Who wants wedding planning tips?
You. You want wedding planning tips!
And look who’s in luck, because I’ve got a great article on the blog today, courtesy of wedding-planning expert Randi! She runs Poppy Lane Events and has been planning weddings in Baton Rouge and New Orleans like a boss for years, now. Randi knows weddings, and has been gracious enough to share some wedding planning tips for the blog.
We’re going to cover vendor meetings in this article. There are so many people involved in a wedding day. You know you need to make sure you pick the right ones, so how do you navigate these meetings? What questions should you ask, and what should you be doing to prepare so that the meetings go smoothly?
Let’s find out from an expert, shall we?
(BONUS: Check out the link at the end of this post to download a vendor information tracking sheet!)
How to Have a Successful Vendor Meeting
Meeting your vendors can be stressful and overwhelming. Generally, you don’t know what questions to ask, contracts can be complicated, and pricing may not make any sense whatsoever. Wedding industry professionals who are used to the language and workflows of events can sometimes overwhelm potential couples. You may even have questions that arise throughout the planning process, but don’t want to seem silly for asking them (spoiler: never feel silly for asking a question regarding investments you’re making on your wedding day!).
So, while wedding and event planning season is kicking into full gear, I wanted to share some tips and tricks to help you have a successful vendor meeting.
Tip #1: Making a tentative budget or getting a ballpark amount for what you want to spend is key.
First, before you even schedule with vendors, it’s best to know what kind of financial commitment you want to make for your wedding. Look at averages of wedding costs for your city, or determine who is committing the funds to make your dream wedding come true. These methods can help you put together a rough budget as a starting point. Once you have a number, start looking at the style you want to convey – light
and airy with lots of greenery? Or something more formal, with a sit-down dinner at a hotel? Answering these questions will help guide you to vendors who specialize in what you’re drawn to, as well – and ensure that your wedding day is consistent in all things.
Okay, now what about the meetings?
Now – you’ve found vendors that fit your style, but you’re noticing that there’s a push to meet with you first, before disclosing pricing information. As a vendor, I can totally agree with this – it’s hard to hand out pricing to everyone who comes along, and still remain competitive. And, meeting with potential clients also weeds out the serious inquiries versus the non-serious ones. If you’re not sure that you want to meet just yet, see if you can schedule a phone consult first, or ask if they can give you a ballpark amount. After all, you still want to
remain in budget and keep a track of your expenses!
Here’s my biggest piece of advice relating to pricing, whether you’re reeling from sticker shock or pleasantly surprised by a vendor’s pricing:
Keep in mind you’re not just investing in a final product after a service, but you’re also investing in a client experience.
I personally would rather spend more money on an excellent customer service experience, have a great time with a
vendor, and have fantastic product, than to spend less money on a bland, impersonal relationship. If I’m unhappy, my final product is tainted by that bad client experience.
Okay, so what should you ask when you actually do meet with a vendor?
Tip #2: Be Informed!
Of course, you should ask about experience, style, and what’s included as a service. Also ask what the client experience with them is like. But, it is my recommendation to always ask about whether or not a vendor has a full contract, and whether they carry insurance. With more and more venues requiring insured vendors (particularly caterers), it’s important that the contract protects everyone’s interests! Should the worst happen, damages should be able to be covered and everything taken care of.
When you get to the portion of the meeting regarding deposits and retainers, another thing to ask about is what is refundable and non-refundable, and under what conditions. Make sure the difference is spelled out within the contract, if it’s not already! A deposit can, more often than not, be refunded if service is found to be unsatisfactory, or the event is cancelled–unless it is strictly outlined as
non-refundable. It is so important for you as a client to be knowledgeable, going into a contractual agreement! Ask if you can have a copy of the contract reviewed, or if the vendor’s contract has been reviewed before. As always, it’s better safe than sorry!
Tip #3: Get To Know Your Vendors
Besides making sure that things remain in budget, and making sure that everyone’s interests are protected, there are a few more key questions you should ask during your meetings.
When you’re spending money and investing in your wedding day, you want to make sure that the people you’re hiring work well
together, and with you. Ask if they’ve worked with your other hired vendors, or at your venue(s)! Learn about them as a person. Ask what got them into their specialty, what they do when they’re not working, and their favorite spots around town. Getting to know your vendors as people will help you build a relationship with them. You’ll find that you have a better experience working with your wedding day professionals in the long run, when you get to know who they really are!
So, in summary:
- Research and inquire about pricing and availability, even in ballpark amounts.
- Ask about reviewing a vendor’s contract and insurance status.
- Get to know your vendors beyond what they do for you. Doing this will lead to better working relationship, and a more satisfactory
experience on your wedding day.
Curious to see what else we’ve covered when it comes to wedding planning? Check out another fav, What To Pack In Your Wedding Emergency Kit!
AND, get your vendor tracking sheet by clicking HERE!