In theory you could get married barefoot on a beach and then run off into the sunset with your man, but what fun would that be? Wedding vendors exists for the sole purpose of adding all the razzle dazzle to your big day. Cake makers, musicians and hair dressers want only to bring you to your bridal splendor. So let them.
Today on the New Bride Guide we explore five things you should expect from any wedding vendor. From the contract to the final gratuity, basic expectations can make it a match made in heaven.
1. A clear contract: It seems obvious, but be sure to read the entire contract before signing it. A contract should include information such as: The company name, address and phone number of the vendor. The date and time of the wedding and reception as well as the bride and groom’s name.
The services being provided should have as much detail as possible. For a florist, it should read something like, “10 centerpiece arrangements containing white and red roses and baby’s breath in a medium vase for an 72 inch round table.”
If it’s a service, such as a band, the contract should state clearly the set-up time, start, finish, and break-down time, the people who will be performing the service and delivery of any product afterwards, such as photos or video.
In terms of payments, the amount that is refundable should be listed, with the charges as detailed as possible Each item should be priced separately unless it is part of a particular package. If you are buying something as part of a package, the package contents should be listed in detail. Cancellation policies should be clear as well.
If there is the possibility of adding on services at a later date, those prices should be listed so that you have it guaranteed. This is especially true for the pricing for photos and albums.
2. Try before you buy: This includes things such as a cake tasting, a band showcase, etc. Make sure you the look and feel of prominent components of your wedding, such as the band, are exactly what you want. (More cowbell? Too much?) Food and cake tastings are not only fun, but necessary. It is possible to screw up pigs in a blanket, so be sure you know what everything will taste like.
3. Communication: This is a two-way street. Just as they should call you if something isn’t working out, you need to be proactive with them as well. Confirm at least a week before your wedding with all your vendors. Make sure everything is on the up and up. It’s also a good idea to e-mail all vendors a timeline of your wedding so that they know what the day looks like and who fits in where.
As the bride, you should not be the point person when vendors arrive. If you have a wedding planner, every vendor should have their number. If you don’t have a planner, make someone the point person for everyone from the florist to the caterer. (There is surely someone in your entourage who thrives on being an organizer.)
4. Promptness: If you’ve been communicating with your vendors, promptness shouldn’t be a problem. Murphy’s Law dictates that traffic or weather could delay a band or a cake. Encourage your vendors to contact your wedding planner or point person if they encounter problems. Also: have a back up plan for absolute worst case scenarios. Make sure that an iPod could be set up if the entertainment is late, or that you know where to run for flowers if they never show up. Check out our list of wedding disasters that really aren’t in order to keep chaos in perspective.
5. Service that is worth a tip: Even though you paid a fee for their services, you do need to tip wedding vendors. Sometimes that means the big guys who come set up the tents and tables, other times it’s the hairdresser. Since the wedding industry relies heavily on word of mouth, they should eager to make you happy. That means fixing things when they’re not quite right, or finding replacements if something in the contract may not work out.