#1 – Hiring Wedding Vendors by Price Alone

Wedding carriage transportation

This is the fifth and final installment in our series of posts about the top 5 planning mistakes we’ve seen couples make in the past.  In case you missed them, check out our first four posts: #5 – Assuming Your Vendors Communicate#4 – Ignoring the Setting Sun#3 – Inviting Too Many Guests#2 – The Silent Budget.

Many brides hire one or more vendors based solely on price or the “deal” they can get.  We cannot tell you how many times we have seen this decision become the trigger for wedding day failure.  Here are a few of the categories we see this happen in:

DJ –  The DJ helps set the tone and atmosphere for your reception, so he or she becomes a key player for the event going smoothly.  We often tell our brides the DJ can make or break their event.  While your guests will not leave early due to bad food or flowers, they will certainly leave if the DJ is annoying, demanding or simply chooses the wrong music for the flow of your wedding reception.  For those who book too many events, they may not stick to the schedule, instead rushing through the evening and ending your reception earlier than anticipated.  Equipment failure can be an issue with those who don’t charge enough to maintain their equipment.  A DJ that doesn’t pay attention may mispronounce your (or everyone’s) name.  This list can go on and on.  While we don’t want you to raise your budget, we do suggest investing in your DJ and checking them out instead of going for the $500 deal you saw at the bridal show.

Wedding Cakes / Bakeries – Cakes can show up late, melted, disintegrating, or looking nothing like what you ordered.  There’s a blog called Cake Wrecks that chronicles terrible or inappropriate cakes, including wedding day disasters.  Don’t let this be you!  Make sure the bakery you hire is not only experienced in making cakes, but in delivering and setting them up.

Transportation – Whether hiring a limo, a vintage car or a simple sedan, those who have had trouble can tell you their stories about a driver not showing up, being late, getting lost, or leaving early – without you.  You definitely don’t want to deal with a malfunctioning car on your wedding day.  And any native Texan can tell you that stepping into a car in mid-August wearing a ball gown dress only to find the air conditioner isn’t working will lead to anger, tears and possibly smeary makeup.

Photo booth – Finally, beware the photo booth Groupon! Unfortunately, we’ve heard stories of these amazing photo booth deals on Groupon that have sent companies too much business that they just can’t handle.  If you’re buying a special deal for a photo booth months in advance, it is a possibility that the company will either be overbooked and not show up, or simply go out of business.  Be sure that you are looking at a settled, tenured company before spending money on something that may not show up on your big day!

How can you avoid these situations?  Check references and do your homework!  Don’t sign a contract with a vendor until you are assured of their professionalism.  A wedding planner can help you identify trustworthy vendors in your area.  If you’ve already signed a contract with a vendor you now believe to not be trustworthy, look at your contract to see what can be done.

Your budget is crucial (as we discussed in post #2), but professionals charge the fees they do to make sure that they have the right equipment, back ups, and will still be around for the time of your wedding.  If you’re concerned about this and your budget is tight, we suggest looking for a planner that does month-of coordination with vendor referrals included in the package.  This advice can be priceless, because a good planner will never refer you to a vendor based solely on price.  If you have a planner in place, check with the professionals before signing any vendor contracts.


Photography by The Mamones