Booking Your Wedding Vendors

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April 12, 2018

You’re engaged! Your notifications are blowing up from your perfectly filtered ring shot on Instagram, you’ve made all of the mandatory family phone calls and you can FINALLY turn your  Pinterest wedding board from private to public. Now what?

It’s to start planning and making those Pinterest dreams come to life. Some people love the idea of wedding planning, and others, not so much. Booking your wedding vendors can be a tad overwhelming.There are SO many decisions and details that you probably haven’t even thought of yet. How in the world are you supposed to know where to even begin? Well friend, I’m here to help.  I have yet to plan my own wedding, but I’d say over the years I’ve come to learn a thing or to about the wedding planning process, and being a wedding vendor myself, here’s a bit of advice from “the other side.”

1. Set Your Budget…..Seriously
Ew, the “B word”…. However, unless you’re a Kardashian, chances are, a budget is a must. As much as I love to live in the blissful world of matrimony, weddings come with a price tag. It’s important to sit down with your man, and work together on setting a budget. Let’s be honest, nothing put’s a damper on relationships like miscommunication or neglect of finances. You want to start your marriage off on a good foot, and truly, as tempting as it is to gloss over this first step, I would say it’s the most important and it’s affects will ripple out long after the wedding day. Girl, I feel you, we all want a nice wedding, but we also don’t want to be newlyweds eating Ramen noodles for every meal for the first year.

2. Pick Your Top 3
Now that you’ve got your budget set, gather a list with your man of your top 3 vendors/things that are most important for you to have on your wedding day. Whether that be a certain florist, DJ, caterer, whatever it may be. If you absolutely have your heart set on a certain vendor, mark it down! These top choices are the vendors that you’d be willing to spend a little more on, and maybe cut down a little on other vendors not on the list. For example, If your top choice is this amazing wedding planner, you might be willing to spend a little more out of your budget to hire them, and you’d be okay with paying a little less for your flower arrangement. A good way to start this conversation with your man, is to ask what part of the wedding he’s most excited for. Maybe it’s the food, or maybe it’s a golf outing with his groomsmen the morning of the wedding. Either way, encourage his input on the wedding day events.

3. Stalk Your Top 3
Okay so now that you have decided on your top vendor picks, time to do a little investigating! Chances are, they have a Facebook or website, take a look at their packages, prices and coverage. Also, read their reviews, ratings and testimonials! One of my favorite things about Facebook is that it gives customers a place to rate and comment on the vendors services WITHOUT the vendors being able to delete/modify the comments/ratings. This gives you a very unbiased and unfiltered look into their service. I would recommend reaching out to people that you know personally, and asking for their input if they’ve had any interaction or service with the vendor as well.

4. Start The Booking Process
Once your satisfied with your stalking-findings, contact the vendor!  If you’re seriously interested in possibly having this vendor at your wedding, it’s always best to contact them directly. Obviously, one of the first things you need to ask is if they are available! If so, get a run down on how/what they plan to do on and leading up to your wedding day. There is no such thing as “too many questions” when booking a service!

5. Don’t Forget About Deposits & Contracts
Most all wedding vendors require some sort of deposit or retaining fee. Some are refundable, some are not. Not trying to be pessimistic, just realistic – If something falls through with the wedding, are you going to be out some cash? Make sure you check with your vendor on what their policies and/or contract states. You may be required to sign some sort of contract, or you may shake hands and be on your way. Either way, make sure you hit all of the marks and check all of the boxes to ensure that you are officially booked with your vendor.

6. Keep In Contact
Alright, this is kind of obvious, but keep your vendors in the loop! If there are changes that might possibly affect your vendors, shoot them a quick email and let them know! Personally, for my brides, once they have booked their wedding with me, “no news is good news.” I periodically check in with them, just to let them know that I’m still alive, breathing, and looking forward to their special day. I also send out a BrideBox, stuffed full with goodies, our exclusive bridal guide and other fun stuff, to hopefully help them on their wedding planning journey. Usually, most vendors will set up a face-to-face meeting closer to your date, just to go over final details, but if you’d like to meet up sooner, just ask! Remember, there is no such thing as keeping your vendors “too informed.” Every little bit of information helps us vendors to better accommodate you and your wedding.

How Soon Is It To Book Your Vendors?
Okay, I cannot stress this enough, it is never too soon to book your vendors! 
I always say “wedding time is not like regular time.” There’s a reason that weddings usually take a year or more to plan. Unless your vendor says otherwise, don’t be afraid to book your wedding with them “too soon.” Especially if they are on your Top 3 pick list, booking early is better to ensure that they have your date available. If your vendor pick is very popular and busy, I highly recommend booking them early. Some vendors might even have an “early-bird” discounted rate! Score!

What If My Vendor Backs Out On Me?
Ugh! hopefully you never have to be in this position, but unfortunately, it does happen sometimes for various reasons. First step, if you have paid them anything other than your deposit/retainer, look into the steps required for a refund. Next step, contact another vendor ASAP! Do your best to make this a swift and seamless maneuver, and hopefully the vendor who backed out wasn’t a top choice! I would also ask the vendor for other vendor-recommendations, chances are, they’re going to do their best to help you find someone who can accommodate your needs.

What If I Cancel/Postpone My Wedding?
I also hope that you’re never in this position, but again, it does sometimes happen. If you unfortunately have to cancel or postpone your wedding, first of all, DON’T be embarrassed. Things happens, and we get it. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last. The best thing that you can do is to contact your vendors as soon as possible to let them know. Or, enlist the help of a parent or friend, someone who will be willing to handle the details and information with the vendors. Getting in touch with your vendor as soon as possible is important, because it gives that vendor the opportunity to potentially reserve another event. Get informed on the vendors cancelation/postpone policies and remember, we are human too. At the end of the day, I would much rather have a wedding cancel, then to see the dissolution of a marriage down the road.

There you have it! I hope this helps you get started on your wedding planning journey. Just remember to ask questions and work together as a team. We’re here to help!

– Cristina


P.S. If you need a little extra help executing your perfect day, check out my good friend & wedding planner/decorator Lenny from Elite Events by Lenny. Tell him Cristina sent you! 🙂