Hiring a professional wedding planner or event planner to help with your wedding is a luxury that not all brides can afford. So what's a broke bride to do when she has to do the hiring herself? There are a few caveats that will help you avoid your wedding turning into a day of drama and disaster.
When you're interviewing possible vendors place a higher value on what they do than what they say they'll do. Talk is cheap. A vendor who comes into an interview ready to give you a sample of what they can do for you is someone who is a real go-getter. This is the person who you want to work for you.
A bride I talked to said she was wowed when a DJ she was interviewing arrived at the interview with a sample CD -- full of the music she'd indicated she was interested in for her wedding. He'd gone the extra mile by asking her preferences in music styles, possible ethnic additions, as well as some samples of music for her cocktail hour and background music for the dinner hour. Even if it wasn't all the music she eventually chose, he'd shown he was truly interested in meeting her needs and that of her fiance. And that he wanted their wedding to reflect them, not just be a cookie cutter copy of the last dozen weddings he'd done.
A florist that is often mentioned on The Knot message boards does such a great presentation of pre-designing ideas after initial phone calls with the bride that when they meet in person she has some sample centerpieces and bouquets ready for the bride to see. The florist's willingness to put together some samples for the bride to see almost always nets her the contract AND a happy bride.
I'm a big proponent of hiring people who are better at something than you are and who are passionate about what they do. So if you're an expert at catering, hire someone who impresses you and who loves serving people interesting food. A music buff? Hire someone who wows you and who has ideas about music that you'd never thought of. A creative crafter or flower arranger? Hire someone to decorate your tables or make your favors or invitations who knocks your socks off.
There are all the prosaic bits of info like contracts, details etc. that covered in every wedding planning magazine out there. But my advice? Hire someone who is better at what they do than you are AND who is passionate about their work. This is the person is most likely to give you what you want.