How to Hire Your Wedding Vendors Like a Pro

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Wedding videographers filming interracial wedding couple at Mt. Defiance Cider Barn ceremony
Photo by E. Losinio Photography

If you’re engaged and planning a wedding you know that finding and booking your vendors is a key part of the planning process! From securing a photographer, to florals and determining the food and beverages you’ll enjoy, there are many decisions to be made and factors to consider. Whether you have the help of a full-service wedding planner or have decided to do the planning on your own, this blog post will help you know how to hire your wedding vendors like a pro!

Determine Your Priorities

We love a good process, and when it comes to hiring vendors, this is especially key! So, first things first! Before you say yes to booking any of your wedding vendors, you’ll want to make a list of your top priorities for your wedding and create a budget with those priorities in mind. When we’re working with our full-service wedding couples in the northern Virginia and Washington, DC area, we help guide them through this initial step by providing questionnaires that will help both us as the planner and the couple determine what’s most important. When you’re working with a budget, you should prioritize your spending on the things that matter most to you. This will help you remember your wedding day with amazing memories instead of regrets.

Wedding florist setting up ceremony arbor at 48 Fields venue in Leesburg, VA
Photo by E. Losinio Photography

Consider the Design

After you’ve got a general sense of your wedding budget, think about your wedding design! What does this day look and feel like for you? Knowing what you want your wedding to feel like will help make sure you’re focused on finding the right vendors who can deliver what you’re envisioning. The aesthetics of your wedding day is what you and all of your guests will see and interact with on the day! After months and months of planning, you’ll want to feel good about how everything comes together. 

When we create mood boards and full design decks to help our couples, they can rest easy knowing that all the vendors who are hired will work together to create a seamless and cohesive look for the day. These design decks also help determine which vendors we reach out to for a couple. You’ll want to keep in mind not only your budget for each vendor category, but also the design you’re trying to achieve so you end up with a vendor team who will be the best fit for both your style and budget.

Prepare for Wedding Vendor Meetings

Once you have a few wedding vendors to choose from and you’re ready to set up calls, do some research! Take a look at each wedding vendor’s website, read reviews and come prepared to your initial calls with a list of questions to ask. Prior to your calls, review your venue contract again to see if there’s any specific language regarding vendors and if the venue has certain requirements for vendors or any rules you must keep in mind. Does your venue require that all wedding vendors hired be licensed and insured? Do any vendors need prior venue approval before you book? Continue to reference your venue contract as you have calls with each vendor to make sure you don’t miss anything before signing a contract. Pro-tip: If you can also have a general sense of your wedding day timeline before talking with vendors, that’s even better!

Wedding string quartet playing in white gazebo during cocktail hour at Birkby House
Photo by Bakerture

Ask each vendor what it would look like to work together with them during your engagement. Knowing the process and what you can expect, especially in terms of communication frequency, will help keep you and your vendors on the same page, and keep you from worrying later on when months go by before you hear from some vendors again. Keep track of each call by writing down notes from your discussion. The tool we love for this and use with our couples is Aisle Planner! It helps us stay organized by keeping all vendor information within the client portal. It’s a central location that everyone, from the wedding planner to the couple, can access at any time.

Review the Contract

Before saying yes to each vendor, review their contract! This is a must. We love to review contracts for couples and is one of the best ways to protect your money and wedding day. Professional and established vendors will have a contract in place to make sure all parties are on the same page and agree to the terms of service. And if you have questions about the contract, ask! As wedding planners, we know what to look for and what information should be included in a contract. 

Reviewing the contract is how you make sure you’re not blindsided by anything during your engagement or end up paying additional fees later down the road. It also keeps you from paying two separate vendors for the same service, or miss filling in the gaps when vendors don’t provide a certain service that you may really need. For instance, you don’t want to pay double for both your ceremony musicians and DJ to provide a microphone for the ceremony. On the flip side, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you have no microphone because you didn’t check to see whether the ceremony musicians or DJ would provide one.

Bartender standing behind wooden bar at Riverside on the Potomac in Leesburg, VA
Photo by Bakerture

Hate the idea of having to go it alone when hiring your wedding vendors? Send us a note to get help!

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