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In our previous blog post, we disclosed some of our top tips for how to have smooth communication with your wedding vendors. We’ve got tips in there about how to talk to your vendors, how to ask for referrals, reminders to be patient, perspective, meeting preparation, and more. Click the button below to read up on all this information that will help you build and maintain a great relationship with your selected wedding vendors!

But, you may ask, how do I even choose my vendors in the first place? How do I know what to ask vendors in vendor meetings so I’ll be able to choose the right one for my wedding? Read on, dear friend!

Today, we’ve got some helpful graphics featuring the questions we think you should ask to your vendors in every category. You’re welcome!! As you look through the blog today, we encourage you to look through the suggested questions to ask and bring these questions with you to your vendor meetings to help you determine which vendor is the best fit.

Kissing couple on wedding day
Couple with friends on wedding day

Photos by Ali Lockery Photography

Questions to ask every kind of wedding vendor

Photographer & Videographer

Choosing a professional photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make for your wedding. There are many talented wedding photographers in a wide range of prices. Consider the style of photography, how much time is included for wedding day coverage and what you receive for the price. The personality of the photographer is also important so that you feel completely comfortable on the wedding day.

Likewise, capturing the ceremony and important reception events through videography gives you real time memories from your wedding day. Video allows you to relive the toasts, see grandma dancing at the wedding and have guests send real wishes on video. Modern wedding videos are more like movies or music videos and are often fun to watch.

Photographer

Videographer

How long have you been in business?

How many weddings have you photographed?

What are your wedding packages and pricing?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish interviewing photographers?

What type of equipment do you use?

What is the backup plan if your camera fails?

If you offer unlimited coverage, how long are you usually at the event?

Do you use lighting or off camera flash at weddings?

What kind of venues and locations are your favorites for photography?

Do you include an engagement session with the wedding package?

How soon after the wedding will the online gallery be ready?

Do you provide graphic design assistance for items such as save-the-date cards 

and thank you notes?

Who, specifically, will photograph the wedding?

How much post processing and digital retouching do you typically do?

How long are the digital images retained?

Will I receive high resolution digital images with a copyright release?

What album styles are available?

Will you have an assistant at the wedding?

How many photos can we expect to receive after the wedding?

Will you check with the church for photo and flash rules (if applicable)?

Do you offer photography for rehearsal dinners and other wedding events?

Can we see your online portfolio and also see full galleries of weddings you have photographed?

How long have you been in business?

How many weddings have you shot video for?

What are your wedding packages and pricing?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish interviewing videographers?

What type of equipment do you use?

What is the backup plan if your camera fails?

If you offer unlimited coverage, how long are you usually at the event?

What is the length of the video my clients will receive?

Do you create a highlight video?

Will the video be posted online?

Who, specifically, will video the wedding?

Do you shoot in standard definition or high definition?

What is the cost for extra copies of the DVD?

How many cameras will be used?

Will you have an assistant at the wedding?

What do you use for music in the final video?

What kind of lighting do you use at night?

How long after the event will we receive the final video?

Where will be camera(s) be during the ceremony?

Will you check with the church for video and lighting rules (if applicable)?

Can we watch highlight and full length videos you have produced?

Bride with her ladies on wedding day

This (and next) photo by Sandra Lynn Photography

Music & Entertainment

Selecting the music and entertainment for the wedding is based on your personal tastes, wedding theme, budget and the atmosphere desired. You may want different types of music for the ceremony, cocktail hour, reception and after-party. When it comes to making music recommendations to the DJ, keep in mind that a DJ can play 15-16 songs in one hour.

Bands & Live Music

DJs & Entertainment

How long have you been in business?

How long has the group played together?

How many weddings have you played at?

What are your wedding packages and pricing including overtime rates?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish interviewing musicians?

What type of sound equipment do you use?

What is the backup plan if your equipment fails?

What type of dinner, drinks and green room requirements do you have?

What are the electrical/power requirements for the band?

Do the musicians require a shade tent or other type of cover?

How much actual space and staging does the band require?

What weather conditions and temperatures would cause you not to play?

Can we hear you play live or do you have a sample video?

How many musicians are there and what instruments do they play?

\How many vocalists are in the band?

Do the band members interact with guests and get the crowd involved?

Will you act as master of ceremonies and make announcements?

What are your ceremony capabilities?

How many breaks will you take, and for how long?

Can you play the ethnic selections I want?

How will the musicians be dressed?

Is there a charge for learning a special song request?

Will there be a sign displayed at the wedding advertising your band or company?

How long have you been in business?

How many weddings have you played at?

What are your wedding packages and pricing including overtime rates?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish interviewing DJ’s?

Do you have liability insurance?

What type of sound equipment do you use?

Do you work with CDs or have all digital music?

What is the backup plan if your equipment fails?

Do you bring any kind of lighting to events?

