How to Tactfully Ask Potential Wedding Vendors for References from Past Clients
You may feel awkward at first but it's really not a big deal.
When you're considering hiring a wedding vendor, such as a baker, caterer, florist, or transportation company, don't sign any contracts until you've talked to a few of their recent wedding clients. Chatting with couples who've already worked with the pro you're considering gives you a chance to gain insight into his day-of work and whether or not he delivered what he promised. But in order to speak to those couples, you've got to ask the vendor for their names. And that's where the awkwardness comes in. Will he be insulted that you're questioning his talent and professionalism? Will he refuse your business? If he's a true pro, he knows that giving prospective couples the contact information of a few recent clients is part of doing business. If he gets offended, be wary of hiring him. Here's how to do the big ask.
Make it an entry on your list of questions for potential vendors.
After you ask a vendor, like a photographer, about his style, availability, rate, and other important topics, tell him you've got one final question. Say something like, "You sound amazing—we'd love to talk to recent couples whose weddings you shot. Would you give us three references?"
It's within your rights to be a smart consumer and ask for references. Before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a service or product, you want to be sure it's a good fit. Why apologize for that?
Watch his reaction.
He should be glad you asked to speak to a few of his satisfied clients since it gives him a chance to shine and prove he's worth hiring. Since he'll only refer you to customers who loved his work and enjoy talking about him, he's guaranteed good press. If he balks or refuses, consider it a red flag and find someone else who's willing.