You’ve set a date, found your venue, and determined your budget.  Now it’s time to tackle the next step on your to-do list: booking your wedding vendors.  

I know that your weddings is going to be romantic and very personal…but let’s be real: your wedding is also a business transaction. Be aware to not let your emotions get in the way of making a clear and wise decisions about your wedding vendors.  You are spending thousands and thousands of dollars.  Make sure to do your research and take the time you need to create the very best team of people surrounding you on your special day.

Here are some ways to prepare before you meet with those perspective wedding vendors.  First, you need to put on your serious hat and get down to business. 

Things to bring with you:  

Pictures That Inspire You

This is a chance for them to get an idea of your vision.  Bring photo, clipping from your favorite magazines or even putting together a mood board collage of all those Pinterest pins that have inspire you.

Know Your Budget

It is important to know what your budget is for that particular vendor, and STICK TO IT! It’s easy to get caught up in their presentation and fall in love with their work, but remember that you have set a budget for a reason, and know you’ll be better off in the long run if you follow it. Otherwise, you will need to make adjustments to other areas in your budget.

Know Your Timeline

This can give you a good idea of how long you’ll need to hire some vendors for.  You’ll want to know if you need to book them for extra hours, and whether that is in line with your budget.

Bring Support!

Ideally, it would be your fiance who attends the meeting with you. Otherwise bring your sister, your mom, your maid-of-honor, your future mother-in-law…a second perspective can prove invaluable.  

Do Your Homework

 If your vendors give you worksheets and homework to complete, do it and finish on time! Vendors need to be informed of your details so they can help you to the best of their abilities, and they need to know in a timely manner or something could be overlooked.

Communicate Fully

Planning an event you are paying thousands of dollars for is no time to be shy. Ask questions when you have them; your vendors will be happy to answer!

Let Your Vendor Lead The Meeting

Try not to steam roll your vendor with a million questions the moment you sit down. They probably have a list of things they would like to discuss and answering your questions at the end is usually the most productive.

Work With A Planner

A wedding planner can save you SO much time at appointments. You will not even need to meet with vendors if you have a wedding planner. For the ones you do need to meet with, your planner will be a wonderful advocate for you and have a vision of the full day to convey to your vendors.

Be Decisive

Tell your vendors what you like and do not like. I promise you will not hurt their feelings (if you share in a kind way!). Most will really appreciate your giving them feedback on what you envision for your day. For example,  if you hate roses but love sunflowers, your florist is definitely going to want to know that!

Things you DON’T want to bring:

Your Checkbook!

Most vendors don’t expect you to sign on the spot, and honestly, I don’t think you should. Take a copy of their contract home along with the proposal they give you. Compare them side by side with other contracts you’ve received, then sleep on it! Vendors are more than willing to wait a day or two to let you think it over; if they aren’t, chances are they’re either using a sales tactic on you, or they’re more interested in getting your check than working with you.

Contracts or Proposals from Other Vendors

You can compare these at home, but they don’t need to know whom else you’ve met with and what others have quoted you.

Things you must ask:

Are you available on my wedding day?

This may seem like a silly question, but you’ll want to verify this at the beginning of the meeting.

How much do you require to reserve the date, and is it a deposit or a retainer?

There is a difference! A deposit is a down payment, and is fully refundable with most contracts. A retainer, on the other hand, cannot legally be refunded to you upon cancellation of your event. Vendors aren’t trying to play hardball by asking for a retainer; it’s just their way of protecting themselves from cancellations.

When is the full balance due, and what forms of payment do they accept?

Sometimes putting everything on a credit card that earns points or miles is a great way to earn free tickets for your honeymoon, or at least a 1st class upgrade!

You need to find the right professional and negotiate for the best price so you can be sure that, when your big day comes, you’ll get have exactly the best team that will deliver exactly what you want. 

We hope you found this helpful today. Know that it doesn’t need to feel like a formal interview when asking these questions, and if you don’t ask in person, you can always get some of these answered via email too. If you are just getting started on your planning journey, you need some guidance, please don’t hesitate to give us a call to be sure you are on the right track!

Happy Planning,


Marsha VanArk at Distinctly Yours Wedding & Events