We asked 20 Brides & Grooms from US & Canada “How do you find, narrow down or ultimately decide on your perfect vendor?”
Here are their must-have tips? Are there any differences in Canada vs US?
Canadian Brides & Grooms:
“I get an overall understanding of the way they do their craft through photos and videos. Then, I check verified reviews, even the occasional negative one, and to see if they replied and how they do business.” – Sarah Campbell from Toronto, ON
“I start with gathering quotes, it saves me tons of time with posting requests. I’m hoping for a wide variety of quotes. It shows me the scope of what each vendor can do (I want more than 3, less than 10). I tend to ignore vendors that just copy-and-paste quotes or just tell me to check them out.” –Diana Hunt from Calgary, AB
“I always check their profiles to see how informative it is. Not only do I want someone who’s experienced and at least have done 10+ weddings but more importantly, someone who made the effort!” –Nancy from Vancouver, BC
“I definitely compare based on price estimate and what they can include. Everyone wants value! I’m not saying I’ll pick the cheapest, but I want the most value. In the end, I want to feel good about paying and get this emotional feeling that I got a “good deal”. It also shows the person’s flexibility too, someone who’s willing to negotiate a bit or include a bit more is usually better to work with in the end.” –Amy Pearson, planning a Vancouver Wedding
“I look for a person who pays attention to details. If they don’t reply timely or send a detailed quote listening to what I wrote then I’ll pass. I don’t want the frustration to chase after a vendor who doesn’t listen well and just keep sending me the same-ish message as everyone else. Also, do their photos tell a good story? Not just a display of photos but I want good story-teller who will customize for my wedding.” –Loene & Van, BC Couple
“We’ve been really frustrated with searching for venues. Most venues just send generic emails & PDF and ask us to visit. We don’t have time to visit everyone or to read the brochures to figure it all out. If there is a great venue team that actually provide good communication and service, it really stands out and gives us confidence that they are also capable of taking care of our wedding. Online conversations give you a glimpse of what it would be like.” –Danna & May from Barrie, ON
“I’m a visual person so photos are really important to me. I want to see as much of what they have done in the past as possible. I would like to see their entire photo gallery, including some less than perfect or raw shots, to know their style and how their editing process improves their work. I look at reviews a lot. I want to see how others have found the vendor to be. If a vendor has a less than perfect record, I want to know how they tried to make up for the issue that arose. Doesn’t deter me if someone has bad reviews, I’ll just check how they have handled it. In fact no bad reviews can be scary as it might not even be real.” –Kristine A. from Lower Mainland, planning a Whistler Wedding
“I only pay attention to the vendors who are transparent and show prices so it’s straight to the point. It’s not that I only care about prices or that I choose base on budget, I just want to tell first off I can afford that vendor before even wasting their or my time.” –Labrecque V
“I’m at the stage of comparing quotes now from my requests to get a feel for what they can do. I choose vendors based on best reviews first, if you have no review, it’s a non-starter. Then, best price (which doesn’t mean lowest, sometimes lowest includes the least) then finally – best quality overall at the end.” –SJ Parkin from Ottawa, ON
“I Google and Pinterest first to get visual ideas but then I’m on Weddingful when I get serious, comparing names, checking reviews and pricing. Sometimes you’ll come across an outstanding person, and I have stretched my initial budget for a nice splurge. Reviews are useful to make sure they are reliable, did they do a good job, are they worth the money? The most useful thing about Weddingful is a complete break down of everything. I want to compare everything before booking someone.” –Paulina & Picard M, planning a Vancouver Wedding
US Brides & Grooms
Now, let’s hear from our US couples, what do you guys think?
