By Erika, Fashion Expert
Saying “yes” to your fiancé is, obviously, one of the most exciting and important days in your life. Once you say yes to your fiancé there are dozens more “yeses” to be said. Some of the most important people you will say “yes” to are your wedding vendors.
Choosing the right wedding vendors can be a difficult and daunting task. In fact, I found picking vendors to be a little bit overwhelming. Sure, I had a few people I knew we HAD to have; however, the sheer number of vendors to be chosen and decisions to be made can make the entire process feel staggeringly large! Everyone around you makes a huge deal out of your wedding. Vendors are doing any and everything to prove to you they are the best fit for your day. Both your already married and single friends will have strong opinions about why you just have to use their florist/caterer/hairstylist/etc. And, if your experience is anything like mine, you might even have friends, family, and acquaintances offering up their services for the big day. As if turning down a complete stranger isn’t hard enough!! As the bride, we want everything for our day to be perfect and it can feel like a lot of that rides on choosing exactly the right vendors for the wedding.
Vendor selection can feel like a heavy job that not everyone understands or appreciates. Luckily, I’m here with a few tips that will hopefully make choosing your wedding vendors a little bit easier.
1. Ignore Other People’s Opinions
Getting married is kind of like having a baby in that EVERYONE has an opinion about how your wedding should be. And, I’m not just talking mothers of the bride or groom here. I’m talking bestie, coworkers, even your regular Starbucks barista. Seriously, everyone has some thought about what will make your day extra special. News Flash – it’s not their day! It’s a day for you and your fiancé. You don’t have to listen to anyone else’s opinion – ESPECIALLY if they aren’t financially contributing to your wedding.
One thing a lot of people said to me was that hiring a wedding planner was a waste of money. I’m an event planner, I KNOW how instrumental having someone else help you with the details, logistics, and bringing your vision to life can be. Plus, given the fact that I have an incredibly demanding 9 to 5 and I am moving, hiring a wedding planner was a no brainer for us! If I had listened to other people’s opinions, I’d be knee deep in moving boxes, centerpieces, and who knows what else as we speak!
It’s great that folks have ideas for your wedding. But you are not obligated to take any of their advice. “No” is a complete sentence.
2. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Weddings can get to be very expensive very quickly. Sitting down with your fiancé to prioritize what matters most to you BOTH will help you prioritize where to spend your money and which vendors are most important to you. I’m not saying that you have to go with the most expensive bakery if the cake is incredibly important. But if cake matters and programs don’t then you can probably spend more time focusing on selecting the best bakery for you and less so on a printer (wedding kits at Michael’s are a wonderful thing!).
When we started planning our wedding, I knew a few things that mattered a lot to me and my fiancé Roger. We cared a lot about the food, the music, and the photography. So we knew that carefully selecting exactly the right vendors for those parts of the wedding would help bring our vision to life. What was less important (but still important) to us? Something like our invitation suite. We knew wanted something beautiful and sophisticated. But having to sit down and go through HUNDREDS of various weight stationary and dozens upon dozens of fonts was just something that neither of us was interested in doing. So with the help of our wedding planner we found a phenomenal designer and printer on Etsy who has created a beautiful invitation suite and bridal stationary for us. And it was a fraction of the cost of traditional invitations. Honestly, you probably wouldn’t know the difference except is just told you.
3. Interview and Meet Your Vendors
When you are on decision 3,573 it is going to be tempting to phone in some of your vendor decisions. DON’T. Especially if you do not personally know your vendors. Take the time to reach out to, talk to, and meet (if possible) the vendors you will be working with. Having a trust and comfort level with your vendors is huge. Ask them for portfolios of work and references. And CALL the references. Dig around. It’s OK. And should be expected.
I simply adore our wedding photographer, Terri Baskin. She’d shot weddings for a few of our friends and I had the chance to see her (or not see her, she’s super discreet) in action at a friend’s wedding two years ago. I just loved her work and was 99% certain I wanted to hire her for our wedding. But, I also had two other photographers whom I was interested in working with – especially because they were local to Philadelphia. From a pricing standpoint, their packages were all about the same; therefore, cost wouldn’t be the deciding factor in who we chose. I reached out to all three photographers and from the beginning my experience with Terri was phenomenal. From our email interactions (she was the only one who asked to know more about me and Roger and our story), to the ease of getting the contract together (Terri answered ALL of the questions I had), to the materials she provided (she sent us an electronic welcome kit AND a beautiful kit in the mail that outlined EVERYTHING we needed to know about our engagement and wedding photography) Terri has been top-notch. No other photographer compared to Terri on the front-end. And so it was a no brainer that we should hire her to capture the best moments from our big day.
If I hadn’t “kicked in the tires” on the various photographers we might have ended up with someone we weren’t happy with shooting us. On a side note, I’ll dedicate an entire post to our engagement shoot and give you tips for how to get through it! You’ll learn lots more about Terri there!
4. Do Your Own Research
I get it, you’re busy and weddings take a ton of time. But do some of your own research. It could be the difference between having a $500 bridal bouquet and a $200 bouquet. You are not obligated to select the first vendor you meet. If you get a quote or package you are not thrilled with then do (or get your wedding planner to do) some comparison shopping. I did this with flowers. We aren’t having a ton at our wedding and I pretty much openly balked at the pricing we received from the first decor and floral company we met with. I’m sorry, but I’m just NOT paying $35 per Calla Lily for my bridesmaids. #kanyeshrug. My wedding planner and I started making phone calls and sending emails until we found a vendor we were much happier with.
5. Negotiate and Ask for Discounts or Special Rates
It’s OK to negotiate or ask for special rates from your vendors. Now, I’m not suggesting you go haggling with all of your vendors (that’s annoying and kind of disrespectful); but, you can definitely negotiate with them. For example, if you’re paying for 10 girls to get their hair done then ask out some sort of bulk pricing. Or, check with your venue about off-season or off-day pricing. We were able to score a great deal with our venue by having our wedding in the off-season. If you’re having live music at the reception check to see if there is the option to also have them play for your ceremony at a slightly discounted rate. There are all sorts of ways for you to save a couple of dollars while still being respectful to your vendors.
Introducing the YCS Bride Guide Vendors
I hope you brides (and grooms!) find some of these tips helpful as you are planning your wedding. Beyond some vendor-search tips, I’ve also had a TON of people ask me for details on the various vendors that I am using for my wedding. Therefore, I’m happy to share with you the “YCS BRIDE GUIDE” page on this site, which is where you can find details on ALL of the vendors we are using for our wedding. As we are still finalizing some of the vendors, check back often as the page will continue to be updated throughout the wedding planning process.
Thanks for checking us out this week on the YCS Bride Guide!