Guide to Booking Wedding Vendors

In a perfect world, all wedding vendors would be professional, easy to work with and fit your budget! However, in the real world, vendors can fall anywhere along this continuum.

If you’re an engaged couple, you are in the midst of finding out that each wedding vendor operates based on his/her own standards of professionalism and customer service delivery.

This is coupled with the fact that packages, prices, terms and conditions vary; which is precisely why the onus is on the couple to ensure they receive value for their money but also have an enjoyable experience interacting with wedding vendors.

There are some clues you can discern upfront, such as, the way wedding vendors answer their phones and return your phone calls and e-mails. Should you find yourself having a difficult time getting ahold of them or if you find that you have conflicting views that can’t seem to get resolved, perhaps it’s time to find another vendor.

Here are some tips to use when selecting wedding suppliers:

  • Generally, it is best to interview several wedding vendors in each category ( e.g. Photography, Catering etc.) and follow your instincts about them, as well as your budget
  • Attend reputable bridal expos. This way you can compare and contrast vendors’ offerings and look at products and services on the spot.
  • Exceptional vendors will offer advice, will be reliable and trustworthy and will do everything in their power to get your business. Never let a vendor feel as though you are doing them a favour by booking them. Remember if you are the paying customer, it is in the vendor’s best interest to cater to your needs and treat you respectfully.
  • Find out about the supplier’s professional qualifications and/or years of experience in their area of expertise.
  • After phone calls or emails, always try to make an appointment to meet your vendor. When you arrive, ask to see his/her portfolio of work and any letters of recommendation from past clients or testimonials. Remember that testimonials featured on a website are often not enough, so ask if you can get references to call or email.
  • Be sure the supplier takes note of your budget and preferences and records these details. Be wary of a supplier who seems disorganised, is repeatedly late and commits everything you say to memory!
  • Ask about the supplier’s full range of services. Some wedding suppliers can provide more than one service or product, for a package price.
  • Once you have decided on the vendor and determined the product/service details, get all the specifics in writing. This can be on an invoice or in the form of a service contract. In your contract, ensure you specify date, location and set-up time.
  • Enquire about how much deposit is required and when it should be paid; as well as when the balance is due.
  • Ask about possible hidden costs such as transportation of items to the wedding site, breakage fees, costs for site visits or for further consultations, assembly, “clean-up” or dismounting charges.
  • Once you pay a deposit, always ensure that you get a receipt
  • Ask about back-up equipment or contingency plans.

In the end, always bear in mind that you hire wedding vendors because of their expertise but the only expert on what you want for your wedding, is YOU!