In a world where all wedding professionals have websites, social media accounts, online reviews, and have listings on large wedding planning sites, I can’t say I’m surprised to hear from couples that think they can easily do their research online to book all of their wedding vendors. I don’t completely blame them. There’s nothing comfortable about sitting in a coffee shop waiting to meet a complete stranger and talk about your relationship and upcoming wedding. Ok, to be fair, that’s always fun for me, but I’m well aware for the more introverted folks, it’s uncomfortable and something to be avoided at all cost. Even if you aren’t all that introverted, setting up consultations is time consuming and can seem like a hassle, but in reality, it’s one of the best uses of your time while wedding planning.
There’s a reason that even after spending hours online comparing vendors, you may still not know who to choose. Everyone highlights their best photos, reviews, and comments - essentially, the best version of themselves. Think about your own personal social media accounts. Do you share the good, the bad, and the ugly, or do you tend to only share the good? The same goes for businesses. Meeting in person, though, is the number one way to cut through the noise and experience who the business owner truly is, and if they are the right fit for your wedding.
Here are the 3 top things to consider when meeting:
1. Setting up the meeting
Before you ever sit down with them, consider the interaction you’ve had to set up the meeting. How quick were they to respond? When responding, did they use full sentences, correct spelling and proper grammar? Were they polite and helpful, or short and rude? How accomodating where they to find a time and place that fit both of your schedules? The way a vendor interacts in the very beginning will be their highest standard because they are trying to make a sale. If they are rude, take weeks to respond, and don’t write in a professional manner, it’s a red flag and things likely won’t get better after you sign a contract.
2. Your first impression
Upon arriving to the meeting, take some mental notes of your first impression. Are they dressed appropriately? Is it a friendly “hello” and first interaction? Are they on time? Are they ready with a notebook and pen, portfolio, or materials to show you? How comfortable do you feel talking with them? Depending on the role of the vendor, keep in mind that this person may be interacting with all of your guests, so first impressions are important. If something stands out to you, good or bad, it may stand out to your family and friends, too.
3. Really get to know them
Throughout the meeting, it’s important to take notes and ask questions regarding their line of work, however, it is just as important to ask questions about them. Yes, a consultation is a great time to gather the basics on their services, but much of that information is available online, or can be sent to you electronically. Use the time you have face-to-face to get to know them and get a strong feel for their personality. Find out why they got into the business, where they’re from, what they like to do in their free time, etc. I know, I know, you got engaged so you could stop going on dates and having these awkward interactions with strangers, but this is important. Your vendor team will be the people you spend quite a bit of your time with leading up to the wedding and on the day itself. Who do you think will be around you the most on your wedding day? It’s not your soon-to-be spouse or MOH, it’s your photographer. And who do you think will interact with every single guest? It’s your DJ. When selecting a vendor, you’re selecting someone to have a big role in your wedding day, so it’s important that it’s someone that not only offers stellar service and products, but also someone that you connect with. As one of my clients once told me when selecting vendors, “we have to vibe with them”, and I couldn’t agree more.
Candi Block, Founder & Event Planner
Midwest native with big-family roots, now newlywed, entrepreneur, and new home owner in the PNW. Love being involved in the community, crafting, creating, and Netflix binging.
Thrifty Events offers wedding planning, event design, and day of coordination services.