Your vendors are the experts who will bring your wedding vision to fruition — but with so many different options available, it can be difficult to know where to even start. this will help couples to sellect top photographers, videographers, florists, makeup artists and more in their area!

                                               

First, a few basics:
Schedule appointments with the most sought-after vendors on your consideration list first, such as a popular venue in your area or a photographer who books up two years in advance.

Gauge which vendors, if any, out of the pool of candidates you're considering may fall into this category by having an initial phone call to inquire about their availability so that you can prioritize accordingly.

1. Do your homework with your fiancé and set a ballpark budget in advance.
Set your budget and the number of guests first so that you don't fall in love with a venue or vendors that are out of your price range or can't accommodate the size of your group.

Even if you do end up spending a little more than you had anticipated, it's better to lay out your expectations in private. You don't want to put yourselves in an awkward situation where one of you wants to book but the other is concerned about cash flow, and you're arguing about it in front of the wedding planner, DJ, or whomever. As you comparison shop, you'll get a much clearer picture of how much this is all going to cost you.

It's also important to discuss your major likes and dislikes. That way, you're both on the same page about what your must-haves are — a stellar band, an out-of-this-world menu, gorgeous photos to look back on — as opposed to what would be considered bonuses. 

Come prepared with a list of questions so that you don't get so carried away with their amazing portfolio, film or demonstration that you totally forget to nail down the specifics.

2. Determine if your personalities mesh well.
Let's say that you and your fiancé evaluate their work and find that it's top-notch and in line with your wedding style. Great! Another not-so-obvious consideration is whether you have chemistry with this person. 

You'll be entrusting them with an important service (not to mention the significant monetary costs involved), so it's crucial to be comfortable around them. Remember, you'll be interacting with them on what will likely be the most emotional day of your life, so you want someone who will be able to put you at ease, not stress you out even more.

3. Ask for client referrals.
Since many vendors work closely together in a given region, you could also ask others you've already booked if they've worked with this particular person before and if they would recommend them.

4. Get everything that's included in writing, down to the smallest detail.
In order to truly understand what's included in a quoted price, the vendor should itemize everything for you. For example, if you know that you want orchids, garden roses and hydrangea in your centerpieces, then all of that should be listed. 

Although this might sound slightly over-the-top, this information will safeguard you in the event of a dispute or in case the items you requested aren't available during that time because of unforeseen issues.

When reviewing the contract, look out for any hidden costs (wording such as "additional costs may be incurred" and "plus the cost of setup and delivery" are dead giveaways). Ask for clarification if anything is unclear. You'll also need to know their policy on late fees in case the ceremony or reception runs later than you expected.

5. Don't be afraid to negotiate.
Already have tons of beautiful photos of the two of you that you'll be able to use for your save-the-date or other wedding elements? Skip the engagement shoot or, if that isn't possible, ask if you can use that photo session for your future child's birth announcement, instead. 

Unsure about whether you need a two-hour wedding video? Inquire about whether you can get an edited highlights clip and raw footage, in case you change your mind at a later point in time. Using the same vendor for multiple services (e.g. music and lighting) may also help you save a bundle.

You'll never know unless you bother to ask — just keep in mind that a little kindness goes a long way.

Once you have your dream team of vendors in place, give them clear directions and let them do their jobs while you enjoy your loved ones, and more importantly, the beginning of your new life with your partner.

Happy planning!