It’s difficult for a wedding vendor to imitate a true wedding professional. But there are those who try and often deceive their clients into going the cheap route. If it sounds to good to be true… it probably is. If it sounds like a duck, well… (you know the rest). One bad vendor can ruin a celebration and there is no time for buyer’s remorse on your wedding day.
If you want your wedding to really shine – the kind of wedding that will be the “buzz” with your friends for months to come – never settle for cheap! Be wary that you do not sacrifice quality for the sake of price. The “cheap” vendors are probably cheap for a reason. There is a big difference between cheap and affordable, and you will know it when you see it.
Sit down with each vendor and talk to them to see if they can actually create the vision you have of your wedding. Be strategic when interviewing them and rely on more than just the references. Look for a vendor who goes above and beyond your expectations. Beware of the high pressure sales pitch: The best vendors are eager for your business but not desperate. Also beware of part-timers. Look for vendors who are in the wedding business full-time.
Most brides and grooms who haven’t done the getting-married thing before or haven’t been to a wedding recently may not know what to expect, so it may be up to the vendor to paint a picture of what they can do to make your ceremony memorable. If you agree with the picture they give – hire them. Trust your gut feeling.
Most wedding professionals should be able to provide you with a list of 2-3 couples they have worked with who are willing to act as references. But remember, this is a list the vendor put together. If they have a video… watch it. I often receive what I call “LoveNotes” or rave reviews from past clients. Ask the vendor to give you references to other vendors they have worked with. Contact the venues where the vendor has worked.
Carefully check the references of all of your wedding vendors before you sign on the dotted line! Is the vendor reputable. By “reputable” I mean the vendor has a solid reputation for delivering to the client exactly what the client is paying for. The only way you can get a “reputation” is by being in business for more than five minutes and working well with others and by “others” I don’t just mean the bride and groom, I mean the other vendors as well.
Cheap – NOT Memorable! 😉
When you call the references ask lots of questions. One of the main questions should be: Did they keep their word and deliver everything you requested? Others might be:
• What made you choose that vendor?
• Were there any charges on your bill that came as a surprise or were added at the last minute?
• On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate their professionalism, level of service, willingness to work with other vendors, etc.?
• If your best friend were getting married, would you recommend this vendor to her?
• Would you have any hesitation or reservations about recommending this vendor?
• Were they punctual?
Some wedding venues have a “Preferred Vendor” list that they will share. Usually they will have 2 wedding officiants, 2 photographers, etc., so it is up to you to choose. Click here for a list of questions you should ask Wedding Officiants, Ministers, Priests, etc. Ask how vendors are added to the list. If you’re told it’s a paid list, you can certainly start with it as a resource, but don’t assume that placement on the list is tantamount to a testimonial. Also, don’t assume that the absence of a vendor on a paid list makes them unworthy of your consideration.
Notice how well you connect with the vendor? Good personality? Easy to work with? Will they make the changes that you want? Are they trustworthy? There is normally a contract/agreement you must sign with them, so be sure to read the fine print “before” you sign it.
“Be leery of cheap impersonators. They CAN ruin your day! People who are not well trained can be disastrous. Planners will make sure to send you to the right people who they know are reputable and will do an outstanding job. This does not mean the most expensive in their field. We have our favorites that meet any bride’s budget.” ~ Lottie Fowler, Couture Events by Lottie
Comparing Prices: It’s certainly okay to check and compare prices (and you should), however, remember that cheap isn’t always the best. AND… expensive isn’t always the best either. If the fee of a vendor is higher than you have planned for in your wedding budget, you may want to look at other areas of your wedding where you can trim a few dollars here and there so that you can afford to hire who you want. I would never recommend that you make your decision based upon price alone. There are many other things to consider.
Vendors with big advertising budgets often get a lot of attention. I’ve often heard, “They have the biggest ad so they must be good.” Some are great. Others, not so great. Check ’em all out thoroughly.
Caution: Some vendors have wedding “packages” that virtually includes all the vendors you will need for your wedding. Some allow you to bring in other vendors and most do not. Proceed with caution because you may not be allowed to hire the one vendor that you like who may not be included in their package.
When you find the vendor of your choice – hire them. Don’t wait. Often a good “tell” is how busy they are. The busy wedding vendors are usually a wise choice. I had a wedding client recently who told me after the interview that they wanted to hire me but they had one more appointment with another wedding officiant. Three days later they called me and wanted to know where to send the deposit and I had already booked the date with someone else. In this case it would have been better for them to call the other officiant and cancel the appointment and offer me a deposit to secure the date. Hindsight is 20/20. When you find the vendor of your choice – hire them. Don’t wait.
Remember: Wedding vendors are a great source for other trustworthy and experienced professionals. Wedding planners/consultants, are also a great resource for quality, reliable vendors.
Sasha Souza, celebrity wedding planner, founder of Sasha Souza Events, and author of “Signature Sasha: Magnificent Weddings by Design” says, “Your gut instinct, more than cost, is really important.”
I highly recommend you hire a trained wedding professional. Uncle George and his video camera, Cousin John with his stack of CDs and family friend Bob with his online ordination and no experience at performing wedding ceremonies isn’t gonna cut it!
BONUS Articles: Check Wedding Vendor’s References. . . A Piece of Cake! Right?
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No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony
Larry’s Note: A special “thank you” to Lottie Fowler, Couture Events by Lottie, Dallas for her contribution by inspiring this article.
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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