Without a good team of vendors it's almost impossible to throw a wedding. From the food to the music to the venue having a good working relationship with the people you've hired is imperative to follow a certain etiquette so they can do their job and you can enjoy your big day!

Do You Tip?

If you're getting married in Ireland then the culture around tipping is usually pretty lax, it might depend on the vendor and their performance on the day but I would air on the side of tipping if possible. Check your contracts to see if gratuity has been included in the overall cost (it often is for large events like weddings), however, if your bartender has been absolutely incredible all night or the serving staff have gone above and beyond then passing over an extra bit of cash as a thanks certainly won't go amiss!

Do You Provide Food?

In short yes. It's a little crazy to expect somebody to spend 4-6 hours taking photos, playing music or coordinating your wedding day with nothing to eat! When you're allocating a budget for the meals you should factor in food for the photographer(s), musicians, coordinator and their assistants; talk to your caterers about these meals being for vendors and they may give you a discount, even if they don't it's important for them to know what is and isn't going to guests for things like timing, dietary restrictions and for informing the servers. If you're really tight on budget then at least inform your vendors beforehand that they'll have to bring their own food so that they're not stuck on the day.

At What Point Do You Pay Them?

As with most contracts, you'll be expected to pay your vendors in two to three separate payments, at the signing of the contract, potentially at the halfway point (This depends on the vendor) and then after the wedding. It's very important to pay your vendors promptly and in full at the set dates (They have to pay their rent and feed their families). If you're paying them digitally then set up a direct debit beforehand so that you only have to worry about having the money in your bank account and the rest will be taken care of.

Dealing With Difficult Vendors

Everybody talks about bridezilla's but have you ever heard of a vendorzilla? An unfortunate aspect of the wedding industry is that there are people who will try to take advantage of stressed-out couples who have no prior experience organising a wedding. One of the best ways to avoid dealing with difficult vendors is to avoid them altogether, before booking anybody ask around for honest reviews from previous clients and other vendors in the same industry, e.g. ask your venue about florists they've found to be difficult in the past and about the florists they would happily recommend to you. If however, you find yourself getting closer to the big day and suddenly your hairstylist is refusing to do your hair the way that you want then you can either stand your ground and demand what you're paying for or pay a fee and cut the contract asap (never sign a contract that requires you to pay for the full cost of the service if you cancel two to three months in advance).

Hiring A Coordinator

Should you hire a wedding coordinator? I've said it before and I'll say it again, YES! The last thing you want to do when you're trying to enjoy your wedding day is having to stop to find a microphone for the speeches because the venue forgot to provide one extra. Aside from your spouse, your coordinator will be one of the most important people at your wedding, they work behind the scenes sorting all the details that you don't want to notice; from the band playing certain songs at certain times to the wedding cake being cut, they play in integral role in everything running smoothly and perfectly.

When Should The Vendors Eat/Take A Break?

If you've hired a coordinator then you don't have to worry about this detail, however, if you've gone against my very vocal advice then this aspect comes all down to timing. Confer with your team ahead of time to see how they prefer to take their breaks. This will give you a better understanding of their time and help you plan accordingly. When it comes to your wedding planner, photographer, and videographer, plan to have them eat while you’re eating—that way nothing interesting is happening while they’re in the other room having dinner.  Your musicians should be fed during cocktail hour before your guests are seated for dinner. This will ensure that they’re ready to go as soon as it’s time to announce toasts and start playing.

Contract Etiquette

A contract is going to be your best friend, it's in place to not only protect your vendor but to protect you as well! Whether you have to write a contract for the vendor or they have one for you to sign it's very important to go over it with a fine-tooth comb to ensure you're getting exactly what you're paying for for a prearranged cost. Before signing anything you should make sure that you insist on reasonable requests (like a contract that makes your vendor liable for potential negligence on their part), ask about how pricing is done to help you understand what you’re paying for, ask about refund and cancellation policies. This is info you need to know in case anything happens down the line! Keep in mind however that once this is signed it's not really negotiable and so it's important that you not only make sure you agree with what you would consider good service; but also to ensure that you're going to be able to uphold your end of the deal! Don't demand a discount after the fact and don't pay over the agreed amount!

What Do I Do If I'm Unhappy With Their Work?

Depending on what you're unhappy with you have several options. If you're upset about how your hair or makeup looked on the day despite agreeing to it during the trial and not speaking up while getting it done then there's honestly not much you can do. This goes for things like decor, the cake, the food etc. If you had an opportunity to fix an issue before the wedding and chose not to then the most you can really do is contact the vendor and voice your upset; from there it's in their hands. If something more dramatic "ruined" the day, e.g. the band showed up drunk and unable to play, you and your guests all got sick from unhygienically prepared food, the venue double booked your space and forced you to move or share. Then you may be able to take them to small claims court citing a breach of contract or failure to provide the paid-for service. If you're upset with something it's important to speak now or forever hold your peace!


- Grainne