My Vendors and I Are Tight, Yo

At this point in the game, I’m pretty sure I email and talk to our vendors more than I do my friends and family. I kid, but I do feel like my relationship with the people I’ve hired to do our wedding is growing rapidly. The closer we get, the more questions they have, the more questions I have, and the more decisions there are that need to be made, which means we need to be in constant contact.

sisko chocolate centrepiece

(All of the photos in this post are just for fun! I miss the days of browsing for inspiration and I figured pictures of other people’s weddings made sense for this post about vendors. In the photograph above, those chocolate centerpieces remind me of the my initial decor idea that was thrown out by, wait for it, EVERYONE. Pine cones. Sigh.)


Personally, I have to say I’ve had a fabulous time working with the professionals I’ve hired. I can attribute this to two things, 1) Mr. Sword and I only hired people we liked/got along with/respected. 2) Mr. Sword and I did lots of research in advance before we even met with our vendors in person. I won’t go into detail about picking vendors, (because well, yawn), but I will give you some advice to help benefit BOTH you and your vendors throughout the planning process.

IMG_2550-Edit

(Clearly the above photo needs to be me on my wedding day, surrounded by men in kilts. Yes.)
Your relationship with your vendors should be symbiotic, which means you both benefit from it. Here are Miss Sword’s Top Tips for Vendor Success:

  1. Show respect for their art. Listen to their concerns and ideas, and try to work within their perimeters. If a vendor explains they need space for this thing or extra equipment for that thing, try to accommodate them. It will only benefit you if they are comfortable and have what they need! For instance, my photographer asked to be fed dinner at the same time as myself and Mr. Sword, meaning, before our guests. This is a bit uncommon as the vendors are usually fed after all the guests have eaten dinner, but Crystal explained that she often misses key events or touching moments if she eats after the bride and groom eat. She says it’s best if she’s done eating before the guests are done eating so she can take more photographs of the party. So I asked our hotel coordinator to change the vendor meal time. Simple as that.
  2. Respond quickly to emails. Don’t you hate it when you don’t hear back about something you’ve been dying to know in regards to your wedding? Vendors are the same way. We all rely on email as a quick way to exchange info and ask questions. I’m so grateful that the two wedding coordinators at our venue respond right away (usually within an hour) to my questions and therefore I always try to respond as quickly as I can to their emails as well. It goes both ways and keeps everyone on the same page.
  3. Feed them. We are feeding all of our vendors, from the photographers/videographers to the DJ and the band. Even though our Ceilidh band is only playing a one hour set, we invited all four band members to come to the hotel early and eat dinner on us. They are taking time out of their Saturday evening to play at our event and I appreciate their time. Speaking of time, it also ensures that they won’t be late because they’ll have to show up early to eat dinner! And isn’t everyone happier and more fun on a full belly?
  4. Communicate constantly. This might sound excessive, but every time I think of something that is important to us or to Mom Sword or whomever, I email it to our vendors. If I’m unsure of something, I ask them right away. The more you communicate the more likely you are to have a smoother wedding day without too many hiccups.* I also encourage letting your vendors see your wedding timeline first before showing your bridal party and family, because that way they can give you any necessary changes before you send it out to everyone.
  5. Tip them. ARGH, TIPPING!! Side note: Tipping stresses me out. I’m big on tipping but I really dislike being asked for a tip (which recently happened and by letter, what??). I also feel like the wedding standards on tipping are extremely high. That said, for most vendors, it’s not optional. What goes around comes around, so tip the folks that worked their asses off for you on your wedding day. If someone goes above and beyond, then tip them extra. You might find yourself in a service job one day and will want the same courtesy extended to you.

I can think of three extra special things that three different vendors have done for us just because they know we’re going to treat them well and they know we respect the work art they do create. I can’t go into it because frankly, that’s tacky, but I’m so happy that all of people I have trusted to make our day special are going above and beyond our beginning expectations! It’s making me so freaking excited for the Big Day!
*This is mere speculation as I have not yet had my wedding day and cannot confirm this to be true! :)

Pink Vintage Wedding Inspiration

Photo by: Couture House of Imagery on Every Last Detail via Lover.ly

(I pretty much fainted when I saw that cake. Breathtaking!!)

How is your relationship with your vendors? Will you or did you tip them? Is there such a thing as too much communication?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Sword

Location:
Chicago
Wedding Date:
March 2013
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  1. Member
    BrideLawyer 31 posts, Newbee @ 7:51 am

    My biggest fear is that I will book vendors and then communication ceases, slows down or becomes a problem. How did you ensure that communication was quick and free-flowing? Did you establish that expectation prior to signing a contract/paying a deposit?

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Emily, Guest @ 8:28 am

    I have honestly found the customer service in the wedding industry lacking, and as someone has done nothing but customer facing jobs my whole life, it drove me CRAZY. I just couldn’t understand what I perceived as bad customer service in such a review driven industry— in a recession!

    But then my fiancé truth bombed me, and it really made so much sense. Your vendors need to focus on the wedding that is currently happening or next in line—they focus on you when its time for you to make decisions, but if you are ahead of the game timing wise, they can’t spend much time with you. They have to be focusing on their “now couple” not their “in a few months” couple.

