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Money | A Hot Issue

 

We have an entire wedding budget area to talk about the complexity of money. No matter what your money views, there is no "right or wrong." This very simple award-winning game is worth the emotional awareness you'll gain. A few big "a-ha" moments may greatly help in wedding planning. Learn more

We're Going to Be One Happy Family...Or Else!

 

A very unique book written by a nationally respected marriage and family therapist who has worked with couples and families for over 30 years. Learn why a mother bought 25 copies for EVERYONE in her family to get everyone on the same page during the most intense, public, family event. Learn more

Wedding Discounts for Marriage Prep

 

Engaged couples are by their nature extremely happy. But as you know, after the honeymoon, marriage is hard work. We offer many options for marriage prep at many price-points(and wedding discounts from vendors who want to help!) Encourage your adult child to visit our website.Learn more

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Questions to Ask All Wedding Vendors

 

Searching for wedding vendors can feel like you're on a first date, or an ackward job interview. Sometimes you feel like you're also being interviewed and sometimes you feel like you're at the mercy of their sales pitch because you just don't know their industry. It can be so easy to forget, with all the books, magazines and wedding websites, that the BEST expert is the person in front of you who has made a living out of providing one specialized service or product. This list is meant to help you Take Back Your Wedding by learning from them without being forced into products or services you don't want or can't afford.

 

  • Why did you get into this field?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What do you see as the good and bad trends in your industry?
  • What is the price range for your services in this town?
  • What options can you offer me both in level of service/time/product but also in pricing? How flexible and creative are you with customers?
  • What is the number one thing that goes wrong with your product/service and how do you deal with it?
  • If you have already booked some wedding vendors and this potential vendor will be interacting in some manner with them, ask them what they think about your vendors. Similarly ask their opinions on who they love working with in the vendor categories you haven't yet booked.
  • If you have a general budget ask what they would do if they were you.

Why did you get into this field?

 

You are looking for someone with passion for what they do! If you stop and think about it most wedding vendors give up their weekends or evenings to deal with YOUR wedding. And we all know brides can be a very challenging customer. Why are they giving up their own social time (and potentially their sanity) for weddings? Why do they love what they do? Their passion often translates into a creative, high energy approach that makes them want to please their customers no matter what it takes. Hopefully you can weed out those who are only looking for a quick buck.

 

Who is your ideal customer?

 

Here you are looking for them to share the best type of customer they like working with. Yes, they will work with anyone, but most wedding vendors have clients they love more than others. Some want the biggest spenders of course, but some want ONLY super creative unique weddings, others enjoy the more traditional wedding. Some vendors like to work along side your special requests and others like more control over their packages and offerings. There is no good or bad here, just different styles and preferences. The closer you can get to their ideal customer the better fit you might feel. Ultimately a business creates its own "brand" and in branding you come up with your target market. I have met an event coordinator who is self-described ADD and loves new challenges. If she meets a potential bride who isn't really creative or into wild ideas, she'll suggest a competitor because she'd rather only work with a certain type of customer. That's a GREAT sign in a vendor if they send you to someone else!

 

What do you see as the good and bad trends in your industry?

 

Here is where you'll get their level of "trendiness" and experience. My caterer was so against some of the ideas I found in magazines because in HER experience they didn't work. Some vendors are all about trendiness because they want to use your wedding in their portfolio to attract other couples. They may not admit there are downsides because they don't want to potentially lose you as a customer! But if a vendor is willing to admit the downsides to a trend that's a good sign they'll be honest with you about other aspects of their trade. For example - chocolate fountains have been trendy but if you really listen to insiders talk, there is a lot of nasty germ sharing that goes on as someone sneezes into the fountain or bites off some food then dips their germy food back into the fountain. This is an example of something you may want to know about from a vendor. Or, you may not care or believe this will be a problem with your wedding guests.

 

What is the price range for your services in this town?

