Vendors, including florists, transportation companies, musicians, and dressmakers are essential to a successful wedding. Competent wedding vendors will remove much of the worry and work from a couple’s shoulders. But not every couple ends up with top-notch wedding vendors.

Research, planning and verifying references are some ways to ensure your vendors make your wedding day that much more enjoyable.

* Seek recommendations from trusted friends and family members. Talk to friends and family members whose insight you value about which wedding vendors they used. If you attend a wedding or another party and find the flowers or the music particularly well done, ask for the name of the florist or band. Word-of-mouth advertisement is a great way to find quality wedding vendors who will help make your dream wedding a reality.

* Consult with a wedding planner. If budget allows, work with a wedding planner. He or she will have an extensive list of wedding vendors you can contact. A wedding planner wants the job to get done right and efficiently, and many wedding planners have already vetted and verified certain vendors as quality workers.

* Always ask for references and don’t ignore them. Busy wedding vendors should provide you with a list of names of satisfied customers. Talk with couples who used the vendors’ services in the past and ask the questions that are most important to your decision-making process. Unbiased feedback also may be available through online review sites, but direct contact with references may make you feel more comfortable. If a vendor fails to provide references, this should raise suspicions about the person’s reliability.

* Deposits should be a fraction of the total price. Avoid wedding vendors who insist on hefty deposits. A deposit is a good-faith agreement to hold the date of the wedding, and it should be a small percentage of the overall cost of the services.


* Do not pay balances too far in advance. Many wedding vendors require the balance be paid on the day of the wedding or shortly before. Good vendors realize couples will not want to pay the tally until they have received the products or services they signed up for.

A photographer may ask for the final payment when albums are delivered. The exception may be a caterer or reception site that needs the funds to order food and beverages a few weeks in advance. Paying off a vendor too early means you run the risk of that vendor having your money and then not coming through on the wedding day. It’s difficult to track down a person for a refund, plus you’re left with finding a replacement at the last minute.

* Contracts are your friends. Every agreement should be in writing. You have a better chance of fighting for a refund or restitution in court when you have a contract in writing.

* Consider wedding insurance. Even the best-laid plans can go awry on a wedding day. Anything from freak weather events to illness to vendor absences can wreak havoc. The Better Business Bureau advises purchasing wedding insurance to protect yourself when weddings are especially costly. Such insurance may cover vendors who fail to show up, cancellations, inclement weather, military deployment, medical emergencies, and travel delays.

With wedding insurance, you won’t lose money if plans change. A basic insurance policy that covers loss of photos, videos, attire, presents, rings, and deposits usually costs between $155 and $550, depending on the amount of coverage you want. 

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