Your wedding vendors are, hands down, one of the most important parts of planning your wedding. They’re the pros tasked with taking your design vision from a daydream to a full-fledged (and dreamy as ever) realty—which is why it’s so important to work closely and clearly with each of the pros you hire. One of the best ways to help your vendors do their job is to be prepared and proactive when you meet with them. Today, then, we’ve reached out to our network of wedding planners and pros to bring you their top tips for how to best prep for consultations with wedding vendors. Read on for their expert—and empowering—advice!
Before Meeting with Your Bakers, from JennyWenny Cakes:
- Have a set date & time: Have the date and venue settled and a good idea of your guest count. Don't worry too much about going to see your baker until about 9 months before your wedding, just in case your plans change.
- Have an idea of what you want: Look at pictures of cakes together and think about what you both like and anything you really dislike. Think about any themes or colors you're using throughout your overall wedding design, and whether you feel like you'd like those incorporated into your cake design, or you want to stick with something more traditional/organic looking.
- Talk with your partner: Have an open dialogue with your partner before you come in, so that you’re both on the same page. Sometimes one partner really doesn't care, and the other partner gets very stressed out trying to get their partner to buy into a decision. On the flip side of that, we occasionally have a surprise when one partner hasn't thought about it beforehand but suddenly is extremely opinionated about what they like and don’t like during the consultation.
- Focus on your flavor preference: Think about flavors you really like rather than worrying about "crowd pleaser" flavors—it's your cake, and, no, you won't really eat a ton of it, but dont worry too much about pleasing everyone! Choose a couple of options that you like, and know that nearly everyone will like one of those.
- Lighten up: Cakes and desserts are the fun part of the planning—don't take it too seriously! Be prepared to have fun above all else.
Before Your Bridal Salon Appointment, from Your Dream Bridal:
- Timing is everything: Before making any appointments, have a date set or a general time frame to ensure your gown will be ready before the big day. Some gowns will take up to 6 months to produce and deliver, depending on the designer and any customizations. Independent designers and handmade gowns can often have a longer lead time than mass-produced designs from large name brands. Also, keep seasonality in mind when considering various fabrics. Satin can be very heavy, and I wouldn’t advise it for a summer wedding, but it’s wonderful for a late fall or winter wedding. Summer weddings usually lend themselves to chiffon, tulle, or organza, which are light and flowy fabrics. Lace and silk are wonderful fabrics all year round.
- Understand your style, but be open-minded: Research different designers, silhouettes, and the overall vibe of different styles of dresses. Send photos or a Pinterest board to your bridal stylist ahead of time to make your appointment more efficient. Understand your bridal salon’s unique designer offerings ahead of time to enhance your experience and help you feel even more knowledgeable about what you can expect. That being said, a great bridal stylist will often pull gowns that may have a varied cut or shape for you to experience—sometimes, you fall in love with the one gown you would have never pulled for yourself!
- Be prepared to buy: Even if it’s your first stop, be prepared to commit if your natural intuition tells you you’ve found the gown. If you truly feel beautiful in a gown, whether it is the first one or the 20th you’ve tried, listen to your instincts.
- Don't feel like you have to try on everything: Don’t force the process to be longer than it needs to be just because you feel obligated to visit a laundry list of boutiques or try on a ton of dresses before committing. If you’ve found “the one” three dresses in, then go for it! If you decide to walk away in the name of trying on a ton of other gowns, you’ll likely come back to a vision of that one gown in your mind, comparing it to other gowns. Lead with your gut—when you feel your most confident and beautiful self, you’ll know you’ve found your dream dress!
Before Meeting with Your Florist, from Southern Sparkle:
- Have inspiration photos ready: Have some inspiration photos ready to show your florist—but have it narrowed down to a certain design and style you love. It can be overwhelming to look through an entire Pinterest board that you created before you were even engaged. Another set of pictures that will help during your floral consultation are photos of the venue spaces. Have pictures of your altar, the ceremony aisle, the church doors, and the overall entire ceremony space. Having pictures of your reception hall and other areas where you would like florals will also be helpful. If you have a floor plan already created for your reception space, that would be even better! Your florist will be able to give you a more detailed and accurate floral quote once she has a clear idea of the space or spaces she's working with.
- Be open to ideas: Speaking of inspiration pictures, know that your pictures serve as a great source of inspiration, but be open to ideas from your florist. Florists genuinely want to create something special and unique to you and your partner, so walk into the consultation with an open mind.
- Know your budget: Discuss with your planner (and those contributing to your budget) an idea of how much you are willing and able to spend on flowers. Pinterest can sometimes be a dream crusher in that regard. Your planner will be able to give you a realistic potential cost based on your needs, while your florist will be able to offer alternative flowers to keep you within your budget.
Before Meeting with Potential Wedding Planners, from Planned Perfection:
- Understand what they’ll cost: Check the planner’s website for pricing. Nothing is a bigger waste of time than having an in-person meeting and mentioning our price point, only to have a client say we are completely out of their budget. At Planned Perfection, we list our pricing on our services page—that way, clients clients can know from the get-go if we are a good financial fit before we meet.
- Read reviews: Read online reviews before meeting with a planner to see what past clients have to say about their services. When clients ask us to send them a reference, know that it’s easy for us to pick our favorite clients who we know will say wonderful things about us. Visiting a review site is the best way to get the full picture and read unbiased accounts of the client experience a planner offers. That being said, take reviews with a grain of salt and use common sense—if a planner has a ton of five-star reviews and only a single one-star review, maybe there's something going on with that one-star review. On the other hand, if twenty different people are complaining about the same thing, it might be true.
- Bring along decision-makers: If a parent has a say in what vendors get hired (i.e., they are paying for them) then they should be at that initial consultation . If your finance really cares about meeting the wedding planner, he or she should be at the meeting as well. Overall, whoever has a say in the ultimate decision should plan to be at that first initial consult.