• Sabrina Lee

10 Questions To Ask Before Hiring Your Wedding Vendors

Updated: Jan 14

I'm sure you've heard the expression, "It takes a village" usually mentioned in conversations about raising kids. But that expression totally applies to planning a wedding. Leading that village should be an experienced, super organized wedding planner, like yours truly. The rest of the team is usually made up by 8 to 12 other wedding vendors, depending on the style and complexity of your dream wedding. But how do you know when and who to hire?

To determine the "when", download our ultimate wedding planning checklist with month-to-month steps of what you should be doing to prep for your perfect day and the order in which you should be doing it. It takes a bit more research to determine the "who". Your wedding planner is the best person to direct you to a top performing vendor team to pull off your dream wedding. But if you're hiring vendors on your own, you should be asking these key questions to ensure you're hiring the right team for you.


Review, save, and ask these 10 questions for 10 common vendors you'll need to plan your wedding:


Wedding Planner

  1. What services are included in your planning packages (i.e., full planning, partial planning, day-of coordination, décor, cake cutting)?

  2. When would your services begin?

  3. Are your fees based on a set package or my budget/wedding costs?

  4. Do you require a deposit, and if so, is it refundable?

  5. What happens if I want to change my date or venue?

  6. How many planners will be supporting my wedding?

  7. Is planning my ceremony rehearsal and/or rehearsal dinner (or any other wedding celebrations/parties) included in my preferred package?

  8. How many hours of coverage are included for my wedding day?

  9. Are you a certified wedding planner?

  10. Are you insured/are you able to provide a copy of your liability insurance to my venue, if required?

Photographer and/or Videographer


Houston wedding photographer poses bride for first-touch photos
Ivan Garcia Studio prepping our LJD bride for her first-touch with her groom
  1. How many photographers/videographers will be shooting/filming on my wedding day?

  2. How many hours will you and your team be present on my wedding day, and does that include breaks, travel time, and/or setup time?

  3. When should I expect the gallery/video for my wedding to be delivered?

  4. How will my photos/video be delivered to me?

  5. Is a USB, album, or any prints included in your package?

  6. Will I receive all photo/video from my wedding (including raw/unedited images or video)?

  7. Is an engagement or bridal session or my rehearsal dinner included in your package?

  8. What is your style of editing (i.e., light/airy, moody, lots of touch-ups, etc.)?

  9. What happens if I don't like the photos/video you deliver?

  10. Are you insured/are you able to provide a copy of your liability insurance to my venue, if required?

Bonus Question: Are you the actual lead photographer/videographer that will be shooting our wedding day? If not, when will we be able to meet with our assigned photographer/videographer?


Catering

  1. What style of serving do you offer (seated vs buffet)?

  2. How many servers will be present on our wedding day for our guest count? (And when is my final guest count due?)

  3. Is bussing and/or taking out the trash included?

  4. How many hours will you and your term serve, and how much setup time will you require?

  5. Will we be able to take home any leftovers?

  6. Will your servers cut and serve our wedding cake?

  7. Do you provide all of the utensils, dishware, warming trays, serving utensils, and linens/table?

  8. Will you serve water (at guest tables or at a station) or any other beverages with dinner?

  9. Will appetizers be passed or served at a station?

  10. Will anything need to be prepared on-site at the venue (i.e., is kitchen/appliance use required)?

Bonus Question (that should always be answered yes): Are you insured and up to date with your health permit and food handling certification(s), and can you provide a copy to our venue, if required?

Bar


Bride and groom toasting shots with guests at asian wedding
Photo by Kelly Costello Photography - The Dunlavy - Houston, TX
  1. Are you and your bartenders TABC certified, and can you provide proof to our venue, if required?

  2. How many bartenders are required for my guest count? (And when is my final guest count due?)

  3. Am I allowed to provide my own alcohol for your bartenders to serve?

  4. Do you provide cups/glasses, straws, napkins, mixers, and garnishes?

  5. Do you bring your own ice or do we need to provide it? If we need to provide our own, how much is needed for our guest count?

  6. Are any non-alcoholic beverages included in our drink package?

  7. Do you offer a host bar, and if so, what is the minimum amount we are required to put down?

  8. Is cost based on consumption or guest count?

  9. Are we able to offer our guests custom signature drinks?

  10. How many hours will the bar be open, and are we allowed to split the hours (i.e., open before ceremony, closed during ceremony, open again for cocktail hour, etc.)?

DJ and/or Band

  1. How many DJs/band members are available at your company?

  2. If my DJ is sick for my wedding day, will there be a replacement of equal talent?

  3. Will I be able to meet with my assigned DJ or the band leader before my wedding day?

  4. Will our DJ/band leader help us select songs/playlist for our ceremony and reception?

  5. Is our ceremony included in the number of hours we have the DJ/band for?

  6. Will a microphone(s) be included for our ceremony? If so, what kind (handheld or lapel)?

  7. How many speakers will we have for our ceremony and reception?

  8. Will you require a table or anything else for setup at the venue, or will you be bringing your own booth/equipment/linen, etc.?

