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Planning a wedding is like summiting a mountain. (Let me have this!) It’s a big task, and you have to take one step at a time if you want to make it through. You definitely start from the bottom, navigating the basics — guest list and venue. You realize that finalizing those first big decisions is incredibly difficult, and then you probably start feeling pretty confident about your wedding planning abilities. You can see the pinnacle of the mountain — your wedding day — and you know you can get there! Then, just as you start getting into the fun design and DIY parts of your wedding, you realize you have to find vendors that offer what you’re dreaming up. And you need to make sure the wedding vendors you choose are available on your big day. Eek!

Take a deep breath, because you’re going to make it through. Promise! Choosing vendors for your wedding is one of the steeper parts of the climb that is wedding planning, but there are steps you can take to make it more manageable. From making sure you’re getting a good price to researching past work, taking your time to ask vendors questions before hiring them is important. To help you out further, Lovepop Weddings spoke to real brides about how they decided on their vendors, and what factors they weighed in making their decision. Here’s their post-wedding advice on choosing your vendors, from flowers to linens to DJs.

This Bride Made Sure Her Florist Was On The Same Page As Her

“With flowers, I needed a florist who would be very honest about what would work seasonally, since we married in the late fall. At the first mention of peonies, our prospective florist laughed at that thought and we officially knew we had our guy! I love that time of year and looked for someone who would be experienced and creative enough to pay homage to the season without overdoing it on the theme. I didn't want thousands of pumpkins!”
— Meghan

This Bride Prioritized Personality

“As a wedding photographer myself, when it came time to pick vendors there was one really crucial element — picking people we liked working with. My advice would be for every couple to meet with, or have a Skype meeting with, whoever their vendor is going to be. You don't want to work with people you don't gel with. Do they seem genuinely interested in you as a couple or are they just trying to close the sale?”

This Bride Worked Off Of Her Wedding Planner’s Suggestions

“Our wedding planner suggested our photographer. We met her in person a loved her personality, and she also showed us her beautiful shots from other weddings. I loved that she was very outside of the box when it came to our engagement and wedding pictures. She really got to the heart of it all!”

This Bride Went With Vendors Who Could Work With Her Budget

“In terms of wedding vendors, what mattered to us was that that vendor was willing to work on a smaller scale. We had a really small wedding — just about 30 guests. So we went with smaller vendors, some of whom didn't have too much experience in the wedding space. But they had the time to listen to what we wanted, customize things, and gave us a great deal that fit our budget. For instance, our photographer charged us just $600 for covering 3 hours of our wedding, which is amazing!”
—Priyanka, Financial Writer At Fundera

This Bride Stuck To A Wild Timeline

“We planned our 125-guest wedding in only two weeks. As you can imagine, our requirements for venues and vendor became laser focused. We needed a venue with a great location, capacity, great layout, and available on short notice. We desired vendors who thrived at a challenge; understood and respected our vision; kept us out of the traditional wedding box; and could do it all without draining our unborn children’s college fund.” “You have to clearly define exactly what you desire before approaching venues and vendors. Your wedding should be special and reflect your union. Using the values and standards of others will only give you the wedding someone else had. Be clear, set a definitive budget, and voice your expectations up front.”
—Fredrick and Nyaima Taylor, Co-Creators of Art & Alchemy

This Bride Needed To Find Vendors Who Could Make Things Happen On Short Notice

“My husband and I had a quick engagement — less than 3 months — so we didn’t have any time to spare. We went with vendors that responded back to us in a timely manner. Vendors that were trustworthy and excellent communicators gave us the security we needed to book them with confidence.”
— Atara

This Bride Knew Personality And Budget Were Both Important

“As a wedding vendor myself, I had two extremely important factors — budget and personality. I should list personality first, however, because I found the budget if their personality was fantastic. I wanted vendors that cared about my relationship and my day more than their paycheck. People I really clicked with, but at the same time were very professional.”
— Alicia

Written by: Kimmy Foskett