“When I research vendors, I look for at least 5 reviews. I need to know if the vendor is providing the level of service I’m paying for, no point wasting time on vendors who have 0 or 1 review only. I also really appreciate clear prices and what’s included in the package, just show me this vendor is upfront and do their homework. I only plan my wedding with my spare time so I want to pick up the phone at the very end when I pretty much know who I want already.” –Sheena Schwab from Chicago, IL
“Once I have a few vendors I like based on photos and style, then I check rates of how much everything costs. I really don’t know how much anything should cost so I tend to put what I think it should be, which apparently is low and might seem like an obscure budget at first. Weddingful makes budgeting and searching far easier and I have adjusted budget after learning the last few months. Many times, if there is no rate listed, I will not even notice as my eyes only focus on the information I’m looking for. Honestly the next person has the info/prices anyways which is where my eyes will go.” –Cheryl from Boston, MA
“I look for people that have a mixture of bad and good reviews. Sometimes only good reviews and everything is 5 stars look too good to be true. I also skip people who give generic price range like $1 to $10000 or doesn’t list any packages. “I can do whatever you want me to do” just scares me. You don’t know? I thought you are the expert!” –K Velez, planning a New York wedding
“I try to avoid places that have really strict rules like “You must contact us through this way…” or “You must fill out these 80 questions then we can give you an actual quote.” Just seems inflexible or maybe they have an ego. No one wants to jump through hoops just to find out how to pay, it’s our wedding day! I’m about to pay you a few thousand dollars, you can at least offer me some service.”- Flora C. from Cambridge in MA
“Ultimately, I chose my vendors based upon how well our personalities meshed. I of course loved what they had to offer, but the personal service and how comfortable I felt with a vendor is what sells me at the end of the day. Online messaging or these online quotes give me a wide variety of information such as response time, how they write me. It’s definitely a much quicker way to tell which personalities would mesh with me!” –Laura D & Chad S. from Chicago, IL
“Price is obviously a large factor, who wants to pay more and find out later there was a better deal. But I also weigh how many of my wants/needs they are providing, reliability, and quality of service. I will pay a bit more for something that is meeting more of my other needs and appears to be more reliable (timely responses etc) You also don’t want to pay the cheapest person and have them run off with your money.” –Brianna K & John planning a Chicago wedding
“Reviews, pictures, prices etc all have to come together in order to be my winning vendor. If the pictures look good, the reviews are more than 4 out of 5 stars, and within my budget then, I am a happy camper. You definitely have times where it becomes difficult and you have to decide if it’s better to go with one vendor who has these amazing reviews but is out of your price range or lessen my expectations so I can stay within it. I think every couple set their budget too low because no one is ever surprised by how cheap their wedding is. The key is learning and knowing that a budget can change as you plan, if you go over in one area no worries, just know you can take budget away from another aspect.” –Kepicco48 planning a Boston wedding.
“We will meet with all potentials and choose the one that we “connected” with and fits what we want the best. We get quotes first to form our list of potentials, sometimes that’s enough and we are done. Other times, we didn’t see what we want, then we have to fill in with more research on the list or adjust our request. At first, we were too hopeful on our first requests and got quotes a certain way and we actually realized that’s not what we wanted. It’s a good learning experience, now we know what to ask for.”-Brandon & Shannon planning a Destination wedding from Massachusetts
“We first determine a “hit list”, for example we want this certain style of photo, at least 4 star reviews and pricing around $3000, then we scour the list, which can be too long, I wish there’s a way to shorten that even more. That research used to take a full month and we even forget who is who by the end of it. Now it takes about a week receiving quotes with the request, just punching in our hit list and see what we get. At the end though, we still check each profile as we still need them to fit our “hit list”. Wish us luck!” –Mike & Venda S. from New York, NY
“Shopping for vendors is like shopping for a computer, there are SO MANY aspects to consider. We try to skip ahead by personal recommendations from friends but you still can’t avoid doing your own research. So we just try to cut down on time and get a quick glance on “features” like how many reviews, how many packages and what you will include. We have an excel sheet to write it all down. If you have all the “features” we want: price range check, photo style check, reviews check, then we start going with gut-feel and connections. Yeah there are too many profiles already so we just skip any that has no info – basically you have no features we can check off!” –Mitchell & Jess Boyd from Chicago
Planning your wedding? Learn from these insider tips and find your perfect vendor here.
Are you a vendor? Try using their tips to get your name out there with your online profile.