Your date is secured, and you’re ready to start meeting with potential vendors!  You will want to make sure you’re prepared for these meetings and know the right questions to ask.

Things to bring:

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 put together a mood board collage of all those Pinterest pins that have inspired 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 just 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.  

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 to ask each vendor:

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!

What is your cancellation policy?

Remember, it’s not unheard of for them to cancel on you either, so ask about that, too.

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.

My best advice is to do your research!  And if this part of the planning is where you see you may need some assistance, please contact me to connect and see how I can help.  It is our goal is to make the process leading up to your big day just as special as the wedding day itself. We want you to have fun and enjoy every minute.

Happy Planning!

Marsha VanArk

My goal is to make the wedding planning process leading up to your big day just as special as the wedding day itself. We want you to have fun and enjoy every minute.

Marsha VanArk at Distinctly Yours Wedding & Events