  9. What will you be wearing for the wedding?

  10. Are there any restrictions if our ceremony and/or reception will be help outdoors?

Florist


Bride holds her wedding bouquet up, slightly blocking her face
Photo by Leverett Photo & Video - Big Sky Barn Wedding Venue - Magnolia, TX
  1. Do you require a deposit, and if so, is it refundable?

  2. Do you require a minimum order amount for delivery?

  3. What happens if I want to change my date or venue?

  4. What flowers/greenery types will you use in my bouquet/arrangements/boutonnieres, etc.?

  5. Do you use all real/fresh flowers or faux/silk floral?

  6. Do I need to return anything to you after my wedding, and if so, in what time frame?

  7. Will you provide all of the floral setup and clean-up on my wedding day?

  8. Will you be able to add flowers to my cake, or should the baker add them?

  9. How late am I allowed to add to or remove from my order?

  10. Are you insured/are you able to provide a copy of your liability insurance to my venue, if required?

Décor/Rental Company

  1. Do you support multiple events per day?

  2. What is your delivery and pick-up fee, and does it increase if the venue requires same-day delivery and pick-up?

  3. What timeframe will you be able to deliver/pick-up?

  4. Is setup (placing linens, chargers, folding napkins, etc.) included in your delivery?

  5. Is self-pickup an option, and if so, how long would we have to return our rental items?

  6. How late am I allowed to add to or remove items from my order?

  7. Do you have a full catalog of your rental options available online?

  8. How many décor planning appointments are we allowed to have before our wedding day?

  9. Are rental items cleaned/sanitized after each event/before next event?

  10. What is the correction plan if incorrect items are delivered on my wedding day (or missing items)?

Baker (Cake/Desserts)

  1. Do you offer delivery? If so, how is delivery cost determined?

  2. Are you insured and up to date with your health permit and food handling certification(s), and can you provide a copy to our venue, if required?

  3. When is our final guest count (or preferred number of cake slices) due?

  4. Does our cake order include the use of a cake stand? If so, can we see your cake stand options?

  5. Do you offer a complimentary tasting before placing an order?

  6. Do you offer a complimentary anniversary cake, or will we need to save our cake top?

  7. Are any cake toppers included with our cake order?

  8. Do you use buttercream or fondant more for custom designed wedding cakes?

  9. If I want real or faux flowers or greenery added to the cake, will you be able to add them when you deliver the cake to our venue?

  10. Will we need to refrigerate our cake(s) when you deliver, or will it hold up fine throughout the day (~6 hours)?

Hair and Makeup Artist

Bride sitting in chair with eyes closed while makeup artist applies makeup before wedding
Photo by Ivan Garcia Studio - San Luis Resort Wedding - Galveston, TX
  1. Will you travel to my venue for services? (Or, is there a minimum number of people required for you to travel to my venue/location?)

  2. How many artists will be supporting my bridal party on my wedding day?

  3. Do you offer hair/makeup trials before my wedding day?

  4. Have you done hair/makeup on my skin tone/hair type before?

  5. Will I be able to add a service at the last minute (on wedding day) if one of my bridal party members changes his/her mind?

  6. Will you be supporting any other weddings/events on my wedding day?

  7. Will you stay for my ceremony in case I need touch-ups after?

  8. Do you provide any touch-up kits before you leave (i.e., lipstick/gloss sample, hair pins, etc.)?

  9. Will you help put on and secure my veil/dupatta/tiara?

  10. How should I arrive to get hair/makeup done on my wedding day (i.e., dry hair, straightened, bring eyelashes, etc.)?

Officiant

  1. Are you a legally qualified to officiate weddings?

  2. What type of ceremony style do you perform (i.e., traditional, non-traditional/non-religious, specific religions, LGBTQ+)?

  3. Will you perform standard vows or can we write our own (or a combination of the two)?

  4. Do you offer custom services, or do we have to choose from prewritten samples?

  5. Is a ceremony rehearsal included?

  6. Will you return/mail our marriage license for us?

  7. Do you offer premarital counselling?

  8. What will you be wearing to our wedding?

  9. How many times will we meet before our wedding day to discuss ceremony plans?

  10. Do you have sample videos of ceremonies you've officiated in the past that we could watch before booking with you?


On top of these questions, you should always look into each vendor's experience in the industry, review some of their past work, and check out any of their reviews from past clients and rewards/recognition to have a better idea of the level of service you will receive. Always read your vendor contracts thoroughly before signing or paying a deposit. If the potential vendor does not have a contract, request one be drafted and document all that you have agreed upon (but be warned - this may be a sign that this isn't the right vendor for you). It's impossible to know exactly what you'll receive in a service-based industry, but with due diligence, you will find the vendors that are perfect for you and your wedding planning journey!


This long list of questions got you panicking about hiring your vendors or planning your wedding? Schedule a 1-hour virtual wedding planning check-up with our wedding planning genie and get back to stress-free planning!