Six Red Flags That Indicate You Should Walk Away from a Wedding Vendor
After the time you spent researching different wedding vendors, discussing the details you've envisioned for your big day, negotiating contracts, and working together to bring your ideas to life, the thought of potentially walking away from your pro and starting over with someone new sounds daunting to say the least. But, unfortunately, this is something avoidable. Whether you're having an extremely difficult time communicating, feel the work doesn't reflect what was agreed upon, or the vendor is failing to deliver at all, calling it quits with a bad vendor early on can save you a lot of heartache down the road. Here, industry insiders share the red flags they see as signs it's time to move on.
One thing to note: If you find yourself in any of the below situations after the contracts have been signed, be sure to send a formal email with a follow-up phone call or voicemail about the problems you're noticing. You'll need a paper trail that documents the terms of the contract that your vendor is unable or unwilling to fulfill in order to not be in breach of contract yourself. If your vendor is on the same page, ask for a notice of cancelation of the contract to cover your bases.
You have to chase them down, especially during the inquiry and contract phase.
Especially during a busy wedding season, it's unrealistic to expect your vendors to be available at all hours of the day. But if you have to chase them down in order to get their business in the first place, they're probably not the pro for you. "If you or your client have had to send a follow-up message, phone call, and/or text to follow up your initial inquiry, or else questions about a quote or proposal have gone unanswered for longer than 48 hours, then leave them," says Lindsay Parrott Masiewicz, owner of P3 P3 Events. "You shouldn't be chasing a vendor to give them money. If they can't pull it together to receive payment, they won't be useful for anything else."
They seem uninterested in your wedding or ideas.
Once a prospective vendor follows up on your initial inquiry, they should be interested to know more about the wedding you're envisioning and who you two are as a couple. If they're not interested in the finer details, Amy Kolodziej, owner of Sunshower Photography, says they're probably not the right fit for you. "If they don't seem interested in learning more about you before taking your money, that is a major red flag. Building a vendor team is as much about building relationships and you want to be surrounded by people that care about making your wedding day a success, not just collecting a paycheck," she says.
They have a huge ego.
Wedding vendors are professionals in their given fields, and while there's absolutely nothing wrong with someone who knows their value and what they'll bring to the table on the big day, you don't want to contract someone with a chip on their shoulder. "A huge red flag is ego. On a wedding day, ego is never warranted," says Mary Angelini, a destination wedding filmmaker at Key Moment Films. "There are so many moving parts, being a team player on the wedding day is a must. There are a few signs that a vendor may be difficult to work with. We had a couple cancel their photographer after he told them he couldn't work with *any* videographer. The couple wanted a photographer and videographer who worked well together and he was not the right fit for them."
You're required to give a full payment upfront.
"Nothing says a business is struggling like giving a discount for payment in full up-front," says Shannon Tarrant, founder of Wedding Venue Map. "The wedding industry standard is a deposit and final payment closer to the event." If they're asking for you to pay the balance months ahead of the wedding, this pro advises that you should be wary of signing on the dotted line.
They don't have an online presence.
Sure, not everyone is a social media maven, but it's important that any vendors you're considering have some form of online presence, whether it be Instagram and Facebook accounts, a website with an updated portfolio, or reviews from former clients. In an ideal world, the vendors you're considering will have all three. "An online presence is an extremely important part of a business' legitimacy. It is one of the first things that couples look for so it's also a pretty big red flag if a vendor does not have content online," says Leah Weinberg, owner and creative director of Color Pop Events. And while beautiful images on their feed are great, really dig into the contracts, too. "Most importantly, if something seems too good to be true, take pause. If you receive pricing from a vendor that is drastically lower than other vendors in the same category, take time to consider why that's possible for the company," she adds.