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The "4 C's" For Choosing Your Wedding Vendors

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By Jeffrey House Photography

 

 

Wait!  Aren't the "4 C's" how you're supposed to choose a diamond?

You're right, but ironically, it's a great parallel to find wedding vendors that are perfect for your wedding.  

In this article, we are going to share how to choose wedding vendors.  Who are your wedding vendors or professionals?  When we use these terms we are typically referring to your DJ, photographer, and videographer.  However, it also includes your officiant and wedding planner.  You may have some or all of these professionals involved in your day.  The first step most couples take in researching wedding professionals, and it's a good one, is to check out their website.  Their website should give you a fairly good idea what they're about and what their work product is like.  However, keep in mind the website will only give you part of the story.  

Your Guests

It's your wedding and the day is all about you.  However, even though it's technically your day, your wedding is an experience for your guests too.

Studies have shown that your guests will remember very little about the details of your wedding.  However, studies have also shown your guests do remember your wedding professionals.  We've all heard the stories involving a poor wedding professional, right?  

"The wedding was beautiful, but the DJ played techno music all night long - My head won't stop thumping!"

"It was such a great wedding, but the photographer was in my face all night!"

When wedding guests complain about a wedding, what are their complaints?  I generally find their complaints have something to do with the quality of the food, poor service from the wedding venue staff or your wedding professionals.  Yes, sometimes they will be frustrated if they have to pay for drinks or the wedding toasts drag on for 2 hours, but in our experience, these are the most common complaints.  

So Where Do You Start

When it comes to choosing your wedding professionals, you will be faced with a lot of options.  So how do you sort through it all to find what's best for you and your wedding?  

As we mentioned earlier, visiting the websites of potential professionals is a great place to start.  Take the time to read their "about us" page.  Often times, professionals will speak about their work style which can be useful information.  Also, check out samples of their work to make sure it's something that appeals to you.  Do they write a blog?  You may find some really great information in their blog too.  It's well worth your time to check out these details in preparations for your next step.  

What is the next step?  As you're researching wedding professionals make two lists.  A "yes" and a "no" list.  Obviously, the professionals that you feel could be a good fit will be placed on the "yes" list.  The professionals that don't appeal to you will be placed on the "no" list.  Whether they are on the "yes" or "no" list, it's a good idea to keep track of all the professionals you researched.  Even though you have two DJ's on the "yes" list, they may already be booked or they may not work out.  You may have to return to the drawing board.  If that happens you will be glad you kept records of the professionals you already researched.  

Once you have a few options on the "yes" list it's time to set-up some interviews!

The Interview

Okay, so now you have reached out to some wedding professionals and have scheduled some interviews.  Now what?  Before heading to the interview I would make a list of questions that are important to you.  To get you started, here's some general questions you might ask:

  • What do you require as down payment to secure your services?
  • Do you work with a contract? (if they don't I would suggest finding another professional)
  • What is your work style?
  • What packages do you offer?
  • Do you offer "off-season" discounts? (if applicable to your wedding)
  • What's a typical wedding like for you?
  • How do you approach the wedding day?

Again, these are just some general questions.  Obviously, you will want to do a little research depending on the type of wedding professional you are interviewing.  You can find a lot of questions by doing a simple Google search - For example, "questions to ask a wedding photographer?"  But I find a lot of the information provided on the web can be downright ridiculous.  So, again, generate some questions that are meaningful to you and your day.  You may have 10 questions or you may have 2.  It doesn't matter - as long as you get the answers that meet your needs.  

The 4 C's For Choosing Your Wedding Professionals

A lot of DJ's have great sound systems and play great music.  A lot of photographers take beautiful pictures.  A lot of videographers produce creative and stunning wedding videos, however, this is just part of the picture (no pun intended).  Liking the work of the professionals your considering is certainly a good starting point, but from there, it's the "4 C's" that really matter!

1.  Connection

It's imperative you have a connection with your wedding professionals, especially your photographer and videographer.  I say especially your photographer and videographer simply because you will spend the most time with them, and you will spend a lot of time with them.  If you don't mesh with your wedding professionals it can make for a long day and that's the last thing you want to have to deal with on your wedding day.  

You don't want to worry or become frustrated by personality conflicts or lack of a connection.  You want your wedding professional relationships to be open, honest, and built on trust.  

2.  Comfortable

You should feel comfortable being around your wedding professionals.  Their personalities should not stress you, make you nervous or feel annoyed.  If you have established that "connection" with your professionals, then feeling comfortable around them should happen naturally.  As we mentioned before, you spend a lot of time with your photographer(s) and videographer.  These will be the people you spend almost your entire day with.  You will typically never be out of their sight.  Being comfortable around them is critical to having a successful day.   

3.  Communication

Communication is clearly a vital part in any relationship.  You will definitely want to establish open lines of communication with all of your wedding professionals.  This will be essential for them to fully understand your wants and needs, and it will allow them to work with you in creating your dream wedding.  We have an upcoming blog that will address the biggest complaints brides have with their wedding photographers.  In this blog you will see a common theme.  The majority of issue arise due to a lack of communication.  With great communication in place, good things happen!

4.  Composure

Composure is a great attribute in a wedding professional.  Weddings are highly demanding, highly stressful, and filled with pressure situations.  You need and want wedding professionals that are unflappable, and handle the difficult times with poise and professionalism.  

Take for instance a DJ playing music while the wedding reception is in full swing.  Without any warning the song suddenly freezes and is repeating the same word.  It's happening so fast you can't make out the exact word, but the noise is loud and obnoxious.  Rather than freak out the DJ calmly, but swiftly, puts a new song on within a second or two.  Their composure allowed them to handle the situation quickly and with minimal disturbance.  The guests go back to dancing and having a great time within seconds.  This may not seem like a big deal, but now try to imagine the scene if the DJ freaked out.  They are fumbling with their equipment and that obnoxious noise continues to ring through everyone's ears.  With each passing second they become more and more irritated.  When they notice the DJ floundering to resolve the issue unsuccessfully, they become more aggravated.  

It's these types of situations that can and do happen during weddings.  Take notice of your professionals body language during the interview process.  They should hopefully demonstrate composure during the conversation as you ask them questions.  If they can't demonstrate it during the interview, chances are they won't be able to demonstrate it when things really heat up.

Have A Game Plan

There are lots of variables to consider when hiring your wedding professionals.  Assuming you are a fan of their work, be sure they also have great personalities and you connect with them.  Your wedding is one day, hire the people that will help you to make it fun, exciting, and successful!

Did you or do you know someone who had a bad experience with a wedding professional?  Please share your experiences with us.  We would love to hear from you!