Behind every great wedding is a team of talented and professional wedding vendors. Most brides hire at least a wedding photographer, even for a simple elopement or city hall wedding. Choosing the right wedding vendors is one of the first and most important decisions in your wedding planning. After all, they are the ones responsible for turning your dream wedding into reality.
Wedding planning might not be a smooth-sailing journey, and you might find yourself at loss when faced with vendor-related problems. But don't worry, our wedding vendor guide below will help you decide when to choose your wedding vendors, how to negotiate with them, and which wedding vendors to tip.
Which vendors should you book first?
Before you even start looking for vendors, you'll have to consider which vendors you should hire first. A general rule of thumb is the least weddings a vendor can handle in one day, the higher the priority. But there are no set rules and everything depends on how important a vendor's service is to you. If you've long dreamed of wearing a certain designer dress or having a particular band play on your wedding day, go ahead and make them a priority.
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How to build a good relationship with your wedding vendors
Entrusting your wedding to the pros is a good idea, since you won't have enough time or energy to arrange everything yourself. However, without good communication with your vendors, you could end up even more stressed as your wedding might turn out not the way you wanted it to be. Follow the tips below to make sure that you'll cooperate well with your wedding vendors.
1. The first impression is important
You shouldn't entrust your wedding to people you don't feel comfortable working with. Before deciding on a wedding vendor, you should take time to meet a few different wedding vendors and get to know how they are in person.
2. Be specific about your ideas
Before meeting your vendor, you should have an idea of what your wedding will be like. Knowing what you want beforehand will help you in looking for a vendor with the same taste, style, and experience that suit your needs.
3. Stick to the plan
Nobody likes too many or last minute changes, and wedding vendors are no different. Although you're paying your vendor, it doesn't mean that you can change themes every week, especially if they've already started working on your previous one.
4. Know when to have a discussion
You might start to panic as the big day gets closer, but there are working hours to follow, and your wedding vendors have other things to manage too. Don't call them in the middle of the night only to confirm something that can wait until the next day.
How to negotiate with wedding vendors
Weddings can be costly, and everybody wants to stick to get the lowest price with the highest quality. If you consider yourself to be a bad negotiator who can't even haggle in a traditional market, don't worry just yet. Just follow the steps below, we're sure you'll be able to get the best deals in no time.
1. Be reasonable
Price is determined by the experience, reputation, and quality that a wedding vendor is known for. Don't insult your potential vendors by asking for a 50% discount outright, especially without having a background check about their reputation.
2. Be transparent about your budget
Don't beat around the bush when talking about your wedding budget, as your vendors will actually be able to offer better ideas if they know your budget. If you don't have one, your vendor will give the highest service quality available, of course, with a price tag that matches it.
3. Stay honest and fair
The wedding industry is not that big, and most vendors actually know each other personally. Don't simply lie about a previous quote given by another vendor just to force a potential vendor to give you a better price.
4. Ask for more than discounts
There are still alternatives if you can't get a discount. Instead of asking a vendor to reduce their price, you can ask for more services or products. For example, ask for more reception hours or if you are dealing with catering, ask for more variety of desserts
Things to consider in your wedding vendor contract
Once you've agreed on a price as well as the products or services you'd like to have on your wedding day, it's time to sign a vendor contract. The most important thing is to make sure that everything, and we mean everything, is written in your contract.
It's not that you shouldn't trust your vendors, as a proper contract can actually help you avoid conflicts if something doesn't go as planned. Whether you're dealing with caterers, decorators, or wedding planners, you should check our list below to make sure everything is covered.
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How to deal with vendor-related problems
You'll deal with so many different vendors for your wedding, and you might not get along well with every single one of them. Don't get stressed out just yet, though. Follow our quick tips below to solve wedding vendor problems and keep your wedding preparation running smoothly.
1. The proper way to complain
There are plenty of reasons why you can be unsatisfied with your wedding vendor's work. Maybe the final work didn't turn out to be the way you both agreed upon, or maybe your vendor kept on getting behind schedule. Remember that you have a right to complain and have your vendor fix the issue, but you need to do it the right way.
Before posting a bad review for everyone to see, talk to your vendor in private. Tell them what happened and ask for a solution. Your vendor's business supports their livelihood, so you should give honest feedback in a respectful and constructive way. If your vendor followed up on your problem, don't forget to mention it in your review.
