There’s probably a good chance that hiring wedding vendors isn’t your area of expertise. As you begin narrowing down your vendor options, you may feel a bit nervous about meeting with them for the first time. You want to make sure you’re prepared and that you ask your wedding vendors the right questions.
Questions to Ask Wedding Vendors
The first question you should ask any wedding vendor is if they’re available on your wedding date. It might sound silly, but many couples forget to ask this important question. Confirming your date ensures the vendor has the correct date on their calendar. You don’t want to have any date confusion later on in the planning process.
Once you’ve confirmed their availability and the date, it’s time to ask them a few basic, but important, questions. Whether you’re hiring a calligrapher, a photographer, or a videographer, these are five questions you can ask any wedding professional.
1. Do you service the area where my venue is located?
For wedding professionals like your florist, bakery, rental company or hair and makeup artist, knowing their service area is important. You want to make sure that your venue location is in the area they service. If it’s outside their normal service area, ask your wedding vendors if they will travel. Many wedding vendors will work outside their normal service area for an additional fee. If there’s a wedding vendor you absolutely love, it’s worth it to at least ask them.
2. Do you have insurance?
Many venues only allow insured vendors to work on-site. Not only does this protect the venue, but it also protects you. You don’t want to be responsible if a guest trips over a your photographer’s tripod and hurts themselves. And you don’t want to be liable for replacing linens that were scorched by candles. Insurance is for those “worse case scenarios”, but in the case something does happen you’ll be glad you did your due diligence.
Brides Tip: If your vendors don’t have insurance, you’ll want to consider getting your own wedding insurance policy. These types of policies can covering everything from your dress catching on fire to rescheduling your wedding because of bad weather.
3. What’s included in your packages and are there any other fees that I should be aware of?
Sticking to your wedding budget is important. You want to be sure that at the end of the day, any vendor you hire is within your budget. The final invoice total includes many fees that aren’t always included in the initial proposal. Extra fees can include things like:
- Travel charges – these are applied when the destination is outside the vendors typical service area
- After hours pickup charges – sometimes companies will charge you a late night fee for having to do a pickup at midnight or later
- Taxes – though it’s not on your proposal, you will have to pay a food and beverage tax on your catering invoice. Also, some vendors charge sales tax.
- Upcharges – These charges include things like linens, chairs, and uplighting that aren’t included in the vendor’s base package.
- Overtime – If you decide to extend your reception or have your band play for another hour, they might charge an overtime fee.
- Gratuity – Instead of tipping each server, bar tender, and the venue coordinator separately, sometimes they’ll include the gratuity in your final invoice. If they do include gratuity, your don’t need to tip them.
- Cleaning fees – This is usually charged after the event because the venue wasn’t left exactly like you found it.
Brides Tip: If you hire a wedding planner, this is something they take care of. If you don’t have a wedding planner, designate someone to help ensure everything is cleaned up.
4. How much of a deposit do you require and when are payments due?
A wedding is a big investment. It’s common for vendors to require a deposit around the time you sign the contract. Final payments are due anywhere between 30 days before your wedding and the day of. Understanding how many payments and when each payment is due can take away some of the financial pressure of wedding planning. If the vendor’s proposed payment plan doesn’t work for you, ask if you can make smaller, more frequent payments.
Brides Tip: Try to make as many vendor payments ahead of time as possible. You don’t want to have to worry about keeping track of your checkbook or having cash to make payments on your wedding day.
5. What if I need to change my wedding date or cancel?
Things happen. Maybe because of unforeseen circumstances you need to change the date of your wedding. Or perhaps you and your groom decide to elope. Whatever it may be, canceling or changing your wedding date isn’t something you anticipate doing. In the unlikely event you need to change your plans, you’ll want to ask potential wedding vendors what their cancellation or change policy is.
Here are a few follow up questions to ask:
Will I get my deposit back?
Whether you cancel or change an event, you may not be able to get your deposit back. However, some vendors that may return your deposit if you cancel before the agreed upon deadline.
Can I apply my deposit towards a future invoice?
If you’re changing the date of your wedding, your vendor may allow you to apply the deposit towards a future invoice. That means after you book your vendor for a new date, they would deduct the amount previously paid from your new total.
What is your change fee?
Wedding vendors need to purchase materials and resources for your event ahead of time. If you do change your date, expect to pay a date change fee.
Though it’s not likely you’ll need to cancel or change your date, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Wedding Vendor Questions
These aren’t the only questions you should ask your wedding vendors, but it does give you a place to start. Print off this list of questions and bring them to your meeting so you don’t have to try and remember them. I hope today’s posts helps you feel more prepared and ready to meet with your vendors.