Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How Many Meetings?

Happy Tuesday!  Strange things are happening this week.  Leaves are turning yellow, I'm wearing a sweater, and my flower garden that used to be bright and cheery is dying away on me.  Inquiries are coming in for next year, my schedule is filling with consultations instead of weddings, and I feel like I'm catching my breath a bit.

As consultation season begins (for me, anyway), I've had some questions about how many vendors couples should interview before making a decision.  I've been in meetings with brides that booked on the spot (and I was their first meeting), and I've been in meetings where the couple lets me know that they've booked consultations with every planner they can find.  Both approaches seem to work, and I do think that couples should keep going for consultations until they find someone they click with.  However, before starting to look for vendors, here's a few things to keep in mind to save you time and frustration:

1.  Do some research ahead of time.  Look at websites, ask friends for recommendations, send an initial email with any questions you have and make a shortlist of vendors to meet with.  Look for vendors who have good recommendations, get back to emails in reasonable time and answer your questions, and seem like someone that would match your personality and goals for your wedding.  Researching ahead of time will save you meeting time, and time is valuable when planning a wedding.

2.  Ask for starting prices before the consultation.  This ensures that there will be no big surprises.  If a vendor is priced out of your budget, don't assume you can talk them down in price - a cut in price almost always means a cut in services offered.

3.  Once you've made a short-list of a few vendors, go for meetings.  Ask questions (write down questions ahead of time if you want to), try to get to know the vendor, and see if you click.  Remember that some vendors, like planners, photographers, videographers, etc. will be with you throughout your wedding day, and compatibility is very important.

If you go through your shortlist and don't find the right fit, that's when it's a good idea to broaden your list and go for more consultations.  Apply the same principle to vendors as you did with your wedding dress and groom - "when you know, you know!"

Any other consultation tips?

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