The process of planning your wedding can be quite stressful - we know! And since knowing what questions to ask your wedding vendors isn't something you've likely done before, so we're here to help. Don't you worry! We're here to put your mind at ease in the process in preparing for everything before your big day with our ULTIMATE list of questions to ask each of your wedding vendors.
This wedding planning guide outlines all of the most important questions you should be asking each of your vendors when you sit down with them. Asking these questions up front will help you prepare for everything making sure all of the details are absolutely perfect and that they can each fit perfectly into your budget, planning and most of all, that they can pull off exactly what you want for your big day!
When you're searching for the perfect venue, forgetting to ask an important question could mean ending up with a site that's missing a key element, or ending up with a hefty charge at the end of the night. So, before you sign that dotted line, make sure you're asking all of the questions below!
1. Is our wedding date available? Obviously you'll want to start with this one. ;) This is the question you want to ask right away. If your date is flexible, when sitting down with your venue you'll want to ask which is available (and don't forget to coordinate this date with your photog. right away, too!)
2. Will there be any other weddings or events booked on the same day? Depending on the size of your venue, there could be another wedding or event booked the same day. This could be a make-or-break it thing if you're wanting a more intimate wedding, you might not want to book somewhere where there will be something else going on on the same day.
3. How much is the deposit? Another pretty obvious question - gotta make sure the venue falls within your budget!
4. Are there any other fees not included in the cost? Sometimes these extra costs are written in the fine print and can include a cleaning fee, overtime charge, or gratuity. Make sure you get all of the costs and explanations before signing anything.
5. When do we need the final head count / what is the last possible date for any changes? Now, obviously you won't be able to make any huge changes (like your date) after booking, but other things may come up so you'll want to check into when you need to finalize things by.
6. What is your cancellation policy? Most likely it won't come down to this, but just in case!
7. Do I need to use your vendors? Many wedding venues partner with vendors such as caterers, linens, etc. so you'll want to look into that before even meeting with the vendor and if you're not necessarily interested in their specific partners, make sure to ask this question.
8. Do you offer a day-of coordinator? Is there any additional cost for this? Some venues will offer day-of coordination at no additional cost, and others offer day-of for a small fee. You could also inquire about wedding planning help if you'd like, too.
9. Can we make a payment arrangement? Check to see if you can pay in increments if this is something you would prefer. This might take a little weight off your back so you don't have to worry about such a large payment all at once.
10. What time can vendors arrive for setup? This question is key. You'll want to make sure to ask this so you can pass this information along to each of your vendors and make sure that this will allow them enough time. You can always ask if certain vendors can start setting up the evening before your wedding, too if you think they'll need a little more time.
11. Is this venue handicap accessible?
12. Will there be ample parking? At this point, you should have a rough estimate of how many will be attending your wedding festivities, so asking about the parking situation is something you'll want to get out of the way ASAP to ensure your guests will have adequate parking.
13. What are your decoration rules? Make sure you know what is off limits. If you don't have an idea of what your decor may be at this time, make sure you save this question for later when you have a better idea. Don't book anything too crazy before checking with your venue.
14. (If outdoor venue) -- What are your weather policies? Is there a backup location if it rains? Ahh, the ever-so unpredictable weather. Outdoor weddings are seriously the best, but don't forget to check into a backup plan! Most venues will have some type of indoor space, but don't forget to ask if it'll be large enough for all of your guests.
15. Who is responsible for setting up and taking down decor? When does it need to be completed? This is a great question that can go forgotten often. You'll want to make sure you're not scrambling to get things taken down after your reception!
16. Are there any photographer limitations? Great information to pass along to your photographer right away if there are any.
17. What is your pricing for bartending / alcohol? Are there corkage fee's or can you supply your own alcohol? Another great question that can go forgotten. It's often a little less expensive to bring in your own alcohol, so this may be something you want to check into.
18. What time do guests have to leave the venue? Time to go, people! Make sure you know when you've got to cut your guests off so you don't end up with any additional charges.
