As a wedding vendor myself, I run into other vendors of all sorts. Some are incredible. Some not so much. Price sometimes has something to do with the professionalism and ability, but sometimes has nothing to do with it.
Weddings are special days, and vendors have a direct impact on whether or not the day is successful. My job as a planner and coordinator is to keep the wedding running as seamlessly as possible, regardless of the professionalism and capabilities of the vendors that have been hired by the couple, and I often find myself stepping in to take over some of their roles and responsibilities to save the day. When working with couples to plan their days, I can do the research required to find quality vendors. When coordinating a wedding couple has already planned, I need to manage vendors who have already been selected.
One such instance was with a wedding band I recently encountered... I'll call them Band A. While I am protecting the name of the band (rightfully so or not!), the story is true.
Band A started out on the wrong foot. They had ignored the details sent to them about the location of the event and ended up lost. I had to find them and lead them to the venue in my car. Instead of loading into the loading dock, they took it upon themselves to load in through an unapproved entrance because they didn't want to wait for another vendor to finish unloading. They were promptly escorted away by security.
Unbeknownst to me, the band started drinking from the bar before the guests had even entered the dinner reception. After discovering this, I asked the band to stop drinking. I later found out they went back to their car to get flasks of their own, to continue the party! By the time we were ready to introduce the wedding party into the reception, we began to sense that Band A was a little ‘off’. The band proceeded to inform me that they had NOT brought the list of the bride and groom or the bridal party, so I had to get them another copy. They had also not printed the timeline or the list of preferred songs. Fortunately we had back-up copies for the vendors (in case of emergencies!). After requesting three or four times for announcements to be made, I had to step in and start making them myself to keep the wedding on track.
The rest of the night was rough, but we made it through with constant check-ins, prompting and watchfulness of the band.
The story isn't intended to scare you... but instead just to give me the opportunity to remind you to:
- Go with preferred vendors and vendors used by friends and family in the past, whenever possible.
- When using an unfamiliar vendor, check review sites, such as Yelp and Google, and read the good and bad reviews. Request reviews by at least two couples who have used the vendor in the past.
- Get ALL expectations of the vendors put in writing in the contract. If drinking at the wedding isn't okay (and I strongly believe it NEVER is by a vendor), make sure the vendor agrees to it.
A little bit of homework on each vendor can go a long way to saving you from a bad experience on your wedding day. And when in doubt, always ask your planner, coordinator and venue for good recommendations. They will have worked with dozens, if not hundreds, and will know the great ones from the not so great ones.