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What Questions Should I Ask My Wedding Vendors?

Planning a wedding day is exhausting! There are so many decisions that need to be made and so much to communicate amongst friends, family and vendors (caterers, florists, photographers, venues, etc.).

So, if you are a bride or groom, please do me a favor and breathe. It's a lot, but breathe. It's gonna be a great day.


There's a lot of information swirling the internet about what to do for invitations, dresses, desserts, and what not, but when it comes to talking to vendors it's normal to be at a loss. These are people who have seen dozens of weddings from behind the scenes, but now that you are planning a wedding for the first time for yourself, all the barbecue meals and dry cakes at your friends weddings are making a lot of sense.


Ultimately, it comes down to how much you are willing to spend and where, but you are doing a lot of "taste testings" (AKA interviews to see if you want to hire and work with these people) and they keep turning to you for questions or telling you what you want. The thing is, you don't know what you want which is why you are talking to multiple vendors.


Where do I start?


The short answer is start with yourself. Decide before hand a rough idea of what you are looking for and what the budget should look like. This will change as you gather information about your different options, but having a decision made before hand will help with decision fatigue.


That said, you should start by asking yourself if you want to work with these vendors and what do you need to know to make that decision. Address taste testing and consultations like an employer would address an interview. Have goals on what you want to know by the time you leave.


Ask to Understand the Vendor

So many couples make the mistake of only wanting to know pricing by the time they leave. They want a price list and that's it. The problem is that when if comes to make decisions you have a list of prices, but don't remember anything about the personality of the person you, your family and other hired vendors will be working with.


What do you need to know to make a call on who you want to work with and communicate with? Are they prepared? Do they have back-up plans in the event of weather? What if something breaks? Do they have refund policies in place? What are they willing to do to accommodate particular needs of your family?


Keep in mind that they are still trying to make money and run a business, but understanding their thoughts process can avoid drama and unnecessary stress on your wedding day.


Ask for Advice

Remember that this is their job and that some vendors have been working in the wedding industry for over a decade. They have seen what works and what doesn't work with their product - for better or for worse.


Don't hide your needs from them. You should be open about allergies with your caterer without worrying about an upcharge (and again if they upcharge you for your aunt's peanut allergy are they really worth working with?) and you can present what you are thinking and get feedback on it.


For example, I went to a cupcake testing and my fiancé and I were debating how many to get in each flavor. I asked the baker about their thoughts and they were able to tell me which flavors typically run out the fastest at weddings and propose their thought on the flavor ratio. My favorite part about it? The vendor basically made the call for me and that was one less decision I had to make.


Listen to your vendors, if they are giving you advice or strongly advising against something, it's probably because they've learned something from another wedding that you don't want to learn at yours.


Ask About Other Weddings - within reason....

It is ok to ask about other weddings within reason. Obviously, vendors don't want to share specifics about other events just out of respect for other weddings, but you can still ask what other couples have done with their product or service.


My favorite question is to ask vendors what their most memorable wedding was and why. Typically, the response is something positive. For example, the bride and groom gave a photographer a list of different photos that they want so that the photographer could go through pictures quickly knowing they are getting all the pictures their client's want.


Sometimes, the most memorable wedding is NOT a good experience, but you can learn where other couples have gone wrong. There really isn't a downside to the question. Just make sure that when you ask, you don't push for anything too specific that the vendor would be uncomfortable sharing.


Ask for a Price Breakdown

Pricing can be such a bother to ask because it's at the forefront of your mind, but asking other questions to understand the end price will help you evaluate if it's worth your money. The end price can be alarming, but understanding everything that you are paying for will help.


For example, most wedding vendors offer different packages: a caterer might offer table service, a photographer might offer some videography, a venue might offer help decorating, etc. All of these additions will come at an additional cost, so this requires you to know what you prioritize already.


Price breakdowns are great at adding up the end total and why it is the way that it is. If you understand where the prices are coming from, then you can negotiate and possibly cut down the prices of the big ticket items that you don't really care about. Sometimes the difference in prices between a buffet and table service meal from a caterer is staggering.


Conclusion

At the end of the day it all comes down to you and your gut. Whatever feels right for the both you is the best. You want to be walking down the aisle thinking about the love of your life and not worrying about the things that could go wrong. You've got this!

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