From lobster bisque to lipstick, the checklist of items you will rely on vendors to provide at your wedding can be a little overwhelming. Even trying to decide which one is right for you can feel equally daunting. Just because a florist is the most popular in town or they offer the best prices doesn’t necessarily make them the perfect fit for your big day.
So, what’s the best way to find a vendor that’s the perfect match for your wedding? This list of wedding vendors and the questions you should ask them should definitely help get you started.
The Wedding Planner
If you intend to get a wedding planner or even just a day of coordinator, you want to be sure that they will be the most flexible and organized person present on your wedding day.
- Can they help you to refine and define your wedding style (country chic, elegant and glamorous or modern and sophisticated)?
- What measures do they take ahead of time to ensure that all vendors arrive on time and with their contracted items?
- What do they do if something goes wrong on the day of the wedding?
- If you are only getting a day of wedding coordinator, have they ever worked with any of your vendors, especially your venues, before?
- If they will be planning your wedding, what are their three top qualities when choosing a vendor, and do those merits hold the same importance for you?
It may seem that the wedding photographer and videographer is a place where you can afford to pinch a few pennies. After all, whether or not a photographer is skilled will not make or break your big day. But trust us when we say you will definitely thank yourself in the days and years to come when you are able to look at your gorgeous wedding photos or video and remember the day all over again.
- Do they have a backup plan if they can’t make it to the wedding because of a death in the family, botched travel or a baby’s due date?
- You chose them for the beauty of their current portfolio, so will they maintain their current style of editing months from now for your photos/video?
- How many team members (ideally at least two) will they have on the day of the wedding?
- How do they prevent an unexpected loss of the photos and video (two camera card slots, multiple backups, etc.)?
- Have they worked with your ceremony venue or reception venue before, or are they willing to visit the venues with you before the wedding day?
From ceremony flower arrangements to your wedding bouquet, the beautiful blooms provided by your florist will be one of the biggest stars on your wedding day. Asking a few questions at the first meeting with a potential florist will help to guarantee they are exactly what you’ve envisioned.
- How late (ideally two weeks out) will they allow you to make additions or changes to the plan for the arrangements, bouquets and boutonnieres?
- Based on your wedding color palette, can they recommend flower choices that will be in-season during your wedding?
- Can they help you to find a floral style that is cohesive with the rest of your wedding?
- Did they show you pictures of flowers that you hadn’t considered, or are they simply following your every suggestion?
- Because some venues have a lot of rules concerning flowers and centerpieces, have they ever worked with your ceremony and reception venues before?
The Ceremony Venue
This is it. This is where you will be joined forever to the love of your life. So shouldn’t the place where it all happens be worthy of such a moment? Make sure ahead of time that a potential wedding venue will be a place of beautiful memories, and not a reminder of the stress that comes with last minute changes or disorganized chaos.
- Do they have a time limit on the length of the ceremony or how late it can start if something or someone were to be delayed?
- Do they have someone who will tell people when to be where and direct the flow of the day?
- If there are required musicians or venue coordinators, what will the venue do if one of them cannot show up or has a late-breaking schedule conflict?
- Do they have any restrictions on the style of gown you and your bridesmaids can wear, and do those rules match with your style?
- Do they have a ceremony schedule that they can recommend, and do they require that you follow that set schedule?
The Reception Venue
Your reception venue is where the big party happens, so it is essential to select a place that fits with your style and desires for your wedding day. The last thing you want is for your heart to sink the moment you realize you’ve already signed with a wedding venue that limits your reception to two hours or that won’t allow your favorite DJ. Asking these questions ahead of time will save you BIG headache later on.
- Do they have a list of recommended, required or restricted wedding vendors to help you narrow down your search?
- Do they have any rules or restrictions on decorations, such as “nothing can be attached to the walls” or “no glitter,” and do those rules fit with your plans?
- If you are intending to have an outdoor wedding reception, do they have a backup plan in the case of rain on your wedding day?
- Do they restrict the length of the wedding reception or can you purchase more hours if you want to dance the night away?
- How long before the reception are vendors permitted to arrive and set up, and does that allotted time fit with your schedule?
The Hair and Makeup Artists
Whether you plan to go to a salon, are getting ready in a hotel room, or are spending the morning at the ceremony venue, your wedding hair and makeup artists will be with you for hours on the morning of your wedding. Your future self will thank you for choosing ones that will make your time spent getting ready relaxing and stress-free.
- Do you find the personalities of the hair and makeup artists to be soothing and fun or stressful and uptight?
- Can they recommend anything for your hair type or face shape?
- If you are going to have multiple hair or makeup artists, do they have a backup plan in case one of them doesn’t show up?
- How do they make up time if they start to run behind schedule on the morning of the wedding?
- How do they ensure that your wedding hairstyle and makeup looks fresh throughout a very long wedding day?
After all of that getting ready and following what can sometimes be a lengthy ceremony, your wedding guests’ stomachs are sure to be growling. Finding a caterer that will be dependable and able to concoct something delicious is crucial.
- What do they do if the guest count drastically changes after you give them your final tally?
- Will they provide separate meals for guests who are vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.?
- If you plan to have a sit-down meal, how quickly are guests usually served?
- If you plan to have a buffet meal or food stations, how do they ensure that the line flows smoothly?
- Are they able to suggest food options that would work best for your venue, wedding style and guest count, or are they simply following your suggestions?
Just as iconic as a white gown, your wedding cake is a wedding day staple. Whether you plan to go traditional or change things up a bit by having macarons or parfait cups instead of a four-tiered cake, selecting the baker to match your big day is a must.
- Do they take pride in their work by presenting even their tasting plates beautifully?
- Are they suggesting ideas that are outside the box and original, and are they willing to create something unique if that is what you are looking for?
- Does the baker ask about other items such as the fabric of your dress, the color of your linens and the style of your floral arrangements to demonstrate that they will work to create a sweet treat that looks beautiful and cohesive within your reception?
- Does the baker recommend practical items, such as having a precut sheet cake ready to serve your guests?
- What would the baker do if the dessert were to be damaged during its trip from the bakery to the reception venue?
Because the DJ sets the tone for your reception, it is important to get this selection right. A great wedding DJ or band can get even the grumpiest anti-dancer out on the floor, but a lackluster DJ can keep everyone in their seats.
- Does the DJ have a recommended wedding playlist that never fails to get people up and moving?
- What does the DJ do if he notices a lull in the enthusiasm on the dance floor?
- Does the DJ ask for proper pronunciation of the names of those in your wedding party who will be announced during the entrance?
- Can the DJ help you to find a music theme for your reception, such as an ’80s or ’90s throwback?
Despite the best planning, sometimes unavoidable glitches or imperfections can sneak into your wedding day. But by using this list of essential wedding vendor questions, you can spot issues before they arise and set yourself up for the wedding you’ve always imagined.