Hired Help and the Wedding Day Puzzle – After the Engagement but Before You Say “I Do”

The building blocks of love are many, and the wedding-day puzzle presents many challenges. To this end, many couples painstakingly mull over the smallest of details sometimes overhauling themes and other plans several times prior to their wedding day.

Are you on the verge of a pre-wedding meltdown? Many married couples can attest to the fact that planning a wedding is hard work. Although Uncle Sam has dabbled in photography, and Grandma Alice makes the best stew, their skills may not be sufficient for your big day.

Enter hired help. When wedding plans become larger than life, it’s okay to hand over some of the reigns to a professional.

The Hiring Process

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and it should feel that way.  Whether you are searching for a wedding planner, caterer, florist, stylist, musician, or officiant, the vetting process will be the same. Website testimonials are great, but they are only one-dimensional. Always check credentials and speak with references, whenever possible. Prepare a list of relevant questions and make sure that you clearly understand all cancellation policies. Thoroughly read contracts, and hash out all of the details before signing or making any type of down payment.

The Wedding Planner

If you are hiring a wedding planner or coordinator, you will want to get them on board in the early stages. Remember that your planner is a professional in their own right, and that if screened properly they will be more than capable of getting the job done. This is not to say that you should forgo what you really want, but do consider their expertise and cost-saving advice. An experienced and reputable planner will have many useful industry connections; however, if you will be hiring individual professionals/companies for your must-have services, the following are industry specific questions that will be useful.

Questions for the Caterer:

  • Have you catered large events and weddings before?
  • If so, are you familiar with my chosen venue?
  • Do you charge a travel fee?
  • Do you have the required health permits and are you licensed to serve alcohol?
  • Do you have an event portfolio?
  • What are your menu options?
  • Do you offer tastings of your menu selections?
  • Does your menu include wedding cake?
  • For questions and additional considerations regarding your wedding cake, please see our article entitled The Wedding Cake Conundrum.
  • Will you accommodate guests with dietary restrictions?
  • What is your per-person pricing?
  • What is your package pricing?
  • Do your pricing options include wait staff service?
  • Will your staff wear a distinguishable uniform/attire?
  • Do your pricing options include table linens and serving ware?
  • Do you offer furniture (i.e. tables and chairs) rentals?
  • Do you provide cleanup services?
  • Are there any other fees?

Questions for the Photographer:

  • Have you photographed large events and weddings before?
  • If so, are you familiar with my chosen venue?
  • Do you charge a travel fee?
  • Do you have a portfolio or sample albums from previous weddings?
  • Do you offer package rates?
  • If so, what exactly is included?
  • How many proofs will be included?
  • When will the proofs be available for viewing?
  • When will the final wedding album(s) be completed?
  • Do you offer framing services?
  • Do you offer videographer services?
  • What time will you arrive at my venue?
  • Will you be dressed professionally/formally?
  • Do you charge overtime fees?
  • Are there any other fees?

Questions for the Florist:

  • Do you offer wedding packages?bouquet of flowers
  • If not, will your pricing be per floral selection?
  • Does your pricing include any other decorative items (i.e. aisle runners, etc.)?
  • Do you have a portfolio of previous weddings you have decorated?
  • Are you familiar with my chosen venue?
  • Do you charge a travel fee?
  • What flowers will be in season at the time of my wedding?
  • When will the flowers be delivered to the site?
  • Are there any other fees?

Questions for the Musical Entertainment:

  • Have you entertained at large events and weddings before?
  • If so, are you familiar with my chosen venue?
  • If not, do you charge an extra fee to preview the venue for equipment accommodations?
  • Do you have samples of your work, or for live performances, can I hear you play?
  • Do you charge a travel fee?
  • What is your hourly and overtime rate?
  • How many musicians/staff will be at my wedding?
  • How will the band be dressed at the wedding?
  • Do you take musical requests from wedding guests?
  • Are there any other fees?
  • For additional considerations for musical entertainment, please see our article entitled The Soundtrack of Love.

The Firing Process

Lastly, we do acknowledge that some hired help will need just that — help. When there’s trouble in paradise, it will seem as if nothing is worse than having a bad rapport with a key player. The reality is that wedding planning and wedding-day happenings are emotional, and personalities may clash. Do your best to be objective, but do so timely. Again, make sure that you thoroughly understand the services to be provided that are stipulated to in your contracts. If you still have time before your wedding day, and it is apparent that a professional will not be a good fit, don’t be afraid to pull the ripcord on your wedding plan parachute. Time and money are precious commodities.

At the end of the day, show your appreciation to those who have lent their talents to making your wedding a smash hit.

Happy Wedding Planning!

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