If you’re planning your own wedding, chances are you’ve started thinking about which wedding suppliers to hire for the big day. These vendors will play a huge role in the look, feel, and flow of the event. Choosing the right ones will not only help your vision come to life, but will make your life a WHOLE lot easier as you plan everything.
Even though my wedding was over 4 months ago, my wedding planning posts continue to be the most read content on my site, so I wanted to share some of my top tips for finding your perfect vendors.
Read on for my best advice! I’ve also created a FREE Wedding Vendor Comparison sheet in my Resource Library under Wedding Planning. Just sign up below to get the password.
#1. Decide on your scope.
Before even starting to research potential vendors, get on the same page with your partner about what types of services you need. This means both which suppliers you need as well as what you need from each of them.
Deciding which suppliers you need
Look back at your vision for the big day (I have a helpful exercise in this post!) and make a list of all the types of suppliers you’d like to work with. This may include:
- Ceremony venue
- Reception venue
- Ceremony musicians
- Cake baker
- Photo booth
- And more.
Make a master list and then go through it as a couple to agree on which ones are in and which are out. Keep in mind that it’s tempting to go big, but you may not really need as many suppliers as you think. Plus, adding more means more complexity, work, and cost.
Deciding what you need from each of them
Next up is deciding what you’re looking for each supplier to provide. For your photographer for example, do you need them to photograph both the ceremony and reception or only one? Are you looking for a caterer that can accommodate certain dietary requirements?
This doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time – just note a few qualifiers next to each vendor name to help you remember what you’re looking for from each.
Answering these questions will make it easier to keep your research focused.
#2. Choose Your Criteria
Now that you have a sense of what types of vendors you’ll be researching, it’s time to decide how you’ll be evaluating them. I’d suggest making a list of what’s most important to you for each supplier. For example:
Online reviews (e.g. Wedding Wire, The Knot, Google, etc.)
Fit with theme/vision
Overall comfort level (some people you jive with better than others!)
You may find you have vendor type-specific criteria too. For example, for a cake vendor you may be looking for someone who does cakes AND cupcakes. Or for a venue, you may be looking at its guest capacity being 200 guests or higher.
This will give you direction when you’re researching.
#3. Start to Research Wedding Suppliers
Now it’s time to start researching! I’d recommend researching one vendor category at a time, and using your scope to help define your search. For example, if you need a kosher caterer, then searching “Toronto kosher caterer” will give you more targeted results than “Toronto caterer”.
While you can search Google, a few other options are Wedding Wire and The Knot. And feel free to ask any vendors you’ve already booked if they have recommendations based on the past weddings they’ve worked. Your venue may also have a preferred vendors list.
#4. Evaluate Against Your Criteria
Every time you find a supplier that interests you, jot down their information. I found an Excel spreadsheet to be a great way to track things, since it let me edit and move things around more easily. Give them a score on your key criteria (or enter the information) to make it easy to keep track.
Once you’ve found 3-5 vendors who look good, you can either contact them for more information or ask them any questions you have. For the larger and/or more sensitive suppliers (venue, officiant, photographer), you may want to meet with them in person to get a better feel for them.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE Wedding Vendor Comparison sheet in my Resource Library under Wedding Planning. Just sign up below to get the password.
#5. Make Your Decision
Once you’ve chosen your wedding suppliers, let them know and begin the process of finalizing the work. You now have one less thing on your to do list 🙂
Do you have any questions about finding and working with wedding suppliers? Leave them below and I’ll respond to as many as I can!
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