How to Book Vendors from a Distance

June 30, 2020
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Canva

Booking vendors from a distance can often be a unique challenge. Time zones can effect when virtual meetings happen. It’s not always easy to determine the quality of work a vendor does just from their website, so research and vetting is often a must. As crazy as the process seems, having the right information and tools going into the hunt for ideal vendors can make all the difference. That’s why we have teamed up with Be Inspired to gather suggestions from real-life vendors on how to go about recruiting the best possible team for your destination wedding.

“We understand the reservation when you book online or from afar, sight unseen. That’s why we feel it’s important to showcase products in a clear way to set our customer’s expectations. We highly suggest doing research first and knowing what’s available in the area and comparing costs (inclusive of delivery, setup and any hidden fees) so you have a reference point. Read reviews from real couples and comb through their social media and see if the products match up to what is presented. Because we’re in the business of weddings, we understand how important an emotional connection is as well. Schedule a call and see how the response is to your questions and how willing they are to work with someone planning from a distance.” – Euri Wong, Lead Designer at Bloominous 

“The number one vendor the clients should book first is a great coordinator. There are planners for every budget, even if you are having the simplest wedding, it is still important to have someone on the ground who has local contacts and knows all the local rules and regulations. If something were to go wrong, they will have the most resources to fix it. A good planner can also match you with vendors that they have personally worked with and know their quality so you don’t have to worry about them showing up on your wedding day.  Bare minimum hire a day-of coordinator if you really want to organize all the details yourself. Run the list of vendors you want to hire by the day of coordinator and ask if they have had experience working with them and if they would recommend them.  This will ensure you can relax on your day and not worry about making sure everyone is showing up and knows where they are going. You really want to be able to enjoy the moment, not worry if the florist is there setting up yet while you are getting your makeup done.” – Karma Hill, Owner, Karma Hill Photography and Simple Oahu Wedding

“Do your research! Don’t just look at a few reviews.  A good vendor should have a solid body of work to show you in the form of a blog they keep updated or a robust social media profile. If they have a beautiful Instagram, be sure they are crediting vendors on their photos that they worked with or they may just be posting Pinterest finds, not real weddings they designed or worked on (this happens so often it’s scary). If you do see vendors listed on their credits, reach out to the vendors and ask if they would recommend the vendor you are thinking of hiring. The vendors see the wedding from the back side of things and work the same vendors over and over again and know who is good or not so great.” – Karma Hill, Owner, Karma Hill Photography and Simple Oahu Wedding

“Reviews. Reviews. Reviews. When you are planning a sizable event with people traveling from all over, inevitably issues will arise. It is how your vendor partners handle issues that will save your sanity and ultimately your wedding. — Look at what people like you are saying about their experiences with your chosen vendors. Are they easy to get ahold of? Based in the U.S.? Basically, do they care? These are the types of things that can be difference makers on your Big Day.” – Nathan Bellah, Director of Marketing at Generation Tux

“Jump on the phone! People are used to doing everything by text or email but a simple 5-minute phone call can give you a feel for the person who will be there on your wedding day, even better ask for a facetime if you are unsure about them. That way you can not only get to know them and their personality but see their level of professionalism.” – Karma Hill, Owner, Karma Hill Photography and Simple Oahu Wedding

“If you are hiring a photographer, ask to see one or two full wedding galleries, preferably in the same venue or at least at the same time of day that your wedding will take place. It’s easy to post the very best photos from a wedding on a website or social media and look good. It’s more difficult to fake it for the whole wedding. A solid photographer should know how to shoot in any light from a dim hotel room getting ready, to full sun at a ceremony or total darkness at an outdoor reception after the sun has set. If you view a full collection you can see the quality of an entire event from start to finish.” – Karma Hill, Owner, Karma Hill Photography and Simple Oahu Wedding

“Working with wedding planners that know the venue and have worked with the vendors can make your life a lot easier. ‘Have you worked with this vendor/venue before?’ should be a question you ask a lot. The wedding and events industry is very tight and many of the vendors know each other and can share insights.” – Joel Lippman, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hutton Brickyards

“If you find a vendor you really trust and connect with, ask that vendor for recommendations, they will likely have a list of other great vendors that they trust and love to work with. I still would always recommend this be your planner, but it could be any vendor you really connect with. Vendors do work better in teams that they are used to working with, it makes for a more cohesive event when the vendor team knows each other.” – Karma Hill, Owner, Karma Hill Photography and Simple Oahu Wedding

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