Do you have cordless microphones for toasts or for the ceremony if needed?

Will you act as the master of ceremonies and make announcements?

Does the DJ require a shade tent or other type of cover for outdoor venues? 

How much actual space does the DJ require?

Who specifically will be the DJ at the wedding?

Will you take and abide by “do not play” and “must play” lists that we give you?

What will you do if someone requests a song on the “do not play” list?

What is the worst thing that has happened to you at a wedding?

Do you do an additional consultation or phone call before the wedding?

Will you recommend songs for the ceremony, first dance, cake cutting, etc.?

Do you do the anniversary dance or any ice breakers?

Will you guarantee that you won’t embarrass or surprise us during the reception?

Do you normally have props or games during the reception?

What type of music can you provide for the ceremony?

What type of music can you provide for cocktail hour?

How many breaks will you take, and for how long?

How will the DJ be dressed?

Will you work with my planner at the reception to ensure a smooth flow of events?

First dance at wedding

Florists & Caterers

The floral arrangements and decor are typically a major part of the style, design and atmosphere at a wedding. Keep in mind the florist’s style and personality when researching floral designers.

And when it comes to caterers, an experienced caterer will welcome your suggestions and help develop the reception menu so that it reflects your tastes and personality. Some venues only allow you to use their catering services or a catering company from their preferred list. Most catering companies will also provide the staff for the wedding.

Floral Designers

Catering Services

  How long have you been in business?

How many weddings have you done as a floral designer?

How many weddings do you do in one day?

Do you have a minimum budget you work with?

Can you work with my floral budget?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish interviewing florists?

Do you have a portfolio of weddings you have done?

What is your favorite type of wedding style?

Are rentals available such as plants, trees, candelabras, arches and Chuppahs?

Do you offer lighting for weddings such as up-lighting, market lights or hanging chandeliers?

Do you offer décor items such as fabric draping, lounge furniture, hanging lanterns

and specialty decor elements?

Do you offer favors, aisle runners or linen rentals?

Will the vases be rentals or will my clients purchase them?

How soon after the wedding are rental items due back?

Can you recommend various options for centerpieces in my price range?

Will you create a mock-up centerpiece and/or bouquet for us? Or will you

work with me (the planner) to create a full table design mock-up?

Are you familiar with the ceremony and reception sites?

Will you do a site visit at the venue if necessary?

Do you provide delivery, setup and tear down of the floral and décor you provide?

Will the boutonnieres, corsages and bouquets be individually labeled with names?

Do you pin on the corsages and boutonnières on the wedding day?

  How many weddings have you done?

Are you permitted to work at my venue?

Have you worked an event at this venue before?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish interviewing caterers?

When is the final guest count due?

How much is the service charge and what does it include?

What type of food items do you recommend for my budget, taste, style and number of guests?

What type of dinner service (sit-down dinner, stations, tapas, family style, buffet) do you suggest?

What is the ratio of servers to guests?

How will the servers be attired?

What is the procedure for doing a ‘tasting’ of the food choices?

Will we be charged for the tasting?

Do you cook on-site at the event location?

Do you offer organic selections?

 Do you provide liquor? Bartenders?

What is the charge for bar set-up (soda, ice, lemons, limes, napkins)?

Do you offer wedding cakes or desserts?

Will you cut and serve the wedding cake?

 Do you help with setup and clean up of centerpieces and favors?

Do you provide rental items such as tables, chairs, linens, glassware and china?

If you do not own rentals, will you manage the rentals with a rental company?

How will the dinner/stations/buffet be presented and served to our guests?

How will plated meals be served? Synchronized service?

Will appetizers be passed?

Do you offer wine service with dinner?

Can you provide bottled water or a drink station for the ceremony?

Can you provide coffee and tea service?

What options do you provide for children’s meals?

Can you do catering for the rehearsal dinner or other wedding events?

Wedding party with flowers

Photo by Abigail Traver Photography

Ceremony & Reception Venues

Of course, lots of thought needs to go into choosing the venue for the ceremony and reception. The ceremony is a reflection of who you are. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. When researching a ceremony site, think about who you are as a couple and what makes the two of you unique. Consider their religious affiliations as well. Some of the questions below may not apply to particular locations.

As for the reception venue, consider the charm, personality, and depth of the site. Can you envision where guests will sit? What will the dancing area look like? Will the reception flow? If you are considering a public park or location, there may be strangers gawking or waving which is a consideration for some.

Ceremony Venue

Reception Venue

What packages or time slots are available?

What is the maximum capacity of the site?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish touring ceremony sites?

Will there be sufficient time for decorating and clean up? (generally 1-2 hours for

setup and 1 hour for cleanup)

Is alcohol allowed at the site?

Do we need to obtain a permit for anything?

In a park location, do we need to rent portable restrooms?

Is there electricity at the site?