19. Is wedding insurance required? This is definitely something you'll want to check into ahead of time.
20. Do we need to have the music off at a certain point? This will usually be the time the reception has to be done by, but make sure to ask - just in case!
21. May I have all events — Ceremony, Cocktail Hour & Reception all on-site? While this may not be something you are interested in, maybe just your cocktail hour and reception, make sure to check into it. Don't forget to ask about the flow of events and transition too to ensure someone will be there making your ceremony site into the reception hall afterwards!
Flowers are one of the prettiest touches of beauty to your wedding day. Get all of the details about your florist to ensure that you have the best quality arrangements and that nothing goes forgotten day-of.
1. Do you have a style you specialize in? You might be able to gather this beforehand by checking out their website and photos, but asking your florist this question right away could get them to really open up about what style of arrangements they're good at. You'll be able to tell right there and then if this style is going to fit into your big day.
2. Do you have a portfolio of previous work we can take a look at? If you want to see more photos of their work than you've seen online, this is definitely something to ask. You'll get an even greater feel for their work
3. Who will be directly handling our arrangements? Your florist might have someone else on his/her team working on your arrangements. Asking this question will make you feel more comfortable about what's going on with your florals.
4. How many weddings do you typically do in one day/weekend? If the florist you're meeting with does a TON of weddings on the weekend, this might mean they are AWESOME at what they do and are able to crank it all out beautifully and efficiently. But it could also mean that they are too swamped to take on your flowers as well. Check on your date to see!
5. If our flowers aren’t available or don’t fit the budget, what substitutions would you recommend? Letting your florist know up front what you have in mind for flowers is key. They'll know what's going to be in-season on your wedding date, and will definitely have suggestions if something won't be available or if you would like a cheaper option.
6. Can you preserve my bouquet? If you want to keep your bouquet after your big day, this is a great question to ask. Doing it yourself could end up not quite right, or even forgotten about due to your busy schedule.
7. What will the timeline be for making my floral arrangements? You'll want to check on this to ensure they aren't made too early or too late.
8. What is the price of each item (bouquet, centerpieces, boutonnieres, etc.) and how do they charge (flat fee, per item, delivery charges)? A pretty obvious question to ask right away in order to make sure this florist will fit into your budget. If it seems a little pricey, you may consider changing your centerpieces or bouquets a bit in order to make things work if you really like the florist.
9. Will you be able to provide samples of your pieces, and are you willing to work with us to make adjustments, if needed? This is a great question. You want to make sure your flowers are just right, so asking to see a bouquet and/or centerpiece ahead of time, or some sort of mock up even, is a great idea.
Umm, you've gotta make sure you're able to dance the night away to music you LOVE, right?? Meet with a few DJ's or bands before choosing in order to get a feel for which one will suit your style just right. A great place to start: DJ's your friends have used for their weddings!
1. Do you work exclusively for this company? Some DJ's will have side jobs outside of the company they work for. Make sure they don't have anything going on the day of your wedding.
2. How long have you been a DJ and how many weddings have you done? This will help you get a feel for how others like them and how much experience they have.
3. Do you offer a written contract? You definitely do not want to agree to anything without one.
4. What makes you different from your competitors? This is like an interview - we need quality answers here!
5. How involved can we be in selecting music for our event? Maybe you want to make your whole wedding playlist, maybe you want them to add in some of their own personal wedding favorites, or maybe you just have a few songs you want them to play. Asking this question is a big one - you don't want to end up with music you completely hate.
6. When will you need to arrive to set up for our wedding? You should know what time vendors can come to set up from meeting with your venue, so be sure to check how much time the DJ or band will need to set up beforehand. They'll need to test the sound, lighting, etc.
7. What will you wear to our wedding? This is a good one to ask ahead of time, too. Let them know how formal your wedding will be and see what they would wear. If their answer isn't quite right, ask them to wear something you would like. Hey, it's your big day!
8. How much of a deposit is required to secure our date? When asking for pricing, this is something else you'll want to keep in mind.
