Today we’ve got Leah from Encore Events sharing her advice on how you can get the most out of your wedding vendors. Leah’s tips and tricks will ensure you get the most value for your money, everyone is on the same page, and that you get the wedding day that you want. I’ll let Leah take it from here:
Hi, I am Leah Stevens from Encore Events, and I’m a wedding planner and coordinator. I am here today to help set you on the right track when starting to plan and look for the right vendor. But first things first – it is super important before you do anything to sit down with your partner and decide on a wedding budget and discuss what your priorities are: what is important to you both.
The reason your wedding budget is so important, is that it determines what you have to work with, and you are then able to allocate the right amount towards each vendor. An average NZ wedding is $35,000 according to Megan from She Said Yes blog and creator of the Little White Book. Southern Bride has a wedding budget planner template that allocates out suggested amounts based on your overall budget, or you can have a look at this blog post for extra information on how much can be allocated to different aspects of your wedding day. So let’s say, that based on your budget and rough estimates, you should be allocating $3,500 on decor, for instance.
If your wedding decor was something you felt strongly about, had a vendor already in mind and felt it was something high on the priority list, you may want to spend more on this. So we’d start to give a little, take a little from the other sectors.
Maybe for entertainment you wanted a DJ, which would cost around the $1,500 mark -then we would reallocate the remaining amount toward the decor portion, to increase the budget in that area. It is something you will go back and forth with until you have your perfect balance.
This then takes me to choosing your vendors.
Choosing your wedding vendors
Knowing your priorities and how much you should spend on each then makes it easier to find the right vendor that suits you and your wedding budget.
My first tip is ask around, who have other people used?
Do you know somebody who provides a wedding service?
Does someone keep popping up on facebook?
Then take a look at their work…. Facebook pages are good for reviews and previous work, Instagram is often more candid and authentic to their style and their websites will show the best of what they have done.
Do they fit your style and vision? What about your values?
Make a small shortlist, 2 or 3 to start with.
Then CALL them check if they are available for your date and arrange a time to meet (you may notice, no mention of budget or cost). Meet with them and get a feel for how they work, what do they offer, what can they do/cannot do.
More importantly: Are they nice? Are they helpful? This is a biggy! they are going to be with you on your big day!
Talk to them about what you want and what your expectations are. You will both have a much clearer idea of what you are after and they will then be able to accurately give you a quote.
Choose someone that you feel comfortable with and who you feel you can trust. Don’t ever shop on price alone.
Why should I call my prospective wedding vendors, instead of emailing?
I say call them because If you send a mass email out to a bunch of people:
- Often you may have to wait some time for a reply
- They are most likely going to send you back a generic reply with their price list which won’t factor in any discounts or added expenses
- THE KEY REASON – they aren’t personally invested if they don’t meet or talk to you first.
The thing with wedding professionals is that we all want you to have an incredible day and we actually do want to be a part of it, so once we meet you and hear your ideas and realise how cool you are, we will often move mountains to get you exactly what you want. Even be a wee bit more likely to wiggle numbers with price if we can.
How can I get the most out of my wedding vendors?
Once you’ve got your wedding vendors picked, you need to get the most out of your wedding vendors. Utilise your vendors in every way possible and hold them accountable to what they have promised or contracted.
- Ask the band or DJ if you can use their sound system for speeches or even ceremony. Why hire another sound system when you have already paid for the vendor / equipment to be onsite?
- Caterers can cut cakes
- Florist may be able to deliver and set up their arrangements
- A planner can pick family up from the airport…. (Yes I have done this)
Ask ask ask, what is the worst they can say?
Be organised with a timeline. If you paying for the band to play for 4 hours then depending on how many breaks they have in their contracts, they need to start playing at 7.30pm. If speeches go on – then you are eating into time and money. Also photographers have to stay longer which they may charge for, the photobooth may charge by the hour… things can add up really quickly if you are not on time. More information on working out your timeline is available here.
I am having issues with my wedding vendor(s)
If you are having any doubts or issues, there is nothing wrong with bringing it up to the vendors and airing out your concerns. You are paying a lot of money and you should feel secure about their services, so if you have anything you want to talk about, then do it.
We do appreciate your honesty, and oftentimes it’s just a misunderstanding or a clarification that needs to be addressed. It’s far better to discuss it now than holding in that angst all the way up to the wedding day and being disappointed afterwards.
I hope this has helped get you started thinking about approaching vendors for your upcoming weddings.