Vendor selection may be one of the most difficult and most important aspects of your wedding. They can literally make or break your big day. However, how do you choose from the sea of photographers, florists, and bakeries? In today’s world the majority of professionals have fancy websites which may be the first place you head on your search. Use caution though, anyone can pay a web designer to create a beautiful website and it may not reflect their work ethic or even their talent. I am so grateful to have the vendors that I have as I know I can trust them to handle all the details and create a wedding day just the way I have dreamed of. My wedding is unique in that many of my vendors came to me but it taught me a very important lesson that I thought was worth sharing. Vendors are more than just talent or price, they are people and their personalities have to blend with yours in order to have the most success come wedding day. To many vendors you will just be a number, the wedding on June 12th, to blend in with all the other weddings they have completed and those that are yet to occur. While this is not abnormal or necessarily negative, it could effect the final product. My best friend got married recently and had a great photographer. She was friendly, fun and seemingly professional. Yet when the wedding was over, contact all but vanished. Her mom for example sent her an email to tell her how much they enjoyed her and to thank her for being there on this huge family occasion, no reply. A few more emails were sent when they hadn’t heard from her just to get a time line on when they should expect pictures, no reply. Finally after 8 weeks, a final email was sent to which a replay came, “The contract said it would take a minimum of 8 weeks!” The photographer essentially abandoned the cordial ship when the wedding was finished. Sure, she probably has a ton of other clients and photos to edit and sure it probably did state in the contract that it would take 8 weeks. But any wedding professional should know, especially the photographer, that one of the things a bride looks forward to most are her pictures. She likely missed many of the details in the whirlwind of the day and wants to relive the celebration. Thus the reason many photographers create a website with a few teaser pictures to appease the bride during the time it takes to edit all the pictures they took that day. Would it have been a big deal to send a nice reply stating that editing is quite the process and as per the contract it would likely take about 8 weeks, she also enjoyed working with them, she has some amazing pictures she can’t wait to share and oh, maybe attach just one for fun! That simple email would have gone a long way.
My advice is to ask a lot of questions before you book a vendor. After all it is a job interview of sorts and you are the employer. While I don’t expect you to inquire about their marital status or how they spend their weekends, you may consider asking why they got into the wedding business or how long they have been doing weddings. You will get a better sense of their ethic and their personality in general if you spend a little time discussing details instead of just looking at their work or answering their questions. This is especially important with your photographer because you will have to interact with him or her. From their perspective, they will likely be able to catch better, more intimate shots of you if they know a little more about your personality. Most employers don’t hire anyone solely based off of a resume, they want to know more about your character and your demeanor so they will know if you can fit in with the rest of the team. The same should apply to wedding vendors. Don’t make decisions based on photo albums or displays, those are essentially their resumes, a first look. You need to know that your vendors will treat your wedding as if it is a big deal, will show up on time, will correct any problems that may arise and that will respond to any questions you may have in a timely manner.
What I know about my vendors is that in addition to being talented they are really good people. They dedicate a lot of their spare time to charity efforts and are always willing to lend a helping hand. I know they take weddings seriously and they know how important all the details are to the couple and their families. In fact they recently opened a studio to make wedding planning easier and less stressful for couples in northern Arizona. Here is an article that was recently published about Celebrations Studio. Planning a wedding that doubles as a charity event is definitely more time consuming but I have learned a lot more about wedding planning and had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people that I probably wouldn’t have if I was planning traditionally. What I am most grateful for is the amazing people I have working hard on my big day. I likely would have selected vendors via websites and brief conversations otherwise as I wouldn’t have known there was a better way. So I encourage all planning brides to spend some time finding out who your vendors are so you can relax and know they will take care of everything and you can do what you are supposed to be doing: enjoying it!