I tend to rag on wedding vendors quite a bit. In fact just the other day, I went on a complete rant on Twitter about how, despite multiple attempts to communicate to bakeries that we want cake, (just cake. No special decorations. Not “wedding cake.” Just CAKE), that an estimate still came back to us considerably more than the price listed on the bakery’s website.
Of course, I went off on a tirade about businesses that charge the “wedding premium” and how the wedding industrial complex tries to convince you to spend more money because it’s such a “special day.” Vendors can seem so intolerable sometimes! But, alas, it’s safe to assume that we brides (*gasp!*) can be intolerable too.
1) Don’t ask questions they’ve already provided an answer for. Before you contact a vendor, make sure you visit all the pages on their website for information. You may be able to find answers to a lot of your questions before you even contact them. For instance, some vendors provide interactive calendars of dates they have available. Others even find a price calculator worksheet for their services. Some list their prices and full menu of services, others don’t. So, instead of wasting their time (and yours) asking questions about something for which they’ve already provided an answer, make sure you read through all their materials first!
2) Provide them an estimated timeframe of when you expect to make a decision. When I got engaged, I went full steam ahead contacting venues and caterers for estimates and date availability inquiries. Within a day, I had about 15 e-mails from many of the places I contacted. Well, I appreciated their promptness, but I was in no position to make any sort of decisions within a few days of getting engaged. And, if I didn’t return their e-mail within a week, some would follow up, slightly causing my blood pressure to rise as I realized I left all these businesses hanging and that I should get around to actually reviewing and organizing all the proposals. I wish I had told them in my initial estimate request that “I expect to narrow down our selection and make a decision in the next month and a half.”
3) Tell them right away if they’re not in your budget. I’d recommend the following that you e-mail the wedding vendor back right away if you know there is not a chance that they’d be in your budget. For instance, if their initial estimate was $110 per person, even if you can get it down to $75 per person somehow, would you be able to afford that? Just say, “Thanks for putting together an estimate, but unfortunately that is not within our budget.” That way, they don’t waste their resources following up with you if you don’t respond back to their estimate.
4) Similarly, let them know if you decide to choose another vendor. I’m not a vendor, but I couldn’t imagine there would be any hard feelings, especially if they’re an established business. However, maybe they would contact you and ask for specific reasoning to help their business in the future. Further, this can help avoid some minor annoyances on your end. For example, we interviewed deejays back in May, but have since decided not to have a deejay and iPod our wedding. Just the other day, one of the deejays we interviewed in May called us to follow up. I didn’t call back right away, and when he called again, I was mildly annoyed and wished I had just let him know months ago that we had decided not to have a deejay.
Vendors out there, anything else that would be helpful to you from us brides?