Planning a wedding adds up to two things – finding the right people for the job and a whole lot of decision making. Weddings take time to come together. The style, vibe and success of a ceremony correlates directly to the merchants that brides and grooms choose to aid in the orchestration of their big day. Deciding to say “I do” usually comes as an easy decision, but deciding on who to utilize throughout the most exciting, albeit stressful, time of your life can be a bit more challenging.
So, how do busy duos decide which vendors to go with for everything from cakes to valet parking? It comes down to asking the right questions. Sometimes eager couples can get swept up in the excitement of planning their nuptials, but they often overlook the things that they should be asking merchants. To take away some of the stress of knowing what to ask prospective vendors, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most pressing questions that soon-to-be-spouses should be asking merchants before hiring them. Straight from the merchants themselves, these questions are designed to alleviate some of the difficulty in deciding who the right people are to bring your fairytale wedding to life.
The following questions were put together by some of our industry’s top professionals for you. Any of these questions would be appropriate to ask of any merchants bidding for a spot in the wedding-planning team. From bakers to dress shops to photographers, these questions are fitting and necessary for a wide array of vendors and should be asked as often as possible.
Do you have general liability insurance and workers’ comp?
Many venues are now requiring this of merchants and failure to comply with these insurance requirements could result in a chaotic scramble to find a new merchant just days before the wedding. No one wants that!
Do you have backup staff and on-call replacements?
This one is especially important in the time of Covid. With a lingering uncertainty of availability due to illness, brides and grooms should want to ensure their big day is covered and fully staffed incase of emergency.
What do you need from us as far as technology and electricity are concerned?
This might seem like a redundant or trivial question, but the last thing that a couple wants to encounter on the day of their vows is to find out there’s not enough outlets for the DJ, photobooth and photographer all together.
What is the best time to have my ceremony as far as lighting and temperature is concerned?
This was a question stressed to us by numerous merchants – especially when it comes to outdoor ceremonies or receptions. A June ceremony might be better when held at 7 p.m. when the sun is no longer blinding and the guests can watch comfortably protected from the heat of the day.
Have you been to this honeymoon destination? Do you have personal recommendations or feedback you can give us?
This question is especially geared towards travel agents. When planning the details of their honeymoon, couples should seek out personal advice and recommendations as opposed to pre-scripted brochures and presentations. Experience matters.
What ALL is included in my package?
Don’t be afraid to ask for specifics from any and all vendors. Knowing exactly what is included for the price of a package just makes good sense.
Can we see a full wedding gallery?
A picture is worth a thousand words. Instead of simply taking a merchant’s word for how extravagant and successful their weddings are, ask for galleries to look at past successes for yourself. In addition to asking for a completed gallery, a pro-tip from one of our vendors is to check on pricing if you find inspiration on Pinterest. A lot of Pinterest pictures are from styled shoots and not actual weddings so you’ll want to double check the cost of implementing something like that into your big day. You don’t want to be blindsided by any extra costs.
Should I include you in my meal count for the reception?
A surprising number of merchants require a meal as a part of their contract and it is something that can commonly be overlooked by busy brides (and grooms). Make sure there’s enough food for everyone by simply double checking if someone needs a meal or not.
Can you tell us more about the referrals you gave us for other merchants?
If a positive referral is given to a merchant you’re considering by another merchant in the wedding business, don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. Is the referral recommendation because of financial kickbacks from the merchant, or is it because of outstanding work and positive business practices?
Weddings are monumental occasions in the lives of young romantics. The first step in a successful marriage is handling the big decisions that come with planning a ceremony and reception together. Asking the right questions not only helps ensure that your wedding will be beautiful and memorable, but it makes the planning process more enjoyable and relaxing for brides and grooms alike. It’s your day, so ask whatever it is you need to ask to make sure you feel confident in saying “I do” to your merchants.
Written by Julie Good