This is a great question. The short answer is, it depends. The long answer is, we will give you a custom timeline of when to book each vendor when we do our first planning session. We want to make sure the answer we give you to this question is aligned with your specific priorities, style, and budget. (not to mention market demands).
Questions to ask all vendors before you book them
How long have you been working in weddings?
Is this your full time job or something you do on the side?
Can I see a portfolio of your work and read reviews?
Are you registered with the state?
Do you have liability insurance?
What deposit do you require?
When is your final payment due?
What is your cancellation policy?
What forms of payment do you accept? Any fee's associated with any of those payments?
Are you able to work with my budget?
What can I do to make this a smooth and successful experience for everyone?
What form of communication works best for you? (Email, phone, text etc)
If a tree falls on your head and you are not able to work my wedding, what is your back up plan?
Questions to ask venue's before you book.
Am I able to choose my own vendors, or do you have a preffered list of vendors I need to choose from. If you have a preffered list, are there fee's associated with choosing vendors that are NOT on the list?
Am I able to bring in my own food or desserts or do I need to use a licensed caterer?
What rentals are included in the rental price? (Chairs, tables, linens, etc)
Are there set up or room flip fee's?
Are there limits to the alcohol we can consume. (Some venue's only allow beer and wine)
Are there music restrictions? (Some noise laws require music to be off at 10)
How many hours is the rental for? Does that include set up and clean up time? How much is it to add on additional hours?
What is the parking situation for guests?
Are there areas for the bridal party to get ready
Do you require clients to provide additional liability insurance?
What is your refund policy should the wedding get canclled or should you the venue not to be able to hold my wedding?
How can I get the rental price reduced. (always ask the question)
What decor limitations/rules are there? (Can things be hung, taped, etc)
How many guests can this venue COMFORTABLY fit? Is that for a sit down reception or cocktail style reception?
Do you have public wifi access? (this is important for DJ's)
Are there additional fee's for my vendors? Do they pay you a fee for working here?
For those of you who are booking a venue in a state with a sales tax, ask the venue coordinator what services/goods will be taxed. Clarify what the tax rate is.
Ask the venue coordinator what their role is? Do they decorate the space for you?
If this is an outside venue, ask what the rain/bad weather plan is? Does that work for your estimated guest count? What additional charges does that entail.(Cost of tent rentals etc)
What is the most common complain of your customers? (This is a good question to get some honest insight)
Questions to ask photographers before you book.
Have you shot at my venue? What did you love? What was challenging?
Do you bring a second shooter? Is that an optional buy up?
Are your packages flexible? Can we work to create a customized package?
What is your turn around time? When can I expect my images?
Do you work from a shop list?
Am I able to request a specific shot/pose?
Should a tree fall on your head, what is your back up plan?
What is your refund policy should you not be able to shoot my wedding or should the wedding be cancelled or postponned?
Approximately how many images should I expect to receive?
How much post production editing do you guys do?
What is a "pefect" wedding for you to shoot?
What can I do to ensure we have amazing pictures.
How do you work with a videographe
If we run late on time, and need to extend your hours day of, is that possible? What are the costs associated with doing so?
Do you provide your own lighing?
Would you like a meal provided for you? Any notes or dietary restrictions on that meal?
Do you need to take any additional breaks that should factored into the timeline?
Is it extra to go to additional locations on the day?
Do you prefer shooting indoors or outdoors?
Is it extra to receive the my images on a flash drive?
If the package you are choosing includes an album, ask to see examples of a few albums.
What was your worst wedding and what make it the worst?
Do you have to order your prints exclusively through them, or can you get the high resolution files from them to print elsewhere.
Do the photographers plan to use your images for marketing/promotion materials?
If you want to have your wedding submitted to blogs or magazines, ask them if they have any experience getting published.
Questions to ask DJ's before you book
Have you worked at our venue before? Any pros/cons we should consider?
How do you work with us to craft a play list?
Are you comfortable making announces and being the emcee for the evening?
How would you describe your DJ style
Do you have lapel mics for the ceremony and wireless mics for the toasts?
What are your current favorite dance songs?
Should a tree fall on your head and you are unable to DJ our wedding, what is your back up plan?
If your equipment suffers a malfunction, do you have back up gear?
Do you take requests day-of?
How familiar are you with our prefered music styles( country, top 40, oldies etc)
Are there going to be additional set up charges (because the venue doesn't have an elevator). Or are there additional charges for multiple set up's. (ceremony, cocktail hour, reception)
Do you have enough gear to allow for multiple set ups and smooth transitions between them?
Do you need breaks that we need to schedule?
Do you need a meal? Any food restrictions?
What was your least favorite wedding and what made it so?
If we run late and need to extend your time day-of, is that a possibility? What is the charge per additional hour?
What does your set up entail? Do you provide ligthing etc?
Do you need a table/linen or do you provide your own? If you do need tables/linens, what size tables do you need?
What else should we know?
Questions to ask caterers before you book
Are you a licensed and insured caterer and will you be able to provide proof of that to my venue?
How would you describe your food style?
How many weddings have you catered? How long have you been in business?
Would you say your strenght is your food or your service?
