Bride and groom sharing a special moment at the wedding leaning with their heads close together before their wedding dance

10 BIG Tips for Hiring (Great) Wedding Vendors

Hiring wedding vendors for your wedding reception is a multi-step process that can turn into a maze—but it doesn’t have to! These tips get you the best wedding vendors that make you feel lucky to have the “one(s).”

Wedding Vendors to Hire for the Reception

Once you’ve talked with your fiancé about the style, budget, and guest list, it’s time to start checking items off your wedding planning checklist. The wedding venue is the logical first step, especially because it is the foundation of every wedding detail. Your wedding venue sets the backdrop for your big day, while the wedding vendors provide the “frontline” services that guests notice: the food, wedding reception entertainment, and décor. As such, you should look at hiring:

  • Wedding caterer
  • Wedding music (band or DJ) and entertainment (i.e. lighting, photo booths, etc.)
  • Photographer and/or videographer
  • Florist

When to hire…

Wedding Vendor Months Before Wedding
Caterer 14-18 months
Wedding DJ 14-18 months
Videographer 9-12 months
Photographer 9-12 months
Florist 6-9 months

Tips for Hiring Wedding Reception Vendors

When hiring wedding vendors…

  • Watch for red flags that signal the vendor is an amateur or unscrupulous, such as if they ask for payment in full up front or won’t return your calls or messages.
  • Be cautious about hiring wedding vendors that don’t have a location to meet with you.
  • Research wedding vendors on review sites and social media to ensure that they are trust-worthy and have satisfied other couples.
  • Have a list of questions for every wedding vendor, such as about their availability, if they carry insurance, and any additional fees (i.e. overtime costs, travel fees, etc.)
  • Don’t forget to ask about every wedding vendor’s cancellation policy!
  • Ask wedding vendors if they have a contingency plan in case of emergencies (such as the wedding DJ in case a DJ gets sick or equipment breaks down).
  • Make sure you have a full list of fees and costs before signing a contract.
  • Always read through all the fine print in the contract before signing on the dotted line.
  • Be wary of DJs that don’t ask about songs you want played and not played (tips for crafting an awesome wedding playlist are here).
  • To save time, look for wedding reception vendors that offer more than one service, such as a caterer that offers equipment rentals or a wedding DJ that offers lighting.

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