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  • Writer's pictureGennie

Your Expert Guide to Choosing Wedding Vendors

After all the time you’ve spent securing the venue that’s perfect for you and your partner, you may already be feeling overwhelmed with wedding decisions and selecting vendors. Or, maybe you’ve been following potential photographers, hair and makeup artists, and florists for months, and now you can’t wait to start booking. No matter how you’re feeling about the process,  taking into consideration some of our insider tips will help you book your wedding vendors with confidence. While setting a budget and finding the perfect look are crucial, there's so much more to consider to ensure your wedding day goes off without a hitch. Keep reading to see what a team of Bay Area wedding planners keep in mind when navigating the vendor selection process.

cake by Palette Cakes & photo by Giovana

Our first step is always to confirm a vendor’s availability. It can be so easy to get excited and fall in love with a vendor after stalking their Instagram, but unfortunately it doesn’t matter how great of a fit they are if they’re not available for your date. To avoid this heartbreak, check for availability right away. After you’ve confirmed, do your best to make a swift decision. The only heartbreak worse than an unavailable vendor is a vendor who was available and then became unavailable in the interim.

As part of that decision making process, setting up an intro call with key vendors will help you make that swift decision with confidence. While discussing prices and packages is important, equally crucial is determining if there’s a personality fit. Finding vendors who pass the vibe check will ensure you aren’t spending the most important day of your life with a photographer whose presence feels intrusive or a DJ who doesn’t share your love of Taylor Swift. Feeling comfortable around your vendors is essential for creating a relaxed atmosphere, both in the planning process and on the big day. Think about how much better your candid photos are going to be if you actually can’t stop laughing at your photographer's jokes, or how much easier you will rest knowing your DJ is going to play Love Story (Taylor’s Version)! 

menus by Nancy Huang by Design & photo by A Better Match Studios

One invaluable resource in your vendor search is the venue's (or wedding planner’s😉) preferred vendor list. These vendors are pre-vetted and have a proven track record of excellence. It’s like having a seal of approval directly from the source. Planners and venues only add vendors they love working with, so chances are high that you’ll love them too. If you don’t have access to a preferred vendors list, don’t forget about reading reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, or Zola. This step can be overlooked, but has so much payoff for not that much work. The experiences of past clients, both positive and negative, will provide valuable insights. I like to check out the one-two star reviews and if I sense there’s a pattern or the behavior hasn’t been corrected, I’m on to the next. 

When searching for the right look, don’t settle for a cursory glance at a vendor’s portfolio or Instagram account. Request full galleries of their work from photographers, videographers, and hair & makeup artists. This comprehensive view of their style and capabilities ensures they're the perfect fit for your wedding day. You may like one or two photos from a photographer, but when photographers are taking thousands of photos in a season it’s best to make sure you like more than just a couple. Bonus tip: respect your vendor’s style. They’ve worked hard to curate their brand, so find someone whose aesthetic already matches yours instead of asking them to change their work to fit your vision.

Time for the most exciting tip: reviewing ✨contracts✨. While it may not be anyone’s favorite part of the process, a thorough review of a contract can save you a world of headaches later. Look for details such as cancellation policies, payment schedules, and what’s included in their services. A meticulous contract will outline expectations and responsibilities, reducing the risk of misunderstandings. If something isn’t clear, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Professional vendors will be happy to clarify any ambiguities to make sure both parties are on the same page. 

bar signs by designs by oso & photo by Michelle Nguyen Photography

When evaluating a vendor, consider the entire experience before making a decision. Is the vendor easy to communicate with? Are they detail-oriented and organized? Do they respond promptly and professionally to your emails? These aspects are crucial because poor communication rarely improves after booking. Responsiveness and clear communication are indicators of the level of service you can expect on your wedding day. Be out the lookout for red flags, if a vendor pressures you to make a quick decision or is unwilling to answer your questions thoroughly, it might be best to look elsewhere. Trust your instincts; if something feels off, it probably is.

Choosing wedding vendors may feel overwhelming, but with these insider tips, you’ll be well-equipped to assemble your dream team. The right vendors will not only execute your vision but also enhance your wedding day with their expertise and professionalism. Ready to get started? Reach out to us at (, and let’s make your wedding dreams a reality!

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