How to Hire Wedding Day Vendors: Tips from a Real Couple
We understand that choosing the right vendors makes a huge difference in your wedding experience–from the day you embark on the planning process to the last day of your honeymoon.
Our friends at Culinary Crafts sat down with one of their favorite couples for this Q&A about how they chose their wedding day vendors. Stefan and Taylor Berg give us the rundown on their experience with hiring wedding day vendors, from the food to the flowers, cake and venue.
The couple, not originally from Utah, were familiar with Park City because the bride’s family owns a vacation home there that she and Stefan had visited several times. According to them, they always loved their visits to Utah and they knew as soon as they were engaged Park City is where they wanted to host their wedding.
Here’s what Taylor and Stefan shared with us about how they selected their wedding vendors even though they lived out of state:
First, tell us about your wedding.
Stefan: “Having our friends and family come to such a beautiful place made the wedding extra special. We really wanted to surprise everyone with something, so we decided to keep the actual wedding venue a secret. On our wedding day we gave everyone instructions to be at one of three pick-up spots at a certain time. Our wedding planner had arranged for three buses to pick up our guests and drive them to our wedding location, Blue Sky Ranch. We heard that the guests were buzzing with excitement during their ride, “Where are we going”, “Why are we on a bus?”, “What’s happening!” When they arrived at Blue Sky, they were in awe of how beautiful, serene and remote the ranch was. The views of the mountains were breathtaking. Our wedding was off to a fantastic start.”
Taylor: “Yes, that was such a fun thing to do! I especially loved how intimate and romantic our wedding location was. It felt magical and was everything I hoped for. I’m still getting calls and emails from guests about how much they enjoyed the food, drinks and dancing, and the whole experience at that beautiful ranch.”
What were the first steps you took to find your wedding vendors?
T: We didn’t want to rush the planning process so we set our wedding date for 16 months after our engagement. We have friends who live in Park City, so we asked them for some recommendations, and then we started researching vendors online. Mostly, we looked at vendor websites, but we also read some reviews and looked at Pintrist pages. After we felt like we had researched enough, we narrowed our choices down to a handful of vendors and made appointments to meet them on our next trip to Park City.
S: Yes, we met with a variety of vendors on that first trip….florists, caterers, wedding planners etc. It was really important to meet them in person. Looking at their websites and work samples helped us narrow down who might be a good fit for us, but meeting them in person was key to making a final decision. In some cases we had been really excited about a vendor’s website, but when we met and talked with them, things just didn’t click. It’s really important to meet your key people in person!
How did you work together when deciding which vendor to hire?
S: We each researched things that we were interested in, and then shared what we found. We stayed in communication about all our ideas, and, we both met with the key vendors. When it came time to make a decision it was pretty easy to tell which vendor was best for us based on our research and the connection we had with them during our meeting.
T: Stefan is a foodie, so it made sense for him to take the lead in researching caterers. I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted the ceremony to be like, and the celebration in terms of decoration and style, so I took the lead on the wedding planners and florists.
How did you know when you found the right vendor?
T: After meeting with a vendor we discussed our impressions privately. It was pretty easy to tell if a vendor had really listened to our vision. We could tell if they were genuinely interested in getting to know us. If they asked questions that helped us express what we wanted, I felt like they were really making an effort to understand us.
S: Right. We ended up picking vendors that we got a good vibe from, who were easy to talk to and who answered our questions. Having a good connection with our vendors made the rest of the wedding planning a much smoother process. Were there any vendors that stood out to you?
S: Our vendors were all amazing and I truly mean that! It’s hard to pick only a couple that stood out. But the two that come to mind first are CulinaryCrafts and Bluebird Events.
T: We met with Mary from CulinaryCrafts on our first planning trip to Park City. We were excited to meet her because the food shown on her website looked so delicious and her presentations really caught my eye. We scheduled a tasting so that we could sample some of the foods we wanted at our wedding and meet some of the people on her team. We loved it! By the end of the tasting we had planned the entire menu and felt like we had found a friend in Mary.
S: Mary and her team listened to our vision and put their own special creative twists on the food to make it unique for our menu. Even after the wedding, our guests could not stop talking about how fantastic the food was and how friendly the catering staff was. Being a foodie, it was very important to me that the food at my wedding be amazing. Thanks to CulinaryCrafts, it was!
T: Agreed! Finding the wedding planner though, took a little longer than we expected. I think it was because this person is “in charge” of everything. So it’s very important that you have a sense of confidence and trust in your planner. We met with a few planners before we talked to Merideth at Bluebird Events. The other planners were all very nice, but some of them couldn’t assure us that they would be the person at our wedding. Personally, I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable with this. After I had spent a year working with a planner, I would want that person to be at the wedding to oversee everything. When we met Merideth, I knew at once that she was the right person for us. She immediately caught our vision and she assured us that she would be at our wedding to over see everything.
S: Yes, Merideth was wonderful to work with. She handled more details than I could keep track of, had great ideas, and kept everything flowing smoothly on our wedding day. Who were some of the other vendors you worked with?
S: Our photographer, Blake Peterson’s work also stood out to me. It was cool to see the action photos of skiers and snowboarders on her website. I coach high school basketball and have photographers come to our games to take pictures of the kids and her work reminded me of that.
T: Blake is a childhood friend of mine who I absolutely adore and I admire her work. I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable with the person taking all of the photos as I knew these would be memories we would look back on and share with our own children one day.T: Artisan Bloom’s work was truly breathtaking and exceeded our expectations. I felt their work captured the romantic vibe I wanted and they took our vision and made it even more fabulous with their gorgeous flower arrangements. I really felt their work made a beautiful statement and awed our guests.
S: We hired Jared Wortley as our videographer. His work is magical. He captured all the details of our special day and now we have a video we can watch to be reminded of what a wonderful experience we had.
T: I loved the band, Changing Lanes! It was so fun having musicians who interacted with our family and friends. We wanted our guests to have fun and enjoy the night, and the band kept everyone entertained and on their feet.
S: And of course, our venue, Blue Sky. This was the perfect venue for our wedding. It was secluded with beautiful scenery and ambience. We knew it was the right place the minute we saw it. LeAnne, their coordinator, was beyond helpful with any questions we had. We also really liked that we were able to bring in our own vendors. LeAnne provided suggestions, but we could choose our own vendors.
What is something you wish you knew about finding wedding vendors before you started planning your wedding?
S: Finding the vendor that you have that special connection with is really important. Knowing that your vendor really gets your vision and is thinking on your behalf is key. I hadn’t realized how important that would be to make the whole process less stressful and more fun, but looking back it was the most important thing.
Ashley is the in-house web editor for both Utah Bride & Groom and Utah Style & Design magazines. Not only does she write articles and immerse herself in Utah's design scene, she's currently finishing a bachelor's degree in strategic communications with a minor in multidisciplinary design at the University of Utah.