Ok, you’ve said ‘yes’, now what? Planning a wedding can be fun, but also stressful. When you’re deciding on which vendor to choose, there are so many things to be considered. No fear, we’ve simplified it into the first 7 questions to ask a wedding vendor.
Are you Available?
Before you ask about money, make sure the vendor can make the date work. “Everything is moot if the vendor isn’t available to work your wedding,” said Mike Cassara from Pastor Mike Weddings. “It’s never too early to book your preferred vendors but it is always too late if someone else books that vendor ahead of you.”
So make sure you have the specifics before going to a vendor. “The first thing to approach a vendor with are the details of your event. This means your wedding date, wedding venue, guest count, wedding time(s), etc,” recommends Alexis McNeely from Orlando Wedding and Party Rentals.
Can you fit within my budget?
Ok, you’re going to have to talk about this ahead of time as well. Before you ask how much, you’ve got to consider how much you want to spend. “Asking for pricing out of the starting gate adds an unnecessary step for you and that vendor, and an unnecessary disclaimer of ‘hey, we need this info first.’ And to be frank, it can come across as rude to ask for pricing before getting to know a certain vendor,” says McNeely. Vendors need to know how much money they have to work with to make your special day special.
“My suggestion to this would be to be open and honest with your vendors about what your budget is and what you’re looking for,” says Kristin Wilson from Our DJ Rocks. “Many vendors don’t have a set price because they create it around what your needs are.” Telling a vendor how much you’re willing to spend will also save both of your time. “Many vendors do have a minimum,” says The Flower Studio’s Andie Muller.
Plus, make sure you know what kind of deposit is needed to secure your date.
Do you offer any discounts?
Discounts for service members, first responders, teachers, alumni, and other categories can help lessen the burden, so make sure you ask these. Please remember to ask in a way that is polite and kind.
Another way to work that question is “are there any options for packages that might be discounted?” Seasonality and day of the week is a big factor for Florida weddings. “We do offer seasonal pricing, so it’s not always the same depending on the day and time of year,” says Wilson. “Feel free to politely ask your vendors if they do offer that option. Some do and some may not.” Some city-owned venues will offer a discount if you reside within city limits.
Even if you don’t have a lot of money to spare, some vendors can work with you.
“Almost all vendors will have a variety of packages they offer,” said Pastor Mike. “I also advise couples to discuss their needs and wants with the vendor so he or she can point the couple to the package that is most suitable for them.” Some vendors are even flexible enough to adjust packages to make them work for you and your wallet. “There are many ways to reduce costs,” explains Darlene Walker from CDC Floral. “It almost always involves scaling back, reducing size. Sometimes it’s as easy as substituting materials that are less expensive but provide the same look. Your floral professional should be able to assist with this decision.”
So before you go to a vendor, make sure you and your fiance discuss what needs to be at the wedding and what you can live without. “For Our DJ Rocks and Photobooth Rocks, we don’t want to leave out something in your package that’s important to you, but also don’t want to include it if you don’t want it,” said Wilson. “So we have flexibility in our packages. I think it’s more about that package than it is about ‘what is your price?’”
How long have you been doing this?
When picking a vendor, knowledge, and experience should be key factors for any couple, so says Muller. A vendor who has been in the wedding business for years will certainly pay off for the couple. “You want to hire as experienced a vendor as you can,” said Pastor Mike. “There isn’t much that is more important than the experience a vendor brings to your wedding. Make sure they tell you, to the best of their knowledge, how many weddings they do every year and if they’ve done a wedding at your venue.
Can you share references?
It’s one thing to ask vendors about their work, it’s another thing for you to see it. “Seeing actual work they have done (can help make a decision),” said Walker. Of course, some of that sleuthing should have been done by you ahead of time. “Researching a vendor’s reviews will tell you a lot about the experiences other couples have had with the vendor,” said Pastor Mike. Talking to another couple about their experience with the vendor can help prepare you for what to expect and the questions to ask a wedding vendor.
Kathy Thomas Photography
Are you insured?
If something were to happen on your wedding day, you want to make sure you and your vendor are covered. Licensed and insured vendors will put you at ease if a camera breaks or there’s some other mishap. Ask a vendor what’s covered if something should happen to their equipment. Also, make sure you know their cancellation policy and if they have a backup in case something were to happen to them.
These are just basic questions for every vendor. Remember to pay attention to their personality and if you think it’ll fit with yours. And don’t forget specific questions for specific vendors, like the photographer and florist, will also have to be asked. But at least these 7 questions to ask first will help get the conversation going and get your big day off the ground.