By July, Chris and I had picked a place for the wedding, but we still had some other little details to explore and decide on. There was definitely a lot left to do! So far we were pretty much on our timeline target, and we didn’t want to slow down.
We still had to pick a caterer, one of the most important pieces—and that requires its own discussion, so I’ll come back to that in a later post. But aside from the food, the next biggest parts of the wedding we needed were the flowers, a photographer, a DJ, and transportation; so we got to hitting the web and asking around for recommendations.
One of the best resources we had, I have to say, were our friends and acquaintances: A coworker used to be in the catering business and gave me the contact of an amazing florist whom he had known for years. One of our photo editors told me about a photographer that she knew of through friends.
So we met with the recommended florist, Jimmy Vlantes from the Empty Vase in Closter, NJ, and loved his ideas, so we picked him to take care of our flowers. When we visited him one Saturday, he was working on the centerpieces and flowers for a wedding the next day, and both Chris and I thought they were beautiful. Then, after work the next week, we set up a meeting with Kimberly of Kimberly Mufferi Photography. She brought her books, some sample work, and was super knowledgeable; we were impressed. Her work was exactly what we were envisioning for our photos and she had really great energy. We didn’t book her on the spot, but we did a few days later. To get to know her better, we also scheduled an engagement shoot for a couple of months before the wedding; that would help us all work together before the big day (and also provide some pretty shots that we could print and use at the wedding itself!).
Chris and I didn’t end up interviewing more florists or photographers—the endorsements of our friends definitely made us more comfortable with our choices (of course, seeing the work they had previously done confirmed it!).
For the other vendors, though—the DJ, the caterer and the transportation—we interviewed, sampled, negotiated and really researched several candidates, since we mostly sought them out with plain old Google and through some wedding websites. We had to be happy and comfortable with each one. Chris and I had our budget of how much we were willing to spend for each, and for each we negotiated to fit them into our plan. For the most part, vendors will be receptive—you just have to be open with them about how much you are setting apart for that part of your wedding. And be realistic! You’re not going to ask a DJ who normally charges $3,000 for a night to come down to $400—so budget accordingly.
In the end, we were very pleased with all our choices, and felt incredibly proud to have planned everything and done all the legwork and research in a short amount of time; we had picked and booked a caterer, flowers and DJ by late August; the limo we booked closer to the wedding. We only had a few details left to work out!
When it came to your own planning, which vendors were the hardest to pick and why?