“Are you available for my wedding date?”
This question may seem obvious, but it is the very first question you should ask – especially at larger wedding expos with hundreds of vendors exhibiting. If the vendor is already booked, it’ll save both of you valuable time.
“Have you worked at my venue before?”
If they have, great! As a follow-up question, ask them about any advice they would offer about your venue. If the vendor hasn’t worked at your venue yet, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If they mention in their answer about doing a site visit with you at some point during the months leading up to your wedding day, that’s a perfectly acceptable answer, too.
“Will you be the person I work with? If not, can I meet them before signing a contract?”
Some booths are staffed with employees, past clients, and even hired help for that weekend’s bridal show. If the answer to the first question is no, the second answer needs to be yes. If that person is present at the booth, ask to be introduced to them.
“What are the first names of the last couple you worked with, and what was their wedding like?”
Occasionally, it’s good to ask an unexpected question and take the vendor off-script. There is some valuable insight to be gained from this question – do they care as much as their advertising claims they do – so listen carefully to how they respond.
“Is this your full-time profession?”
It may be, it may not be. A vendor that works in the wedding industry part-time isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I know several that are fantastic at what they do – but they may not be as responsive or accessible as you like.
“Can you tell me about three creative elements that you have recently done for your clients?”
Their answer will give you insight into their passion, talent, and of course, creativity. If one of the three captures your attention, make a note to definitely follow up with this wedding pro after the bridal show.
“What does the process leading up to my wedding day look like?”
What does the wedding pro do behind the scenes that won’t be seen during the wedding reception? For some vendor categories – such as wedding planner, photographer, officiant, and DJ – this will be a lengthy answer. Is that vendor detailed and organized? Or do they seem like they will be an added stress?
“What makes you unique from your competitors?”
Answers will vary from professional to professional but do listen for any negative comments. That’s an immediate red flag. Talented, reputable wedding professionals can stand on their own merit, not trash talk. Also, do you really want to work with someone who may talk negatively about you behind your back?
“As a ____________, what is your greatest strength and weakest weakness? What about as a business owner?”
Wedding professionals aren’t perfect, we’re human, too. I love this question as it provides an authentic, insightful look into the vendor’s character and personality traits.
“What is the craziest thing that has ever happened on someone’s wedding day? How did you handle it?”
This is a great question that illustrates their level of experience. Things happen, we’re all human, but their answer may help you avoid a potential pitfall on your wedding day.
“What are your interests outside of the wedding industry?”
Here’s another question that will throw wedding professionals for a loop. As a wedding professional, I love this question because it allows me to make a real connection with the bride and/or groom. If you don’t feel the right vibe, that’s perfectly okay. We want to work with people we really like, too.
“Can you provide me with ballpark pricing for my wedding?”
As I wrote in my 25 Tips for Making The Most of Attending a Wedding Show post, there likely isn’t enough time for a vendor to find out everything they need to know to provide an exact price. However, with just a few logistical details, competent wedding professionals should be able to give you a ballpark estimate for your budgeting purposes. If the initial number seems expensive, follow up with why. Jot down your notes and review them after the wedding show. There is no need to make hasty decisions in the heat of the moment.
Originally Published: January 11, 2018
Last Updated: December 28, 2021