I reached out to my Instagram audience this week to see what wedding planning topics would be of interest, and I was overwhelmed by the response! Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your worries/pain points with me, and I really hope to be able to speak to them over the next series of blog posts. Today, I am tackling the ever-important question of… how to choose your wedding vendors!
This is HUGE when it comes to wedding planning. And I feel like it is one of the major pitfalls for a lot of couples. Do you choose based on cost? Level of experience? Portfolio? Or is a combination of many factors? (Spoiler alert: it is SO much more than just those three elements!)
So how exactly should you choose your wedding vendors?
How to Choose Your Wedding Vendors
(without losing your mind)
1. Set your priorities… before you set your budget.
You need to decide what is important to you as a couple when it comes to your wedding day. Without knowing where photography ranks in relation to your dress, it’s hard to even begin searching for vendors. You don’t need to know exactly how much you’ll spend on each vendor’s services at this point, but if one element of your day (ex: having a waterfront venue) is incredibly important, you’ll know that you may need to delegate more budget to it.
But also: please throw away those budget planner lists from places like The Knot. They are FULL of misinformation about what quality vendor services actually cost, and they are often not even applicable because they are from a different region/country!
Photo by Photographie M’Vivre
2. Ask yourself: Do you LOVE their work?
Go through potential vendors’ portfolios carefully. If a photographer mainly shoots dark and moody, and you want bright and airy… what are you doing there? If a florist shows primarily over-the-top glitz and glam and you want free-flowing and natural… again, what are you doing?
Most quality vendors are creatives who offer a certain amount of customization, but if the majority of their portfolio doesn’t make you swoon, then you should probably keep looking.
3. How is their client experience? (And does this matter to you?)
It should. Client experience is something that great vendors work hard on, and it demonstrates the level of commitment they make to their clients.
How do they make you FEEL?
Are they quick to respond? (Bearing in mind they have families, dinner times, and SLEEP, and will – quite correctly – ignore your 11:59 PM email until the next day.)
Are they knowledgeable and helpful?
Are they personal yet professional?
Does their communication feel rushed and messy or do things read/look curated?
Is their process easy to navigate?
Photo by Catherine Ledoux Photography (Hairstylist: Styled by Talia)
Good client experience is worth paying extra for, because it will make your planning so much smoother and more enjoyable. It’s the difference between doing your grocery shopping at a warehouse vs. a beautiful farmer’s market. Which vibe would YOU prefer for your wedding preparations?
4. Do they talk MONEY?
This is personal for me. I really feel like money is not a dirty word. I understand that every client comes to me with a budget in mind. Maybe it is hard-and-fast, maybe it has more flexibility, but it exists. What a client doesn’t set is the price. I can’t help what wholesale garden roses cost. I also don’t make bridal bouquets that cost $50 because I know the kind of quality, size, and artistry that I want to deliver for my clients, and it doesn’t come cheap.
That said, talking budget shouldn’t be taboo and a vendor should never make you feel bad about what you have to spend. There is a vendor for every client, and if I’m not the right florist for your needs, I can point you to someone who may be better able to serve you.
5. Do you CLICK with them?
If you don’t feel like you get along and jive well with a vendor, then it’s ok to keep looking! Weddings are intensely personal, meaningful days, and you should have a team around you that you genuinely LIKE. After all, you’re likely going to be spending some quality time with them on one of the most important days of your life!!
I have a couple of quotes… now what?
Photo by Danylo Bobyk Photography
6. Look beyond price.
What kind of SERVICE do these different vendors offer? Carefully read through their social media posts and websites to see what they value and deliver. Do they talk at length about the thoroughness of set-up they do? Do they customize everything to every client? Do they use a particular quality of product? Do they spend a certain amount of time in pre- or post-production?
I can’t speak for other florists, but I can tell you that the service I offer is vastly different than, say, a day-to-day bouquet delivery. Wedding floristry is always more in-depth and complex, but in my case, I place a HUGE value on client experience. There’s no drop-and-go here. I’m with my clients every step of the way, and I want them to feel 100% taken care-of on their wedding day. I also source my product from sustainable, and – whenever possible – local growers, which does mean that my “raw” product sometimes costs a little more. I know very well that I am not the lowest-cost provider and I am A-OK with that!
With flowers, it’s also difficult to gauge exactly WHY one florist’s bridal bouquets begin at $250 and another’s at $150. The answer usually lies both in the amount and quality of stems the florist uses, and in the thoroughness of the service they offer in the lead-up and on wedding day.
Photo by Photographie M’Vivre
This is why it is so important to consider their portfolio, social media message, and of course, TESTIMONIALS!
7. Read the testimonials and reviews… really read them.
You MUST look past the star ratings and really read the testimonials carefully. There is SO MUCH to be learned.
Listen for keywords that matter to you. If you want a super-easy, laid-back experience, look for keywords that speak to this (“relaxed, friendly, easygoing, flexible, helpful”).
If you are someone who is naturally anxious about their wedding, look for words and phrases like “put me at ease, made it simple, knew exactly what I wanted”.
Whatever matters most to you, read between the lines to see exactly what working with this vendor will look and feel like.
Photo by Kerstin Hahn Photography
Whew! That was A LOT of info. I hope that it will guide you through the process of how to choose your wedding vendors with confidence! I know that it can be really overwhelming to sort through the huge variety of wedding vendors all offering their services for your big day. Keeping in mind these simple criteria will allow you to sift through and find the real gems! As always, if you have a question or want to leave a comment, please feel free – I am happy to help and love to hear from you.
If you are ready to inquire about your wedding flowers, LET’S TALK!