Questions to Ask Vendors for your Wedding

Finding vendors to make your special day a fairy tale can be a daunting task. Below are questions to ask each vendor to ensure you don’t forget about anything and get to see answers side by side after the meetings.

Questions to ask all of your vendors:

  1. Do you have my date open?
  2. How long have you been in business?
  3. How many weddings do you do each year?
  4. Can you share recent references and examples of your work?
  5. Do you have liability insurance?
  6. What’s your payment terms and cancellation policy?
  7. What is your backup plan? Do you have a network of back ups?
  8. What are your travel and overtime fees?

Wedding Venue

  1. When were your permits pulled?
  2. What insurance do I need?
  3. What is your cancellation and postponement policy?
  4. What is included in the rental fee?
  5. When can we get in to set up for our wedding?
  6. If you are getting married outside make sure to ask about a rain plan.
  7. Are there any plans to sell or renovate?
  8. Can we have amplified music outdoors and until what time?
  9. What kind of parking is available?
  10. Are there restrooms available or do I need to rent a restroom trailer?
  11. Are there nearby accommodations for overnight guests?
  12. How many people can this location accommodate (and is that all in the same room)?
  13. Is there a discount for booking off season or Sunday through Friday?
  14. Can I hold my ceremony here, too? Is there an additional charge?
  15. If the ceremony site close to the reception site?
  16. Is there a bride’s changing area?
  17. How much time is allocated for the rehearsal?
  18. Is the site handicap accessible? (This should be asked even if you do not have someone that meets that criteria because if someone has an accident and hurts a foot or leg they will need the accommodation)
  19. How long will I have the space for my wedding? Is there an overtime fee if I stay longer?
  20. Is there a minimum or maximum rental time?
  21. Can I move things around and decorate to suit my purposes?
  22. Are there decoration guidelines or restrictions?
  23. Can I use real candles?
  24. What time can my vendors start setting up?
  25. Is it possible to start the setup the day before?
  26. How early can deliveries be made?
  27. Does the venue assist in getting gifts or decor back to a designated car, room, etc after the event has ended?
  28. Do you provide a coat check service?
  29. Is there an outdoor space where my guests can mingle?
  30. Can we use our own caterer or do we have to use yours?
  31. If I hire my own caterer, are kitchen facilities available for them?
  32. What is the food & beverage cost on a per-person basis?
  33. What is the tax and service charge?
  34. Can we do a food tasting prior to finalizing our menu selection?
  35. Can I bring in a cake from an outside cake maker or must I use a cake made on the premises?
  36. Is there a cake-cutting fee? If I use a cake made on site is the fee waived?
  37. Do you provide special cake-cutting utensils?
  38. Can I bring my own wine, beer or champagne, and is there a corkage fee if I do?
  39. Can I bring in other alcohol?
  40. Are you licensed to provide alcohol service? If so, is alcohol priced per person? By consumption?
  41. Are there additional charges for bar staff?
  42.  Is there a bar minimum that must be met before the conclusion of the event?
  43. What is the average bar tab for the number of people attending my event?
  44. Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?
  45. Do you offer on-site coordination?
  46. Can I hire my own vendors (caterer, coordinator, DJ, etc.), or must I select from a preferred vendor list?
  47. Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my event?
  48. And are there additional service charges or other fees such as gratuities or overtime costs?

Florist

  1. Do you have a signature design style?
  2. Will you be doing the arrangements yourself or using another floral designer?
  3. What flowers will be in season for my wedding?
  4. What blooms can you suggest that fit within my budget and colors?
  5. Are there extra fees for containers or other vessels?
  6. Can you provide other decor, such as trees, votives, and what are the additional costs?
  7. Will you work with my cake designer to provide coordinating blooms for my cake? Is there an additional fee for this?
  8. How far in advance are the arrangements/bouquets created? How are they stored?
  9. Do you charge a delivery and/or set-up fee?
  10. Will you pick up any vases after the ceremony, or is that my responsibility?
  11. Have you done events at my ceremony and reception location(s) before? If not, are you familiar with the sites?
  12. Can you work with my budget?
  13. Do you offer specific packages or is everything customized?
  14. Is there a difference in price if I use one type of flower vs. a mixed arrangement or bouquet?
  15. What are the different kinds of wraps (called “collars” in florist-speak) you can do for my bouquet?
  16. What about coordinating boutonnieres, bridesmaid flowers, and centerpieces? Can you suggest anything special to coordinate with the theme/venue/season of my event?
  17. If I give you a picture of a bouquet and/or arrangement that I like, can you recreate it?
  18. Do you have photos or live examples of floral designs in the style I want?
  19. Can you do sketches or mock-ups of the arrangements you’ve described before I sign the contract? If so, is there an additional fee for this?
  20. Can you assist me in the preservation of my bouquet after the wedding? If not, can you recommend someone?
  21. Is there an extra fee if I need you to stay throughout the ceremony to move arrangements to the reception site?
  22. Are there any additional fees that have not already been taken into account?
  23. When can I expect to receive my contract from you?
  24. What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel my order?

