Getting married typically means hiring wedding professionals. Wedding event expert Heather Vickery offers wisdom on how to get it right, from managing your planning timeline well to feeding your vendors to which ones to tip.

hiring wedding professionals

So you’re getting married. This is pretty exciting, right? Now it’s time to hire your wedding professionals, the people who will make your day everything you ever imagined it would be. The first person you should look into is a wedding planner. This is a person who will get to know your taste, style, personality and, importantly, your budget.

Hiring a wedding planner is extremely helpful for many reasons: they know the area you want to get married in and local wedding professionals; they can set you up with a creative team that’s going to knock guests’ socks off on your big day; they manage interpersonal relations throughout the planning process; they stay on task for your planning timeline and budget and work 10-14 hours on your wedding day, ensuring every single thing is perfect. They offer peace of mind, and that is priceless.

So then what happens?

As you interview your creative professionals, be sure to thoroughly and carefully review all of your vendor contracts before signing them. If you’re working with a planner, they should look these over for you as well. They can see any red flags or causes for concern. They can also point out any unique needs or requests a vendor may have in their contract.

hiring wedding vendors california gay wedding reception


On the night of your event, this is a pretty key factor. There are some vendors that work many, many hours throughout your day. They have very little opportunity to take a break – they are busy making all of your wedding dreams come true! I know personally, as a planner, if I sit down for a total of five minutes throughout the day it’s a miracle. Many vendors indicate in their contract that you are required to give them a meal. Sometimes it even states a hot meal (my contract does!) Those people typically are your planning team, photographers, videographer and band or DJ. Feeding them is simply a matter of treating them with respect.

It is crucial that you have very well-built timeline. If you’re working with a planner, this is one invaluable service they provide. You don’t want any vendors missing key moments in your evening so creating the proper timeline and letting those vendors know when it’s safe to sneak off and grab a quick bite to eat is really important.

People often think vendors should eat exactly what your guests are eating, because it’s quicker for the chef. Believe it or not, that really is not the case. When you serve the same meals, vendor meal service gets pushed back to after guest meal service (of course, because your guests always come first!) This causes complications with your timeline because when your meal is over, people get up and start dancing so your entertainment needs to be performing. Photography/videography and planning teams also need to be workingleaving them no time to get much needed sustenance.

When you send in your final guest count to your catering team be sure to include any required vendor meals. If you have a planner, they should automatically include the vendor meals. If you don’t have a planner, the caterer should ask you directly. Be sure to touch base with all your vendors and make sure you know how many meals you need and if there are any dietary restrictions (again, this is a planners job as well).

hiring wedding professionals


I suggest you tip someone who offers you a service, not a product. For example, somebody who’s creating your stationary wouldn’t necessarily deserve a tip. Now, let’s say, you absolutely fall in love with this person and you think that the stationery made your wedding beyond amazing, feel free to send a tip or a gift or a thank you note, but that’s certainly not expected. You should tip any person who’s working their butt off to make your day perfect, whether or not that’s the owner of the company.

As a general rule of thumb, I like to remind everyone that tipping, while often expected, is up to you. It’s gracious and it’s kind, and if there’s someone on your creative team that you believe deserves a tip, you should give them one. If there’s someone you feel would normally get a tip, but they didn’t earn it, you’re not obligated to give it. When clients are working with me, I like to make sure that nobody has to deal with the financial aspect of their wedding on their big day so I suggest that my clients provide me with envelopes for tips and then I distribute those tips at the end of the evening (or when a service has ended). If, for any reason, a tip wasn’t earned, I return it to my client at the end of the night.

So congratulations on your engagement! This should be a really fun and exciting time for you and your fiancé/e. In order to make everything as awesome as possible, remember to take care of the vendors that are working so hard to take care of you.

Heather VickeryGreatest Expectations owner Heather Vickery is a mother of four, an event planner, a transformational business coach and an event producer at the Gay Wedding Institute. The Chicago-based wedding and events expert has more than 20 years of experience running her own business. Through the years, Heather has developed powerful business strategies and, through a very difficult and liberating personal transformation, she has learned the value of authentic living and truly pursuing the things that enrich ones life. Heather is passionate about helping people grow to unimaginable heights and hopes that she makes the world a little better, one step at a time.





Photo sources: Heidi Geldhauser for Our Labor of Love | Clay + Ruben’s wedding