Planning Basics

6 Things You Should ALWAYS Look for in a Wedding Vendor

By Kim Forrest, April 4, 2019
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Kim Forrest
6 Things You Should ALWAYS Look for in a Wedding Vendor
Elizabeth Fogarty

Make sure you’re armed with the following information that will help you narrow down the thousands of vendors out there.

When it comes to building your wedding vendor team, the options may feel endless. With all of the talented wedding vendors in your city or town, how do you go about choosing the best one for your big day? As part of the 2019 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, we asked couples to share the criteria they look for when deciding which vendors to initially contact. These features and details will help you narrow down the list of vendors when you’re searching online to the few you’d like to meet with in person (yes, those in-person meetings are essential!).

Ready to find your wedding vendors? These are the six features that you should be looking for.

Price

It should come as no surprise that a vendor’s pricing is most important to couples. Creating a budget is one of the first steps of wedding planning, and couples typically have a specific amount of money they can afford to spend on each vendor (using an online wedding cost guide can help you figure this out!). So when you’re browsing wedding vendors, you’ll definitely want to make sure that their pricing matches your budget—and if it doesn’t, but you truly love the vendor for any of the other reasons listed here, you’ll have to make sure that he or she can adjust parts of his or her package to work with you, which may not be possible. While some wedding vendors list their pricing online, you may have to reach out to a few to get pricing information.

Reviews

Hiring a wedding vendor is a lot like interviewing a candidate for a job at your company. And just like you would if you were interviewing a potential employee, it’s important to check a wedding vendor’s references. Websites like WeddingWire make this process super-easy with their online reviews, where past clients write about their experiences with their vendors. According to the 2019 Newlywed Report, nearly 80 percent of couples find reviews to be very important in their decision-making process. So be sure to read those reviews before reaching out to wedding vendors—you may be surprised at what you’ll learn!

Availability

If a vendor isn’t available on your wedding day, that’s a deal-breaker. Some wedding vendors post their availability on their WeddingWire page or their website, but in most cases, you’ll have to reach out to learn if they’re available. While a vendor may be able to adjust his or her pricing, if he or she isn’t free for your wedding, you can cross them off your list. While finding out a vendor isn’t available can be disappointing, think of it as an efficient way to narrow down the long list of wedding pros to find your perfect vendor team.

Style

According to the Newlywed Report, couples often look at photos of a wedding vendor’s work to help them make a decision. This is particularly important for vendors who are providing a tangible product, like photographers, cake bakers, florists, stationery designers, and more. You’ll want to take the time to look at photos of a vendor’s work to ensure that their style lines up with yours. While most vendors include a gallery of photos on their WeddingWire page or website, if you feel like you need to see more, you can certainly reach out to a wedding vendor to ask for more images to see samples of their work.

Responsiveness

As it gets closer to your wedding day, you’ll likely be communicating with your vendors a lot. You’ll want to make sure that any wedding pro you choose will get back to you in a timely fashion. While you can’t necessarily find out about a vendor’s responsiveness by looking at their website, you can learn a lot from a vendor’s reply to your first outreach. Do they get back to you in a timely fashion? Does their email or voicemail have an auto-reply letting you know when you can expect to hear back? Remember, if you contact a vendor over the weekend they’re likely working at an event, so you shouldn’t expect a response until the next business day. Also, pay attention to how a vendor responds—are they friendly and personable? Do they answer your questions fully and completely? You’ll be spending a lot of time with many of your vendors, so it’s essential that you actually like them!

Location

This should be a no-brainer, but you’ll want to find vendors who actually work in your wedding’s location. While it’s totally okay if your vendors haven’t worked at your specific venue before (though some venues do have "approved vendor lists" you must adhere to), you’ll need to make sure that your vendors are located in or frequently work in your wedding’s city or town. If that’s not the case, be aware that you’ll likely have to pay travel fees, including transportation, accommodations, and more. Some vendors are more than happy to travel longer distances to work at a wedding, but it may be more difficult or problematic for others. Be sure to talk about any travel or concerns about location in your first discussions with any pro you’re considering.

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