Are there separate rooms for the bride and groom to get ready in?

Are there any limitations on photography, flashes, music or video?

Is there any type of music or sound system available for use?

Do my wedding vows need to be approved?

Are there any rules on wedding attire such as the bride’s dress style?

Are there restrictions with regards to religion?

Is there an officiant available?

Are outside officiants or ministers allowed?

Is the venue handicap accessible?

If the ceremony location is outside, is there a backup location available in case of inclement weather?

Is there an on-site coordinator who will be present that day?

Is there enough parking for all guests? Is it free parking?

 Do you allow rose petals, candles, rice or bubbles?

Do you provide the chairs? Do you set the chairs up? Is there an additional fee for this?

 Is the location accessible by limo or shuttle buses?

Will the venue be open to the public during the ceremony?

Are there other rules or fees we have not discussed?

What packages or time slots are available?

What is the maximum capacity of the site?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish touring reception sites?

Will there be sufficient time for decorating and clean up? (generally 1-2 hrs for setup and 1 hr for cleanup)

Do we need to obtain a permit for anything?

Do you provide catering or can we choose our own caterer?

Do you have a preferred caterer list?

What is the alcohol policy or rules?

When is the final guest count due?

Is the venue handicap accessible?

 Are there any columns or obstructions in the room that will block guest’s views?

Is there a changing room or bridal suite available?

Can we view the site when another wedding is being set up?

How many other events might be happening on the same day?

Are there sufficient restrooms for the guest count?

Are there any rules or limitations for music?

Do you provide any type of music or sound system?

What type of electricity and power are available?

If the venue is outside, is there a backup location available in case of inclement weather?

Is there an on-site coordinator who will be present that day?

Is any security required?

Is there enough parking for all guests? Is it free parking?

Is the venue easily accessible by limos and shuttle buses?

Do you allow rose petals, confetti and candles?

Do you provide tables, chairs and linens? If so, what style and sizes are available?

Do you provide china, glassware and flatware?

Are there other rules or fees we have not discussed?

 

Wedding ceremony at Dane's Hall

Photo by Ann Ilagan Photography

Bridal Gown, Hair & Makeup

The most important consideration when shopping for your wedding dress is very simple — for you to look and feel beautiful! She may have a specific style in mind but encourage her to try other styles before making a final selection.

As for hair & makeup, there are companies that offer both hair and makeup services for weddings and some that offer just makeup or just hair services. Salons and spas often offer both in-house and outcall services for weddings and events. You may want to see photos of their work and do a trial run before the wedding.

Bridal Dress Boutiques

Hair & Makeup Artists

  How long have you been in business?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

What are your exchange and cancellation policies?

Are any alterations included in the cost of the gown?

What are the costs for additional alterations?

Do you offer headpieces, veils or accessories?

What brand and designer lines do you carry?

Can we take photos while I try on gowns?

After the gown is ordered, how long will it take to arrive?

Will you store the gown until the wedding day if necessary?

Will the gown be steamed or pressed when we pick it up?

Do you offer a discount if bridesmaid dresses are also ordered from your store?

Do you sell off-the-rack dresses?

Do you have any trunk shows or sales in the near future?

Do you offer cleaning or preserving services for the dress after the wedding?

 How long have you been in business?

Do you have specific packages and pricing for weddings?

Do you provide onsite services at home, the venue or at the hotel where I will get ready?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish meeting with beauty suppliers?

Are you licensed to work in this state or country?

What is your training and background in hair and/or makeup?

Can we see samples of your work from weddings?

What size of party can you accommodate on the wedding day?

Do you bring any assistants with you?

How much time do you need on the wedding day?

Can I do a trial run (or practice session) for hair and makeup? What is the cost?

Will the person doing the trial run be the same person who works with me on

the wedding day?

Do you have a backup artist/stylist available if you are unable to work at the last

minute on the wedding day?

Will you stay at the wedding and do touch-ups throughout the day?

How do you recommend that I keep my makeup fresh throughout the day?

What brands of products do you use?

Do you sell or rep any of the products that you use?

Do you do airbrush makeup?

Bride and bridesmaids

Photos (above and below) by Liller Photo

Dessert & Transportation

Cake and dessert tastings are often one of the most fun wedding planning tasks. You may have a strong sweet tooth or you might prefer a lighter European style cake for you wedding. Some will prefer cupcakes, an ice cream bar or a dessert bar for the wedding.

And, transportation, of course! Providing transportation for the bride, groom, bridal party and out-of-town guests is an important service in making your day run smoothly. Proper planning will ensure everyone gets to the ceremony on time. Consider how your wedding party will get to and from the ceremony and reception as well as how you will return to the hotel at the end of the night.

Bakery & Cake Designer

Transportation Pros

 How many years have you been in business?

Have you delivered to our venue before?

