The Wedding Guild Series: BUYER BEWARE: Hiring Wedding Vendors For Your Big Day

Buyer Beware: Hiring Wedding Vendors for Your Big Day | Wedding Planning To Dos | Michelle Leo Events | Utah Event Planner and Designer

We know that preparing for your big day is a BIG DEAL and the key to success is hiring the right team of vendors. We also know that finding those vendors can be tricky and sometimes misleading. As a bride or groom, you always want to know what you're getting before you sign a contract.

Today, we're sharing with you our top three tips to ensure you get what you want and need when hiring wedding vendors for your big day. 

Are you hiring a true event planner or are you getting duped by a catering company who does minimal planning on the side and advertises that they're the real deal, full-service wedding planner in addition to whipping up your menu? It's highly unlikely that a caterer, florist, baker or DJ offers true, full-service wedding planning and coordination. While these types of vendors do classify as an expert in their specific fields and while they may have many connections in the wedding industry, this doesn't make them a full-service wedding planner.

Who is going to help put together your invitation wording and walk you through RSVPS? Who is going to create thorough layouts with actual room specs in mind, check your guest list, coordinate your final table decor, and make sure your wedding party lines up correctly before you all head down the aisle? Certainly not the vendor making your dinner or baking your cake.

Do your research and get to the bottom of what specific vendors offer as their core product or service. If it's food, for example, they aren't worried about helping you find the perfect officiant and making sure the groomsmen's ties match the bridesmaids dresses. They’re busy making sure the salads are fresh and the appetizers are mouth-watering (as they should be).

Not all planners design and not all designers plan. And venue coordinators are NOT wedding planners (and that’s okay but not if you think they’re going to plan your wedding). So what's the difference between all of these titles and why should you care?

  • Event Planners: Planners love logistics and have a complete roster of vendors and venues they’re able to recommend on the spot. Planners manage proper delegation of the event budget and negotiate competitive pricing with vendors in addition to reviewing contracts, looking for red flags, and answering important client questions.

    Planners obtain information regarding the venue to ensure all rules and regulations of the venue are respected by all involved parties utilizing the space. They familiarize themselves with the venue’s electrical capabilities and special logistics to develop layouts that accommodate the size of the event.

    Planners create timelines, orchestrate rehearsals, and make sure to communicate all expectations, important dates, times, and other important information to the entire vendor team ensuring that load in, set up, execution, and strike happen according to plan.
  • Event Designers & Stylists: Designers thrive on creative details and decor and have the ability to completely transform a space into an amazing atmosphere. They focus on colors, textures, lighting and ambiance, floral selection, table-top design, ceiling and wall treatments, paper details, cake design, furniture, and more. Event designers focus on the big and small details that make events truly unique and personal, while coordinating with design-related vendors to ensure all the visuals are cohesive and streamlined to produce amazing and memorable results. 
  • Venue Coordinators: Venue coordinators work at event venues. They don’t manage any details outside of their contracted services as a venue. Therefore, they are looking out for the best interest of the venue, not the event. A venue coordinator will only deal with aspects pertaining to the venue such as the set up of a room or space within the venue. They dictate set up and end times and communicate the rules and regulations covered in your contract pertaining to the use of space you’ve rented. They only manage details regarding the items the venue might provide such as tables and chairs.

    The venue coordinator is absent through the majority of the planning process. They aren’t necessarily there when set up begins and they often leave before the event has concluded. Their job isn’t to help you hire the right vendors (although they might provide you with a list of people they know). They don’t put out any fires when your cake doesn’t show up on time or your florist forgets half the centerpieces. They will look at you when the breakers blow because you didn’t account for the space’s power capabilities and your band brought in too many fancy lights and blew all the circuits.  

How better to know if the person or company you are considering for hire is a great fit than to ask them for references. Recent brides and grooms can disclose to you what types of services the vendor truly offered them and if they received the services they had expected from the hired provider. Past couples can share if they were satisfied or disappointed, and if the vendor was great to work with or if they had any regrets. And most importantly, references can reveal if the vendor truly executed event planning services or if they were more of a cater or florist who helped with a few outside logistics. 

*Be sure to check back next week for our top 10 reasons to hire a planner!