vert-12If you live in Seattle and are planning a wedding, there is a very high chance you spent a good portion of your weekend at the Seattle Wedding Show. I was there and it was fun to meet so many wonderful couples and their families.  Each year ladies descend upon the Seattle Wedding Show looking for the fairy dust required to give their wedding that “something extra”.  Most leave the show with sore feet, bags full of brochures, and more confused then when they started. Today the big question is, NOW WHAT? Last week I posted about what to do to prepare for the show, this week, I’ll tell you about how to turn your immense to-do list into a manageable action plan in three easy steps.

Step 1: Identify your needs.

No matter where you are in the planning process there are certain things you know you need and those you want. The first thing you should do is organize by making a list. Your needs list might include: venue, photographer, dress, formal wear, rings, etc. Then create your wants list: acoustic guitar player, coordinating chair covers, photo-booth.  Finally, your “No Way List”. Put anything that doesn’t fit your style or budget in this last category.  After sorting the brochures you picked up at the show into your set categories, move to step 2. Tip: If you find that you have an needed service but nothing you found at the show fit, you might need to reevaluate if it is truly a need or if your budget was unrealistic.

Step 2: Learn More

Most websites these days are mobile friendly, but it’s probably best to just be safe and check them out on a computer. To help you compare apples to apples look for the following pieces of information: prices, photos of the product or service, and testimonials.  Once you’ve gathered this info list the vendors in order from “Shut up and take my money!” to “Only if I have no other option”. Now you are ready to do the third and final step: contact them!

vert-15Step 3: The Consultation

Call or email your favorite vendors and ask the following questions:

  1. Are you available for my wedding date?
  2. Do you have any specials right now?
  3. Can we schedule a consultation to learn more and possibly book your services?

It’s like ordering a pizza really. All vendors will handle their booking/consultation process differently so I can’t speak to their methods. When a client emails or calls me about a consultation I let them know the my consultations are free, they take 45 min. roughly and I normally do them in my studio. We meet, discuss wedding plans, answer questions, and if all goes well, a retainer is paid right there to hold the wedding date. It’s also best if both you and your fiance’ can attend the consultation that way everyone can get their questions answered.  Keep in mind that vendors like myself only book one wedding per day so, once your date is gone it’s gone for good! Luckily since you have done your homework beforehand, you should feel confident in your decision by the time you reach the end of the consultation. Tip: Meeting a vendor is more about discovering if they have good customer service and interpersonal skills then what their rates are. Most of that information should be listed on their website and you should have a good idea that you can afford that service before actually meeting with the vendor. So if you find that the person you are meeting with gives you a bad vibe, listen to it! Don’t let any amount of savings, or other promises sway you. Your wedding is too important to gamble with. Instead find a vendor that you like as a person and seems organized and professional. Other good signs is that they’ve been in business for several years, have good online reviews with sites like wedding wire, and they can provide references from past clients.

I hope these tips will help you progress towards a wonderful wedding day filled with all of the sparkly, magical, moments every girl dreams of!