Choosing a wedding vendor can be a scary process, as you want every detail to be perfect! This process will be a bit simpler if you have a wedding planner, they should have a lot of contacts. If you aren't using a wedding planner, don't sweat it!
Have you been to a wedding that you absolutely loved? Get a few recommendations from the bride. Friends and family are a good place to start finding vendors. Next, the manager at the reception location should have contacts for you. They often have to deal with caterers, florists,cake bakers, DJ's, etc. If you find a vendor that you feel very comfortable with and love their style, chances are they will have a good network of vendors that they can recommend as well.
Here are the vendor categories that you may consider booking for your wedding:
Wedding Planner:This is your starting point (if you are booking a planner). The planner will have many vendor recommendations.
Caterer:Unless a caterer comes with the reception location, you will need to look for a caterer pretty early on, as it is rare for them to do more than one event in a day. The caterer will also have a recommendation for a good baker or florist.
DJ/Musicians:Whether you want a live band, or a DJ spinning the turn tables, secure this early on because this will be the main source of entertainment for most of your guests.
Photographer:Everyone needs a photographer for their wedding, you want to remember this special day forever!
Florist:Floral arrangements add a beautiful touch to your wedding. It is usually a good idea to pick your florist after you decide the theme/color for your wedding.
Cake Baker:If you have a favorite bakery, contact them a few months before your wedding to book a date. If you are going with a more exclusive baker, you will want book them sooner because they are most likely booked weeks out.
Videographer:Not everyone hires a videographer for their wedding but it is nice to have. The photographer will most definitely be able to recommend a videographer.
Hairstylist:Your favorite salon may be able to do your hair on your wedding day, so start with them. Otherwise, its likely one of your friends have a stylist they often go to.
Transportation:You'll need a form of transportation to ride off in after your wedding. Also, you'll want a limo for the wedding party, and if necessary, a shuttle for guests.
Makeup Artist:Book a makeup artist when you book your hairstylist, they go hand in hand.
Rentals:Rentals for chair, tables, tents etc. are easy to come across, so don't stress too much over this.
When you have narrowed your searches down, do some online research to look for testimonials on the vendors. Check out the vendors website to so you can look at their work. After you have decided on a vendor get an estimate. If you agree on a price, read throughly through the contract and make sure you sign one! Check that the wedding time, date and location are accurate and that the contract describes in detail exactly what services you will be getting. Make sure to put a deposit down to secure your date as well.
It is a good idea to always be polite with your vendor. The nicer you are to them, the nicer they will be with you and more willing to work with you. Most vendors are inter-linked and you do not want to get a bad reputation for yourself! If you do not like how things are going with a vendor, talk to them first and see if you can work something out. If things continue without change, then you may want to start working with another vendor.
All of this will take some time, but it is worth it to get every last detail down. Remember, this marks a very important time in your life, you want it to be everything you've dreamed of! Don't be scared to tell a vendor, politely, if their vision isn't matching up with yours. After all, you are payingthem!