How to prepare for Productive Vendor Meetings

It was the best feeling…

Last weekend, my family, my fiancé, Tim, and I traveled to Saint Louis, Missouri, where we met our wedding vendor team. We were at our menu tasting (yum!) when the realization hit me: Thanks to a lot of planning and a talented team of vendors, my parents and loved ones will be able to relax on our big day, while the two ladies who were seated next to me—Alyssa, the venue event lead, and Holly, our “wedding planner to the wedding planner”—orchestrate our dream wedding.

If you are in the midst of creating your own dream wedding, it’s a good idea to meet with your vendors (venue, caterer, florist, cake baker, photographer, videographer, DJ/musicians, etc.) in the weeks leading up to the big day. Usually you’ll meet with each vendor separately, but for some brides, it may make sense to invite some vendors to a group meeting.

To make your vendor meetings as successful as possible (more productive! less stressful!), prepare beforehand by taking these steps:

- Work with one of the professionals you’ve hired to outline a preliminary timeline of the wedding day. Your wedding planner will be a great resource for this timeline. Because your planner has access to your vendors’ contracts, he or she will be able to pull all of the delicate details together into one place—a day-of timeline.

- Set aside time for you and your fiancé to review the preliminary timeline and talk through the full wedding day, so that during your meetings, you won’t have any surprises as to the other person’s ideas and wishes. There’s no need to completely set a schedule upfront, but through this conversation with your fiancé, you will find out what’s important to both of you. Of course, there will likely be changes that come out of the meetings, so keep an open mind.

- Send your preliminary timeline to each vendor you’re meeting with (or have your planner send it). This step gives your vendors a chance to look through the timeline for potential problems or conflicts.

- If you are working with a planner (which I highly recommend, of course!), make sure that she is copied on the preliminary timeline emails and able to communicate with each vendor prior to the meetings. Having her know as many details as possible before coming to the meetings will enable her to provide direction that is exactly in line with what you’re envisioning for your big day.

There are so many benefits to having the opportunity to get to know your vendors face-to-face prior to your wedding day! Establishing a relationship of trust and open communication is invaluable. But most of all, the meetings allow you and your fiancé to give your team of vendors a full picture of how you’d like your big day to unfold.

I want to give a huge thank you to Alyssa with the Renaissance Grand Hotel, Holly with Simple Elegance, Bret and Jason with Millennium Productions, Jason with Winkler Photography Studio and Jenny with Stems LLC. These incredible professionals showed amazing teamwork and collaboration through our meeting and created such a sense of peace for me, my fiancé and my family.