In the Washington, DC region we are lucky to have some of the best professional wedding vendors in the country. But for most couples, hiring vendors can be a daunting and challenging task. There are so many options available, so it can be difficult to navigate the sea of vendors and find the right fit for your wedding. Most weddings require vendors for several different areas (catering, flowers, photography, music, etc), and often these are vendors that couples have not hired in the past. Plus, each vendor will come with a large price tag, which can be a bit scary and overwhelming.
Here is advice to help you find and hire great vendors for your wedding, as seen on The DC Ladies
- There are four main ways to find vendors. 1) Word of mouth from friends who were recently married (or their children/sibling were recently married), 2) annual wedding shows like A Chic Affair (coming up on March 29, 2015), 3) online resources including Wedding Wire and local blogs like United With Love, and 4) preferred vendor list via venues and other vendors.
- I recommend using all of the above to find vendors initially and then checking out the business via their website and social media pages to get a feel for their style.
- Look at their portfolios to see real weddings or examples of their work (photos via photographers, playlists via DJs, songs via musicians, videos via videographers, etc.).
Meeting with vendors:
- Do you need to meet in person with every vendor you contact? No, and many couples just don’t have the time to do all those meetings. Start with an email and/or set-up a phone call to get a sense of services, style, pricing.
- For an in person meeting, I suggest narrowing the list to the top 2 or 3 max. Any more and people start to blend together, which can be overwhelming and confusing.
Be up front:
- When contacting vendors, first be sure to check on availability (some small businesses like myself only take one wedding a weekend). Also, be up front about what you are looking for in terms of their services and your budget.
- Not sure what you need? Ask the vendor what they recommend. For example, for photography there are some that provide “unlimited coverage” and some that provide hourly coverage. No two weddings are alike. Talk with the photographer to see how many hours they suggest for your wedding based on where you want to take photos, the events taking place, etc.
- If you do have an idea of what you are looking for, let the vendor(s) know and be as specific as possible. It never hurts to provide all of the available information up front. It also ensures you are all on the same page and there are no surprises later.
When comparing different services/prices, make sure you are really comparing apples to apples:
- After you received the proposals, review the details and services being offered. Chances are if one proposal is significantly higher or lower, there may be something that one vendor is offering that the other is missing. For example, is one videographer offering unedited footage of the event, and the other offering a documentary style film?
Ask for references:
- It’s always a great idea to ask for references to speak with couples that have worked with your vendor(s) in the past.
Go with your gut:
- At the end of the day, trust your instincts! When you are speaking and meeting with vendors, chances are your first impression will be a good indication of how it is to work with them. Are they responsive, professional, and polished? Have they done a good job in answering your questions?
- Realize that they don’t have to be your friend. You may strongly connect with certain vendors and some may turn into friendships. But at the end of the day, this is a business relationship and all that really matters is that they provide a good service for your wedding. It’s OK if you don’t want to be friends with every vendor you hire.