Question #1: What’s your strategy for choosing the BEST wedding vendors to work with?
MINDY: Excellent question!
The first thing I would say is learn all you can about the wedding professional’s experience. Sometimes the best way to gain that knowledge is to ask for references from other friends or family members. Who did they work with? Who did they love for their artistry and professionalism?
Next, make sure you look at lots of pictures of their work! Pictures tell you so much and you shouldn’t get tired of looking at them when it comes to investigating the best wedding professionals you can find.
Make sure you meet the potential professionals in person, to gauge their personality and genuineness. Do you click? Is there good energy between you? Kind of like dating!
Don’t hire anyone with an ego, hire someone who is open to your ideas and not just their agenda.
And last, one of the most important as it’s a true test of character that will color your entire relationship. Are they dependable? Do they returns calls, do they return them cheerfully and expeditiously? and are they appreciative of being hired?
Question #2: What happens if the client wants to use their favorite professionals, but you, as the wedding planner, have not worked with them before. How do you approach this scenario with the client?
I do all of the above! Just as I would recommend to you, I would head out and meet all the professionals my client wanted me to use. I am then totally honest with my client, telling them what my thoughts are about their choice, whether the feedback is positive or negative. That’s my duty as their wedding advocate, to advise based on my experience. If they still feel comfortable that they would like me to use their professional, then I will. I particularly respect a photographer that has taken family pictures and life memories of a bride who is now getting married, that photographer knows the family and their expectations. So, sometimes, the vendor or professional the client is introducing to me is the best option.
Question #3: What are your tips for reading a vendor’s contract? What to look for, watch out for, etc.
HOURS!!!! No one looks at this and often, if you figure out a photographer’s contract they may be leaving at the cake cutting time. So make sure to look at your whole wedding day timeline, from start to finish continuously, then count backwards and figure out what is included. (and what is billed on overtime rates.)
Also, make sure each professional carries their own insurance for the services they provide and as a business entity. Many venues and locations require proof of insurance prior to allowing any wedding professionals on the premises.
What recourse is there if they can’t make it? how do they handle that?
Check that all the information you discussed and they promised in your first meeting is clearly written in the contract.
Look for hidden costs like installation and strike labor fees (when they pick up their things like a florist or lighting and linens) are all spelled out on you contracts. These can be large fees depending on the situation at your venue, or the elaborate decorations you have fallen in love with.
And last, but not least, confirm that the basics are written correctly on the contract: the event date, locations and times. Not to mention your names, phone numbers and emails. And if any of these things changes, send that information immediately to all your professionals!
Good luck and when in doubt, trust your gut when making decisions with your money and your expectations!