Finding a wedding vendor that fits your needs can be one of the hardest parts of event planning. Below I've included some tips to help you find ones that best suit you. What other tips would you include? Include it in the comments below!
1. Word of Mouth
Uncle Joe and your friend Susan will always have recommendations on vendors. However, just because a friend recommends a vendor does not mean that they will be compatible with you. Do you have the same taste as the person who is doing the recommending? If you don't than be cautious with those suggestions. Try not to use all the same vendors as a friend, if you have similiar circles it can leave your wedding feeling like a repeat.
2. Lists, Lists, Lists
Prior to meeting any vendors, make a list of things that matter to you. What is a priority? Is it food, music, decor, etc? If it is a wedding your planning, compare notes with your partner to see what ranks high for the both of you. By doing this, you can prioritize what vendors are really important to you and allocate your budget accordingly.
3. Guest List
When creating your guest list, list people who you ACTUALLY have relationships with both present and future. Are the people on your list people you would want in your life in a few years? If so, invite that person.
4. Recent Clients
Once you've decided on potential vendors, ask to talk with couples who have used their services in the past. Make use of yelp, wedding wire, and any other source with reviews. You want to know about past experiences of other clients in order to pick the best vendor for you.
5. First Impressions
First impressions are so crucial when meeting a vendor. Take note of how they interact with you initially. Do they respond quickly? How do they conduct themselves?
When looking a vendor portfolio you want to see that they have done different types of events with a consistent level of quality. You do not want to hire someone who does the same thing at every wedding or event. This is especially true when it comes to decor, you want to find someone who can manage anything and doesn't specialize in one type like rustic.
A pre-existing vendor/venue relationship can be a really big asset for you. They are already familiar with the staff and are already aware of any shortcomings or issues that the venue may have. For example, if there is an issue with hooking up sound they would know how to deal with it and work around it. You could also ask the venue about how that particular vendor works and past experiences.
Find someone who respects your budget and can either duplicate or swap around ideas that will allow you to stay in your budget.
9. Working as a Team
You want someone who does great work but will also listen to your needs as a couple and create an event that is a reflection of you. The right vendors will make your guests think "This is so Joshua and Sarah"