You have probably heard the term “Wedding vendor” thrown around a lot lately, and you are left to wonder if it is a new wedding related “rich man” lingo.There’s no reason to feel intimidated. Vendors are individuals or companies involved in selling goods (product vendors) and providing services (service vendors) to end customers (in this case, the intending couple).
In simpler terms, wedding vendors include the photographer, make-up artiste, decorator, alaga iduro, alaga ijoko, security, hair stylist, caterer, nail technician, hostess, florist e.t.c. Oh! and that your aso-ebi woman at Balogun market (yes, I seem to have a thing for the famous market), she is a wedding vendor!
Vendors basically work side by side with you, with the aim to interpret, conceptualize and actualize the picture you have of what your wedding should look like. Hence, the need to have professional and creative vendors on board.
Sourcing for and, ultimately, choosing the right wedding vendors could be a daunting task. Here are some handy tips to guide you through it.
Vendors and Budget
Before the ultimate search for the right vendor(s) begins, it is essential for couples to define their budget. This means having a rough estimate of the total amount of money you can afford to spend on your wedding, as well as allocating estimate amount to the different factions that make up the entirety of the wedding. There are several free downloadable wedding budget templates online to guide you through the allocation process.
Why is it necessary to set your budget? Well, chances of you getting carried away with eye catching pictures, polished presentations and showcases by vendors are quite high. A defined budget constantly reminds you of your spending limits and keeps you in check when choosing your vendors.
There is a need to understand this simple fact: Pricey does not translate to superior quality. That Band A is charging you 200,000 naira while Band B is charging 750,000 naira does not mean Band A is not capable of giving Band B a run for their money. Band A just might end up supplying your wedding party with “mad” tunes, enough to make your guests ditch those heels for comfortable flats, remove their well tied layered gele, let loose, and groove till they max out.
Irrespective of your financial strength (splurge or tight budget), everyone has a spending limit. The idea is to source for vendors that fit into your budget, without undermining quality.
Referrals and Recommendations
I am guessing buying a dress, knowing fully well you have no idea what it looks like, is a huge no-no for you. We all believe in seeing what we will end up paying for with our hard earned money.
The same principle applies when sourcing for vendors. Never book a vendor without getting to see various samples of past or ongoing projects, or recommendations from couples they have worked with previously.
Feel free to request for demo CDs from bands, pictures from decorators (preferably with different themes, as this gives you the opportunity to gauge how versatile and creative they are), or ask caterers to prepare sample dishes of the menu you are hoping to work with for your wedding.
The wedding day is a once in a lifetime (that’s the aim) event. More often than not, it involves lots of service providers, with of course, different personalities. Some you instantly connect with, others you just cannot seem to, irrespective of how top notch their services are.
Since your wedding day will most likely be the most emotional day of your life, it is advisable to have vendors who will be able to put you at ease, not stress you out even more.
Having one on one meetings helps you access their demeanour. That way, you get to know those you will be comfortable having around, and those you certainly won’t want anywhere near your wedding.
And by all means, come prepared for meetings with questions. Ask for package details, payment plans and back up plans in case unprecedented situations pop up. Ask if they will personally be around at the wedding, or if they will be available all through the duration of the wedding. Ask as many relevant questions as you can but remember to keep it professional.
Back to money matters (everyone’s favourite). While some people have a natural talent for beating down prices, others do not (I fall under this category). For those who cannot, having a close relative or trustworthy friend with superb bargaining prowess to help out is advisable. The most important thing is to remain professional and respectful while at it.
And, hey, who says you can not schedule meetings with different service providers of a particular service (e.g meeting with as many as 5 caterers)? It provides you with a lot more ground for comparing prices and skills. The key here is to stay under budget as reasonable as possible, putting quality into consideration.
– Tolulope Ademoroti
Tolulope Ademoroti is the director of Jéájoplan Events, an events management outfit that caters to designing and coordinating notable events. She is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, who has insane love for her siblings, chocolates and dodo. Follow her on Instagram @jeajo_plan or mail her at email@example.com
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