There is a lot of stuff to figure out when planning a wedding–the location, the guest list, the officiant, the wardrobe, the invitations, the food, the flowers, the entertainment, the budget…and it all takes some work.
The most difficult part of the planning process can sometimes be the vendor consultations. Some couples view it as a chance to interview their potential vendor and others may feel like they are auditioning for the vendor! I like to think of it as a mutual interview to see if styles and personalities match.
1. If you have ideas, a color palette, fabric swatches or pictures you’ve “pinned” you should send them before your meeting or bring them along. These may give the best impression of your overall wedding style.
2. Try to communicate your likes as well as your dislikes whenever possible. As a florist it is helpful when a bride tells me that she loves ranunculus, but isn’t crazy for callas.
3. If you don’t have “a grand plan” figured out (which is completely fine, of course!), come prepared with whatever you do know and be open to ideas. If you hear good ideas or see pictures in the consultation that appeal to your sense of style then you may be headed in the right direction! If not, perhaps you should consider whether this vendor has an overall style that suits you.
4. You should feel free to ask questions during the consultation, however you probably don’t want to ask questions just because you found a list on a page in a magazine that tells you to.
If you have a legitimate question or concern about how something works or how to book your date, you should inquire about the who, what, why and how, but if you are sitting face to face with a vendor you don’t want to ask questions that you truly aren’t concerned about just because you are reading them off of a wedding checklist.
5. Try to avoid squeezing in a million and one appointments in one day (or weekend). Pick no more than 3 vendors to meet with in any category if there isn’t one stand-out after viewing websites or getting referrals from vendors you are already working with.
If scheduling multiple consultations in a day allow at least 60-90 minutes per consultation plus travel time between appointments so you won’t be rushed.
6. Aim to arrive on time. Most wedding vendors are happy to meet with you to talk about your wedding and will give you ample time to discuss the details, but consider the professional’s time as valuable as your own.
7. If you are planning from afar or cannot arrange an in-person meeting you can schedule an initial phone consultation as well as exchange images and wedding details via e-mail to relay a sense of the scope of your wedding and determine whether your styles will be a good match.
After the consultation–In most cases a signed contract and deposit will secure your wedding date with a floral designer. Many florists will create a customized proposal with varying degrees of detail and pricing information for your consideration.
Style, personality and budget will drive most of your vendor selections. When you find a qualified vendor you like & trust, book ’em!