(Closed) Vendor Search Exhaustion. Rdy to throw in the towel

posted 3 years ago in Engagement
Post # 2
1199 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Just commenting to let you know I feel your pain. I live in the northeast where prices are high and it was nearly impossible to find a photographer we loved for our budget of $2000. In the end, we have one we love and that does beautiful work so I’m glad I stuck out the hours of combing through vendors and talking to them. For things we were less picky about (DJ, officiant) we only talked to a couple before booking based on solid reviews.

Post # 3
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

My advice as a wedding photographer? Really sit down and examine your budget and determine how important photography is to you. You say that they’re all either out of your budget or not a style you like. So at that point you need to decide which is more important – style or budget.

My opinion is obviously biased because I think wedding photography is super important…but not everyone does and that’s totally ok. If photography is important to you, and getting the style you want is important to you, you might find you need to look into your budget and see where you can move things around. Don’t settle on someone you don’t love if it’s really important to you, I can promise you will regret it later. That being said at the end of the day if it’s not a huge priority for you, just pick someone within your budget.

Everyone has to decide what is best for them. For example, I wanted a really yummy cake but honestly didn’t care if it was a super polished looking over the top cake. I picked a mid-range baker I’m familiar with who makes great tasting cakes but only works with buttercream (ie: her cakes are not super polished/fancy fondant). The price we paid was completely worth it. If we’d spent any more on cake, no matter how pretty it was, I likely would have regretted dumping all that into something that doesn’t last.

Post # 4
786 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018 - Farm

I think it just takes time to find the right vendors. Some of them you will pick right away but if its something of importance to you it may take longer because you may be a little pickier. You may have to find a happy medium. I would suggest keep looking and comparing. It may just have to be a random search. I’ve done that myself but we found some good vendors in doing so.

Post # 5
4901 posts
Honey bee

Have you ever heard of a weighted score card?

It’s a decision making tool.  Google it.  It can help you sort out exactly what you value most and quantify it to make a decision.

Basically, you put your options along the top.  You come up with the criteria you want to use to decide and put them down along the side  (so maybe price, availability, average reviews, photo style, friendliness, whether they use one shooter or two, etc.)  

Assign weights so all your criteria add up to 1.0 (try to keep your criteria to about 3 to 6 things max).  So if you are on a really tight budget, maybe you weigh that as .40 and if friendliness is your least cared about you would rank that as .10.  

Then decide on your scale (it can be 1 to 3 or 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 and decide what those numbers will mean – usually 1 is least preferable highest number most preferable).  So for price, you might give everyone over budget a score of 1 (least preferable), everyone within $200 +/- of your budget a score of 2 and everyone under budget a score of three (most preferable).  

Score each of the criteria for each vendor, multiply the score by the weights.  So in our example weighting price at .40, the overbudget guy gets a score of .40 (.40 x 1), the on budget guy gets a score of .80 (.40 x 2) and the underbudget guy gets a score of 1.2 (.40 x 3).  Add up the weighted scores for each vendor, highest score is your pick.

This method works for pretty much every decision you could hope to make (not just picking vendors).

Post # 6
1189 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2018 - Fremont, CA

I strongly recommend Thumbtack!

Post # 7
4901 posts
Honey bee

I dont want to edit my comment to make it even longer but just wanted to add that I recommend the approach because unless you have unlimited funds, something has to be compromised.   The odds of you finding the exact perfect vendor in your exact needed budget will be slim.  At a certain point you just have make the best decision you can and doing a scorecard really helps you figure out where you are willing to compromise and which vendor balances out to provide most of what you feel important in making those tradeoffs.

Post # 8
1424 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

I second using Thumbtack – I found a number of great vendors on there! 

Post # 10
323 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

It can get super overwhelming looking at so many dfferent options and having to make decisions for such large sums of money. Find 5-10 options and narrow down from there – if you look at too many you’ll go crazy. 

Try to see their photos on Instagram and their blogs but ask to see a full set of pictures since usually what they post on the blogs is just the best of the best and you’ll be able to see if they do more artsy or candid photos. 

I don’t know if you have a wedding planner, but for me it was helpful to have someone who knew and worked with these vendors in the past and then she would just give me a list of options to pick from and that was that, for most the vendors (catering, etc)

Post # 11
835 posts
Busy bee

I feel your pain as well. We have plenty of options within our budget, but I don’t have an eye for photography so I have no idea what to look for or how to decide. Our wedding is in October 2018 so we realllly need to get on the engagement shoot and save the dates, but I have no idea how to proceed.

Post # 12
2176 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

another way that you might be able to say on photography is limiting extras – for instance a lot of the higher end photogs we looked at included albums in their prices but we preferred to make our own so we asked for a price without that added in…. or you could look for less hours for example we decided to prioritize first look/getting ready pics and not really have the photog around after say 9 pm since it was just the dancing part of the reception so we could do an 8 hr day vs an “unlimited” day… now that means that I didn’t get a great pic when the band called DH and I on stage to sing with them but in the end having the beautiful portraits outside from the afternoon are more “valuable” to me and I am ok with just my friends iphone pics for that part

Post # 13
277 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

Ummm very unprofessional. Her reply makes her look like she’s 12  

Someone please explain to me for the love of anything holy, why people put so many laughing….cry laughing at that, emojis when they are being sassy?  There’s a poster on here that does this all the time….very annoying! Sorry..bitching rant over  


Post # 14
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

This one is tough because photography is such a special part. I really do feel your pain on this one. I feel like I looked at at least 50 photographers just to find one whose style I felt really matched with our vision and budget. Taste in photography is such a specific thing. I don’t think you’re alone at all in feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Just know that it is totally worth it to get what you want.

I’d talk with your guy and let him know how you’re feeling and that a little bit of input from him would really help your stress level. 

Post # 15
568 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
autumnb33 :  could it be your budget? sometimes, the reality of what you want and what you can afford need some balance.

$4K for a photographer and assistant sounds like a nice budget! Maybe not as much for SF/DC/NYC, but otherwise, you’re in great standing. However, if you’re wanting to add a videographer in for $4K, that sounds a bit snug.

Maybe look into not getting the album with them, and/or less photography hours. I mainly skipped the getting ready with the exception of putting on the dress, and ended shortly after cutting the cake. That saved 2 hours.

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