Comparing Wedding Professionals, Apples to Apples

applesAndOranges.jpg

"I'm overwhelmed."

We hear this sentence so frequently from brides and grooms!  Actually, it's probably the #1 reason I hear that they want to hire a wedding planner... which is fine by me.  The beauty of hiring a professional wedding planner is that I deal with other wedding pros every day, and I have a spreadsheet of over 600 vendors in the North Florida area to provide just about any service you may need for your wedding, or your life in general.  I know who fits into your budget, whose personality will match yours, even who you'll keep in touch with after the wedding.  But that's a different blog post entirely.

The hardest part of selecting any wedding professional is comparing them.  Some venues include everything, from linens to chair covers to food and beverage.  Some rent you a big, empty room, and you need to supply everything else.

Some photographers include extras like engagement sessions and albums, some don't.  Some bands will quote a price for 5 hours, some will quote only 3 or 4.  It's almost impossible to look at only the price and determine the best deal, or the right choice for you.

So how DO you compare all these options?

First, be clear with your expectations. When you call a band for a quote, ask them to give you a quote on their 7-piece band for a 5-hour reception.  Also be sure to include the reception location, just in case there are any travel fees or other considerations.

Second, don't be afraid to ask for a custom package. If you've met with a few photographers and you've determined you want eight hours of coverage with a flush mount album and an engagement session, ask your favorites what their price would be on this package.

Third, be sure to take other factors into consideration, not just the price. Another wedding coordinator may offer you the same number of service hours that I do for half the price; but does he or she have the same amount of experience, the back-up team in place, the reliability?

If these decisions are simply too much, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner for a one-hour consultation - you'd be amazed how much information you can get in an hour!  For a relatively small investment, you'll have your peace of mind - and your sanity!