The vendors. One of the most complicated things to coordinate for your wedding. Every vendor you want needs to be available on the same day. This article will contain vendor information when researching options, contracts, payment plans and due dates, and other details for each vendor you hire. Examples of vendors for hire include caterer, alcohol, cake, florists, Al or band, photographer, and videographer.
Selecting these vendors is up to personal preference for the kind of look, mood, style, and budget wedding planner need for your wedding. Here we will discuss what to do after selecting your vendors and what information to add to your folder. To be ultra-organized, give each vendor their own folder in your binder, but I just threw all of them together. In this book, however, we will break down the tips by the vendor.
Have the payment due dates for each vendor in this folder so payments are not forgotten. Trust me, this is very easy to do. Most vendors require their final payment either two weeks before, one week before, or the day of. This is on top of deposits and other payments leading up to the day. It can all get very confusing, so put the payment schedules for each vendor in this folder.
TIP: Consider making payment due date marks in your calendar section, discussed in chapter two. Also make sure to get a business card from every vendor and tape it in the folder for easy contact reference.
The most important thing needed in the vendor folder for the caterer is a phone number and email in case you change your mind on the menu, adjust your guest count, and ask about expanding or reducing your food items. The contact information is your best friend.
Look through the menu options and make a list of your favorites to order for your taste test. Give yourself plenty of choices. Even after you and your fiance have selected your menu options, keep the second and third favorites noted after the tasting in case you change your mind. Make a memo of the price per head and guest count so you can figure out how much it will cost.
TIP: My caterer gave me some outstanding advice that I will pass on to you. When getting your guest count for the caterer, do not tally children who are under 2 because they won’t eat enough to make a difference in serving sizes. Also, any kids under 8 should only be counted as half a person. This will save you a lot of money, and extra food, for your catering.
This section depends on whether or not your reception venue supplies alcohol and if they require the use of their alcohol. If they don’t but allow you to hire an alcohol provider, then include a space for prices and contact information. If they have a bar, but let you bring in your own alcohol, I suggest buying your own. Then hire a separate bartender or ask a friend to do it (if they are licensed and/or your reception allows it).
I thought my hall allowed me to bring in my own alcohol, so I shopped around and calculated how much alcohol I would need to buy for iso people. I found out that I wasn’t allowed to bring in my own, but I still kept this well-rounded supply list I created.
Sometimes your caterer will offer bakery services. If you like that all-in-one option, you can do that, but I recommend a standalone baker for your cake. Look through the baker’s portfolio for cake ideas. In the binder, put cake photos from magazines or the internet for inspiration and bring them to the meeting with the baker. Make sure you know the rough number of people the cake needs to feed.
A popular trend at weddings is to pass out cupcakes to guests instead of slices of cake. Create a cupcake tier that mimics the look of a cake or just have them in boxes to pass out. If you still want the cake cutting tradition, just order a small cake that serves you, your bridal party, and immediate family along with cupcakes for your guests.
TIP: Don’t forget to order the small top tier of the cake for your one year anniversary. Assign someone to box it up at the end of the night and freeze it.
Before ordering flowers, first decide how many flowers you want. There are bridesmaids bouquets and your bouquet. You may also want boutonnieres, flower petals for the flower girls, petals for the tables, corsages for the mothers and grandmothers, floral centerpieces for the tables, flowers for the pews, and bouquets on the ceremony stage if desired. Once arrangement decisions are completed, choose what kinds of flowers to feature and place pictures of them in your binder.
Make a list and gather pictures of the kinds of flowers wanted in your flower arrangements. Also gather pictures of bouquet and centerpiece arrangements you love and want emulated at your wedding. Florists love to see visuals of what is desired for so they can best achieve the visualized look.
If you have no idea what flowers you might want, the florist will figure it out. Florists will ask you all of the questions about the theme, colors, and overall mood and style of the wedding. They will then share pictures of flowers they think will fit or create small, simple arrangements to show how certain flowers and colors look together. Keep track of your inspiration pictures and flowers selected for your arrangements in the binder.
TIP: Flowers are beautiful, but can be expensive. If you have floral arranging skills, you can buy flowers wholesale in bulk and create your own bouquets and centerpieces. This is also a fun bonding activity that can be done with your bridal party and family. Fake flowers are a great option for arrangements if you are on a tight budget, especially with sales at hobby and craft stores.
Whether hiring a DJ or band, keep a section of the vendor folder reserved for them. For a band, keep a copy of the band’s playlist and make a list of favorite songs they play. They need to receive your first dance song so they can perform it. The band may also need to announce certain events at your reception, so keep in contact with them during planning to lay out a reception schedule with them. The wedding live band may require a face to face meeting to plan the night.
For a DJ, a face to face meeting with them is best so the DJ can get a feel for the kind of couple you and your fiance are. Da focus more on the fun, dance dub vibe while the band is elegant and authentic. Da need to understand a couple’s personality to customize the night and will be able to play better usic selections for you and the theme of your wedding. DJs will feature more games and fun activities to do during the reception, such as the dollar dance and garter and bouquet toss. At the meeting, work with your DJ to schedule the order of events for the reception. Make sure to create a “must play” and “do not play” list for both the DJ and the band.
TIP: For a memorable reception, look up alternative ways to do traditions, such as the dollar dance or garter toss. Also look up new reception games (like the Shoe Game) to add some uniqueness to your reception.
The photographer section should include some of your favorite poses from other weddings or couples shoots. Make a list of must have moments you want captured. Some photographers hate this while others welcome it. Ask your photographer if they would like to refer to your list of preferred photo captures.
This part of the binder should also be used to brainstorm cute ideas for your wedding photos or engagement seqsion. For example, you could get a newspaper the day of your wedding and get pictures taken of all rings circling the date or have cute signs for people in the bridal party to hold.
TIP: Always do an engagement photo session before the wedding day. This will help you and your fiance get comfortable being intimate in front of the camera. Using the same photographer for the engagement and wedding gives a chance to build chemistry with him or her.
The photographer is going to be your greatest asset when creating the timeline for the day. Consult with him or her before setting up the time for the ceremony and reception or making the invitations. They will let you know the amount of time needed for the bridal party photos, both before and after the ceremony. This will help you schedule hair and makeup, the time to arrive at the ceremony, and when the reception should begin. Don’t forget to factor in driving time.
TIP: Photo booths are becoming very popular for receptions. They are a great way to entertain guests before you arrive and during the reception when they are done eating or want a break from dancing. You can get a photo booth from your photographer, an independent vendor, or your reception site. If you get a booth from your photographer, make sure that one photographer out of your team is not taken away to maintain the photo booth. The operator of the booth needs to be a separate photographer.
Often your videographer will be a subset of your photographer, or your photographer can recommend one they work well with so that your photographer and videographer don’t get in the way of each other and miss important shots. In your folder, make a list of the must have moments your videographer needs to capture. Keep a list of the different packages and their prices in case you decide to upgrade or downgrade.
In the vendor folder, complete a postcard with the phone number of all the vendors. This keeps the contact info all in one place for easy access and should be with your Maid of Honor the day of the wedding. Problems do happen, so it’s important all numbers are conveniently available so your Maid of Honor can call the baker if the cake isn’t on time or the florist if you are missing a boutonniere. The card should also have contact info of VIPs, again, just in case. This includes the bride and groom, bridal party, parents, officiant, reception site manager, and anyone with authority behind the scenes.