Reference Check: How to Vet Your Vendors
Florists, bakers, caterers, a wedding planner, a photographer, a videographer, a DJ, transportation – the list goes on and on.
With so many people to hire, checking references is a necessity. After all, brides want only the best for their big day. But what do you ask those references, and are they even reliable?
Sasha Souza, celebrity wedding planner and founder of Sasha Souza Events, which operates out of both California and Tennessee, says vendors are only going to give references who provide astounding reviews about them. So be strategic when interviewing them and rely on more than just the references.
“You want to look at the person’s work with a very critical eye and make sure what is coming out of their mouth and what they’re showing you matches up,” says Souza, also author of “Signature Sasha: Magnificent Weddings by Design” (Beaufort Books; 2010). When looking at their work, don’t think years of experience has to be a determining factor. Given the example of photographers, Souza says to look at their entire body of work including two or three full weddings they’ve shot.
“I don’t think length of time in business has any barrier on talent,” she adds.
Ask other vendors for suggestions too. “Vendors are really your best reference point. They will tell you who to look at for different vendors,” Souza says. Since vendors work with each other at events on a regular basis, their knowledge of who’s the best is vast.
If you are looking for trustworthy and experienced professionals, Souza says look to the media, too. “You want to look at editorial work; who’s getting published. Those are they people that are going to have the most breath of experience,” she says.
Finally, Souza says to trust your gut feelings on vendors. “Your gut instinct, more than cost, is really important,” she says.
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