VENDOR VISION | HOW TO SELECT YOUR NEXT VENDOR
“There is just so much out there, I don’t know where to start”. If this sounds familiar to you, when going about your planning, take a deep breath. Now take one more because you’re going to read for the next few minutes and want to absorb the words you read and not let that long list distract your thoughts.
In my experience with working with MOH for bridal showers, mothers for baby showers and, of course, the bride herself in selecting flowers for the special event, I am always thankful and honored when asked for my insight on how to seek another vendor. (Besides the fact that the florist has been contacted first!).
Choosing the right vendor, whether that be your caterer, videographer or where to buy/rent linens, here are my top three suggestions on how-to select your next vendor (brides-to-be, take a few moments to read my related post Wedding Vendor Checklist as well):
- Set three must-haves in order find the best match that will help you in achieving those musts. There are many professionals in our local area. The best experience is trusting someone that has your best interest(s) in mind. That may include a strict budget on your videographer, location for the venue, or a specific detail that must be emphasized. For example, I always ask my clients if there is a specific, must-have flower for their special occasion or event. Or, perhaps, is there a sentimental touch that has most value and meaning before anything else. There are many florists in your area, but perhaps some refuse to work with baby’s breath while that is a must you’d like to include for your ceremony décor (in example). Think about what you must-have that you don’t want to back out on. Similarly, think about areas that you’re willing to compromise on, or at the least have a little wiggle room on. And most importantly, write it down to be ready to discuss when you meet your vendor. The perfect vendor may not necessarily be the one that is most convenient, but the one that you will help you execute your vision.
- Check your referrals. We are essentially a small community. Ask someone that you may know has worked with the professional on what their thoughts are. Be ready to discuss any concerns you may have as a result of this while you shop around. Perhaps your friend did not include something in their contract with the vendor but it is something standard for the vendor that they are willing to offer you. Nonetheless, check your sources. Whether that is a friend, Thumbtack, Wedding Wire, Google or Facebook reviews.
- See it live. This can be in many facets. If you are able to get a mock sample of a floral arrangement, or see the DJ live at another event, or see videos of your videographers work via their website, take the time to do so. Likewise, try to meet your vendor in person at some point through the process from initial contact to contract signing. Meeting the vendor in person to receive a sincere experience with them can make all the difference. You’ll generally know right away if this someone that you can spare on all those gritty details because your trust them completely to provide you the very best, or upon meeting you may find your personalities are not in sync. This isn’t to say that they cannot provide you the best service, but you’ll want to feel comfortable with your vendor. For example, if an additional need comes up, you’ll want the freedom of knowing they will be all over covering whatever may pop up.
More Helpful Suggestions:
- I’ll take the moment for a plug at kindness. Kindness when working with any vendor (or person) truly makes a lasting impact. When negotiating rates and services, it could also benefit you in what your vendor is willing to offer.
- As always, do your research. Primarily, familiarize yourself with some terms and basics that the vendor may or should offer. It isn’t necessary to spend hours on the web to become a pro yourself, but know some key terms and services that you may want for yourself or want to avoid having to pay for.
- Once you do have a narrowed list or even have come to the “ahhh, I can breathe now moment” of finalizing your vendor, remember, as well, to get all details in writing. If there is anything you may feel unsure about, kindly ask away. The vendor you’ll want to work with is going to want your trust and should be willing to elaborate on any details.