Planning a wedding or event is, no doubt, one of the most exciting times of your life. You're making big decisions like "who do we invite", "what is the color scheme" and "what will I wear" but the question that's arguably more important than that is "who is in my squad". Now we all know that Taylor Swift is the queen of #squadgoals but in order for you to really pull this off, you have to build a "squad" of your own. Enter your incredible wedding event professionals! I know, I know - you're already thinking "why are we even talking about this, this decision is a no brainer" but take a second to hear me out. I, too, was seriously naive early on in our wedding planning process so my hope is to give you the guidance I wish I had and make sure that the only tears you cry will be the happy ones!
Brace yourself for this one; there is a right way and a wrong way to select photographers, caterers, planners, hair/makeup artists and the like for your big day. The I-already-know-them-because-they're-so-nice-on-facebook or their -website-is-well-put-together-so-their-business-must-be-too attitude an be a recipe for disaster! Charisma and creativity are important skills for people in business; however, I don't recommend you use them as your sole litmus test of character or professionalism. You are a consumer and investor in this situation and you would never jump into an important purchase (like those red soled shoes) or agreement (that shiny new car) without thinking it through so why do it with your wedding? Planning past the surface and finding the best match starts out with tip #1:
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Boy is this an important one that I learned the hard way! Reading online reviews is probably the quickest and easiest way to get honest, unbiased, feedback from others that have used this company in the past. Sometimes you have to really dig deep to find a descriptive review that highlights important details like quality, consistency and value but it's well worth the time. Some wonderful sites to get you started are The Knot, WeddingWire or WeddingBee.
Another great option that we ended up utilizing multiple times was asking our venue about their personal experience with a vendor. Venue coordinators have great exposure to a variety of professionals in the industry so they're typically able to provide you with reliable insight and recommendations about who can best help carry out your vision. If you're still not finding what you're looking for, it's reasonable to directly ask your vendor for recent reviews and references from a variety of sources.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, look at a professional's previous work! When you go onto the business' website, you may be bombarded with a large amount of visual stimulation which can be by design. Take a step back to see if there's anything that doesn't add up. Things like a catering company not having any photos of their desserts, a DJ only having pictures of their club gigs or a florist only offering standard arrangements should all be red flags.
I hope this helps you get started - be sure to stay tuned for Tip #2 next week on the blog!
All photos in this series are courtesy of Natalie Franke Photography.
Click on the link or any of the photos to see more of her work!
Here's a little bonus just in case you could use a little more #TSwifty in your life 😊