10. Do you take any breaks? Obviously, they'll need to take some bathroom breaks, but make sure there won't be any extensive breaks that you don't know about ahead of time.
Pictures preserve memories for years to come and will be shared with your friends family and loved ones. Make sure you choose a photographer with a clear vision as to what you want for your special day. Meeting with them ahead of time will give you an idea of how your personalities will mesh and what quality photos they will deliver.
1. How long have you been a wedding photographer? This will give you a feel for their experience.
2. How would you describe your photographic style? Make sure their style fits within your wedding vision.
3. Do you have a portfolio of entire wedding shoots for us to look through? You've likely seen some of their work online, but asking to see more will give you a bigger idea of what they're all about.
4. What do you think distinguishes you from other photographers? Another interview question, geez! But seriously, every photographer is different and they should know their differentiating qualities. If these qualities aren't something that fits into your wedding vision, they might not be the right fit for you.
5. Is there a reference list available for us to contact? If you don't already know someone who has personally used this photographer, this is something that may make you feel a bit more comfortable.
6. Will you post proofs online, and when would we receive our photos? Make sure they are going to deliver you the final product in a timely manner. This might be something you want to put into the contract - that they will deliver the final photos to you by a certain date. I know some brides who have waited months and months for their pictures - not okay!
7. Will you be the primary photographer shooting the wedding, and will you bring an assistant with you? Two photographers is very common and beneficial. While the ladies are getting ready, the assistant can be photographing the guys. The assistant also gets all of the details, typically - yay!
8. What price ranges, packages and other products do you offer? Check to see if an engagement shoot is included in your package, how many photos you'll receive, etc. Make sure it's everything you want - these photos will last a lifetime!
9. Are you familiar with the wedding/reception location? If not, are you planning to scope it out before the wedding? You'll want to ensure your photographer is somewhat familiar with the layout of your ceremony and reception sites. This will cause things to run a lot smoother day-of.
10. What are your back-up plans if your equipment breaks, you are running late or if you, for any reason, cannot make it to the wedding? Make sure there is a back-up plan - there always needs to be a back-up plan.
1. How many guests can I bring with me? The shop you may be visiting might ask you this question before you can ask them. Keep in mind, some smaller boutiques may only allow a few people to come with you due to space.
2. How much time do I have for my consultation? You'll likely need at LEAST one hour. Most shops will do 60 or 90 minute appointments.
3. What is the starting price of your dresses? If you can't find out this information online, you'll want to ask ahead of time. Definitely don't want to end up somewhere where the gowns are way out of your budget!
4. Are there any trunk shows coming up? Many shops host trunk shows, which allows a designer to showcase their entire line typically over one weekend-one week. If there's a specific designer you've got your eye on, ask before booking your appointment. You might just get to see more dresses than you expect!
5. Do you provide alterations? Some bridal salons do, some don't. The ones that do not, typically will direct you to someone many of their brides work with. Ask about alteration pricing if they do provide them at the store you are shopping at.
6. How many fittings will I need and will I work with the same seamstress every time? This is something you'll want to ask if you plan to purchase your dress there and they do offer alterations.
7. What is the cancellation policy? Most stores are pretty strict with their policies so you'll want to make sure to ask right away.
8. How long will it take for the dress to arrive? Months? No way! Typically bridal gowns take a while to come in because they are made to order (like our bridesmaid dresses are), which means they manufacture the dress once your order has been placed!
9. Is a payment plan possible? A wedding dress can cost a pretty penny, so this is something you may want to consider. What do you need to put down right away and when are the other payments due, are some other questions to ask at the time of purchase.
10. Do you stock sample dresses? When making your appointment, ask if they have specific sample dresses in stock in the styles you have your eye on. This way, they can note it in your file and (hopefully) have the dresses pulled when you arrive!
11. Should I wear special undergarments while trying on dresses? Typically the answer is going to be 'yes' for this one. You will likely want to wear undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your actual dress. Also, make sure they're undergarments you feel comfortable enough in to wear in front of your consultant or friend/family member who will be helping you in and out of dresses.
