A wedding is an once-in-a-lifetime event, so how do you ensure you’re hiring the best vendors for your big day? By asking the right questions, of course! MCM went to the source to find the right methods for hiring the best vendors. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth.
1. Engaging an Experienced Photographer
Our Expert: Paul D’Aigle of Imaginique Studios
“When we first talk, I tell a bride that vendors should be interested in what she likes. For a photographer, that’s ascertaining what the bride and groom want to have after the wedding is over and it’s all said and done. If a photographer is pushing his packages and not listening, then he’s only interested in selling his product and not interested in you.”
A. To get an accurate idea of the photographer’s skill, ask to see all of the photos taken at one wedding. Don’t just look at the photographer’s highlight reel, which only shows their best shots collected over time.
B. Ask for the contact information of three past clients. This is not rude, this is being thorough!
C. Talk to the photographer about the wedding day timeline and the shots you absolutely want. They should have suggestions to make sure you can get everything in. Bring photos you find inspiring!
D. When you consider a photographer’s style, be wary of fads, which can make your pictures look dated in years to come. For wedding pictures, timeless photos are well, timeless.
2. Picking the Perfect Baker
Our Expert: Rhonda Touchette-McKee of Tasty Layers
“Here are a few tips we think are important to consider
when looking for a cake baker.”
A. Read reviews! WeddingWire.com and TheKnot.com are two great sources to see client reviews, as well as recommendations from your other vendors.
B. Sample the cake! Many bakers offer cake tastings, and you can’t assume you will or won’t like a particular flavor combination — try it! It’s fun to have unusual flavors, and your guests will remember it! Most bakeries can make each tier a different flavor, but you should ask if there is an additional fee for that.
C. Get on the books early. Don’t wait until the last month or two before your wedding to look for a baker. Many top-notch bakers are booked a full six months or more prior to a particular date. It’s not uncommon for them to book up to a year or more before a wedding.
D. If budget is a concern, ask a potential baker how they can help you trim the cost. One idea is “kitchen cakes,” which are not decorated and are not meant for display. With the same cake flavor and frosting, these cakes are kept in the kitchen area and then cut and served along with the actual wedding cake. When it’s on a plate, you can’t tell that it didn’t come from the wedding cake, and can cut your cost in half.
3. Securing The Swankiest Venue
Securing The Swankiest Venue
Our expert: Kerri Ann Pruitt from The Captain’s Club at Woodfield
“Find a venue that fits your style. Everyone dreams of what their
wedding will look like; choose a venue that fits that dream.”
A. First thing’s first: check that the venue can comfortably fit everyone on your guest list. Find out what is included in the cost of the venue: tables, chairs, dishes, food, alcohol, etc.
B. Make sure you are working with people who provide great customer service. It’s important to have a trusting relationship with the venue coordinator so that on your special day, you do not have to worry about a thing. It also helps to know that if something goes wrong, there is someone there to fix it.
C. Read the honest reviews given by previous brides and grooms. If multiple brides are happy, there is a good chance you will be, too.
D. Find out the handicap-accessibility of the facility and restrooms. Find out who will be in charge on the wedding day, the decorating rules, e.g. open-flame candles, hanging things from the ceiling, etc. Ask these questions: Is there enough parking? Is the price per person the same for adults and minors?
4. Finding A First Rate Florist
Our Expert: Lori Bausack at Ketzler’s Florist
“I feel it’s important for you to choose the florist that you connect with so that the final result will be what you have dreamed of.”
A. Start looking for a florist early in your planning process; florists are often booked a year in advance. We do a limited number of weddings per weekend to ensure the bride and groom have the best possible experience.
B. Check with friends and family for recommendations; referred customers are a florist’s most common.
C. Schedule a consultation and sit with the designer, if possible, because they are the one who brings your vision to life. It is important for them to make a connection with the bride and or groom. Bring swatches or samples of your chosen color palette to the consultation, a picture of your gown and bridesmaids’ dresses, as well as any ideas you have found that interest you.
D. Be up-front about your budget, because it will determine the types of flowers used as well as the sizes and styles of arrangements. There is always a way to make it work as long as you are flexible.