wedding kiss dramatic beachHiring a talented, creative and cooperative team of people is essential to planning a great wedding. From caterer to chauffeur, florist to photographer, all the vendors have their role in making your dream come together. Finding the right vendors is a critical part of your planning process.

The first step should be research. There’s a lot of talent out there! Traditional resources for wedding planning have been in print media. Wedding books and magazines are readily available at bookstores, libraries and newsstands. These can be a good place to start.

Wedding trade shows can be a way to meet a lot vendors quickly, but these events tend to feature the “mainstream” operators who pump out a standardized product. If you are looking for traditional, simple and easy wedding, a “show” may be a great start. These kinds of events are held in most major cities at least yearly. Look in your local bridal magazines for listings.

Wedding related websites have made the internet the biggest vendor resource. National sites offer lots of articles and advice, and user forums for brides-to-be share ideas and advice. Many offer lists of local vendors as well. Local or regional wedding websites can offer plenty of good info on what’s available in the areas they serve. Finding a good local site can really help in planning a destination wedding.

Buttoning bride's dressAnd don’t forget, we all know someone who’s just gotten married. The best possible recommendations can come directly from your friends and family who have first hand experiences with vendors through the whole process in the real world. They might also provide second-hand books and magazines, web links, etc. Many established wedding vendors get 50% or more of their new business from referrals!

From the initial contact to the interview, your goal is to decide if the fit is right for you. Do your personalities feel like a good match? Can you work together effectively and efficiently? Questions about price, contracts, and references should be addressed. Open and easy conversation about the details of the planning is part of an effective relationship. Discussion of issues like payment terms, tipping etiquette, or staff attire should never seem strained or uncomfortable. The intimate and personal nature of a wedding demands a sensitive approach. Good vendors understand this, so it’s good to keep your eye on it when you start your research and interviews. If there is tension or unease, move on.

flower girl's basketAnother route would be looking for a wedding planner or wedding consultant. The expertise of a talented, creative planner can be quite valuable. They can help in a variety of ways from suggesting overall style, scouting locations, researching vendors, booking interviews, even as much as hiring all the vendors for you. Depending on your style, budget, and personal schedule, this option may work wonderfully for you. Most people are not familiar with the wedding industry. It’s unfamiliar territory. Having a veteran lead the way may be the right strategy for you.

The typical, traditional American wedding has a basic structure. The reason for this is simple. For most vendors, success comes from following set routines that have worked in the past. Routines work. But don’t despair! A more personalized and uniquely stylized day can easily be created. If you plan to break the mold make sure you communicate all your special needs and expectations clearly. See how potential vendors react and assess their willingness and ability to accommodate you. Listen to your vendors’ suggestions, and work with them to customize their services to fulfill your wishes. Be sure before you hire a vendor that they understand exactly what special services you want. Be sure that your contract with them includes this part of your agreement. Clear communication in your collaboration with your vendors is the key and will prove to be successful in getting you those special details that will make your day your own.

Kissing ball table settingYour relationship with your vendors should from the first contact be building the trust you need to relax, and let them do their thing while you enjoy your day. You hire them for the confidence they inspire in their professional expertise. Now that you’ve hired the best, let them do their best. Set them free to dazzle you. You’ll be too busy enjoying your wedding to micromanage all the details. No worrying about the cake-cutting knives or the groomsmen’s boutonnieres. No panicking over whether the bagpiper will ever show up or how your wedding cake will handle a hot July afternoon. You cannot get stressed over every detail on your wedding day. The right vendor choices can make or break your day.

Take your research and planning seriously, and all those months of planning will pay off with a relaxed, fun and wonderful wedding day.


wedding writings in the sand

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