How to choose wedding vendors: 3 red flags to avoid

Choosing the right wedding vendors is important – but it ain’t easy!  As you shop around, you’ll notice that you have to consider many factors.  Most factors fall into two categories:

  • Concrete, practical stuff like service offerings, pricing, reviews, etc.
  • Subtle, intangible stuff like customer service, how you’re treated, and how you feel

In today’s post, I’m focusing on the second category – the subtle, subjective, intangible stuff.  I’ll dive deep into the attitudes, beliefs, and mindsets of wedding vendors.  More importantly, I’ll share three red flags to help you find the right vendors and avoid the wrong ones.  

I posted my three-part email templates on a popular wedding forum and I got feedback from wedding vendors.  Below, you’ll find straight-up, uncensored, candid feedback from real-life wedding vendors.  

Prepare to have your mind blown because some of this stuff is nuts!  

In this article, you’ll find straight-up, uncensored, candid feedback from real-life wedding vendors. Protect yourself the pushy sales tactics of the wedding industry by keeping an eye out for these three red flags.

[Read more…]

How (and why) to reject wedding vendors

Before I met my husband, I went on plenty of dates that went seemingly well, but the guy never called me back!  And then I was left wondering: Why?  What went wrong?  Should I call him?  Should I wait for him to call me?

If you can relate, then you know it’s not cool to be left in the dark like that.  

That’s the same sort of thing that vendors go through when they don’t hear back from you.  Vendors are people too and the polite thing to do is to let them know where they stand.  Below, I’ll share some easy ways to let them down gently.   [Read more…]

How to nudge wedding vendors

So you found  wedding vendors that you really like. Their work is impeccable, they have stellar reviews, and the price is right!  You just have a few more questions to clear up before you book, so you contact them – but you haven’t heard back!

A few days go by, and you STILL have no response.  Or maybe you’re stuck playing phone tag.  At this point you’re wondering if this is a red flag.

Should you reach out again?  How do you nudge them without being too pushy?  Should you even bother?  Is it better to just move on and search for a new vendor?

This is a common scenario, so in today’s post – I’m writing all about how to deal with unresponsive vendors. [Read more…]

How to research wedding vendors

Tired of ads?  If you’ve visited any major wedding planning website (e.g. The Knot, WeddingWire, etc.), you know they’re bursting with ads.  And if you’ve signed up for their email updates, your inbox is probably flooded with ad-filled emails.

As a bride, you’re constantly bombarded with ads from retailers who want to sell, sell, sell.

It’s almost impossible to search for wedding vendors without seeing a bunch of ads that get you off-track.  This can cause major overwhelm.  It can also make you feel like you need to buy a ton of stuff that you don’t even need for your wedding!

Today, I’m going to show you how to shop for wedding vendors in a logical, methodical, and purposeful way without falling for the sleazy sales tactics of the billion-dollar wedding industry. [Read more…]

How to email wedding vendors: My three-part template

“Wait, you’re telling me I need to actually contact this place just to get a base price!?” That was my reaction when I learned that many wedding vendors don’t include prices on their websites.

There was no way around it – so I started calling and emailing. I’d say something like, “Hi! Umm…I’m getting married. I saw your website and I’d like to get some pricing information please.”

And then I’d get bombarded with a million questions that I didn’t have the answers to: What’s the date? What’s the duration? How many guests? Do you need equipment or will you bring your own?

I knew these were all very legit questions. But I felt like a total loser because I couldn’t even answer basic questions about our big day! I’d sheepishly say, “Ah, we’re not sure, still deciding …” At that point, the vendor would refer me back to their website and then call back when I had the details. Great. Now I’m back where I started.

We quickly realized that we needed to do some light research, get an idea of what we wanted, and only THEN start contacting vendors.

But still. We had to contact a bunch of vendors because there was virtually zero pricing information online.

Thankfully, I came up with a three-part email template to save time, stay organized, and get accurate estimates.

Plus, I no longer felt like a clueless loser!

