Once wedding planning is underway, it's time to start meeting with and booking your big-day vendors. Whether or not you choose to work with a planner, it's important to take it upon yourselves as a couple to determine which pros are the best fit for you and the wedding of your dreams. In fact, Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City, New York, believes that the quality of the vendors you hire will make or break your wedding. "I don't say that to try to scare couples—I say it to stress the importance of hiring trusted professionals to help execute your wedding," she says. "If any of your vendors drop the ball on something on your wedding day, it's going to have an impact."
To make sure you hire a team of qualified professionals for your wedding, it's important to understand when a vendor is making you promises they just won't be able to deliver on. Here, six red flags that they're overselling themselves.
They have overwhelmingly negative reviews.
Personal references and online reviews shouldn't be mere icing on the cake when it comes to choosing a vendor—they're incredibly important and insightful. "I totally acknowledge that sometimes reviews can be ingenuine and sometimes vendors only try to get reviews from customers with positive experiences, which is why I always skip to the negative reviews first; however, when it comes to negative reviews, you'll be able to tell whether it's legitimate or just someone blowing off steam," warns Weinberg. "If the bad review seems legitimate, it can be very eye opening as to whether the vendor can actually do what they say they can do." If you're reading a number of negative reviews that focus on the vendor's inconsistent service or inability to deliver on the plans they set out for you, that's a clear sign that this may not be the right pro for you.
They don't document promises in writing.
If a vendor brushes over guarantees without putting it in writing or is, for some reason, unwilling to document the specifics of their service, it's a major red flag, according to Lindsey Sachs, a wedding planner and owner of COLLECTIVE/by Sachs in Boulder, Colorado. "Promises made via conversation but not written into their contract leave room for unnecessary miscommunication," she says. "Couples should always have a signed contract by both parties to outline the specifics of any vendor service. If additions or changes are made along the way, these should also be noted in writing via a revised contract."
They're hard to get in touch with.
When it comes to planning the most important day of your life, you want to work with vendors who are easy to communicate with. If communication is slow and/or doesn't address your points, that's a reason for concern. "Be sure to keep in mind that vendors have many events they are working on at the same time, so slight delays are normal. If the poor communication continues and you feel like you aren't getting anywhere via email, ask to schedule a phone call," says Lindsey Nickel, wedding planner and owner of Lovely Day Events. "Often vendors are much more responsive on the phone, when you have their full attention."
They change plans constantly.
After your contract is signed and you've agreed on a scope of service or product, there shouldn't be any major changes (unless it's something out of the vendor's control). "If a rental company promised your desired set of serveware and claim it's no longer available, offering a lesser quality product as a replacement, or your wedding officiant decides they can't attend your ceremony rehearsal and you're left without someone to organize and lead a rehearsal for you and your bridal party, you should go with someone else," says Sachs. "The sooner you can pick-up on these game changers, the better."
Their pricing seems way above the rest.
The quotes between vendors offering the same kinds of things shouldn't be all that different (unless, of course, one venue offers a city view and the other faces a brick wall). "If you're collecting quotes from a handful of companies within the same vendor category and one company stands out as being able to go above and beyond or do things no one else can in a questionable way, that could be a sign that they are over promising—or if you come across a vendor whose pricing is well below everyone else you've been chatting with, that could be a red flag as well," warns Weinberg. "Sure, the person or company may be just starting out and so they aren't quite charging market rates, but if that's not the case, then super low pricing can indicate subpar service or a desire to undercut the competition, which doesn't necessarily reflect well on that person's intentions and values."
It sounds too good to be true.
Don't hesitate to do a gut check when it comes to working with your vendors. If you feel like something sounds too good to be true, it very well might be. "Before being blindsided by a vendor, take the time to ask plenty of questions and even ask for references of past couples they've worked with—read reviews across the various wedding sites and Google to see if other couples have experienced any mishaps with the vendor," says Sachs. "To be fair, it's wise to confront a vendor about a negative review if it concerns you so you can make the determination for yourself."