It was a day like any other day, until your significant other got down on one knee…
Congratulations! You’re engaged! You can’t wait to share the incredible news with your friends and family! But once you’ve shown off your ring and set your wedding date, it means it’s time to begin the wedding planning process.
Wedding planning can be a wonderful combination of fun and exciting! But it can also be a tad stressful and intimidating. There are so many vendors to select for every aspect of your wedding day, and an INSANE amount of options to choose from. If you’re like me, you’ll probably sit there and wonder where to even start. How do you decide what to budget for each vendor? How do you find your vendors? And how do you make the decision to go with one vendor versus another? I’ll tackle all of these questions in this Wedding Wednesday post.
If you’ve read one of my last Wedding Wednesday posts, you’ll know that I’m a HUGE advocate of allotting as much of your wedding budget as possible to wedding photography. You can read my thoughts on it and some of my reasons HERE. But if wedding photography is not your priority, that’s totally fine! Every couple has the right to decide what they want for their wedding day and how much they want to spend on each vendor, which brings me to the first question – How do you decide what to budget for each vendor?
Sit with your significant other and set a total budget number. Your total budget number should be a factor of your current savings, the amount of time you have to save more money before your big day, and any cash your close family/friends are willing to contribute for your wedding (if any). Discuss your likes and dislikes with your significant other, and determine what is most important to both of you. Do you want an incredible venue with beautiful decorations? Or is your priority having amazing music so that your family and friends can dance the night away? Are you more concerned about having a world-class-menu or a drop-dead-gorgeous wedding gown? Or would you rather have gorgeous images you can look back on forever? Asking yourselves these questions will help you determine what to allot more of your wedding budget to, and what you can move money to and from as you start reaching out to vendors and seeing how much each item is actually going to cost.
Once you’ve determined your priorities so that you make sure you’re putting your hard-earned money into things that are important to you, it’s time to start looking at vendor options. This takes us to the second question – How do you find those wedding vendors? In another of my previous Wedding Wednesday posts, I discussed the steps you should take in doing your due diligence as you begin to search for a wedding photographer. (You can access that post HERE!) But the same principles apply to all kinds of wedding vendors. The first step is to check with friends and family, and solicit recommendations from them. Chances are, someone in your network has already worked with a wonderful wedding photographer, florist or baker. You can also check with your wedding planner or venue coordinator (if you already selected one). Since many vendors in the same area work closely together, asking other vendors you’ve already booked if they have a recommendation for another type of wedding vendor might be helpful. Otherwise, search local listings for wedding vendors with good reviews. Reviews are important in finding out what a wedding experience looks like with that particular vendor, and the information comes straight from the people who have already experienced it. Compile a list of your top choices after visiting the vendors’ websites, social media accounts, and/or blogs. Then narrow down your list to your favorites. Make sure to exclude those vendors that are outside of your price range, or can’t accommodate your wedding style or size.
Afterwards, it’s time to reach out to vendors to inquire about their availability on your wedding date. For those who are available, request to have an in-person or a Skype meeting (or at least have a phone conversation with them!). This is probably my biggest recommendation when selecting your wedding vendors, and one of the most important steps in helping you with that third question I mentioned earlier in this post, which is – How do you make the decision to go with one vendor versus another?
An in-person meeting, Skype meeting, or phone call allows you and your future spouse to make sure you connect with vendors at a personal level, and it helps you decide whether or not they are a good fit for you. Of all of your vendors, you’ll spend the most time on your wedding day with someone like me (your wedding photographer), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make sure to select your florist, cake baker, and other vendors with the same level of care that you take in selecting your photographer. Choosing vendors that you love, not only for their work, but also for their personalities, will definitely make wedding planning a more enjoyable experience, and will help bring a sense of peace and assurance to your wedding day. This is ultimately what you want in a wedding vendor: someone who will do amazing quality work and become a new “friend” you can trust to do the job in such a way so that you ultimately feel at ease during your wedding day. If you get an uneasy feeling when meeting a vendor, trust your instincts and continue searching until you find a vendor that you feel you can trust and enjoy working with. Then, take the leap!
Once you’ve selected your dream vendor team, make sure to be clear about what you want and expect from each one of them. Nothing is better than spending your wedding day enjoying the company of your significant other and your loved ones while your carefully-selected wedding vendors take care of the rest. The best vendor team will know how to come together to create something beautiful based on your vision for your day.
Are you interested in having me capture your wedding day? My Wedding Collections begin at $2,500 and include six or more hours of wedding day coverage, 500+ high-resolution, edited digital images displayed in an online gallery, and a complimentary engagement session. I’d be happy to work something out with you that’ll fit within your wedding budget! To get on my calendar right away, you can contact me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by using my website contact form, which goes straight to my inbox!
I believe in photographs that are meant to last. Want to find out more about my heart for photography? Make sure to check out the “MY WHY” section of my “MEET ANDREA” page on my main website. You can access it HERE!
A special thanks to all of these amazing vendors whose work is featured on this post: Event Planning: Yvonne Unubun (Events by Mayven) | Shoot Host: Melinda Garrick (Melinda Anita Photography) | Venue Manager: Haley Simon (Deity NYC) | Event Design & Styling: Latisha Joseph (Bluu Ribbon Events) | Florals: LaParis Phillips Brooklyn Blooms | Stationery & Calligraphy: Ellen Liu Chan (Designs by Ellen) | Cake:BCakeNY