What types of cake flavors, icing and fillings do you offer?

How do you price your cakes?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish tasting cakes and desserts?

Do you offer complimentary tastings?

What is the cake delivery and setup fee?

Are your wedding cakes fresh or frozen?

Where do you bake and decorate your cakes and desserts?

Have you ever had a cake disaster and how did you handle it?

How far in advance should we design and order the cake?

Can you create a sketch of the cake for us to review?

Can you make a groom’s cake?

Can we see photos of cakes and desserts you have created?

Do you offer other desserts such as cheesecakes, cookies, dessert buffets, pies or favors?

Do you have cake stands, serving pieces or cupcake stands available for rent?

  How long have you been in business?

How many weddings have you done?

Have you provided transportation for an event at this venue before?

Do you offer special wedding transportation services or packages?

How do you base your charges? Time? Distance?

Does the charge per hour begin when the car/shuttle leaves the garage, or when it

arrives at the first pick up location?

Is there a minimum rental time?

Are your cars and drivers insured?

Is the driver’s gratuity included? If not, what is the customary gratuity?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish interviewing transportation professionals?

What type of limousines, classic cars, vans, busses, shuttles or horse-drawn carriages do you provide?

How old are the vehicles?

How many passengers does each vehicle hold?

For my transportation needs, do you suggest renting multiple vehicles or

renting fewer vehicles but providing more trips?

What are your policies on decorating the vehicles or carriages?

Do you offer red carpet service for the bride and groom?

Do you offer any type of beverages in your vehicles such as water or champagne?

Is the driver familiar with the area where we need transportation?

Wedding cake

Officiants, Invitations & Stationery

It’s time for the final vendor categories – onto officiants and ministers. Whether you are choosing a minister from childhood, selecting a judge, working with a rabbi or choosing a non-denomination officiant, consider the personality, appearance and speaking style of the person. Different states and countries have different rules regarding wedding officiants. Be sure to check with your specific location for rules and regulations.

When it comes to invitations, there are online and local resources for wedding invitations and stationery. Custom designers typically create invitations from scratch based on the style of wedding and what you like. Some invitation businesses act as a local sales representative for larger invitation companies. The representatives have a selection of samples and books for you to browse. If ordering online, keep in mind that the color resolution can vary greatly between computers. It’s best to ask for a sample to be mailed before making the final choice when ordering wedding invitations or stationery items online.

Officiants & Ministers

Invitations & Stationery

  How long have you been officiating weddings?

How many weddings do you officiate in one day?

What are your wedding packages and fees?

Have you worked at our venue before?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Will you reserve my wedding date until we finish interviewing officiants?

Are you legally allowed to officiate weddings at this location?

Do you have a backup officiant available if you are unable to attend at the last minute?

Do you perform religious or civil ceremonies?

Can we write own vows?

Can we write our own ceremony?

Do you have sample ceremony readings/vows that we can choose from?

Can we do a unity candle, sand ceremony, hand fasting, wine ceremony,

mother’s rose presentation or other unique element during the ceremony?

Are you available to attend the wedding rehearsal and is that an additional charge?

 How long have you been in business?

Do you have a design background or other experience with weddings?

Do you custom design invitations or do you represent invitation companies?

What type of deposit is required and what is the schedule of payments?

Do you have a minimum budget you work with?

What style of invitations do you recommend for my budget?

What types of printing processes do you offer?

Do you do in-house printing or outsource the printing?

Once we place the order, how long until we see an electronic proof?

How much does the electronic proof cost?

After we approve or make changes to the proof, how long until the invitations arrive?

If the invitations involve multiple pieces, do you assemble them? If so, is there an additional fee?

Can you also provide matching table numbers, place cards, escort cards, favor tags, programs, menus and thank you notes?

If I want to include a photo or graphic on the save-the-date or invitation cards, can you accommodate that?

Are there different font styles, paper types and paper colors to choose from?

For the invitation styles selected, can you estimate the postage?

Do you offer addressing or calligraphy service?

Bride and Groom

Photo by Natashia Nicole Photography

You've got this!

We are confident that if you take these questions with you to your vendor meetings, you will leave the meeting feeling prepared and educated, empowered and ready to choose the right vendor for you. If the vendor’s answers line up with your dreams for your wedding day, then you can confidently move forward with them knowing that you covered all your bases! If the vendor seemed uncomfortable or unable to answer your questions in a way that jived with your wedding dreams, then you can feel comfortable about seeking other options.

Do you need additional help selecting wedding vendors? Well, you’ve come to the right place. That just so happens to be our specialty. We have been in the wedding planning industry for over a decade and we have strong relationships with excellent Wisconsin wedding vendors. Please reach out – we would love to help you connect with the right people! We are happy to help you with our wedding planning services, and we also have hourly consulting options available to help you choose vendors or work through specific wedding planning questions you may have.