Spotting Wedding Vendor Red Flags

wedding vendor red flags

Navigating Wedding Vendor Red Flags: A Blueprint for Your Perfect Day

We know you’re eagerly crafting the wedding day of your dreams, and finding the right wedding vendors is a pivotal part of this process. But here’s the scoop – not all vendors are created equal, and some might be waving red flags that are easy to miss. It’s crucial to keep those detective hats handy, especially when it comes to choosing the vendors who’ll turn your dreams into reality. We’ve all heard the stories…

  • The last-minute cancellations
  • The disappearing acts
  • The lackluster performances

But fear not! In this blog, we’re here to be your wedding vendor watchdogs, helping you navigate the hiring process like seasoned pros. Get ready to arm yourself with the knowledge you need to spot those sneaky wedding vendor red flags and ensure your path to “I do” is as smooth as your dance moves on the big day!

Let’s dive in and uncover what to look out for before hiring.

Red Flag #1: Charging Significantly Below the National Average. 

The expression ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true in weddings, especially since it’s a day you can never get back.  If your wedding vendor is charging lower rates than others in your area, you should take a close look at why.  Ask yourself:

  • Do they have the same level of experience?
  • Do they use professional equipment?
  • Do they have solid, legitimate business practices?

Red Flag #2: Giving Discounts to Pay in Full or With Cash

While it sounds like a great way to save money for your wedding, paying a vendor in full at the time of booking means they have all your money and you have little power if they ghost you.  Even less if you paid in cash. 

Work with wedding vendors that allow you to make payments as you lead up to the wedding and accept multiple forms of payment.  It is industry standard to pay for services 30 days prior, but you’ll have had many touch points by that time and can be confident in their professionalism, in other words, they’ll show up to your wedding. 

Red Flag #3: Difficulty Communicating. 

If your wedding vendor is hard to nail down before your wedding, when you still owe them money, imagine how much harder they’ll be to get in touch with after you’ve paid.  If they only communicate via messenger or text, and don’t offer telephone calls or Zooms, you need to make sure you aren’t being scammed.

Red Flag #4: No Dedicated Backup System In Place

Several times a month we receive panicked calls from couples looking for a DJ or photographer because their vendor just canceled or got sick.  We also see posts in professional industry groups looking for an emergency backup. 

Ask – flat out – the details about your vendor’s backup system.  This is also true of photographers with second shooters.  Make sure your second shooter is a vetted professional and not someone that answered a social media post the week of your wedding.

Red Flag #5: No Backup Equipment On Site 

Equipment can fail anytime for any reason and in that downtime, you might not have music or photos and video captured.  Make sure that your wedding team has all the equipment needed to keep your day moving. 

  • Backup cameras & memory cards
  • Additional team members on call
  • Additional speakers, microphones & proper cords etc.

Red Flag #6: Not Carrying Professional Insurance 

No one wants to think about the possibility of your photographer not delivering images, but memory cards can go bad.  Professional wedding vendors should carry professional insurance that covers damage and memory card image loss. They should also carry general liability should an accident occur, and it’s often required by your wedding venue.

Red Flag #7: Don’t Have a Professional Website

While most wedding pros will have social media, they should also have a professional website that shows their work and contact information. 

Red Flag #8: Not Having Reviews That Span Across Years

Of course, everyone starts somewhere, but having all new reviews that were posted recently should give you pause.  This can indicate that the wedding vendor is new and some of those reviews may not be legitimate, but are actually from friends and family. Read our wedding reviews here

Red Flag #9: Venue Familiarity and Recommendations. 

Your wedding venue sees all the best (and worst) wedding vendors throughout the year.  If your wedding vendor hasn’t worked at your wedding venue, that can be a red flag.  Your venue coordinator is also a great independent reference point for vetting vendors you are considering. Ask to see your venues Preferred Vendors list. 

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