12. Will you store the dress for me? If you don't want to take the dress home when it arrives (and your alterations are completed), this is something worth asking.
FOOD! You'll spend a majority of your money on wedding food than any other part of your reception, so making sure you are working with a caterer that you think is delicious and that is also easy to work with.
1. What is your average cost? Cost will vary for catering depending on what food you end up going with, but average cost is a great place to start.
2. Have you done events at my location? You'll want to ensure they are somewhat comfortable with your venue so serving goes seamlessly.
3. Are you licensed to serve alcohol? Some caterers will provide bar services as well, so this is definitely something worth inquiring about if you're interested.
4. Will you provide a banquet manager to coordinate the meal service? This is something that will ensure things run smoothly.
5. Do you specialize in an certain cuisines? Even if you've seen their menu online, what they specialize in is likely the best of the best.
6. How many weddings will you cater on my wedding day? Depending on the time of your wedding, this could happen. If you don't feel comfortable with this, make sure to ask to ensure your date is completely open.
7. Will I need special permits for my event? If so, will you handle obtaining them? Depending on your food prep and venue, you could need a specific permit. Make sure you check into this ahead of time so nothing gets forgotten.
8. What food choices would you recommend given my budget and guest list? You know your budget, they know the food and pricing. Ask for recommendations and you shall receive.
9. What can you do for guests that have allergy or diet restraints? Something you'll definitely want to inquire about. You always want to have an option for guests with these restrictions.
10. Will the food be prepared on-site or be brought in already prepared? Make sure everything is planned out ahead of time so you're comfortable with what's going on.
11. What brands of alcohol will be served? If your caterer is going to be in charge of your alcohol as well, you'll want to inquire about what exactly will be served.
12. Is the champagne toast after the ceremony included in your meal packages or is it extra? Some caterers will include this in your package, but you'll want to inquire if this is something you are interested in.
13. How long will alcohol be served? Your caterer may only serve until a certain time. Make sure this coordinates with your venue.
14. Is coffee, tea and soda included in the per-person meal charge? I know my family LOVES their coffee after they eat, so this is something that if it were included, would be ideal for me!
15. Are we able to create a custom menu if we'd like? If you've got something specific in mind for a meal choice, ask your caterer if they could prepare it or something similar, and how much it would cost.
16. If you do not serve cake, what are your other dessert options? Dessert is something that has come a long way for weddings. The traditional cake dessert isn't quite as traditional now, with so many different options out there. Ask your caterer what they've got. If it's not something you're interested in, there are tons of bakeries that you can also visit.
17. How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Clearly, this is something you'll want to ask every vendor. Breaking your payments up is key.
18. When will I receive a written contract? Make sure you get everything in writing, and always, always read the fine print!
19. What is your refund/cancellation policy? In case of emergency, of course.
20. When will you need a final guest count? Most likely this won't be until much closer to your big day, but make sure you have a specific date, so you mark it on your calendar (in that wedding planning binder of yours, of course!)
21. When will I need to finalize the menu? Decisions, decisions! Make sure you mark this date down, too.
22. What time will you and your staff arrive at the site? You'll want to let your venue know when everyone will be arriving.
23. How will your staff dress? It is likely that some staff will be serving, so you'll want to check to ensure they'll be in uniform or attire that will coordinate with your wedding.
24. What is your policy on cleanup? Will they be in charge of clearing all plates, glasses, silverware, etc.?
25. What is your leftover policy? Make sure there are no extra charges for a certain amount of leftover food.
A beautiful invitation is the first thing your wedding guests will likely see in regards to your big day, so make sure everything is absolutely perfect! Follow these questions in order to ensure nothing goes missed.
1. May I see a mock-up invitation in my font before I purchase them? Whether you're purchasing your invites online or working directly with a stationer, you'll want to make sure you can see some form of mock-up of your invites before they're ordered. Make sure you like the font and that it's legible in the wording you're using.