Caterer

  1. What foods do you specialize in?
  2. Do you have set menu options or can you create a custom or themed menu?
  3. What would you recommend given my budget, guest count and event theme?
  4. How do you handle tastings?
  5. What is the price difference between a buffet and a sit-down meal?
  6. What is the price difference between passed appetizers and appetizer stations?
  7. How are your fees broken down?
  8. Do you provide linens, utensils, serving table decor, etc.?
  9. Do you provide tables and chairs? What colors and styles do you offer?
  10. Will you be overseeing the meal service at the reception, or do you have an on-site manager to coordinate these things?
  11. Is there a cut-off date for making menu changes?
  12. Are you licensed to serve alcohol?
  13. How much do you charge for vendor meals?
  14. Can leftovers be wrapped for guests or donated?
  15. How will servers be dressed?
  16. Have you done events at my location?
  17. Will I need any permits for my event? If so, will you handle obtaining them?
  18. Do you use all fresh produce, meat, fish, etc.?
  19.  Can you source organic or sustainably farmed ingredients?
  20. Can you accommodate dietary restrictions, such as kosher, vegan, etc.?
  21. Do you offer package upgrades such as chocolate fountains, ice sculptures, cappuccino machines or specialty displays?
  22. How much do you charge for children’s meals?
  23. Do you do wedding cakes? If so, is this included in the per-person meal price or is it extra?
  24. If I decide not to serve cake, can you provide a dessert display instead?
  25. If we use an outside cake designer, do you charge a cake-cutting fee?
  26. What is your policy on cleanup?
  27. Do you provide alcoholic beverages and bartenders? Can you accommodate specialty cocktails?
  28. Can we provide the alcohol and you provide the bar labor?
  29. Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own wine or champagne?
  30. How do you charge for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages? Per consumption or per person? Which is more cost-effective?
  31. Is the champagne toast after the ceremony included in your meal packages or is it extra?
  32. Will your staff serve the wine with dinner?
  33. Is coffee and tea service included with the per-person meal charge? What brands of each do you offer and do they include decaf and herbal tea options?
  34. How much time do you require for setting up and breaking down my event, and are there extra fees for this?
  35. If my event runs longer than contracted, what are your overtime fees?
  36. What is the last date by which I can give you a final guaranteed guest count?
  37. What is your payment policy? Do you accept credit cards?
  38. Are there any fees that won’t be included in the proposal that we should be aware of?
  39. Once we book with you, how quickly can we expect a contract? And if we make changes to menu choices or other items, will you update us with a revised estimate and contract?
  40. What is your refund or cancellation policy?

Cake

  1. What are your specialties and/or top flavors and fillings?
  2. Can you do gluten-free, organic, or vegan cakes?
  3. Can I view examples of cakes you’ve baked and decorated?
  4. Do you work with set designs or can you design a custom cake to match my theme?
  5. Can you outline your pricing fees?
  6. What icing options do you recommend for the cake style I’m looking for?
  7. If I want fresh flowers on my cake will you work with my florist to include blooms that coordinate with my floral decor?
  8. How far in advance is the cake actually made? How is it stored and transported?
  9. Will you preserve the top tier of my wedding cake for my first anniversary?
  10. How will my cake hold up to the elements? (if you are getting married outdoors)
  11. How do you price your cakes? By the slice? Does the cost vary depending on the design and flavors I choose?
  12. What is your minimum per-person cake cost?
  13. What recommendations can you give me to maximize my budget?
  14. Do you have a “menu” of cakes and prices that I can take with me?
  15. What are the fees for delivery and setup of the cake? Do you decorate the cake table, too?
  16. What do you do if the cake gets damaged in transit to or at my reception site?
  17. Do you provide or rent cake toppers, a cake-cutting knife, cake stands, etc.? What are the fees?
  18. How far in advance should I order my cake?
  19. Are there any additional fees that I should be aware of?
  20. What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel my order?
  21. If I don’t have a clear vision of what I would like, can you offer some design ideas based on my theme and budget?
  22. Do you have cake tastings? Is there a charge?
  23. Can you make a groom’s cake? Is this priced the same as my wedding cake?

