Wedding planning can be extremely overwhelming. Some brides know exactly what they want and have known since they were little girls and other brides have no idea what they want. Whichever bride you are, you're going to be overwhelmed. The internet and social media is saturated with wedding ideas. Hashtag after hashtag, vision board after vision board... There is almost too much information out there. Nowadays, it isn't enough to just see someone's work online. You have to really investigate and interview your vendors. Now, before we get into some of the essential tools for hiring wedding vendors, HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER! I've never understood people who don't hire a wedding planner to handle one of the most important days of their lives.
1. Decide what matters the most. I always ask my clients, "What is the most important aspect of your wedding?" I get everything from the cake to the dress to the food. Depending on their answer, we'll focus more of the budget on that particular want. Often times, there isn't wiggle room in a budget. Meaning, if your budget is $75,000 you don't have $75,000.01. In that case, you'll have to pull from one item and add it to another in order to make what you want work for the big day.
2. Be specific when searching hashtags. In the age of Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc, finding the right vendors for your wedding can be overwhelming. Even as a vendor, finding the right hashtag to put your work under is challenging. You have over-saturated categories that don't always fit the intended need. In a recent conversation with Season Bennett a/k/a The Social Barber, who created a program that generates hashtags based on more concise and specific areas and groups, she stressed the importance of searching detailed hashtags. The more detailed the hashtag, (i.e. city, state, street, landmark) the better your chances are of finding local vendors instead of having to weed through thousands from all over the world in that one group.
3. Do your research. Ask your potential vendors for references. Ask to speak to a few of their previous clients and find out what their experiences were like. One bad review out of 30 isn't terrible. 1 bad review out of 3 is questionable. Aside from reviews, do your research based on pricing as well. If there is a photographer who you absolutely love and there is one who you just like with a $500 difference between the two, pick your favorite. Consult with your planner on how to rework the budget to see where you can cut costs to make up for that extra $500.
4. Read the fine print. Every contract has fine print. The most confusing fine print for many of my clients is the venue contract. Luckily for them, I go through and explain the contracts but if you don't have a planner (WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A PLANNER??!!), make sure to have each vendor explain the entire contract line-by-line.
5. Get options but not too many options. One of the biggest mistakes that I see my clients make is having too much information. Once the planning begins, you'll drown in wedding information if you're not careful. Have your planner suggest two options per vendor. You don't need 10 photographers and 10 videographers because all of that information will be overwhelming and it's unnecessary.
As a general rule when choosing vendors, if they take a week to respond to your email, they're probably going to take that long if not longer after you hire them. If that bothers you, as it should, they might not be the vendor for you. Remember that not only will you be working with them on one of the most important days of your life but that you'll have to deal with them the months leading up to the big day.