Once you get engaged, the fun begins! You start looking through magazines, going crazy on pinterest, and reading everything you can about weddings. Maybe you even bought your own wedding journal/binder/planning guide! Then it becomes time to research vendors, make phone calls, set appointments, put deposits down.. and it gets a little scary, and a little bit more real.

I always find that things in the “dream phase” are so much easier than when we’re actually in reality! You find out that there are big dollar signs next to your dream photographer, venue, dress, etc. and have to start making real decisions.

It was critically important to me that we sit down with every potential vendor and meet with them. This meant taking time off of work to travel home and meet with many different people in a short amount of time (not to mention we were already planning our wedding in only 4 months!). And I am SO glad we did. I’m a firm believer in getting to know the people you’re working with - what are they passionate about, how do they carry themselves, can they answer your tough questions? So when planning your wedding, I would recommend doing a few things:

  1. Know your budget for the vendor. Even if it’s flexible, go in with a figure in mind so you know what you’re working with. It’s also polite, because if you’re just meeting with your “dream” vendor but really have no way of affording them, it’s a waste of time for both of you. You’ll end up disappointed, and they could have been meeting with a client that is able to book them.

  2. That being said, know that you get what you pay for. There are some cases where you will get a good deal, but be wary of things that seem to be too cheap. Chances are it is too good to be true. The videographer that only charges a couple hundred dollars? Sounds like a great idea, but don’t be surprised if the final product isn’t what you’re hoping for - and you’ll end up wishing you put that money elsewhere. (That’s not to say that there aren’t great videographers out there at a reasonable price!)

  3. Select a few vendors from each “category” and meet with them! We did this for most of our vendors - we talked to 3 photographers, got quotes from many different venues and catering companies, rental companies, etc. We picked ones that were all in our price range so we could determine what would be the best fit for us.

  4. Meet with vendors before you book them! You might not always be able to do this, but if you can, it makes the process so much better! You’re able to see who they are, how they present their work, and when they discuss how they handle weddings you’ll be able to tell if they’re a good fit.

  5. Ask questions. Ask everything you can think of - details that might be in the contract and details that are totally hypothetical. I found that when I suggested even my oddest ideas I’d get feedback of “I’m sure we could do that!” or “that wouldn’t work because of this…” and it actually gave me more to think about and plan with than I had. It also lets you see how the vendor handles your questions!

Ultimately, it’s important to pick vendors that you get along with and that you can afford. You both will be much happier and your event will be so much better because of that!