1) Review the terms and conditions. Look out especially for: cancellation, fee schedule, deposit requirements and refund policy! What happens in case of flood, or other natural or manmade disaster (like union strike or fire) that can affect being able to get married in the venue and on the date of your wedding?
2) Beware: a venue's wedding coordinator is NOT the same as a wedding planner. Don't expect the venue coordinator to put together a detailed timeline, list of items or confirm details with other vendors (unless stated otherwise in the contract).
3) Follow your intuition and trust your instinct. Personality is very important. Finding a wedding vendor is like online dating. You can check out their profile and gallery of photos, but until you meet in person (or on the phone if you are planning a destination wedding), you won't know if "sparks will fly"! You want to make sure you and your prospective vendor have an excellent rapport. Brides and grooms often build an intimate relationship with their vendors and you want to make sure your vendors are not only professional, but courteous, responsive and detail-oriented. If they don't demonstrate such qualities in your initial meetings/calls, then that is a red flag. Move on!!!
4) Consider purchasing wedding insurance. Wedding insurance can cover potential problems lost deposits, vendor no-shows, cancellations, inclement weather, military deployment, health emergencies and more. (from Wedsafe.com)
- If you're worried about recovering your deposits if a vendor goes bankrupt or doesn't deliver as promised
- If you're concerned that extreme weather or an unexpected illness or injury could force you to postpone
- If the bride or groom is in the military and approved leave could be cancelled
6) Do your homework: ask for referrals, check out online reviews -- not only on Yelp, but Wedding Wire and other wedding review sites. Ask your wedding planner if they've worked with them before and what they may know about the vendor.
7) When you talk with the venue coordinator or vendor are they vague? Can they explain their pricing structure, how they will staff your wedding, etc? These details are critical to the success of your wedding day. If they don't have these within a reasonable amount of time, this is a red flag.
8) Always secure a contract or letter of agreement with vendors -- even friends. If they don't have a formal contract, this is a huge no-no! Why would you want to give money to someone you can't hold accountable with a contract? And what if a vendor is a friend doing a favor? You should still put your terms into an agreement -- that way, both parties -- you and your friend -- are aligned on expectations and you can avoid resentment or not having an important detail taken care of.