2. Can I see an example of your work? Get a feel for their experience and expertise.
3. What is your turn around time? Make sure you know they'll be delivered in time to be sent out to guests a couple months before your big day!
4. How much will it cost to mail these? Depending on how many different cards you'll have in your invitation, and also depending on the shape, you may need to add some extra postage. Factor this cost into your overall cost up front, so you're not left scrambling.
5. Do you offer any discounts? Invites are a great place to inquire about discounts. Ask about ordering in bulk if your guest list is extensive, or even a discount on one small portion of the invites, like the envelopes maybe. It doesn't hurt to ask!
6. What is your starting price point? Get a feel for how much invites are going to run for your entire guest list.
7. Will you help me with my wording? If you're working directly with a stationer, they will likely aid you in getting that wording just right.
8. Do you provide calligraphy and assembly services? Some stationers offer these services, so this is something worth inquiring about if you are interested in.
A wedding planner can be the best thing that's ever happened to you planning your big day. They'll do all the dirty work for you, and take a lot of weight off your back and also help ensure everyone is where they need to be the day-of.
1. Have you worked at my venue before? If they're from your city, and they're highly experienced, it's likely they're familiar with your venue. If not, make sure they get a feel for it beforehand.
2. How many weddings of my size and budget have you planned before? Planning weddings for different budgets and sizes is totally different. If they haven't planned something quite your size or in your budget, ask for a rough overview of what they see when planning your big day.
3. What role do you feel I should play? You definitely don't want to hire someone who's going to try to dictate every move. This is your wedding, so make sure you feel a good connection with your planner before hiring them.
4. How much staff do you enlist to help? Is this going to be a team effort, or are you a one person show?
5. How many weddings do you handle each month? Make sure they're not too swamped with other weddings around yours so that their focus isn't straying.
6. How often do you expect to meet with me prior to the wedding? Some planners want to meet more often than others. Make sure you feel comfortable with their schedule ahead of booking them.
7. How do you charge? Is there a flat rate? Self explanatory - do they fit into your budget?
8. How do you keep in touch with clients? Do they like to text, work with you via email, etc.? Make sure you feel comfortable with their means of communication ahead of time.
9. Who are your preferred vendors? This might be a great place to get some recommendations for other vendors, actually. If they've worked a lot of weddings, they may have relationships built up with some vendors --and hey, maybe they can get you a good rate on another aspect of the wedding.
10. Can you help us stay on budget? Everything revolves around your budget. You don't want someone helping you plan a wedding recommending vendors who are completely out of your budget.
11. Will you be with us on our big day? I sure would hope so! They should be easily accessible throughout your day. And you'll also want to check in about a back up plan in case someone is sick or anything comes up.
Of course you're going to look absolutely STUNNING on your big day. But just to be sure you feel comfortable with your hair and makeup artist, don't forget to ask these questions!
1. Will you do a trial run with me before my wedding day? This is something you'll definitely want to schedule. A trial run will ensure you feel comfortable working with your artist, and that they can achieve the look you have in mind.
2. Do you work on location? Some hair and makeup artists will, some won't. If you have to go to their salon on your big day, make sure you can get the schedule you desire to ensure you're not rushed.
3. Do you want to see my inspiration photos and photos of my dress? I almost would even just recommend showing them these things instead of asking beforehand. This way they can get a feel for your style ahead of time.
4. Is there a charge for a re-trial if I decide to change my look? If your trial run doesn't go as planned, make sure you check into a re-trial. Some will do it for no charge, but others you may have to pay for an additional trial.
5. Should I bring my veil and accessories to the trial? If you're wearing something in your hair, you might want to consider this and your hair stylist may appreciate it. Plus, then she can show you how to put it in and remove it easily.
6. What kind of preparation do I need to do before the wedding? Make sure to ask this beforehand. Do they want your hair clean and dry when you arrive? No makeup on? What about face lotion?
7. Are you familiar with my skin and hair type? Finding out if they've worked with your particular skin and hair type before is a great thing to know. If they're not familiar, you might want to check out a few more artists.