 

Before asking the oft-dreaded question "how much do you cost?" it's a great idea to find out the range of what their service or product costs in your area! They will know better than any magazine or website because they're constantly having to be competitive and keep a close eye on rates. This will hopefully keep them away from a sales pitch quite yet. They may say something that triggers an answer for you (I could buy a cake at Sams Club and people do that? Cool, I don't even like cake!) or you could find out that people who spend the low end for, say, photography are only getting 2 hours of coverage and often with an inexperienced photographer. That lets you immediately know that you'll have to budget more to get your basic wedding needs met.

 

What options can you offer me both in level of service/time/product but also in pricing? How flexible and creative are you with customers?

 

Here is where the rubber meets the road. You want to get a full understanding of what they offer, how much it costs and whether there is any wiggle room. This is the only way you will be able to compare them with other vendors. Two wedding photographers can charge you $2,000 but if you don't know that one of them INCLUDES the wedding album and the other doesn't then you aren't able to best compare the two for what you'll get. Maybe you can wheel and deal saying you'll do your own album if s/he will give you another 2-3 hours of coverage on the day. (Wedding albums take HOURS upon HOURS to create for wedding photographers.)

 

Vendors have packages to make life easier for themselves and couples but if you really know something you want or don't want, ask! My fiance and I did NOT want a huge wall portrait of us which was part of our photography package. We ended up getting all our wedding party pictures "free" in replace of that big portrait, saving us a lot of money. Similarly if you absolutely love the cake baker but they're way over your budget, ask them about decorating a styrofoam fake cake and just making sheet cake. They may be willing to do that and it could save you a lot of money. OR, they could think it's a ghastly idea and believe that is an awful trend and refuse to offer that service to its perceived high-end customers. It's good to find out so as you compare other bakers you know ALL your possibilities.

 

What is the number one thing that goes wrong with your product/service and how do you deal with it?

 

Again the theme here is these vendors know more and have experienced more than you will ever know! This is a great way to find out how they deal with drama, mistakes, unforseen tragedy or circumstances. A wedding invitation company might say the biggest gaff is getting the date wrong on the wedding invitation, or perhaps not ordering enough.You will then not only learn their policies but how much they are willing to accomodate emergency situations. You will also get a sense for how much empathy and patience they have for their customers.

 

Our caterer had tons of wild stories - a guest dropped dead at the reception (she had the cleaning supplies to fix the carpet so the couple wouldn't be charged for damaging the floor with the bodily mess), the mother of the groom went ballistic insisting the grooms cake HAD to have strawberries so the caterer called her husband to run to the grocery store to get strawberries. This is a sign of a great caterer who can deal with last minute drama, whether the drama is serious (dead body!) or silly (strawberry emergency.)

 

If you have already booked some wedding vendors and this potential vendor will be interacting in some manner with them, ask them what they think about your vendors. Similarly ask their opinions on who they love working with in the vendor categories you haven't yet booked.

 

It is amazing to me how much of an "insider" club there really is among wedding vendors. They all know each other, know each others rates and services, have strong opinions and sometimes really positive or negative experiences. I also think it will give you the level of professionalism in finding out how they respond. I'm not sure you'd ever want to book someone who is so competitive they are willing to completely trash another business. On the other hand, if you get a super positive vibe the way they talk about particular vendors it may be worth exploring their suggestions.

 

If you have a general budget ask what they would do if they were you.

 

It may be you are talking to the wrong vendor but you might as well get their wisdom on what you should do next, or how much they think you should spend for their category. A good vendor is never going to suggest you spend an outrageous percentage of your budget on their product or service and may steer you to a better vendor or give you some really good ideas on what you can do within your budget.

 

It maybe that you are willing to break your budget for them and if so, they can give you ideas on where to cut the rest of your budget that won't cause a huge problem for your wedding day. These vendors have seen countless weddings and have a really good sense of what matters (even if they believe their service or product is the most important!) I'll never forget reading about an ultra high end cake baker in a wedding magazine. At the end of the article she admits after all the pomp and circumstance around a wedding cake, it's JUST A CAKE. She didn't even have one for her own wedding and yet she was happily married.

 

 

Contact us if you feel something is missing to this and we'll add it!