, and an outline of inclusions and expectations from both parties.
6. Look for insurance & business licensing
This shouldn’t be something you have to ask about, but if something makes you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to ask for transparency!
Professional wedding vendors will carry liability insurance. They will also be appropriately licensed as a business, according to your local State and / or County laws.
7. Professional vendors are more likely to take an interest in you
If a meeting with a potential vendor ends up with a hard sell, guilt trips, or ‘games’ (you know, kind of like used car salesman might play?), look elsewhere.
Wedding vendors who are truly passionate about what they do will be asking you questions; they want to know about your wedding so that they can truly tailor the experience to you.
If you feel like you are being treated like dollar signs, or like a number, that is a sure sign that the vendor you are meeting with doesn’t have your best interest at heart.
8. Avoid vendors that are ‘Too Good to be True’
You may stumble on a photographer whose work is incredible, and whose pricing is also incredible.
Be wary. Many times the ‘to good to be true’ vendor may have actually ‘borrowed’ somebody else’s work to show on their site, claiming it as their own.
Don’t fall into this trap.
9. Ask wedding vendors for recommendations
Wedding vendors know whose who in the industry. They will have some of the strongest and best recommendations for you, especially if they are talking from the heart (and not a compilation of vendors who paid to get on their list).
A wedding planner (click below if you’d like to chat with me, hint hint!) will have great connections to professional vendors and can match you up with people who will be a great fit for your day.
You can also chat with your photographer, florist, or DJ for recommendations of who they love working with.
10. Go with your gut
Some of the best vendors got their start in a simple way…a basic website, a bare-bones contract, and a fledgling social media account.
Follow your gut! You may happen upon a true gem who is new to the industry, but don’t go into it without knowledge or without asking questions.
One of the biggest mistakes couples make is hiring based on price and hoping the vendor fits their needs and wants; it’s much better to shop for what you need, and adjust everything else as necessary.
Ready to get started on hiring the vendor team of your dreams for your Colorado wedding?
Click below to chat. Tell me about your wedding, your date (hopefully I’m still available!), and a little bit about the two of you! I look forward to hearing from you.