Wedding Vendor 101: Common Wedding Vendors and How to Choose the Right Ones

Wedding Planning Portfolio: Ming & Kenoma, Traditional Multi-Cultural Wedding in Hanover, NH

Whether your dream wedding is a simple, backyard event with an intimate guest list, or you’re expecting hundreds of guests and plan to put on the event of the century, planning a wedding often involves multiple people and personalities and therefore, is complicated by default. In order to take your vision of the perfect wedding ceremony and reception and make it a reality, you’ll need some key players to make it happen.

Wedding Ceremony/Reception Venue(s)

One of the first things you’ll need to do is to reserve a venue to hold the ceremony and/or the reception. Some venues are large enough and/or have enough spaces of varying sizes that they can double as a place to hold both the ceremony and the reception. Other places might be too small for your reception, or simply don’t function the way you need them to.

For example, you wouldn’t likely have a wedding reception in a church; you would probably have a separate venue for that. You might rent a hall specifically designed for wedding receptions, or, you might find a unique venue that’s willing to let you hold your ceremony and/or reception there. Many couples choose venues based on their favorite hobbies, favorite places to visit, or simply choose a spot that’s centrally located to where the majority of their guests live.

Alternatively, if you’re planning to have a reception in your backyard, you may choose to have the ceremony in a field with stunning mountain views, or under an arbor at the beach, or under a birch tree on top of a mountain. In this case, your “venue” doesn’t require an actual vendor, but you may need a tent, tables, chairs, linens, dishes, silverware, and other decorations to recreate your own custom venue.

Not sure where you want to say, “I do”? Angela is happy to provide recommendations for venues, upon request!

Wedding Caterer

PHOTO CREDIT: Nystedt Photography

For many engaged couples, the food and drink vendor (or vendors) is the most important part of the event — besides the actual wedding ceremony, of course! No one wants to have their wedding be remembered for the so-so food. It’s important to find a caterer with options to meet your preferences regarding taste and serving style, but you also need a food and beverage vendor that offers plenty of options for appetizers, as well as meal selections for both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

When shopping for caterers, be sure to ask around for recommendations, and do a taste test if possible. You don’t want to be spitting out your food on your wedding day! Also, make sure you find out answers to important questions, like whether they need space to cook food onsite, or if they’ll be bringing the food in hot and ready to go. Will they have people delivering food to individual tables, or will the food be served buffet style? Will there be a dinner salad or bread served with dinner, or is everything served at once?

Finding the right caterer for your wedding based on your needs and preferences can make a huge difference. You definitely don’t want to rush through this part of the process! A wedding planner will typically provide recommendations for food and beverage caterers in your area.

Wedding DJ

Sure, you can make an awesome mix of love songs and hook up your iPhone or set up your Spotify playlist to some powerful speakers and call it a day. However, a DJ adds another level of excitement and enthusiasm to the reception that you don’t quite get with a playlist. Plus, the DJ often coordinates the beginning of traditional wedding receptions where the wedding party is introduced after they’re done taking pictures, as a way of announcing that the party has begun.

When choosing a DJ, remember, there are a lot of DJs out there; they all have different styles, and some have more experience than others. It’s important to talk to a few different DJs to get a feel for their personalities and what to expect before making a final choice. Ask them what’s on their typical wedding playlist, and if they’re willing to customize it to your preferences.

Reading online reviews is always a good idea, and/or you may want to ask the venue where you’re holding your reception for DJ recommendations as well. Just because your best friend is a DJ, they might not be the right DJ for your wedding. It’s a pretty important day, so take the time to make a decision based on what’s best for you and your fiance. You’ll be glad you did.

Wedding Photographer

There are seemingly endless photographers in the world, and many of them are extremely talented. But if you really want to know how a photographer will photograph your wedding, take a look at their website, read reviews, and ask for written and video testimonials. If a photographer’s website doesn’t have many wedding pictures on it, that might not be their specialty.

Don’t you want someone who lives and breathes wedding photography to be capturing the moment she or he is walking down the aisle and sees your face for the first time on your special day? Sure, your sister or cousin might be a new photographer looking for a sweet gig, but take a look and see what’s out there before hiring them to capture some of your most intimate moments. And if you’re having trouble finding a qualified photographer, Angela can help.

And don’t forget to ask a lot of questions about everything from pricing to what type of shots they’ll get, timing details, and what format your photos will be delivered in. You only get one shot to record this day!

Wedding Florist

photo credit: Christina_ Richards Photography

Flowers are one of those things that many people seem to forget about until the end. You can keep flowers simple and DIY, with small table arrangements and a few flower decorations throughout the venue, or you can go all out and hire a florist that will make your reception space look like a botanical garden. It all depends on what your vision for your day looks like.

If your venue has a lot of character and unique decor already built into it, you may decide to go light on the flowers and decorations in general, because you don’t want to take away from that aesthetic. On the other hand, if your wedding reception venue is in a field under a tent, or in a generic event hall, you might want to brighten things up with more flowers to make the room really shine.

At a minimum, you’ll want flowers for bouquets and boutonnieres for the wedding party, for guest table centerpieces, and for any other tables in the reception area, such as tables for gifts, seating cards, guestbooks, appetizers, and more. Ordering, cutting, and arranging flowers for all of these things on your own can be quite overwhelming and time-consuming, so it’s best left to a professional.

Just be sure to hire a florist that understands what your wants and needs are, and especially your budget, or things can get out of control quickly. If you’re working with a wedding planner, they will help you find a florist to match your needs and style, without consuming your entire wedding budget.

Wedding Officiant

Once you’ve got the reception-related vendors locked down, you’ll need to find a wedding officiant — whether it be a religious, civil, professional, or ordained officiant — to perform the ceremony. Some couples choose to have a close friend or loved one perform the ceremony, in which case they’ll need to ensure the officiant holds the proper civil title, is ordained, or is otherwise legally able to do so. Others choose to have a priest, rabbi, or another religious leader marry them.

Whatever your choice may be, it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable having this person officiate your special day. You’ll also want to decide whether you want to hire someone to coordinate the actual ceremony. Sometimes people assume that the wedding officiant is also in charge of making sure everyone is where they need to be in a timely manner for the ceremony; however, this is not typically part of their responsibility. In most cases, you’ll need to hire a wedding coordinator or full wedding planner for help managing the intricate details of your day.

Need help finding a qualified wedding officiant? Angela can help you choose from her vetted list of officiants.

Hire a Wedding Planner

Sometimes, finding the right vendors to make your wedding picture perfect can be the hardest part of all, which is why you should hire a wedding planner first — before you even start looking for a venue or caterer, or any other vendors. When you hire a wedding planner, they can help with choosing great vendors, and ensure they all work well together, so your wedding day goes exactly as planned. If you’d rather leave the details up to someone else and just enjoy a stress-free wedding day, hire Angela Marie Weddings to plan and coordinate your day. Contact us today to get started.

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