Before you go and start booking vendors, I want to share our process for vetting and recommending vendors to our couples. If you love checking things off the list, and getting things done as I do, you may be itching to go ahead and start booking people and checking things off the list, but you’ll save time and end up with a better vendor team by taking a few key steps early in the wedding planning process.
We’ve developed a process that makes sure the people we recommend are excellent at their craft, professional in their business interactions, and a good fit for the couple. You can use this same process as you select your vendors.
1. Assess the Craft
We start with vetting wedding professionals regarding their craft. We look at whether they are experts in their profession and are dedicated to the quality of their service or product. So if we are talking about florists, we consider whether the flowers arrive in good condition, if they are well designed. For photographers, how is the quality of the overall galleries we’ve seen? Were they able to get photos in various lighting situations? For Bands, we are attuned to the overall vibe of the band as well as the sound quality and the entertainment value, particularly with the lead singer and or emcee. So in this step, it’s all about is the wedding vendor good at their craft.
2. Assess Professionalism
The second thing we look at is our business interactions with wedding vendors. Going back to the example with a florist, we may ask:
- How easy were they to get in touch with when we needed a change order?
- Did they deliver the flowers on time?
- Were they flexible with solving problems?
For photographers, we want to find the ones that communicate well upfront and deliver on the shot lists that the client wants. Its not just about how great the pictures are, it’s also about whether the gallery is complete with the pictures requested.
For bands, we are looking for the ones that arrive for set up on time, complete their sound checks before the ceremony starts, take their breaks for the amount of time they are allotted, and have the equipment to deliver high-quality sound even if something goes wrong.
There is a difference between being good at your craft, and being good at business. You might think well as long as they are good at their craft I don’t really care about the rest. But in reality, the ones who aren’t good at business cause stress and frustration especially in the month or so before the wedding. And often poor business practices lead to problems on the wedding day. For example, a caterer that doesn’t respond to emails in a timely manner may miss special dietary requirements or requests for menu changes. So even if their food is amazing, they may not be a great caterer to work with. We prefer the vendors who can marry those to skills, being excellent at their craft, and also excellent at running their business.
3. Match Wedding Design to Vendor Vibe
The 3rd step we take is to look at the personality, lifestyle, and vision of the client and match them with the vendors that will provide the best fit. The easiest way to manage this part of the process is to have a well designed and accurate mood board. Check out our video on making one yourself here. From this board, you can book vendors that have a similar aesthetic.
Some photographers are light and airy, others are dark and moody. Some floral designers are modern and edgy, while others are traditional and classic. Some caterers focus on flawlessly executed presentation, others are focused on quick service or savory classic dishes.
Knowing the mood for the wedding helps the client communicate what they want. It also lets the vendor say either “oh yea we can do that”, or “well that’s not really something we do.”
Its 3 straightforward steps!
- Assessing the quality of their craft
- Assessing the professionalism of the business
- Matching the wedding design to the vendor vibe
Take those steps first and you’re far more likely to hire a team that is good to work with and delivers on the wedding you want.
Thank y’all for reading and happy wedding planning!