Planning your wedding will be one of the most exciting processes of your life. Who isn’t full of anticipation at the thought of marrying their partner?
Unfortunately, wedding planning can also be incredibly stressful, and it’s often difficult to get through it without some degree of frustration. Planning a wedding isn’t just about creating a beautiful atmosphere for yourself. You’ll also need to accommodate your guests, offering everything from food to a setting for them to enjoy. In some cases, brides and grooms even take on the responsibility of blocking out hotel accommodations for their out of town guests.
Though the size of your guest list and the expansiveness of your wedding is ultimately up to you, it’s likely that you will need to work with wedding vendors at one point or another. Typically, you won’t be limited to one vendor option either. You’ll need to make some tough decisions about which vendors to trust and work with. This will involve asking certain questions for wedding vendors in the process. With that being said, let’s look into a few of those questions, what how you can make the selection process a bit easier on yourself.
1. What Are Their Cancellation Policies?
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important that some of your questions for wedding vendors center around cancellation. Obviously, in an ideal world, your wedding will go off without a hitch, and you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your planning just as expected. But there are a number of factors that can potentially derail your plans. The most pressing, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic. At any point, your state’s regulations regarding gatherings can change; and even if they don’t, if a new wave makes you feel uncomfortable, you may want to postpone your big day. Many catering companies and other vendors have changed their cancellation policies in light of the pandemic. But others have not, and for that matter, some vendors have chosen to revert to tighter policies as the pandemic has continued and become more a part of daily life. Although you can’t control the pandemic, you can control the vendors that you choose. Some things simply can’t be canceled in a timely manner, and you shouldn’t expect a vendor to alter their policies simply because they inconvenience you.
Of course, there is also the reality that a wedding is a very personal event. You may cancel or postpone your wedding due to issues arising within your family, or for that matter within your relationship. A wedding is not set in stone until the two of you exchanged vows, and it’s important that you have some level of flexibility in your cancellation policies. Keep in mind, as you ask questions for wedding vendors, that your vendors will probably have a variety of different policies. While your venue and your caterer may have the same policy if they work in tame, the wedding tent rental company that you work with may offer something entirely different. In order to avoid becoming confused, you may want to keep a spreadsheet or binder full of your vendors, and their corresponding cancellation policies. Understanding exactly how much money you would get back if you canceled, as well as your credit and postponement options, will make you feel more organized and ready for your wedding.
2. Do They Offer Bundles?
Much of your wedding planning can be taken up with finding separate vendors. These vendors also have to cooperate with each other to some extent. You may be worried about who will be providing the signs for your wedding; at the same time, you’ll have to decide on your vendor, and whether they will allow such signs. It’s much easier if you can work with vendors that have contacts through each other, offering packages or bundle deals. This is becoming increasingly common in the wedding industry, with many venues for example offering in-house catering services.
There are several advantages to choosing vendors that work together on a project, rather than separately. For one thing, you can often get a better deal on the services when you bundle them rather than paying for them separately. When working together, companies can often subsidize costs to an extent. Another benefit is that it’s simply easier. Rather than making several phone calls, you can make one. You can ask your questions for wedding vendors of one company. You can make a single payment, rather than several. Ask around when booking vendors; see if the beauty salon you’re hiring to do your hair has any connections with a barber that could manage your partner’s wedding haircut. There’s a reason why these vendors work together. They benefit from this arrangement as well.
3. Do They Offer Trials?
While not every vendor is capable of offering trials (venues, for example, typically can’t) you should ask as many questions for wedding vendors about potential trials as you can. A trial allows you to try a product or service before the final product is due. Sometimes, you can have a trial run before you book the service; other times, you need to book the service ahead of time and run a trial before your wedding day. Trials may be free, or they may come with a reasonable charge. Either way, you can benefit quite a bit from running a trial before your big day. The last thing you want is to be surprised by something unexpected at the event.
Typically, you can taste the food selections offered by vendors before your wedding day. Cake tastings are quite common, as it can be difficult to make a final decision on your wedding cake’s layers without understanding the flavors. Additionally, many caterers will allow you to try samples of potential meals for your wedding. These trials will often be offered before you book the company, though again you may have to pay a fee. Conversely, you may want to have a trial run for your hairstyle or makeup before your wedding day. You’ll often need to reserve the services of the salon or artist before you’re able to have these trials run. Flowers can also be experimented with before your wedding day, and sometimes your decor. The more you’re able to try before you finalize, the easier it will be for you to envision your wedding day.