What is average size of the events you cater?
How many weddings/events do you typically do in one day?
What is your policy on providing a tasting before we book?
Have you catered at our venue before? Any challenges/hurdles we should be aware of. How many hours before our ceremony starts do you like to arrive?
Are there additional charges for table and chair set up?
Are there additional charges for removing trash/recycling?
Are there additional charges for setting the table?
Do you provide staff for bussing the tables?
How many service staff do you think I need for my guest count at my venue?
Do you have licensed bartenders to serve alcohol at our wedding? Are we able to provide alcohol for you to serve? If so, is there a corkage fee?
Should I have a second bar with my guest count. Any additional charges for that?
Will your staff cut, plate and serve our wedding cake? Any additional fee's for that?
If there is left over food, are we able to take that home?
What are the most popular items on your menu?
Will your staff light the candles on the tables?staff cut, plate and serve the cake?
What are your service fee's?
Are there any taxes that will be on my bill?
Any tips for lowering my catering costs?
Questions to add florists before you book
What style of floral design do you specialize in?
Can I see a portfolio of your work?
Are you familiar with our ceremony and reception spaces. Do you have any venue specific floral decor ideas?
Do you rent vases, or do we need to arrange those rentals elsewhere
What seasonal flowers do you reccomend we use in order to save money?
Do you provide same bouquets and arrangements?
When will you delivery the bouquets and arrangements?
Is there a fee for delivery and set up?
Are there any challenges you forsee with my vision?
What can we re-purpose to maximize my budget?
What is the average floral budget of your clients?
Do you have an ideas or suggestions for improving by vision?
How much should I expect to spend on my wedding?
When it comes to budget, there are really only two things to consider;
How much can you afford to spend on your wedding
How much do you want to spend on your wedding.
Weddings can be rather inexpensive, or they can be very expensive. Never lose site of the fact that in the State of Oregon, all you need to get married is a license and two witnesses. Everything else is icing on the cake.
With that being said, here is a graphic we created that illustrates what the average wedding costs in this state:
How does YPB help me with my budget.
We help our clients with their budgets in a number of ways:
During our first meeting we will sit down and talk about your budget. We highly encourage you to have a figure in mind. From there we will anaylize what you have spent so far, what you have left and what vendors you still need to book. From there we will give you customized vendor reccomendations for amazing vendors who will fit with in your budget.
We also help with budgets when it comes to decor. We are experts in crafting incredible wedding designs regardless of your budget. We have a process we call From Pinterest to Perfect where we sit down with you, your budget, and your Pinterest dreams and craft a gorgeous, affordable design.
We help with your budget by passing along discounts, where we can like our 10% discount at rental companies. While its not a huget savings, every little bit helps.
We help with your budget management by helping you avoid costly mistakes.
We also help our clients by being honest about what is needed, and what is just an un-neccessary expense.
How much alcohol should I plan for
While I would take a good look at who is on your guest list, and how much they usually drink, our rule of thumb is to count on 1 drink per person per hour of drinking time. While grandma is only going to have 1 drink all night. Your college buddies, are going to drink more than one drink per hour, so it evens out.
As for splitting it between your beverage options, I find in Portland, most weddings split 60% wine, 40% beer. If there is hard alcohol, I find it breaks down fairly evenly. (33% beer, 33% wine, 33% mixed drinks)
How much cake, how many cupcakes should I order?
One of the places we see a lot of waste is in the cake department. So many clients over order and we end up with half a cake left. My reccomendation is order enough cake to serve 80% of your guests. We have included a great cheat sheet so you can familiarize yourself with how many servings each size provides. A big thank you to Ucreatecrafts.com for the image.
Now if you are opting for cucpakes I reccomend you order enough big cucpakes for 90% of you guests or 1.5 mini cupcakes for 100% of your guests.
When should I send a Save the Date (STD)?
When should I send our invitations?
Do I need a reply card, or can I have them RSVP online?
What are your thoughts on assigned seating?
Do I need a head table? Who sits at a head table?
How do I address the invitation?
Are there any resources you recommend for creating our ceremony?
What are your thoughts on wedding favors?
Which vendors should I tip?
When it comes to tipping, I find that YPB's reccomendation differs greatly from the rest of the wedding coordination community, so I will give you both answers.
A) Martha Stewart says to tip all of your vendors 15-20% depending on how good of a job they did.
B) YPB says Martha's answer will get expensive in a hurray. Look, you are already spending a small fortune on this wedding as is. You are already paying your vendors a fair amount of money to show up, work hard, and do a great job. Unlike say a waitress, wedding vendors aren't working for their tips. Now if a vendor really goes above and beyond, or does a truly outstanding job, then a tip is great, and will be very appreciated regardless of the amount.
Two other notes: I do reccomend tipping your hair and make up artist, unless its the owner of the company, and also remember you are already "tipping" your catering crew with the service fee they included in your bill, so you do not need to worry about them.
Lastly, if you have vendors who have really done a great job, and you would like to tip them, put the amount in an envelope with their name on the envelope and we can take care of distributing them at the end of the evening.
Who gives Toasts
Answer and give link to toasting blog
Can I just ask people for money, instead of gifts?