Photographer

  1. Do you specialize in wedding photography?
  2. How would you describe your photography style?
  3. Can I see a portfolio of your work?
  4. How/when do we go about creating a shot list?
  5. What information do you need from me before the event?
  6. What is your working style on the day of the wedding? And how many shooters will cover the day?
  7. How much time do you need to set-up?
  8. For how ling will you shoot?
  9. Do you have backup equipment on hand?
  10. What is the length of time for delivery of proofs? Will they be viewable online? On a CD?
  11. What is the ordering process?
  12. Can you provide me with a detailed price sheet?
  13. What do packages include?
  14. Do you have a minimum number of hours? Will you stay if my event is running late and what are your overtime fees?
  15. How far in advance do I need to book with you?
  16. What do you think distinguishes your work from that of other photographers?
  17. Can you put together a slideshow of the engagement session (along with other photos the couple provides) and show it during the cocktail hour?
  18. Have you ever worked with my florist? DJ? Coordinator, etc.?
  19. Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding? If not, who will be taking the pictures and can I meet them before my wedding?
  20. If my wedding site is out of your area, do you charge a travel fee and what does that cover?
  21. How will you (and your assistants) be dressed?
  22. Is it okay if other people take photos while you’re taking photos?
  23. Have you ever worked at my wedding site before? If not, do you plan to check it out in advance?
  24. Do you include engagement photos in your packages?
  25. What type of album designs do you offer?
  26.  Do you provide any assistance in creating an album?
  27. Do you provide retouching, color adjustment or other corrective services?
  28. How long after I order my photos/album will I get them?
  29. When will I receive a written contract?
  30. What is your refund/cancellation policy?
  31. Do I feel a connection with this photographer as well as his/her photos? Are our personalities a good match?
  32. Am I comfortable with this person’s work and communication style?
  33. Has this photographer listened well and addressed all my concerns?

Music

  1. What genres can you cover?
  2. Do you have any particular specialties?
  3. Do you have a DVD from a previous wedding you performed at that I can view? Can we see you perform live?
  4. Can my fiance and I give you “do play” and “do not play” lists?
  5. Do you have ideas to encourage more guests to dance?
  6. Do you provide the sound equipment or does it have to be rented elsewhere? Do you have backup equipment should something go wrong?
  7. Do you provide any lighting design?
  8. What kind of space/staging requirements do you have?
  9. Does your pricing include set-up and breakdown? How much time do you need for each?
  10. How many breaks do you need and for how long? Will you play recorded music during breaks?
  11. What will you be wearing? Can I make specific attire requests?
  12. Have you done events at my ceremony and/or reception location before?
  13. What sets you apart from your competition?
  14. How far in advance do I need to secure your services?
  15. What is your pricing? Does this include setup and breakdown between ceremony and reception locations?
  16. How much is the deposit and when is it due? When is the final payment due?
  17. If the event lasts longer than scheduled, what are the overtime charges?
  18. When can I expect to receive my contract from you?
  19. Are there any additional fees that could accrue that I am not taking into account, like travel expenses or charges for special musical requests?
  20. What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel or alter my date?
  21. Can you assist me in choosing the music for my processional, recessional, father-daughter dance, etc.?
  22. How extensive is your music library or song list? What genres can you cover?
  23. If the DJ or one of the band members scheduled for my event is unable to perform for some reason, do you have a backup replacement ready to go?
  24. Does any of your equipment require special electrical outlets that I need to inform my wedding site about?

