The average wedding in the United States has 14 individual vendors. (LINK) And, that doesn’t include your bridal party, parents, families, or friends.
As the couple getting married, it’s your job to keep them all organized, on track, paid, and informed. So, you may be asking, how do I do that and not loose my mind? Well, my best tip is to get yourself a binder and create a dedicated digital folder, both for files and in your emails. Then, use a cover sheet to bring key details (payment schedules and amounts, service provided, their schedule for your wedding day, etc.) to the front of your binder. This way, you can keep everything in one place.
Vendors are an important part of your wedding day, they’ll be the ones who bring your vision to life. Your venue coordinator will assist you with how you can decorate, their building access policies, and any other procedures you’ll need to follow (set up, clean up, etc.). Your catering coordinator will help you choose a menu that your guests will remember for years to come. Your Photographer is the one who is going to give you memories you can share and display for years. A florist can bring your colors to life, literally. A stationary store or calligrapher can display your theme, colors, and share all the information you want to with your guests. A decorator can provide you with gorgeous items that carry your colors and theme throughout your venue. An Officiant can set the tone for your marriage, bringing your family and friends into your most intimate ceremony. A DJ is going to be the face and voice of the night, introducing your bridal party, family, and you, as the newly married couple. Your DJ will also help to keep the dance floor moving and entertain your guests.
- Read the contract.
- Know when payments are due. Dates and amounts.
- Ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
- Make a Master Timeline – Set up, start, end, clean up, and when they’ll be taking a break.
- Include all vendors in your catering number – all humans need to eat.
- Have a point person who isn’t either member of the couple. Introduce this person to each vendor (by email works fine), about two weeks in advance, with a contact number for the day of.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting detailed question lists you can use to ask each vendor. Use those lists (and the answers to your questions) to determine if a vendor is a good fit for the vibe, theme, and vision for your dream wedding. It’s okay to tell a vendor they aren’t a good fit. It’s okay to want to think about a vendor before signing the contract and/or paying a deposit. It’s also okay to say yes, when you feel connection, chemistry, or that your exact vision is in front of you.