Hiring the right team is critical to planning your dream wedding…and it can also be quite stressful. How do you find the right match for you? How do you know who to trust? Where do you go for advice?
First of all, this is not an easy task and it’s totally normal for couples to feel overwhelmed, frustrated or confused. It’s not like you plan a wedding every day! This is all probably brand new to you, so be patient with yourself.
A few tips to finding the right ones for you…
- Do Your Homework. You’ll get much more out of a meeting or conversation with a wedding professional if you do a little background homework first.
Spend some time on the internet or talking to friends who’ve recently been married. Find out the average prices in your area and what services are available. Get an idea of what you like and don’t like. Wedding websites and chat rooms can be a great resource. This way when you meet with a wedding professional you’ll be able to ask better questions and have an idea of what to look out for.
- Meet With Them. An in person meeting or Skype is the best way to interview a potential wedding vendor. It lets you get the full experience of their personality, style and professionalism. If that’s not possible, have a phone conversation.
- Ask Questions. There are no stupid questions! Make sure you get clear, specific answers to your questions. If you aren’t sure what something means, ask them to clarify. Keep asking questions until you completely understand.
If a wedding vendor has a problem with you asking questions, they probably aren’t the one for you. The best wedding professionals are patient, understanding and take the time to help you make the best choices for your wedding.
- Listen. Don’t just hear the words they say, really listen. Watch the vendor’s body language. Are they confident and comfortable with their response? Do they look and sound nervous? Do you get a “funny feeling” about them? Take all the sights, sounds and feelings into account along with their responses; if your gut tells you something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.
- Check References. Portfolios are hand-picked to show off the best work, but they may not represent the “average” wedding performance. Videos are edited for the optimum presentation. But real referrals from satisfied clients are hard to fake.
Call up both client and professional references. Ask questions and use those listening skills. Even if they give a rave review, you’ll often be able to “read between the lines” if there were any issues or problems.
Ask around and search the internet for reviews. Check the Better Business Bureau for any outstanding complaints against the business. Weigh all of this information into your choices.
Here are 8 Must Ask Questions to ask ALL your potential wedding professionals before booking:
- How many weddings do you do per year? How much experience do you have? This is an extremely important question. Ideally, your wedding professional should have ample experience specifically with weddings. Not only will they be more skilled in their craft, this also makes them a valuable source of information and ensures that your wedding day goes smoothly.
- How much do you cost? Price is often relative, especially when you factor in experience, reputation and expert skill. Generally, the most talented professionals have a higher price tag because they are worth it.
- How much is the retainer? Typical wedding vendor retainers are 50% due with the contract and the final 50% due 30 days before the wedding.
- What specifically is included in that cost? Because packages often vary, it’s likely that you won’t be able to compare one vendor exactly to the next without doing a little figuring. The lowest cost isn’t necessarily the best deal; some higher quotes include services that you have to pay extra for in other packages. Make sure you take this into account.
- What happens if I cancel? What happens if you cancel? Find out if your retainer is refundable under any conditions. Keep in mind that your wedding professional is securing your date on their calendar and turning down other work for that date, if you cancel you may still be responsible for the full amount due. Does the wedding professional have a back up plan if something happens to them?
- Do you use a contract? If the answer is No, RUN! A contract is designed to protect both you and the wedding professional. Don’t settle for a verbal agreement that won’t hold up in court.
- Are there any additional fees? Taxes, service charges and travel fees can add up quickly. Make sure you understand exactly what is included and if there are any other fees you’ll have to pay. This should be clearly defined in your contract.
- Do you carry liability insurance? The answer you’re looking for here is Yes. This protects you in case an unfortunate accident should occur on your wedding day. It’s also a sign that this is a reputable business, since most “fly by night” operations don’t invest in insurance.
- If chosen wisely, with the right wedding vendors you get expert help and advice…for free!
Melissa Arlena Photography is an award winning wedding, newborn, maternity, anniversary, engagement, lifestyle and family photographer in Fredericksburg, Virginia and surrounding areas. Ready to book your session? Contact me now for more information!