It truly takes a village to plan and execute a wedding. Throughout your wedding planning process, you will encounter many different vendors with whom you must communicate. Initially, this may not seem like a terrible task. After all, you are hiring them to take some of the work off your plate. However, communicating with wedding vendors can be stressful if you feel like they are not picking up on your vision or are unclear about essential details.
Don’t let your list of wedding vendors add any more stress to your wedding planning. Instead, take note of these tips for facilitating clear and concise communication with everyone, from your event rental company to your hairstylist!
Planning a wedding can be extremely fun and also highly stressful. Suppose you’re going it alone (without the help of an experienced planner or coordinator). In that case, you have the particularly tough task of wrangling a plethora of vendors to make your day come together beautifully. It may be the first time you’ve spoken to rental companies, catering businesses, graphic designers, and florists and attempted to make each work seamlessly together. Each trade you encounter will have a unique communication style, ending your planning experience with positive interactions, beautiful end products, and art without the surprise costs. Too busy with life to really plan your wedding in detail? Have someone else do it for you and check out our list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help take the stress away.
So what are some ways you can successfully communicate with all of your wedding vendors and get precisely what you want?
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Successfully Communicate with your Wedding Vendors
- 1.1 Do Your Research.
- 1.2 Hire Your Wedding Vendors Wisely
- 1.3 Don’t Assume Anything.
- 1.4 Set up a Communication System
- 1.5 Follow-Up to Your Phone Calls With an Email Message
- 1.6 Ask Questions
- 1.7 Be Visual/share Pictures.
- 1.8 Save Your Difficult Topics for Face-To-Face Conversations.
- 1.9 Keep Everything Organized
- 1.10 Have Realistic Expectations
- 1.11 Keep Things Concise and to the Point
- 1.12 Use Visual Aids
- 1.13 Assign a Point of Contact
- 1.14 Be Aware of Your Timeline
- 1.15 Actually, Communicate
- 1.16 Pay Attention to Your Vendor’s Initial Communication Style.
- 1.17 Read Your Contract Thoroughly.
- 1.18 Be Very Clear About Your Budget.
- 1.19 Know What You Want
- 1.20 Set Realistic Expectations
- 1.21 Keep an Open Mind
- 1.22 Stick to Your Deadlines.
- 1.23 Pick a Vendor You Trust and Trust Them.
- 2 Conclusion
How to Successfully Communicate with your Wedding Vendors
Do Your Research.
This is perhaps the most critical step, and luckily it’s entirely within your control. Similar to buying a car or a home, you can do market research on wedding vendors. If you’re evaluating a rental company, take a look at three to four rental companies in the area. If they have pricing listed, compare the three. Does one look far cheaper than the others? Are two similar in the price? Is one far more expensive? It’s always a good idea to ignore outliers (the very reasonable and the very expensive, unless budget dictates otherwise) – it usually means the cheapest company is cutting corners or using a lower quality product. It might also mean the expensive company is adding on a lot of fees or using expensive products that you might not need for your wedding day. A middle of the road option might be your best bet to ensure fair pricing and fair quality.
Research Your Options
Another excellent way to streamline communication with your wedding vendors is to educate yourself. Research options and ideas so that you have a better understanding of what things cost, how much you’ll need for something and what’s feasible for your budget and venue space. This will help eliminate the back and forth and confusion of educating a bride from scratch. Most importantly, you’ll also be a better advocate for the exact details you want to be a part of your wedding.
Hire Your Wedding Vendors Wisely
When you are interviewing your wedding vendors, please pay attention to their communication style. Is their written and oral correspondence clear? Do you feel as if they are listening to you? You will communicate with your wedding vendors quite a bit, so having a similar communication style is vital to your successful wedding planning.
Don’t Assume Anything.
Your wedding vendors are just getting to know you, so they are learning your communication style too. Be clear and thorough when you communicate. Don’t assume your vendors know what you are thinking.
Set up a Communication System
Create an email account for wedding planning only. You will get many email messages during your wedding planning, and you don’t want your special news from your Aunt Hilda to get lost in your wedding emails.
Set up project-specific folders within your email account. File the email messages (from both your inbox and out-box) within the corresponding folder so that you can easily find them when needed.
