Ask the Right Questions to Choose the Right Wedding Vendors
Planning a wedding can be both exciting and overwhelming, with so many decisions to make and details to consider. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the vendors who will help bring your wedding day vision to life. From photographers and caterers to florists and DJs, each vendor plays a crucial role in creating a memorable celebration. Asking the right questions is the best way to lay out your pros and cons list when it comes to making big decisions.
Start thinking of picking your vendors as an interview process and use this time to get to know the businesses you are hiring. The wedding industry is filled with so many talented folks and most clients want to hire people they connect with or businesses who share a mission they believe in. You may receive recommendations galore, but ultimately you get the final say.
Photo by: Studio This Is
Before the interview process even begins, you’ll want to reach out with an email sharing some details of your event and asking a few screener Qs.
General Interview Questions/Tips for any vendor:
- Get to know a vendor’s background story, how they started their company/when/why, and what they love about what they do (some ice-breaker questions can include what their favorite event was or the most unique things they have done for a client).
- Get a feel for their style/approach and how they work with their clients… ie: how they prefer to communicate (emails/calls/video/in person, time of day, location for meetings, etc.)
- Get a sense of the operations for the business and if they have a team or who will they assign to work with you (and how will that person know all the details of the service you expect/your event details- do they have project management software or forms to fill out, etc.)?
- Ask how to remit payment, when payments are due, when final decisions have to be made, when/if changes can be made, and what their cancellation/rescheduling policies are.
- Have they worked at your venue before?
Weddings and events create a lot of waste! If it’s important to you, ask if the company has any eco-friendly practices, if they give back to the community, or if they support any social causes. Having an eco-friendly wedding planner can help steer you in the direction of vendors who share similar values to you and your partner.
Each vendor brings a unique perspective and service style. We will start this series with our main players and the vendors who tend to book up first. A catering team can only staff so many weddings on any given day and photographers can only do one wedding a day- meaning it’s a race to book first. That doesn’t mean you need to “panic book” someone or shouldn’t do your research. With these Q’s, you’ll be able to find the vendors who align with your style, needs, and budget, and who will help you create a celebration to remember for a lifetime
Eat, Drink And Be Married!
Photo by: Sam Schultz Photography
Food and Beverage service will likely be the largest chunk of your wedding budget, so doing your research here is very important. Catering costs are typically priced Per Person (“pp”), but you should also take tax, service charges, and gratuity into account when shopping for your team. Being realistic about what you can afford for your guest count is key to finding the best service for you! Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need, here are some starters:
- Are you a full-service caterer that provides food, staffing, and coordinates rental items (tables/chairs, plates, glasses, flatware, and/or linens)?
- Do you specialize in certain types of food? (Think Indian cuisine, Kosher options, vegan eats, etc
- Can they offer different styles of service? (Think food stations, plated courses, taco bars, pretzel stands, etc.)
- Can we completely customize the menu?
- How do you work with dietary restrictions/preferences?
- What is your approach to food preparation/on-site cooking? Do you use unique plating or presentation techniques?
- How involved are you the day of (do you stay the whole time, does your team handle setup and breakdown of the event, etc.)?
- How many people from your team are onsite on the day of our event? How do they dress? Will there be an event manager running the ship?
- Do you provide bar service/can we buy & bring our own alcohol if your venue allows it? Can you create custom drinks?
- Do you provide cake/is there a cake-cutting fee?
Green-minded Q’s for Food & Bev Vendors:
- Do you source local or organic products?
- Do you recycle and/or compost?
- Can you use sodas and water without plastic bottles?
V.I.P (Very Important Photographer)
Photo by: Bassos Photography
Your photographer and videographer will be spending a lot of your big day with you and your crew, it’s important to feel like you gel with them. Two truths must stand: You love their style of work AND you vibe with their personality.
If you think they could be the right fit, you can use these questions to start with:
- How would you describe your style and what inspires you?
- How do you pose couples and capture authentic moments?
- How many weddings do you shoot each year?
- Will you be the sole photo/videographer, or do you have a second shooter?
- How many from your team are onsite on the day of our event? Do they require a meal? Parking?
- What type of camera, sound, and lighting equipment do you use?
- What is the backup plan for illness or equipment failure?
- What are our options regarding packages? Do you offer custom packages (how many hours? Do you offer an engagement session?)
- What are your package fees?
- How many images can we expect/how long will the video be?
- How do you deliver the end product? Do you offer an online gallery for me and my friends/family?
- Can we order prints/albums directly from you?
- What is the turnaround time for the online gallery and albums?
- What type of touch-ups do you do?
- Do you give the raw photos/video?
- If concerned about privacy, ask what their policy is for using your likeness/event on their social media/website.
There is no such thing as too many questions, so ask the hard hitters, and don’t be afraid to tell vendors it might not be a great fit. Choosing the right wedding vendors can make all the difference in creating the perfect wedding day.
Photo by: Jamie & Eric Photography
In our next part of the series, we’ll go over questions to ask the other vendors like florists and d.j.’s whose work can seriously affect the overall feel of your wedding!