Planning your wedding is all fun and games until you’re contacting dozens of suppliers and vendors for quotes and package prices. I should know, that’s a large portion of my weekly work tasks, but I have cut that time down dramatically with one simple strategy; templates. For every vendor or supplier I contact on behalf of a client I have an email template ready to go. All it requires is a few minor edits and detail changes before I send it off to five or more vendors in one go. Saves time and...well, it’s really just about saving time, so let’s save you some!
Before we get started, please note that whether you're filling in a Contact Us form or sending an email, these are the details any vendor needs to quote accurately.
First things first, you need to introduce yourself and why you're contacting them. If you jump straight in with “I need a cake”, there’s no context, so make sure you state your name and that you're enquiring about a wedding.
Side note: I know a lot of blogs say not to mention it’s a wedding because vendors bump the price up, but vendors do not cater to the needs of a “family gathering” the way they do a wedding for a multitude of reasons. Not to mention, insurance! If we expect a family event and it’s a wedding, our insurance changes and suddenly we’re not covered. Please don’t do that to your vendors.
The key details
These are the fundamentals that a vendor needs to know to be able to respond to you with the information you want straight away. Some of these, like the date or location, will immediately allow a vendor to determine if they can even do your wedding. Saves you and them time by knowing straight away that they’re not available or don’t service your area.
Venue/location - approximate or specific depending if you already have a venue booked
How many people (needed for cakes, caterers, etc.)
Duration (needed for DJ, photographer, photo booth etc.)
Quantity (needed for florists, favours, place cards, invitations etc.)
Ceremony starting time (if you don’t know yet, give an approximation or indication of morning, afternoon or evening)
Always include these things and your vendor will 9/10 times be able to quote you in their next email. If you don’t have a confirmed answer, just state an estimation or approximation.
This is where you give us vision and hope for the cake, design, invitations or flowers; what you want it to look like. Paint us a picture with words and explain what your expectations are. If you want the invitation designer to do something unique with your theme colours, say that. Do you want them to include envelope addressing? Let them know. These little details are a big part of what allows your vendors to accurately quote you so you don’t get disappointed. I also suggest you ask for an itemized quote; some vendors do this automatically, but if it’s a pre-done package, they may. If the quote is itemized you can look at options to add in or take off depending on your budget.
Some vendors, such as hairstylists, makeup artists and cake makers, can only accurately quote when they have photos in front of them. Remember that just because you’ve described what you want, different minds interpret it differently. If you use a term like ‘rustic’ or ‘natural’ to describe what you want, I can 90% guarantee that what you have in mind versus what the vendor expects are going to be two different things.
Referring to these inspiration photos in your vision section is great too because you’re specifically noting what it is about those photos you want. Is it the fairy lights and atmosphere? The colour scheme? Or the decor style? Maybe the furniture placement? Details, details, details help any vendor quote well.
The first question you want to ask for is their availability, prices and packaging and/or a quote. If you’ve included everything I’ve suggested above, they should be able to immediately give you a cost in some capacity (specific quote or package prices).
Don’t be afraid to ask for extra information like their booking contract/terms and conditions (especially cancellation and fee schedule) and examples of past or similar work to your vision.
If this a vendor you have your heart set on, maybe ask what other dates they have available within a specific time frame; if you’re determined to have that photographer, be prepared to possibly change your date to suit their availability. Hey, it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
Keep it short, sweet and simple with a “Thanks, your name and partner’s name” or something similar.
Voila! Quotes coming your way!
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