When it’s wedding planning time, be prepared to feel overwhelmed for a moment by the fact you need a wedding vendor for EVERYTHING: a cake, a caterer, a wedding photographer… Yup, it’s a lot of people! And while you begin to thumb through your options, keep in mind one thing: that personal connection is gonna matter.
Sure, you may have found someone who sounds good on paper – this photographer has a list of high-end clients, so they must be a perfect fit! – But when you meet them, you are left feeling a little ‘blah; or like they didn’t connect with you. Did that portfolio of high-end weddings all look a little the same? If there’s no gut connection if you don’t feel the vendor gets you, then why hire them? In short: there’s no reason to.
If that possibility scares you so much you go into thinking about doing it all yourself, hold up for a second. And breathe. And realize that may be a recipe for disaster, too. While it sounds attractive on paper, doing it, all DIY will do nothing but overwhelm you and put a lot of pressure on you, when you’ve got so much else going on.
Same when it comes to getting freebies – that can backfire in a significant way with subpar quality or missed deadlines entirely. “You get what you pay for” rings true a lot.
There are a ton of options out there for every vendor, so you will want to shop and research your way through each category. Starting with online research, you can check out vendors in your area directly, see portfolios, read reviews and get a general feel if their work is a match for you. You can also use the internet to look up local vendor events – things like bridal conventions or sponsored parties where you can interact directly with a bunch of vendors all at once and start seeing if you feel those personal connections forming to their work and their persona.
There are a lot of different styles of vendors, too – from smaller local setups to larger national brands with franchises. No one is better than the other, so it is important to compare the benefits, the pricing and the way you feel about their work.
Each specific vendor type has their own hiring timeline in relation to the big day that is super important. Be sure to keep this in mind as you go about planning your wedding in steps!
WEDDING VENUE – ONE YEAR: A biggie and an important one, these tend to book up well in advance, so it is essential to start with this and reserve a year out at least. Not only will you have the peace of mind of having a location secured, but the biggest budget-eater will be taken care of so you have a more realistic idea for the rest of your planning.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER – 11 MONTHS: Next up you have your wedding photographer. Since these typically are a one-person job or a small studio of only a few people, you want to be sure you get them booked in quickly on your day before someone else snags them.
WEDDING CATERERS – 8 MONTHS: Caterers can book up, too, so you will want to make sure you secure your preferred food vendor not too long after you book the venue. Use a couple of months to do your research on various foods and reviews and then begin to plan out the setup and place settings. As you have tastings and discussions with wedding caterers in those first months, you will be on time and prepared to book one with eight months to go.
WEDDING CAKE – 6-8 MONTHS: Since a baker can whip up more than one wedding cake a weekend, it is not as necessary to book them in right away. However, a baker’s power also isn’t infinite, so chances are you will want to secure your preferred cake maker at least six months in advance. You don’t have to go through the full tasting process at the time of booking, but at least make sure you reserve the baker you like the best.
It’s not always pretty – sometimes a vendor just doesn’t work out! And while that’s OK, actually dropping them can be a bit of a bummer. But if you are not feeling your ideas are being put into action, or you aren’t getting what was promised, it’s time to cut the cord.
Be straightforward with the vendor and don’t make up a crazy lie. In this business, most vendors will not take it personally. Keep it professional, too – you don’t want to be that crazy lady.
Make sure, too, you read over your contract for cancellation information – and be prepared you may lose a deposit in the process.
Now that you are armed with some vital information, you are ready to conquer the world of wedding vendors. Check out local vendor events, sample baker’s cakes, browse photography galleries and find not only your soulmate in life but your soulmates in wedding vendors who really get you – just make sure to follow a booking timetable!
Whether it’s the fairytale location, the menu of your dreams or the photographs you are going to look back on time and time again, do your research, and you will know you are in the right hands.BACK TO ALL BLOGS