Although I am wedding DJ & MC in South Florida and the Florida Keys, this advice can be used no matter where in the world you are planning and booking your wedding. It doesn’t matter whether you a looking for your photographer, caterer, wedding planner, DJ & MC, florist, or any other wedding professional, or whether it’s a local wedding or destination wedding. There are 2 rules to live by.
Rule number 1 is very simple and easy to follow. BOOK LOCAL VENDORS!!!! This may seem as I am trying to keep the business local for selfish reasons but it’s not. It’s to make sure you have a perfect wedding.
Let’s say you are from Chicago. Why would you want to bring a photographer from Chicago to the Florida Keys who doesn’t know the area, the venue, or the other vendors which happens to be rule no# 2, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Hire a local who knows those secret little spots of a particular venue, where the sunset photos will look best, not to mention that a local will probably be less expensive since you don’t have to pay travel and hotel fees.
This is nothing against any photographers or other vendors who live outside a particular area, and there are some exceptions, but in general, always hire vendors familiar with an area and venue.
That brings me to Rule No# 2.
Always hire a team, not just a vendor. When you hire vendors that have worked together on a regular basis, they know each other’s habits. What they like, how they work, and they respect each other.
Many times, when you hire vendors who work together all the time, they don’t even need to speak. Everybody knows what everyone else is doing and it’s done like clockwork, like a well-oiled machine.
Communication between ALL vendors is crucial. As a DJ & MC, i would never begin the grand introductions unless i knew that the photographer and video crew were ready. I want to make sure that the caterers know i'm doing the grand introduction and spotlight dance and then sending everyone in for dinner. If you have a wedding planner (which i highly recommend) they will do a lot of the communications, but again, all of the vendors must work together, and that happens much easier when all of the vendors know each other and have worked together at other weddings.
How do you know when you have the A team? Now please don’t take this the wrong way BUT don’t be a lazy bride at the beginning. When you book a venue, a planner, a DJ & MC, a florist, a caterer, a photographer, ask each one, “who do you recommend?”. Remember, ask each one before booking anyone. You will start to see a pattern and certain names will continue to be repeated. Those are the vendors you want. It’s important to remember, don’t just listen to one person’s advice or recommendations, you need a consensus of a few suggestions.
Think of this as if you’re in a band and you’re the lead singer. You want to make sure everyone in the band knows their job and knows what they’re doing. If you have the right band, they will make you look like a rock star.
Watch out for those pay for play vendors. A few vendors will only recommend someone if they give them a kickback or what we call “pay for play”. My issue with that is that if someone only recommends someone who pays them, then they may not be offering you the best, only the ones who pay. That’s why I say, ask as many vendors as you can for recommendations and see who’s names keep popping up. Read reviews on Wedding Wire or the Knot before you decide on booking a particular vendor. Don’t ever be pressured to book with someone. Take your time and do your homework, but I always suggest having your vendors in place at least 8 months in advance. This way you can be pretty sure you’ve gotten your first choices and you can sit back and enjoy the build up to your big day.
If you do your homework in the beginning, you can sit back and let the professionals handle everything else. Your wedding day should be stress free, relaxing, and FUN!!!! It will be, as long as you do a little homework at the very beginning.
Happy planning. I’ll be back with some more wedding tips very soon.