Most of the times we start our sales “talk” with few very simple questions such as: Who’s your florist? Cake? Venue? We’re getting back answers ranging from “Oh!…those people…they are absolutely fabulous” to “…not a clue…haven’t booked/decided yet“. Well, if you’re not even remotely connected to the wedding industry, the “inconvenient” truth lies elsewhere. The actual answer is: strangers. Yep, if you think a bit about it, your florist, DJ, caterer, photographer and so on they are just people you don’t know. Strangers.
Here you are, planning a very important event of your life, yet you have to allow these strangers handle some essential parts of your day. This might be a bit of a “news flash” to some, however even the most stubbornly controlling bridezillias out there eventually have to relinquish control of that day, at least partially. Simply put, one cannot possibly coordinate the whole event AND get married at the same time. If you think I’m wrong then imagine standing at the altar while decorating your hall, cooking the entrees, setting up and checking A/V/lighting equipment and so on… not exactly realistic…
Essentially every one of the vendors you’re thinking of hiring will have to provide, pull through and help move along the event smoothly, with no hand holding from your part, this being the only way you will ever enjoy this day along your bridal party, parents, relatives and all the friends you invited.
Soon it will be pretty apparent whoever gets the final nod has to be knowledgeable, reliable and friendly, in other words you have to hire people you like and in doing that your own personal comfort is really what you’re looking after. For a lack of a better metaphor, a good wedding vendor is like a good pair of shoes. They are stylish and well made yet comfy so you can wear them the whole day without ever feeling bored, bothered or tired…
Comfort however is also tightly associated with one’s budget and when you throw money into the equation things get a little more complicated. Over the last decade or so, the constant influx of cheap imported goods and discount outlet type commerce have severely blurred the distinction between price and value to the point where most people think they are the same thing.
“I don’t have time now. Can I just have your price list ?”
“I only have maybe x-amount dollars to spend on this. What kind of services are available around this price ?”
Essentially both questions point to the same spot but coming from opposite directions. Price vs Value. Simple if you think about it. Anyway… before this goes unreasonably long and boring let’s bring it all in one general “law”. Your vendor could be :
Here is the rule: one can have any 3 of the above simultaneously but not all 4. So if your decision has a strong price bias, ask yourself which of the first 3 you’d rather NOT have? Is it one so your vendor does not know very well what he’s doing? Two, so the vendor might not show up, embarrass you or otherwise fail to deliver fully what was agreed upon? Or three, unfriendly, difficult to work with, arrogant SOBs? Of all the headaches one might have on this day, the ones brought about by the vendors are among the worst.
Granted, there are people out there who will give you all 4 (alas they are the exception) but booking them might prove tricky (couple of years in advance maybe). In the end however, even those people figure out at some point they rather work less for the same amount of money (would you blame them for that?).
Anyway, if you coldly judge all the facts, in the battle pitching your budget against your peace of mind there’s no winner really. It has to be a close draw…
Only three ways out of this seemingly circular argument:
1. Break this vicious circle by getting a feel for each vendor you’re talking to (that implies of course a few minutes of your time). Ask for trial/ try-outs. Do they offer real value? Do they listen to you? Would you feel comfortable working with them? If no, NEXT! If yes sit down and see what they could do for you within your budget. You might end up spending a bit more but save for acts of God, personal injury or illness, those people you just hired would not disappoint come wedding day. And even in those extreme cases a good vendor will have contractual provisions if not for backup at least for a full refund.
2. Skew the judgment on the price side. Pick what is absolutely essential for your day from everything else and allocate the funds accordingly. Might end up with a few duds on the “everything else” pile but this is a risk you’re taking knowingly so it will hurt less.
3. Not really advisable !!! It’s the opposite of #2… You could throw money at all the issues without having a real sense on how it will help the situation (for some reason this sounds oddly familiar…). Simply get the “best” of everything. You could still end up with some questionable characters on your vendor list… you know what I mean. Like the melting of the polar ice caps, the risk of headaches and (why not) lawsuits looms large and gloomy. Again not a good idea unless you actually got bailout money…
4. Yep there’s a secret fourth. Elope! Forget all elaborate setups, planning and all that. In the end, starting your new life next to your partner is the most important thing.
This last option was taken by two of my latest potential clients within days of walking the Canada Wedding Expo floor… off to Vegas to get hitched by Elvis ! Just be advised the saying ” What goes in Vegas, stays in Vegas” applies rather poorly to marriages…
Coming up, stuff that’s more photography centric. Also from a vendor point of view…