If you don’t have a degree in management or don’t work in a well-oiled, productive team, you can still tell what distinguishes a great team from one that isn’t. Good teams are friendly, work well together, always consider the mission first, and plan ahead and can handle the unexpected. This is exactly what you need on your special day.
With your wedding, you leave it to a planner to make sure the team that works for you—photographers, videographers, florists, decorators, chair renters, caterers, day-of coordinators, etc.—works together efficiently, effectively, and nicely. If you do not hire a planner, which many brides do not, you hand-off those duties to your day-of coordinator after you do all the planning, arranging and contracting yourself. Your chosen coordinator may be a dear friend or relative, and they may be limited knowing the intricacies of running a great, important event. If this sounds like your situation, perhaps you should consider hiring a team of professionals who you know work together well and can make your wedding infinitely more successful than throwing together various people who may or may not have worked together before or who may not even like each other.
Only one person other than a professional wedding planner knows more about local wedding vendors and which ones work well with certain other vendors: your officiant. Unfortunately, officiants are often the last professional you select, so their input at this point is almost worthless. You are stuck with the team you put together piecemeal. Yes, there is the venue you choose, which may have favorite vendors or come up short suggesting them, but so many weddings take place outside of church venues, wedding chapels and fixed event structures that this is probably not an issue for you if you are getting married outside on a beach, in a park, or at your favorite restaurant or country club that does too few weddings to credibly answer your questions.
Suggestions for your hunting down the best vendors:
First, find vendors who relate to someone you might trust. We have “vendors we trust” on our website and limit them to several criteria. We trust them. Also, on Wedding Wire we are careful to link to only those vendors we like to do business with and who demonstrate taking care of the client the way we do. There must be mutual respect.
Pick personality before skill. Will s/he fit in with your style, ideas, theme, etc. and work well with others? Trust your gut. With weddings, most vendors do not need a lengthy contract that says more what won’t happen than what will. Planners need a clear contract. Photographers should have changed theirs when photography changed, but some have not. You should own your pictures with minimal restrictions. Avoid entangling, restrictive agreements.
If you find candidates you like, next choose vendors with proven talent. What evidence do they provide of being able to do what you want really well? Verifiable testimonials, photographs, videos, samples, etc.?
Is s/he upbeat, bossy, surly, pleasant? If s/he must command attention, does s/he lead by commanding, barking orders, suggesting, persuading, etc.? Bossy leadership can upset you, your wedding party and your guests. Mom always said you can be as firm as you like but there is no excuse not to be polite.
Is s/he flexible, able to handle the unexpected and stay energized but calm under fire, such as with sudden bad weather, upset children, irate parents, overly needy guests? Do you have a bad weather plan, and does everyone know it and who will make the call?
What does s/he cost? Is their cost, as part of a package, more or less than their standard fee? Is there an unfair markup?
The photographers and videographers we work with and include in the bundles we call “packages” all work that way within our agreed package price, which will always cost less than if you book that vendor on your own. Some brides don’t believe this and try to bypass booking a package, only to find that they face a substantially greater cost trying to buy services a la carte.
Be careful how you seek, find and contract your vendors. There is more to it than vendors by themselves; they must work well together as a team.
Your day, your way!