A thread on Weddingbee struck my interest today. A bride was asking other members how they knew that a vendor was right for them. It got me thinking because Dr. Light and I were very satisfied with not only how quickly we chose our vendors, but we have lots of faith that the ones we chose would do right by us.
In the Great Search for Vendors 2010, our vendor visits went as follows:
2 venues visited, 2nd one selected
2 cake shops visited, 2nd one selected
1 caterer visited, selected
1 photographer met, selected
Maybe that would be akin to crazy for some people, but we did spend a lot of time researching prices, menus, and reputation before we made physical appointments.
Beyond that, however, one big thing about all our vendors stood out to me: trust. Every single vendor we selected gave us an ample amount of time to sit down and talk with the owner or main proprietor, and they shared a lot about their business with us. I find that people who are willing to give you their time, even when possibly not being paid, are much better business-people. They know that side stuff comes up.
What turned me off to the two vendors we saw but didn't select?
The first, the barn at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. I made a viewing appointment with someone's assistant, and then found out when we got there that she had never been informed of our meeting. Luckily, she was on premises and gave us a tour anyway, but I was unhappy with the disorganization and the fact that a simple schedule could not be communicated, especially over something that was this important.
The mix-up made me afraid that other important items would not be communicated among the staff later, and I think ultimately was part of why we did not choose the venue.
The second venue was Das Meyer Bakery. I have no trust issue with them - I just liked Cake Crumbs better. :) Das Meyer's style seemed a bit more old-fashioned. Less color, less fun. But their cake WAS delicious!
As for the vendors we DID choose, here is their breakdown.
1. Venue - Meadows at Marshdale. Not only was our tour guide friendly and more than willing to show us the whole venue, their selection of linens, and to shoot the sh!t with us for a very long time, but he seemed really open to our wacky wedding plans. He definitely was interested in our business and viewed us more than an interaction. Heck, he showed us more of the property (they have several venues on the property) just because he was proud of it. He really helped make the experience for us.
2. Cake - Cake Crumbs Bakery. Both owners (husband and wife) made time to come see us. They were excited about our cake and were already talking about ideas for the design.
3. Caterer - The Food Guy. We had someone assigned to us as we first got there, but the owner kept wandering in and talking to us about options. It was fun to have him cruise around - you could really tell he liked being with customers the most! Plus, their willingness to build a menu for the event was really exciting and unique.
4. Photographer - Vanessa Kruse of Flourish Studio Photography. It was really meeting Vanessa that sealed the deal. I already loved her style of photography and her non-invasive editing. Her blog had impressed me quite a bit, but she was more than willing to bring albums and pictures that didn't make it to the blog so we could see the entire array of her work. Her personality was also wonderful - friendly, outgoing, and excited to shoot our wedding. And, as it turns out, we loved the engagement photos she took for us.
So there it is. When it comes down to it, I want someone I can trust and talk to, someone who views me more than a business transaction. I feel like our vendors are people who would take extra time out of their busy days to help answer a question or to make sure our experience with their company was exactly right.