Planner

  1. What made you want to be a wedding planner?
  2. Describe the most challenging wedding you planned and how you handled the problems that came up.
  3. How would you rate your problem-solving skills?
  4. How would you rate your communication skills?
  5. Are you a certified wedding planner? If so, where did you get certified? What is your educational background?
  6. Are you a member of any wedding association(s)? If so, does your association require you to satisfy yearly education requirements?
  7. How many full-scale weddings have you planned? When was your last one?
  8. How many wedding clients do you take on in a year? How many do you expect to have during the month of our wedding?
  9. Is wedding planning your full-time job? If it’s part-time, what is your other job?
  10. Have you ever worked at the venue we’ve chosen?
  11. If our event is outdoors, what contingency plan would you have for bad weather?
  12. Are we required to book only the vendors you recommend or do we have the freedom to hire someone even if you haven’t worked with them before?
  13. Do you take a commission or discount from any of the vendors you would refer us to?
  14. Will you be present at all of the vendor meetings and will you assist us in reviewing all of the vendor contracts and making sure everything is in order?
  15. Will you invoice us for all the vendor fees or will we need to pay each one of them ourselves?
  16. For the vendors who will be on site the day of our wedding, can I provide you with checks for final payment that you will distribute to them?
  17. If issues arise with the vendors before, during or after our wedding, will you handle them or are we responsible for this?
  18. What kind planning do you offer? Logistical only (i.e. organizational—handling things like the timeline and floor plan) or Design and Logistical (i.e. bringing a client’s vision to life as well as taking care of all the organizational aspects of the wedding)?
  19. Will you handle every aspect of the planning or can we do some things on our own? In other words, what parts of the planning will we be responsible for?
  20. Will you be the person on site the day of our wedding or will it be another planner? How many assistants will you have?
  21. In case of an emergency that prevents you from being at our wedding, who will be the backup planner? What are their qualifications?
  22. What time will you arrive and depart on the day of our wedding?
  23. Will you stay on site after our wedding to make sure everything has been broken down and all vendors have left the location?
  24. Will you provide us with a timeline of the wedding and a floor plan of the wedding venue?
  25. Do you offer different package options or is everything customized based on what we’re looking for?
  26. How many meetings and phone calls are included in our package?
  27. Is the wedding day rehearsal included in your services?
  28. Do any of your packages include planning the rehearsal dinner and/or post-wedding brunch? If not, would you provide that service and what would be the extra cost to include it in our contract?
  29. Do any of your packages include honeymoon planning? If not, would you provide that service and what would be the extra cost to include it in our contract?
  30. Do any of your packages include assistance with finding my wedding dress and wedding party attire? If not, would you provide that service and what would be the extra cost to include it in our contract?
  31. After we give you our budget, will you provide us with a breakdown of how the money is going to be allocated?
  32. As changes are made to our plans, will you update us with a revised estimate and updated contract?
  33. How do you charge for your services? Hourly, percentage of the wedding cost, or flat rate?
  34. Can you provide a detailed list of all the items included in your fee?
  35. Are there any fees that won’t be included in your proposal that we should be aware of?
  36. What is your refund or cancellation policy?
  37. Can you provide us with a portfolio and/or video of weddings you have done?

Invitations

  1. What is your design background?
  2. What types of printing processes do you offer and which do you specialize in? Which do you recommend for my budget and style?
  3. Is your printing done in-house or do you outsource it?
  4. Do you offer custom invitations as well as templated styles? Is there a fee if I want to order a sample of either an existing invitation style or a custom design? If so, how much?
  5. If I choose a custom wedding invitation, what are my options for color, paper type, ink and fonts? What is the word limit for the text?
  6. Can I also order my table numbers, place cards, escort cards, ceremony programs, menus, etc. from you?
  7. Do you offer a package or a discounted price if I order all of the invitation components at the same time?
  8. If I want to include a picture or graphic on my save-the-date card or invitation, can you accommodate that? If so, does the image need to be saved in a specific format? Do you have photo retouching available, and if so, what is the price range? Can your photo specialist also convert color images to black & white or sepia? Is there an additional cost?
  9. Are there any new styles, trends and color combinations I might consider? Which are the most popular? What kinds of handmade or artisanal paper do you offer?
  10. Can my invitations be printed on recycled paper and/or with soy-based ink?
  11. Based on the paper I select and the number of pieces involved, what would it cost to mail my wedding invitation?
  12. Once I place my order, how long will it take to have the completed invitations delivered? Do you have rush-order available and what are the extra fees? If you are ordering from an online company, ask: What are the shipping methods available to me, and their respective costs?
  13. If the invitation involves multiple pieces, can you assemble them? If so, is there an additional fee? How will the assembly affect my delivery date?
  14. Do you offer an invitation addressing service? If so, what is the charge for this? What lettering style options are available? Will the lettering push back my delivery date?
  15. I will have an opportunity to sign off on my invitation proof before you send my order to print, right?
  16. Once I’ve signed off on the proof, I expect the printed invitations to match the approved sample. If they don’t (i.e. an error was made after I signed off on the proof), will my invitations be corrected and reprinted at no additional cost? How much additional time will it take to redo my order if there is a problem with it?
  17. What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel my order?
  18. When can I expect to receive my contract from you?

 

 

 

 

 

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