Wednesday, January 7

Planning Our Wedding: Hiring Vendors

Hiring Vendors for Wedding

I'm an extremely organized and punctual person. If Google Maps tells me I can get somewhere in 24 minutes, I'll give myself time for 36 minutes, and somehow end up 45 minutes early. I have a notebook in my purse that I keep to jot down notes so I won't forget them, and in case I forget I wrote them in the notebook, I also put them in the "reminders" and "notes" app on my phone. My inbox is so immaculate that the Queen herself could eat out of it (if it was a tangible box, of course). I always respond to emails within 24 hours of receiving them and then file them away neatly in their respective places. These are all traits that make me a great wedding photographer, but might turn me in to a slightly controlling bride.

Those traits, combined with my 5 years in the wedding industry, have made me a little high maintenance when it comes to finding and hiring vendors for my own wedding. When looking for a DJ, florist, photographer, videographer, caterer, etc. I've been looking for a few key things.

1. They share my style

This was the hardest for me when it came to choosing a photographer and videographer. I found myself drawn to a few different styles because I could appreciate the technical aspect and talent in their final product, but I had to remind myself what I ultimately wanted. For me, I wanted pictures and video that were altered and edited as little as possible. I want candid, documentary like coverage of my day but with an artistic view. Blake and I are envisioning a simple, classic wedding. So hiring a photographer or videographer whose final product is a low contrast, matte version of the day didn't really make sense. Even though there are incredibly talented people out there with that style, it's just not for me. You can apply the same logic to caterers, bakers, florists, etc - while I might be attracted to some ornate, over the top things I've seen out there on Pinterest, I had to remind myself that our wedding day is going to be simple. So I had to find vendors that can do simple well.

2. They're personal and prompt

This comes back to the insane personality traits I confessed to earlier. In addition to being a wedding photographer, I still work full time. So email has been my primary means of communication with all of my vendors. It's important to me that I can get a good "feel" for this person over email. I want them to show an interest in me and my wedding. This might be their 500th wedding, but it's my only one. So them taking the extra time to read my email and actually remember the details I provided them with is very important to me.

Part of the requirements of me getting a good "feel" is that they answer my emails and questions in a timely manner. I'm going to be honest with everyone - this is where I've been the most disappointed. I'm going to give an extra helping of honest by saying that it has and has not been a deal breaker in certain instances. I have crossed certain vendors off my list if I didn't receive a response within a week (no, I don't hold everyone to the 24 hour rule) but I've also sent out follow up emails to some vendors that I REALLY LIKE hoping to give them a gentle reminder that I exist. I understand that people are busy and that some artist types (obviously not me) aren't self described punctual, email slaves, but it does make me a little nervous hiring them. If they're bad at answering emails now, are they going to magically get better at it the closer my wedding day gets? Which leads me to my last decision factor...

3. They're trust-worthy

As I said before, I have a somewhat unique view of wedding vendors because I'm a wedding photographer myself. So while I encourage everyone to put a lot of thought and effort into finding the right vendors for them, I also encourage people to trust the vendors they decide to hire. Once you've found that person for you, whether it's a DJ, baker, florist, or photographer - trust them. Communicate your vision for the day with them but let them do their job. Weddings can be stressful but you'll have the best experience on the big day if you've surrounded yourself with great, talented people you can trust. When you do turn the reins over to your vendors you're likely to be pleasantly surprised. There's a reason they're the professionals. They've got this.

Keep smiling!


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