How to: Pick Your Event Vendors

Picking your vendors is definitively one of the more challenging parts of planning your event. Some vendors may be more obvious to you- like picking that barn venue you have had your eye on for years- but others can be a little more complex when it seems they are all offering the same thing, or when you just aren’t quite sure what you want yet.

I will be the first to admit that this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the things you should do before you hire your vendors-there are about a million questions you should be asking each and every one of them before you sign any papers (blog post to come 😉). However, if you are looking for a starting point of how to narrow down the sea of vendors available to you, this list should help.

Budget

This is probably obvious, but find out pricing of vendors before falling in love with their work when you can. If you love the vendor and they are on or below budget, continue on with the rest of these considerations, but also keep in mind that your budget allocations should be somewhat flexible. This doesn’t mean your overall budget needs to go up, but if you have your heart set on a venue that is more than you allocated to that expense, as long as you are okay with cutting back in another area, you don’t have to completely rule the dream venue out.

Location

The ease of which you can hire vendors near your event location depends a lot on where you decide to host the event. Just keep in mind that if a vendor does not typically service events in your area, there may be costs associated with them travelling to the event location. This is not always the case, but when possible it is usually best to hire vendors within the area. This will also help things run more smoothly on the day of, as they will likely be familiar with the venue or the area you are hosting the event in.

Personality

This is a pretty important one. You may not be overly concerned with the personality of your vendors, but when you are trying to enjoy a special day, there is nothing you want less than nitpicky vendors, or people that just don’t jive with your vision or personality. Make sure that you meet with your vendors in person (or at the very least over the phone) before you hire them so you can be sure they are someone you know you will communicate and get along well with.

Style

Most vendors have a specific style of the services that they offer. For example, venues can vary in style from a rustic barn venue to a sleek modern hotel venue and pretty much anywhere in between. This is the same for every type of vendor- photographers can have edgy or airy styles, caterers may serve formal plated dinners or barbeque style truck food, and so on. Hiring vendors that specialize in the style you want captured on your event date is key to ensuring your day looks the way you envisioned. Though it is sometimes possible to transform an event space or ask a vendor to do something in a specific style, it tends to be best to choose vendors that are experts in the style you are looking for, so that you know they get your vision and are able to capture it.

Reviews/References

Reviews and references can be super helpful for ease of mind, and to get to know a bit of behind the scenes of how a vendor works and communicates throughout the planning process. If you can get a phone number of a previous client from a vendor, that is perfect so you can ask them any questions you have about their side of working with the vendor. Another good reference is to look at the vendor’s social media profiles to see if they fit your vision (tagged photos are great to see the unstaged photos of real events). Sometimes vendors are just starting out and don’t have much experience to share with you. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you will just want to be sure that you align with the vendor’s personality and the services they are offering you.

Please, Get Contracts

Get everything in writing, read the fine print, and make sure that you ask questions if you aren’t sure about something. You will be paying these vendors for their services and you want to make sure that you are getting all the services you need, and that you know what it will be costing you.

It can be overwhelming seeing how many vendors are available to you. This list should help you narrow your choices down so that you can meet with vendors and begin putting together your dream day.

How To: Registry Tips

For some people, thinking of things they need or want for their new venture comes pretty easily, and that is great! However, a lot of people have a hard time asking for gifts, or just don’t know where to begin, especially if they already have a lot of what they need. Loved ones really enjoy spoiling you during special times in your life, but it is also important that they know what kinds of things you need or want so their gifts will be put to good use. Here are some tips on how to make a great registry so the gift giving and receiving process is seamless:

1. Do it early

You want to be sure that your registry is ready early enough for people that want to give you a shower gift or that like to get their shopping done early.

2. Have a variety for EVERYTHING

A great registry has options for every single person invited to your event. This means you have to diversify your gift wants and needs to cover a wide scope of options. You want to include:

Various price points- Anywhere from $5 to $150 is a good ball park range. This way people can choose to bundle a few things if they want more than one item or people who want to spend a bit more have options they know you want to receive.

Various stores-Have a variety of stores so you know there is at least one store each person will have access to.

Various buying options- Have options for both in store and online purchasing. This doesn’t mean you have to have an in store registry somewhere, but having options on your registry that can be purchased through a link as well as ones that can be purchased in store is a good idea.

Various gift types: Your registry doesn’t have to be all physical gifts, though obviously those are a key part. Believe it or not, some people actually want to give you cash, so having an option on your registry to give cash towards a specific fund like a honeymoon fund helps them know where that cash is going. Another option is to register for vouchers or gift cards for experiences, such as getting a couples massage or going to dinner together.

3. Over-register

It is a much better idea to register for too many gifts so that people have options than to register for too few and have the registry run out of items before everyone has purchased their gift.

4. Find a registry checklist so you don’t miss anything

Especially if you will be moving into a new home or this is your first babe, having a list to reference is a good idea so you don’t miss any of the small details (think box cutters for your home or pacifiers for your new babe)

5. Think of getting upgrades or extras

If you are struggling with ideas because you already have everything, think of registering for upgrades that you may not have purchased yourself, or extras of things you know you will consistently need (think diapers in growing sizes or cleaning supplies).

6. Add an address

Often times people don’t want to have to bring their gift to the event, or people want you to have it as soon as possible, especially if it is something they know you could also use before your event date. Adding an address (or a ship to home option with a hidden address) lets the gifts come straight to you, and you can choose whether you want to open them right away. This will also take the stress out of loading so many gifts up to bring home after your event.

7. Keep track of all gifts

Have a handy spreadsheet to keep track of every gift you get, who it is from, and when you sent the thank you note. This will ensure that nobody’s gift gets forgotten once you open it up and put it to use in your home, so that you can reference exactly what each guest purchased for you in their thank you card.

This list should give you a good starting place for building a useful registry. Enjoy your gift choosing!