Rachel Griffin, owner & lead wedding planner
Trusting Your Vendor Team
Plan Along with Me Series – Step 8: Having Faith in the Vendors You’ve Hired for Your Wedding
I knew as soon as I decided to begin the Plan Along with Me Series that I needed to have a post on the importance of trusting your vendor team. What do I mean by that? It means having faith in the people you hired to do the best they possibly can for your wedding day.
You’ve done your homework, right? I’m sure before signing contracts with vendors you checked out their websites, read a bunch of reviews from previous couples, and poured over image galleries or videos of their work. They probably came recommended from friends, family or other vendors that have worked with them in the past. You might have even hired them based on an experience you had at a previous wedding you yourself attended.
My point is that you wouldn’t have hired this team of professionals if you weren’t confident that they have the experience to deliver the services you contracted them for.
Now that your wedding is almost here, TRUST THEM and let them shine doing the thing they’re best at!
You might be wondering why this is such a big issue to me...it’s because I’ve seen it both ways.
I’ve seen couples that try to micromanage their vendor team, disregard experienced advice, and back-check and second guess behind them every step of the way. I’ve also seen couples that communicate their wants and needs, make final decisions, turn things over to their team with trust then relax and enjoy their day with confidence. There’s a huge distinction between the two!
Believe me when I say that wedding industry pros don’t have a hidden agenda. We TRULY want to deliver the best day imaginable for your individual wedding. That’s why we ask so many questions beforehand.
We want to know your style, likes & dislikes, family dynamics, and what’s important (or not important) to you because it helps us make the right decisions during the wedding day when things are at their most hectic.
We also aren’t going to guide you in a direction that goes against what is best for your wedding day vision or budget. If we’re giving you advice, it’s with your style and preferences in mind as the end goal with suggestions based off years of seeing what’s worked in the past.
I get it, it’s hard to turn over control of this huge thing you’ve planned, poured tons of love, money, and dreaming into for months, to people you haven’t known very long. I promise though, you won’t regret stepping back, taking their advice, and utilizing their years of experience to your advantage.
Don’t take just my word on it though. Here are some thoughts from a few, truly wonderful, fellow wedding professionals:
From a Catering & Venue’s Perspective:
Casey Henshaw with Sweetwater Branch Inn
Trust your venue coordinators – they work every day in the space you’re having your wedding. For example, while it may be tempting to put everyone at long, stylish banquet tables, if your venue’s capacity is 150 guests, putting everyone at banquet tables may virtually eliminate a dance floor.
The coordinators at a venue are your best go-to for figuring out the best “flow” to your floor plan and setup, without making it a “cookie cutter” wedding just like everyone else’s. Letting your venue know your vision is a great start but be sure to be open to tweaks and changes based on their experience.
If you have friends or family members helping with your décor setup before your wedding, they may be setting up alongside the venue staff. Trust the process. Your venue staff are working from a list and know what needs to be set up and when. They will also make last minute adjustments after all the major setup is complete, so if that linen isn’t quite perfectly straight or those tea lights aren’t lit yet, keep in mind that you booked this venue for a reason, and they’ll be sure everything is as close to perfect as can be by the time you and your guests arrive.
Bailey Bruce with Top Secret Events
One of the hardest things is when couples don’t trust recommendations for the amount of food to provide guests for cocktail hour and dinner. Believe me, the worst thing to a caterer is running out of food. We also hate to have food go to waste. We’ve done this before and have the experience to guide you in purchasing the correct amount of food for your guest count.
Also believe their advice about alcohol and bar needs and what will be the most cost effective for you. Their advice may be different depending on what your group of guests prefers to drink and where you’re comfortable spending. Your caterer will be able to guide you to the best option for your specific event.
From a DJ’s Perspective:
Wayne Perry with Wayne’s World Entertainment
When I meet with a couple, I ask questions about their favorite groups and types of music. I try to get a feel for what they like and what styles. I always tell them that I may not hear my favorite song or music type, but that’s ok because I already got married and it’s their special event, not mine. Once a couple feels comfortable, everything else is easy, including the music.
From a Photographer’s Perspective:
Christine Plumley with CWP Photography
Selecting your photographer is undoubtedly a huge decision; after all, it is the vendor you’ll spend the most time with on your wedding day. Not to mention, after the cake is eaten, flowers wilt, music played, photos & memories are all you will have left! When hiring a professional photographer, you are putting a huge amount of trust into their ability. Speaking from experience, it is an amazing feeling when your couple fully trusts your experience, talent, & judgement to complete the job of documenting their big day.
Fortunately, my couples allow me full artistic reign to photograph their wedding, but occasionally I will have a client send me specific images they’ve found from Pinterest, blogs, or social media that they want to recreate. I gently explain that while these images serve as a great source of inspiration, it is illegal to reproduce another photographer’s work & impedes the art we can create together that may reflect the couple’s personality more accurately.
Ingrid Carney with Molliner Photography
If you invested in an experienced professional, please trust them to do their job. Taking control of every decision or sending a Pinterest shot list to recreate will only hold back someone like a photographer from creating the art they naturally would have come up with and representing your wedding authentically. Be present, let go and enjoy your moments as the professional carefully anticipates natural moments. Otherwise, have the expectation of looking back and feeling disconnected from the moment by managing your vendor at every turn.
I say this out of love for the image being delivered, but I also say this out of love and service to our couples. A photographer's best work is done when you allow yourself the intimacy of sharing a moment naturally with your spouse or family, without a specific expectation separating it from how it genuinely unfolded.
From My Wedding Planner’s Perspective:
The hardest weddings to coordinate are usually those where the couple or a family member feels the need to second guess everything. For example, worrying that we’ll forget a vendor detail and going behind us a second time confirming with vendors. It creates confusion because they don’t often take the whole event into account and often shift details slightly between vendors. We end up doing double the work fixing the miscommunications.
It's also difficult when a family or bridal party member question every step of setup or timing on a wedding day. Doing this slows us down and hinders our efficiency to get everything done smoothly and on time.
These reasons are why trusting your vendor team is so important.
When you don’t, it ties their hands and creativity. They don’t feel empowered to make suggestions or decisions that would work to your benefit and oftentimes it creates a lot of interference in providing the best service to you. When you do, you’re more relaxed and can follow your team’s lead on your day and just have fun. Your team won’t have additional stress weighing on them, will trust their instincts and make suggestions, and go above and beyond for you without worrying.
Tips for building trust with your vendors:
Do the homework I mentioned before hiring a vendor. Check their reviews out and look at examples of their work. Ask any and all questions you have about their services and style. Make sure through these things that they fit your own style and what you’re looking for.
Take the time to get to know them a bit. Make sure you connect with their personalities and style.
Read the contracts you sign and make sure all expectations are completely clear with what’s being provided, number of hours included, and what you’ll receive after the wedding.
Communicate, communicate, communicate! If a vendor asks you to complete a form for them – do it! Share with them all that you’re planning and get back to them with any decisions they need you to make before the wedding day.
Share your confidence in them with your family and bridal party so they’ll trust your team as well.
Check back next month for Step 9: Tipping Wedding Vendors
Until then, happy planning!