By Katie Ellis
Team for the shoot:
Hair and Makeup: Jaclyn Lamoreaux,
It seems that anyone who owns a digital camera these days thinks they are a professional photographer—your friend’s friend, fiancé’s cousin once removed, even granny says she has a steady hand and can snap you a few of your wedding photos at no charge.
It may hurt dear old granny to question her abilities, but it’s important to be leery of vendors and offers that seem too nice for the price. Just as granny taught you as a young girl, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
No matter if you are choosing your photographer, wedding planner, reception band, cake designer, florist, or any other vendor, do your research first. The proper research will prevent you from seeking vendor vindication following your nuptials.
With the boom of blogs and classified Internet sites, anyone can pose as a professional offering you one or two pictures of their Martha Stewart style-inspired 3-tiered cake—a virtual fondant fantasy adorned with sprigs of sugar freesia in lavender, periwinkle, and white. For all you know, they could have copied and pasted the image straight from the domestic diva’s site and claimed it as their own.
Then there are those stay-at-home moms, so prevalent in Utah, who are trying to earn an extra buck. Who can blame them? The problem is when they take one photography class at the community college or just claim to “have the eye” and now they’re “self-proclaimed” photography professionals. They have the blog, they enjoy taking photos, their price is right, and you’ve even seen some of their work. They may look and act the part, but may produce minimally.
The key to choosing a vendor who will add that essential ingredient to your most memorable day is to check out their website, and ask for referrals from other vendors and clients.
It may be risky going with a florist that creates the most exquisite bouquets on a budget when they don’t have a shop. The lack of traceability or contracts could lead to a no-show on your wedding day, unless you use a private florist who is reputable and recommended to you by someone who was happy with their service.
Private or not, you want a florist with access to delivery trucks and has the experience with setup of wedding flowers at receptions. If she promises you pink peonies in September, know that they will either be extremely wilted or come with a steep price after their overnight flight. Experienced florists should know which flowers will be in season for your wedding.
With a photographer, look at their portfolio and make sure it’s stocked with photos of several weddings. An engagement photo of one couple here, another couple cutting into their cake and one studio bridal shot is not going to give you the complete picture.
Not only do you need to see several weddings in the portfolio, but you also need to see the individual weddings from A to Z—from the Arrival of the bride and groom at the wedding ceremony to the getaway in the whipped cream-adorned vehicle for the honeymoon in Zion National Park.
In addition, make sure the vendor has proper business licensing, insurance, and credentials. Questions will vary depending on the type of vendor, but don’t be afraid to ask them how long they have been in business, is this there second job or what they do full time, the amount they require for a deposit, their cancellation policy, and even how many weddings they have worked in the past year. There’s no reason that they should gain their experience at your expense.
Most importantly, trust your gut—isn’t that how you decided to get married in the first place?
You can even ask yourself some of the same questions in finding the right vendor as you did your fiancé. Does he seem really interested in my desires and vision of what I want? Will we have an easy time communicating to one another? Is he accessible? Is he kind and professional? How does his last name sound with my first name? Okay, so maybe not all of the questions are interchangeable, but the satisfaction of knowing you made the right choice for years to come is invaluable!