4. Can Allergies and Dietary Preferences Be Accommodated?
Typically, these questions for wedding vendors, you should see if the allergies and dietary preferences of your guests can be accommodated. These questions will usually be asked of food vendors, of course; though at times, you may have to ask about the fibers being used for related linens, if you or your guests have serious skin sensitivities. It’s important that you collect any information about allergies during the RSVP stage of your wedding. But ahead of that, you may want to make sure that your vendor offers allergy-safe food in general. Allergies can be quite diverse, and simply because a meal doesn’t contain allergens doesn’t mean that it’s allergy-safe. Allergy-safe food must also be made in a space free of allergens, with equipment that is free of cross-contamination.
Dietary preferences are becoming increasingly important for brides and grooms to consider, and you should feel free to center some of your questions for wedding vendors around this subject. Unlike allergies, dietary preferences do not necessarily need to be accommodated for the health of your guests, but rather for their comfort. For that reason, they can be handled a bit more broadly. A good plan would be to move forward with selecting meals that work with notable dietary preferences and offering those as options for guests to select when they RSVP. If you’re an omnivore and want one or multiple meal options containing meat, you would likely be safe if you offered one (or ideally multiple) vegan options. While not all vegans will eat vegetarian options (which can still contain animal products) all vegetarians will be able to eat vegan options. If a vendor is unable to offer vegan options, they may not be a good fit for your wedding.
5. What If A Weather Event Occurs?
This is one of the most important questions for wedding vendors that you can ask. It affects a wide variety of vendors, though you may at first think it only applies to your venue. Weather can hugely affect a wedding, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Even an indoor wedding can suffer if the area is flooded and guests (and vendors) have a hard time making it to the location. Most weddings are planned months, if not years in advance. It’s impossible to perfectly predict the weather on your wedding day. Fortunately, some vendors do have contingency plans in place for severe weather events.
For example, your venue may be able to offer an emergency tent and a heater if your outdoor wedding is plagued by cold or rainy weather. Additionally, some vendors may deliver products ahead of time if it looks like the weather may be particularly bad. If you are unable to take full advantage of products or services due to a weather event, or similar occurrences that were out of your control, you may be eligible for a partial refund. This is why it’s so important to ask these questions for wedding vendors ahead of time.
6. How Much Can Be Altered?
Some products, services, and venues are set in stone prior to your wedding day. They may be rigid upon booking, and you can’t make a lot of changes once you’ve signed the contract. But other times, there is more flexibility allowed. Look into what kinds of restrictions your vendors place on their services. For example, ask if you can have your own architecture stone brought to a venue for decoration, or if the venue prohibits even small, temporary alterations.
Keep in mind that if these changes are allowed, you will most likely need to have your contracts altered to reflect them. You should just rely on your questions for wedding vendors; you’ll want it in writing that you were permitted to make these changes before you make a commitment.
7. Can I Speak To Other Clients?
It’s one thing to look at reviews; it’s another thing entirely to speak with people who have used the vendors that you’re considering. Some of the questions for wedding vendors that you have to ask can also be asked of people that used the vendors you’re considering. For example, if you’re considering laser hair removal services before your wedding day, you may want to look for testimonials from people that used the center you’re considering.
Another thing that you should look into is if the vendors can’t refer you to clients outright, is community groups. Community groups can offer you the same kinds of real-life testimonials that you’re looking for. Additionally, you can get a lot of great referrals from these groups, whether you’re looking for a family law attorney to look over your prenup, or a great wedding venue.
8. Are Custom Products Available?
We all love our wedding to be as unique as possible. When asking questions for wedding vendors, see if they offer any customized products if you don’t see any on the ‘menu’. For example, if you’re considering working with an Etsy shop vendor and don’t see your ideal sterling silver dangle earring set, see if they would be willing to customize an order for you.
Custom orders are, of course, sometimes more expensive. You need to give vendors plenty of notice if you’re placing one. But as long as you do, you could end up with a product that you love.
Don’t feel shy about asking questions for wedding vendors. Vendors would much rather that you ask before booking services that aren’t right for you, and asking questions for wedding vendors could be the best way to find a vendor that is perfect for your big day.