2. How to break off or cancel your vendor agreement
Every business transaction should have a written agreement, especially when it involves a huge amount of money. Your vendor agreement is no different. Before signing a contract, read everything carefully and make sure that the terms mutually benefit yourself and the vendor. A fine should be imposed if either one of you breaks the agreement.
If you must break your agreement, there are some ways to avoid the penalty. Discuss this matter properly with your vendor. When there is no way out and you have to cancel your contract, you can negotiate with your vendor by finding a replacement couple for them. By doing so, you might be able to get your down payment back. When dealing with a hair and makeup artist who you've paid down payment to, you can ask to change the date and save the service for an upcoming party.
3. Get a new vendor
Planning a wedding can be a lot of work, which is exactly why you hired your vendors to give you professional help. If you've tried playing nicely to resolve vendor issues to no avail, maybe you should just find another vendor.
Here are some signs that will help you decide when to find a new vendor instead:
- The work is not as what the both of you have agreed upon.
- Your vendor keeps on giving excuses whenever you ask about unfinished work.
- The price has grown beyond reason and is so different from the initial offer.
- Your vendor keeps on behaving questionably, not replying to your emails and not answering your phone calls.
- You found a lot of negative reviews about your vendor.
4. Ask for a refund
If you've tried everything and you really can't continue using your vendor's services, use your right to ask for a refund. Before asking for a refund, you have to make sure that this term is clearly written in your vendor agreement. There is a possibility that you won't be paid in full, but as long as you can get something back, it should be good enough.
Which wedding vendors should I tip?
At the end of the day, your vendors are the ones who have worked tirelessly to make your wishes come true. Showing them a thoughtful gesture beyond a simple "thank you" is a good way to show them how thankful you are. But do all vendors really expect tips? Check out the infographic below to decide which vendor you should tip, and don't forget to add those tips to your wedding budget.
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Other ways to thank your wedding vendors
Gratitude doesn't have to involve money, and there are many other ways to thank your vendors. If you'd like to show your appreciation in different ways instead of or in addition to giving tips, you can try out some non-monetary ways below.
1. Let them post photos of your wedding online
Most wedding vendors have websites and social media to promote their services and engage better with their customers. Although you might want to keep your wedding intimate and exclusive, giving your vendors permission to post photos of their work is a simple way to help their business grow. Just tell them up front if some photos are off limits. Whenever you post your wedding photos on your own social media account, don't forget to give your vendors credit by tagging their accounts.
2. Give them a shout-out during your reception
Not many couples think of this, but your wedding is also a vendor showcase for engaged couples who happen to be in your guest list. When you give your wedding speech before a toast or right before your reception party starts, you can thank the vendors that you appreciate the most.
3. Submit your photos to a wedding blog
Many wedding blogs, just like this one, feature stories of real weddings. Just submit your beautiful wedding by clicking on the "Feature Your Wedding" banner on the right-side column of this page, and our team will more than happy to post it. This is a great way to easily share your photos with loved ones while also helping vendors and inspiring engaged couples.
4. Send them a handwritten note
After you're done with all the hustle and bustle of your wedding day, take some time to personally write thank you notes for your vendors. It doesn't have to be a long-winded letter, just be simple and straightforward. You can even do this during your honeymoon by sending them postcards from wherever you will be.
5. Refer them to your friends and family
Spread the good word by letting other people know about your satisfying experience with your vendors. Referring them to your friends and family is actually the best way to help your vendors grow their business. Aside from that, your loved ones will also be happy to finally meet the vendors of their dreams.
6. Hire them for another event
Don't worry, we're not telling you to go through another wedding. Many vendors, such as your photographer, decorator, and caterer, can usually handle other types of private parties and events. The next time you're thinking of having an office party or birthday celebration, reach out to your tried-and-tested vendors.
7. Give them good reviews
If your wedding vendor is listed on Bridestory, you can easily help them by leaving a good review on their profile page. Simply search for your vendor by clicking on the magnifying glass icon on the top-right side of this page, open the Reviews tab, and start writing. Remember to be honest and fair in your review, as it will help others consider whether to hire them or not.