Follow-Up to Your Phone Calls With an Email Message
To ensure you and your wedding vendors are on the same page, send a quick email message after your call to recap your conversation. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out message, but you want to be sure that you agree before too much time passes.
Email or Call. Don’t Dm, Comment, Text, or Tweet.
Most vendors have preferred communication methods, and some list them (“No D.M.s please”). Why? When a vendor receives 1-10 inquiries a day, they can get easily lost in the shuffle. A DM filters down quickly on your message window, and no reminder accompanies it. A comment is often lost or not noticed. An email is usually the preferred method for inquiries. It allows the vendor to keep track of your conversation, respond in length and from a desktop, and enable them to attach files, reference links, and more easily. A call is also most likely to be either picked up or returned and can be followed up with an email as well.
Make Your Emails Count.
Instead of sending numerous daily emails to a wedding vendor, jot down all of your questions from the day. Then put your questions together in one email rather than sending six different emails addressing the same concern. Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share as much information as possible! Your wedding vendors want to be sure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle of emails.
You get married (for the first time) once – your wedding vendors manage weddings all of the time. Don’t worry if your question seems silly to you because it probably won’t seem absurd to your vendors. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
The wedding industry is a creative business, so your vendors are most likely visual people. Rather than trying to explain your wedding flowers, find a similar picture in a magazine or on the web and share that with your floral designer instead.
Save Your Difficult Topics for Face-To-Face Conversations.
Emails can be easily misunderstood, which makes any conversation difficult. If you need to address a complex topic, ask for a face-to-face conversation. If that is not an option, then use the telephone.
Keep Everything Organized
Now, being organized is essential. Keep all your important documents (like contracts) inside a binder, files or a planner so that nothing goes.
You’ll probably need to refer back to these once or twice when talking with your team. This doesn’t only go for hard copies – you’ll want to keep your email clean, too. Make sure you’re checking your inbox (and spam) frequently and move all the important notes from communicating with your wedding vendors to a designated “wedding” folder.
Have Realistic Expectations
Your BFF might text you back within forty seconds, but your venue coordinator probably won’t. Yes, you want to make sure that your wedding vendors get back to you in a timely fashion, but they may not be able to respond to your calls or emails for a few hours – and that’s fine. Ask what their preferred method of communication is (and expected response times) so that you know exactly what you’re in for from the get-go. Also, keep in mind that this is a two-way street; you need to respond to their queries in a timely fashion, too.
Keep Things Concise and to the Point
Even if you have a fantastic relationship with a vendor, they probably don’t want to spend hours upon hours chatting – they’ve got a job to do. Don’t embellish your conversations or emails with unnecessary info; tell them exactly what you need. P.S. brief doesn’t mean rude; make sure you keep things positive!
Use Visual Aids
You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you’re having trouble getting something across to one of your wedding vendors, now’s the time to break out the visual aids (this is where Pinterest comes in handy). Showing them exactly what you’re in the market for will make their job that much easier.
Assign a Point of Contact
Dealing with multiple people is always confusing, so assigning a single point of contact with each vendor is necessary. Keep in mind that you don’t have to take on every one yourself; if you need a bit of help, you can ask your fiancé(e), your mom or even your MOH to tackle your florist or photographer.
Be Aware of Your Timeline
When you first hire a vendor, you won’t be doing a whole lot of back and forth; after all, your wedding is months away. You should probably schedule one or two calls to get the ball rolling, but you shouldn’t be dropping them a line weekly. As your wedding approaches, you’ll need to be communicating with your wedding vendors more and more, so feel free to amp up your communication.
Your wedding vendors are pros, so have a little faith in them. That being said, if something seems a little off or you don’t understand a charge, it’s beautiful to ask for an explanation. Just be careful about what language you’re using; you want to keep things light and upbeat, not sound accusatory.
Pay Attention to Your Vendor’s Initial Communication Style.
I reached out to your planner, and they took a week to respond without an out of office message? I called a stationer, and they never called you back? Asked for a quote and didn’t receive Anything without a second email prompting them? These are all indicators of how that individual will communicate with you throughout your planning process. Let first impressions guide you. If you’re comfortable with longer response times, this might work out just fine. If you happen to be a bit behind on deadlines yourself, you want a more deadline-driven vendor that will help keep you on track. Looking for a Wedding Event Planner? Look no further, Vines of the Yarra Valley have you covered.