    This has helped me calm down a lot. It makes a ton of sense, and so far is totally holding true for my situation!

  3. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:44 am

    @BrideLawyer: That’s my worry too. So far, the vendors I have booked maintained the same level of good communication, so I’m hoping it stays the same for the others too! I also am booking most vendors through word-of-mouth, so that’s a question I ask upfront of my reviewers! I can’t stand poor communication!

    Tipping also makes me nervy… I have a hard time wanting to throw more money at someone when I feel like I’m already paying them an arm-and-a-leg! But I’m also a good tipper in general, so I know I’ll suck it up. There will be a lot of money saved at the end in fat envelopes for our vendors! Not REALLY looking forward to that, but I’m hoping I’ll feel like appreciating them with wads of cash!

  4. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:26 am

    @BrideLawyer: Yea you can absolutely give them some idea that you’ll want to remain in contact for the duration of your engagement. Vendors LOVE working with organized people, so it’s like the more you give out the more you get back! Unless they are just a crappy vendor…

    @Emily: Your fiance is so smart! That is totally true, and happens with every vendor, they put things off that you’d like them to be working on because they have other weddings before yours. But the good ones should still keep in communication with you! :)

    @Blonde17Jess: Yes, the hardest part is going to the bank to withdraw tons of cash for tips when you’re already paying a TON of money for their services. But once it’s out, it’s out and yes they will really appreciate it!

    Great comments!

  5. Member
    kmarie719 795 posts, Busy bee @ 10:32 am

    While I agree that vendors should be fed, this one line stood out to me:

    They are taking time out of their Saturday evening to play at our event and I appreciate their time.

    I have to disagree with this statement. They aren’t taking time out of their Saturday, they are working. I don’t take time out of my Monday to drive to work, I go to work. Their hours just happen to include most weekends.

    @Emily: I agree with your whole statement! I was starting to get frustrated with lack of responses, but that reasoning definitely lays it out better.

  6. Member
    mspalmtree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:36 am

    We had the SAME “issue”, for lack of a better term, with our photographers. They explained that they have to eat at the same time as the B&G because otherwise they will miss the events that, you know, we want photographed. They said they often run into guests getting rude and a-holey with them over it, in addition to staff and other vendors. I cleared this a while ago with our venue and have it on my ‘make sure’ to-do list. I think it’s GREAT that you mentioned this because honestly, had they not brought it up to me, I wouldn’t even have thought of it but obviously I see the importance.

  7. Member
    mspalmtree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:37 am

    @Emily: Love the term “truth bombed”, that’s hilarious and I may steal it. :P

  8. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:45 am

    @kmarie719: Yea, I agree, you’re right, it is there job! I guess I’m thinking of our band, because they are only doing an hour set. And it’s probably going to take their whole evening so they can’t book anything else, but since we have a DJ we don’t need them all night. Good point though!

    @Miss Palm Tree: It makes sense when you think about it!

  9. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:46 am

    Their job not there job. My bad, I hate people confuse those two! I was writing too quickly!

  10. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 11:08 am

    Not related to most of your post, although I really love your tips :)

    But, I totally feel the same way about inspiration pictures! Now that I’m so deep into planning I miss looking at weddings and thinking “oh, I could do that…” One of my best friends or sisters need to get engaged so I can start coming up with inspiration pictures for their weddings/showers.

  11. Member
    StephanieHerbsty 25 posts, Newbee @ 12:29 pm

    Great tips – I think that these will certainly be helpful for any brides trying to slog through choosing vendors. It seems like quite a process, but it can be incredibly rewarding in the end, because you get kickass people who are excited to support you and create art for your special day. :) Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  12. Member
    mtkny 21 posts, Newbee @ 3:34 pm

    Who gets tipped and how much? And do you wait till the end of the night to decide so the tip reflects the service?

  13. Member
    shortbread 290 posts, Helper bee @ 6:30 pm

    I think tipping is such a tough thing. I was told that if they own their own business they build a tip into the fee that they charge. I’m curious to know from others if that is still accurate or if you will be tipping everyone. We have definitely let our venue know that our photographer, videographer and band all will need to eat. If they don’t want to eat with us they will have a room where they can eat and take a break.

  14. Member
    HOGUE 28 posts, Newbee @ 5:29 am

    I love your cake topper!

  15. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:12 am

    @Miss Lemur: I know right, it makes you miss the beginning stages of planning!

    @StephanieHerbsty: absolutely! It’s so worth it to find great people to work with.

    @mtkny: I recommend googling it because it’s a lot of information, too much to fit into a comment! But it’s easy info to find. Wedding books will also have that info.

    @Shortbread: Yea, that’s true, it’s more about tipping extra for those vendors if they go above and beyond. It’s tough to decide how much to tip- not a very fun part of planning!

  16. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:27 pm

    I only had a close relationship with a couple of our vendors, and man it is fantastic. I just leaves you with a very good feeling, it gives you confidence to know them well and it makes it extra fun to work with them.

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