8. Are there any extra day-of charges I should know about? Don't want to end up with any last minute charges!
9. What happens if you are unable to make it to my wedding? Just in case of emergency, you'll want to check in to make sure there would be a back up plan in case something comes up.
10. Do you have any other commitments on my wedding day? Typically, hair and makeup artists will schedule appropriately, but you may want to ask this question just so you feel comfortable with their schedule on your big day.
Whether you're having a priest marry you, or one of your family members or friends, these questions are worth asking in order to ensure everything goes smoothly on your big day!
1. What's your work experience? If you're having a family member or friend marry you, you may already know the answer to this one.
2. Can you give us the wedding we want? You'll want to get an idea of what the flow of your ceremony will be.
3. Are you flexible? You might want a specific reading during the ceremony, or to leave out a certain part. Asking about this flexibility will ensure your officiant is the right fit for you.
4. How often will we meet? Depending on your setting, you may have to meet more than you think, so make sure to get all these dates scheduled out as soon as possible so you don't run into any scheduling conflicts.
5. Will you be joining us at the reception? Typically, this will be up to you as a couple. If you want your officiant to be there for the reception you can ask if they'll say some sort of blessing before dinner.
6. How much do you charge?
1. What type of transportation mode do you offer? You may have already gathered this information from their website, but they might have something not listed or shown that you'd like to inquire about.
2. Do you have a minimum rental time? You've probably got an idea of how long you want or need transportation for, so make sure they don't have a minimum right away to be sure it'll work with your schedule!
3. How many people will fit in each fleet? Are you going to include dates of your wedding party in your transportation? Make sure whatever you book can hold everyone! Also, you might want to consider allowing your photographer (and assistant, if there is one) on as well to capture those moments. Don't just assume they will be allowed - if you hit the max, your driver is most likely not going to budge.
4. What is your cancellation policy? Just in case!
5. What does your insurance policy cover? Also, just in case!
6. Is their a deposit requirement? You'll want to check and see if there's anything required to hold your mode of transportation, or if everything is due at one time.
7. How will my chauffeur dress? Typically, they'll be dressed pretty nicely, but you may want to check beforehand.
8. Will my chauffer know how to get my locations? You will want to let him know the locations you'll be getting picked up from and driven to ahead of time. If you'll be making stops along the way, let them know those as well so there's no wasted time getting lost!
9. How does overtime charges work? Who knows, you might decide last minute that you want to keep your driver longer than you have booked. Check and see what their policy is on this ahead of time, just in case.
10. Is there a flat fee or is it hourly? See what your best deal will be.
11. Can we see the vehicles before signing the contract? A picture only goes so far. You might want to inquire about seeing the vehicles in person before booking.
Now that you have your question list, we're hoping this will help ease the planning process for you! It doesn't hurt to have a list with you when you meet up with any one of your vendors because it's almost impossible to remember all of the questions off the top of your head.
Are there any additional questions you would add to any of these lists? We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below!
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Taking Your Measurements
For the most accurate measurements, do not measure over your clothing. Your measurements should be taken while wearing undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your dress. The measuring tape shouldn’t be pulled too tight or have too much slack, and should always be parallel with the floor.
Wedding apparel is typically sized differently than retail clothing, so keep in mind that it’s not uncommon to find yourself requiring alterations.
Wrap the tape around your back and under your arms at the fullest part of your bust (not underneath the bust).
While standing up straight, bend at the waist to one side. Take the measurement where the natural crease happens in your side. This should be a few inches above your belly button. Stand up straight and do not “suck in” when taking this measurment.
Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt to get this measurement.
Compare these three measurements to the Kennedy Blue size chart above. It is very important that you order the largest size that corresponds to your measurements. For example, if your bust measures 40.5” (size 12), your waist measures 31” (size 10) and your hips measure 41.5” (size 8), we advise that you order a size 12, and get your dress altered down to custom fit your body.
Depending on the fabric, a dress can be altered down up to 2 full sizes, but can be very difficult to let out as there is only about .5 inch of fabric to do so at the seams.