Read Your Contract Thoroughly.
It seems like a no brainer: don’t sign Anything you haven’t read. But in the world of that iTunes user agreement, we’re sometimes prone to signing something without giving it a full review. If a vendor sends you a contract, no matter how long or straightforward everything may seem – review each element of the contract and ask questions if they’re unclear to you. Perhaps a photographer has a warranty that stipulates they’ll supply a backup if something happens to them. You may want to ask who the blockage is and be comfortable with both individuals as your potential wedding photographer. If a stationer has a provision in their contract regarding several revisions or edits, be sure you are aware of them and comfortable with them before proceeding. It may seem irrelevant up front, but there may come a time when you need an extra revision and will want to be prepared for the additional cost as outlined in the contract.
Be Very Clear About Your Budget.
There is a misconception that providing a budget will cause the quote to change or cause the selection to always land at the maximum budget. The truth is, most vendors have a price list they keep privately. Your costs come from that price list. If a client has $100 to spend, their quote will look the same as someone who has $5,000 to spend. Pricing doesn’t change based on your budget.
Know What You Want
One of the most essential but most effective ways to improve your communication with your wedding vendors is to come to the table knowing what you want. That can be more easily said than done when it comes to planning all the details of your dream day, we know. You don’t need to have your exact linens, venue setup, and the timeline for the day nailed down, but it is helpful for us to know the general direction you’d like to move in. We can suggest all sorts of ideas to bring your vision to life, but first, we need you to have an initial concept for your day.
Set Realistic Expectations
This is a big one. When communicating with your wedding vendors, you should manage your expectations based on your budget and time frame. Don’t expect a 5-course meal with steak and seafood for $35 per person. You can still have a beautiful wedding on a budget! But don’t expect your wedding vendors to stretch beyond their limit. We can offer you attractive alternatives, but keep in mind they may not be exactly what you saw on Pinterest.
Keep an Open Mind
Keeping an open mind will open countless doors for you when working with your wedding vendors. If you come to us with a precise vision and are not willing to budge, it will be challenging to offer alternative options that might be just as good, if not better. Just as you would want us to keep an open mind when working with your ideas, we love working with brides and grooms who are available to create solutions that can make their wedding memorable and unique.
Stick to Your Deadlines.
Ask your vendor for a timeline related to their services as soon as you book them. Then be prepared to stick to your end of the timeline and be ready to check in on them regarding their end. If you’re working on your wedding invitations and owe your stationer your address list by X date, but miss it by a week, know that you may incur additional delays or rush fees. Vendors allow time for your project, and once you’ve pushed a deadline out, they may no longer have the same available time to complete your project. If you delay too long, you may need to add in rush shipping, rush printing fees, rush design fees, and those can add up to unexpected costs.
In reverse, the vendor should be committed to their end of the timeline as well. If they miss a deadline, don’t be afraid to check in on them regarding when they’ll be providing your item. The only good news on that front is if the vendor misses a deadline, it is their responsibility to pick up rush fees or upgraded shipping costs.
Pick a Vendor You Trust and Trust Them.
If you pick a set of vendors based only on one criterion (they’re local! they’re cheap! they’re the first one I saw!), you’ll run into a host of issues when you’re planning. Perhaps they were local but didn’t offer many items you need for your wedding day, and you end up making a lot of compromises and feeling dissatisfied. Maybe they were inexpensive but with that price comes missed deadlines or poor communication. You don’t want to spend a year arguing with the vendor about providing what they promised. Maybe they were the first person you saw, and you were eager to book, so you didn’t vet them thoroughly. You may come to the realization they weren’t as experienced as they appeared.
If you vet your vendors and pick vendors whose communication style, portfolio, and business practices are all a great fit with your wedding, you’ll find that everything goes smoothly. You’ll have a team that executes items perfectly and seamlessly, and you’ll have less worry as you plan. Once you have a great team, trust their vision and their execution and let them create magic! Need help planning your wedding? Check out our list of Wedding Event Planners here.
Now, all of your wedding vendors should be communicating with you in the same manner. But this is your money – and you need to stay on top of your correspondence with all of your wedding vendors.