Shopping for your wedding is nothing short of fun and excitement, though it is also a monumental task. For those of you who are getting married, you probably need to know it takes at least half a dozen or more professionals; each with their unique expertise, to make a wedding perfectly successful!
Yes, we know what’s going through your mind now. To choose the right wedding vendors would require an arduous amount of research, difficult decisions, a woman’s intuition and a teeny bit of lady luck. So to all you brides-to-be, we are going to lend you a hand here.
To begin with, wedding vendors may typically include –
- Wedding Planner
- Wedding dress or Bridal Boutique
- Hair and makeup artists
- Wedding photographer
- Wedding Videographer
- Car rental firm
- Entertainer or DJ
- Wedding invitation card and stationery specialist
- Wedding favours specialist
- The venue where you would be hosting your wedding ceremony or reception.
- You might also be considering a wedding cake specialist/baker, tent/table and chair rental providers.
Photo Credit kkdiocese.net
Planning With Your Families and Spouse
Before you start shopping for wedding vendors, it is vital to first have a talk with both your family and spouse about the wedding details.
In Singapore and many Asian countries, getting married is a big affair, where it represents the unification of two families. It is customary for parents and elders to be involved in your wedding planning.
Parents of the couple will have to decide on the number of family guests to invite, not forgetting all the things related to wedding rituals, betrothal gifts and customs.
In the midst of discussions, you and your spouse should take the opportunity to decide on the style and tone of your wedding celebrations. This is also an appropriate time where the both of you can start planning your guest list, the wedding and banquet venue, as well as related tasks and details.
Build a Task List and Set a Budget
Prepare an Excel worksheet or a small notebook. Stay organised by building a list of every task and item needed for your big day. Don’t over estimate your memory capacity. We tend to forget things especially in situations like this.
Just write down whatever that comes into your mind first and clean up the list as you move along.
Once you have defined them, it helps you to see clearly which wedding specialist is needed to do the job. You could feel a little lost at first, but don’t worry, every couple goes through this. It gets easier as you continue to work on it.
Next, decide on how much should be spent for the entire event, and set aside the budget. It’s important to put this right from the start, so that everyone is clear about priorities and what the money should be spent on.
Once your budget has been decided, it becomes simpler for you to allocate an estimated amount to a particular wedding vendor who will handle the task(s).
“How much should I put aside for each of them?” you ask.
Frankly, it is not so critical to be exact at this initial stage. What you’re doing is to break down the entire budget and to assign an estimate to a task or vendor. For example – If you heard from a friend how much she paid for her photographer, it’s perfectly okay to put it down first.
When you’re done with all the items, you will know if your intended wedding budget is realistic or not. At the same time, it helps you to determine the needs and wants in your list. This also enables you to make adjustments and ‘fine-tune’ items easily.
Find and Evaluate Wedding Vendors
So, where and how do you start?
A friend’s recommendation (especially those who’ve been married recently) is good to start with. With all the legwork done for their own wedding, you save a lot time and they can let you know if there are any ‘unfavourable’ vendors that you should steer clear of.
However, keep in mind that compatibility is also a key consideration factor. What works for your friend may not be the right fit for you. Personal taste can be subjective.
Bridal shows, magazines, Google, social media and wedding sites are all great sources to find wedding vendors.
In today’s digital age, businesses from almost every segment of the wedding industry also has their presence on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, hence, it’s easy for you to find out more about them and interact with them on these platforms.
Once you have shortlisted a wedding vendor, it is a good idea to call and set up an appointment for an in-person meeting. A meeting not only gives you greater insights into their expertise, it also allows you to assess if a good working relationship and rapport can be established with the wedding specialist.
So, take the time to ask questions and look at the kind of weddings they have worked on.
Here’s a checklist that could be helpful.
- Shortlist several vendors. Once you’ve done this, meet them and then evaluate which are the ones who can fit your needs best.
- Do your homework. Find out if any complaints have been filed against a particular vendor that is in your list. The Internet is a good place to look out for negative comments.
- How long have they been in business? Established vendors are usually trusted because of their experience in the industry. However, that doesn’t mean younger companies cannot deliver. In fact, they may actually work harder to serve you better because they need to build up their reputation.
- Are they experienced in handling weddings similar to yours?
- Ask for client references from the vendor whenever possible.
- Does the wedding vendor has expertise in only one area or are they also adept in other aspects? If they provide a one-stop solution, you don’t need to hire separately so it could help you save money.
- For what you’re paying, how much time would they be dedicating to your wedding?
- Is she/he a full time or part time? It makes a difference. You want to hire a real professional who can do a good job. Not someone who is doing it for an extra buck on a weekend.
Don’t just look at the loudest advertisement. It’s important that the wedding vendor delivers what is promised. At the same time, you have to feel comfortable because you’d be working very closely with them.
Photo Credit xtgn.org
Talking Money With Wedding Vendors
Women are generally good in bargaining when it comes to shopping. Somehow, it’s a gift bestowed upon them from the heavens. When it comes to shopping for your wedding, it’s not much different really.
Learn how to talk money when you meet up with vendors. Follow these tips and it should help you evaluate and hire the right person for the job.
Be Bold and Ask Questions
During your meeting with the wedding vendor, don’t be embarrassed to ask a lot of questions. Other than the money, your wedding is an important moment, so make sure your doubts are totally cleared before you sign on the contract.
Show each vendor how prepared you are when you meet with them. Bring along a notebook/planner for the meeting and take down notes. You are also sending a message to the company – that you are serious and the same is expected from them.
- Find out how the vendor’s cost is calculated? Is it based on hourly or fixed fee?
- What does the cost consist of and what are the things that are not covered?
- Are gratuities included?
- Is the goods & services tax included?
- Pre determine the tipping amounts if any – these should also conform to the level or quality of service you will receive on the day itself.
- What are their cancellation policies?
- Be honest. State your budget and see if the vendor can work with it.
- Finally, do not hesitate to ask for discounts or additional free items.
Make Fair Comparisons
Do not be taken in by charming sales talks; do reasonable comparisons by visiting several vendors. It’s important to note that price should not always be a decisive factor.
Sometimes, a vendor might offer an attractively low price for a particular item or service. However, it may also mean something could be compromised by cutting corners.
Other times, you might be furnished with a high price that cannot be justified for the same service and quality elsewhere. So, do shop around before you decide on a wedding vendor.
Trust Your Instincts
Every service and item comes with a perceived value. This is the value of the item or service in comparison to quality. This value helps to ensure that you get what you pay for.
Thus, if an item/service seems overpriced to you, trust your instinct and shop around to see if you can get it elsewhere for less.