How to shop for wedding vendors when you're short on time: use email templates! Download FIVE free word-for-word templates to find the right wedding vendors, including: Wedding Venue, Catering, Wedding Photography, Bridal Hair and Makeup and your Wedding Cake. Plan your wedding even if you're super busy!

The three-part email template

Here’s how each part works:

PART ONE: Give basic facts about the wedding.

  • In this section you should include (at a minimum): the date, time, location, and headcount.
  • If you’re in the early stages of planning and haven’t nailed down the exact details, you can include tentative information here. For example, if you’re not sure about the number of guests, it’s better to give a ballpark estimate than nothing at all. The point is to give the vendor a general idea of the event. For example, if you don’t have an exact headcount, you can give a range, “75-100 guests” or if you don’t have a date, you can say, “the date isn’t confirmed, but it will be on a Saturday in July-September 2018.”
  • You might need to provide additional details, depending on the service you’re shopping for. For example, if you’re contacting a florist, it might help to include your theme colors.

PART TWO: Tell them what you want.

  • In this section, you’ll give the vendor a general idea of what you need them to do. Make sure to visit the vendor’s website to get familiar with their scope of work. Browse their service offerings, work samples, and photos to get a better idea of what you can request from this vendor.
  • If you’re not 100% sure about what you want, you can let them know that. For example, if you’re contacting a caterer, you can say, “We haven’t decided between plated or buffet style, so we’d like to see an estimate for each option.”
  • If you have any strong preferences or non-negotiable requests, you’ll want to make that clear in this section. In the catering example, this might be something like, “We plan to serve vegetarian dishes only.”

PART THREE: Ask the right questions.

  • In this section, you’ll ask about pricing, level of service, package customizations, etc. If you saw something on the website that you’re interested in or if something was unclear, ask about it.
  • WARNING: If the answers to all your questions can be found online, the vendor will probably refer back to their website!  So make sure to review the website!
  • At this point, you don’t need to ask about everything. You can always ask more questions later when you have a better idea of which vendors you’re interested in hiring. For now, your goal is to gather enough information to decide which vendors to keep on your radar and which ones to drop.

There you have it! My three-part template that will save you time as you shop for the right vendors.

You can tweak this email template to contact wedding vendors in every category. (Actually, I’ve already done that for you – at the end of this post, sign up to download templates for each vendor type!)

Sample Email to a Caterer

Hi,

I browsed your website and your food looks amazing! We’d like to request a quote for our wedding.

Here’s some information about the event: [PART 1: GIVE BASIC FACTS ABOUT YOUR WEDDING]

  • Date: Friday, August 31, 2018
  • Location: Venue-Name in Los Angeles, CA
  • Headcount: 150
  • Schedule (tentative): cocktail hour at 4:30pm, dinner at 6pm, event ends at 11pm

Here’s what we’re looking for: [PART 2: TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT]

  • Dish types: for cocktail hour, we’d like to serve light appetizers (either passed or stationary), for dinner we’d like to have a starter course (soup or salad), with 2-3 entree options (2 meat, 1 vegetarian) served with a side of starch and/or vegetables.
  • Cuisine: We don’t have any strong preferences, but we’re interested in serving Latin cuisine.
  • Style of service: plated preferred, but we’re open to other styles of service
  • Bar service: We’d like to have a champagne toast and serve alcohol for the entire length of the event (4:30pm-11pm). 

We have a few questions for you: [PART 3: ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS]

  • Would you please send an estimate based on our requests listed above?
  • Do you rent equipment like linens, dishes, flatware, glassware, etc? If so, would you please send pricing information?
  • I didn’t see any cakes on your website – do you provide cakes and/or other desserts?
  • What types of wines, beers, and/or liquors do you serve?
  • May we bring our own alcohol (for you to serve)?
  • What’s the process of booking a tasting?

I hope to hear from you soon.

Many thanks!
Katie

Give it a try!

Do you have a wedding vendor that you’ve been meaning to contact? Take the next two minutes to copy-paste, edit, and send! And when you’re done, post a comment below to let me know how it goes!

I’ve modified this template for each of the following vendor types:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Photography & Videography
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Wedding Cake