{Comparing Vendors in the Wedding World}

So today I came across a phenomenal article that I have actually been meaning to write myself for some time now.  The article came from one of my daily blogs that I follow and has worded everything so perfectly that I HAD to repost it!  I always tell my Brides that when choosing a florist, or any vendor for that matter, it really should be about the work that they do, the quality that they offer and also the connection that you have with them.  The process of planning a wedding is a long one and should most definitely be an enjoyable one!  When you are working with the right vendors, the experience becomes fun and much less daunting.  For my business, prices can always be moved around in proposals, and with flowers, you definitely get what you pay for.  The most popular blooms are always some of the most of expensive and can be used in ways that accommodate a lower budget or they can be incorporated in ways that will be super expensive, but worth every single pretty little penny that you spend on them.  As Lauren says below, “You get what you pay for!”…so when you are searching for a fabulous wedding vendor to add to your list for the big day, keep in mind that the Wedding Industry is full of super hard working artists and they all have their very own art form that they are selling.  Of course, Budgets are totally necessary and very important, but if your are strictly comparing dollar amounts you could possibly find yourself in a sticky situation come wedding day! Now onto some *Fantastic* insight from the lovely Lauren over at Every Last Detail!

Ashley Daniell Photography

{Thursday Tips} Comparing Vendors: Apples To Oranges

So here’s how it goes. You usually meet with a few potential vendors in each “vendor category”, so naturally, you need something to help you make your decision. This is where we often turn to comparison, which is a total and complete disservice to yourself and your potential vendors. Take it from someone who DID compare vendors to each other and ended up with the short end of the stick.  You just can’t do it.  As the saying goes, it’s like comparing an apple to an orange. Sure, you can find a common thread, but overall, comparing the two is just not something you can do.

Why can’t you compare vendors to each other? Well let’s think of a few “real life” examples… can you compare McDonald’s to Maggiano’s? Sure, they both serve food. But one you have to sit down to eat, and the other you can get your food in 3 minutes. Or what about a dress from Target and a dress from Nordstrom. They could look similar, but what you’re saving on one dress, you’ll probably (hopefully) make for in quality with the other. With both cases, they’re SO different… you just can’t fairly compare them to each other!

In the wedding world, every vendor offers different things. Everyone has their own way of doing things. Some include special perks with their pricing, some charge extra for those same things. Some people just give you a flat price, some do pricing by the hour or item. Everyone has a different process, different costs, different services. It’s because every vendor is unique and different- you wouldn’t be having to choose if they were all the same!

I know when I was researching and meeting with photographers, I found myself comparing “packages” to each other. But what I also wasn’t considering was experience. Quality. What I was getting for the price. Thinking about it now, going for a bigger, more inclusive package with a lesser-quality photographer wasn’t the way to go- because even though I thought I was getting more bang for my buck, I definitely sacrificed in quality.

So for last week’s Thursday Tips, we talked about how to FIND OUT pricing from vendors. Because let’s face it- in today’s world, with communication at our fingertips, there should never be unanswered questions. In some of the comments on the post last week, people pointed out that sure, you can get pricing from people, but you just can’t compare pricing. Which of course I totally agree with. And it got me thinking about how I didn’t even *think* of that when I was researching and meeting with vendors. So today, guess what we’re talking about?!

When finding out pricing, the next step in your research would be to meet with your potential vendors. Well, I’ve found that when you’re researching and meeting with vendors, it’s really easy to want to compare them to each other. I mean, it’s what seems like the right thing to do, right? Well, unfortunately, it’s not!

Either way, you have to make a decision and you have to compare potential vendors in some way. So instead of directly comparing vendors, here are a few suggestions for the things you should look for:

*Experience* I don’t care what type of vendor we’re talking about- experience is HUGE! It’s the difference between something going horribly wrong on your wedding and something being swiftly taken care of. Even though you do pay more for those who are more experienced, think of the magic words: you get what you pay for.

*Quality* It’s crazy the difference of quality that I see in people’s work. To me, quality is not only the outcome, but also customer service. So it’s really based on your own perception of “quality”- which is great, because everyone views things differently. :) Again, you get what you pay for.

*What’s included* This is a huge thing for everyone, right? It’s essentially most of what determines what you’re paying. While we’re trying to avoid strictly comparing vendors based on pricing, it’s still important to know what you’re getting. Florals- is setup and delivery included? Photography- are you getting an album for that package price? Catering- are rentals included? So yes, it’s important to know what’s included. It has a direct outcome on the price- but don’t let it dictate the outcome of your decision. 

And then of course price just goes without saying, right? What I’m trying to convey is to not just make your decisions solely based on prices, and don’t try to compare vendors directly to each other. Just keep in mind what they offer and how they offer it. And most of all, don’t forget that you want vendors who you LIKE- you’re going to be spending lots of time with them! :)

I could go on and on and on with examples of how comparing wedding vendors is like comparing “apples to oranges”. But I don’t want to bore you all- I prefer to keep things short and sweet as much as possible.  I know some of you have had to decide on your vendors already. What helped you make your decisions? Did you look solely at price, or did you keep several factors in mind? Share with all of us- you all can learn from each other! :)

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