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7 tips for working with wedding vendors

By CARA DAVIS

1. Don’t let your fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages. Pick up the phone and call family and friends first to get referrals for wedding vendors. Obviously, talk to newly married couples and grill them on their experience with specific vendors they used.

2. Even after a glowing review from someone you trust, check with your local Better Business Bureau to ensure your friend’s experience wasn’t a fluke. They have consumer complaints on file against vendors who don’t play by the rules.

3. Interview more than one. Even if your buddy had the best experience with the photographer, that photographer’s portfolio may not reflect the style you’re shooting for. Interview two or three.

4. Bring a list of detailed questions. If a vendor isn’t willing to give you all the details of his services, prices, and products up front, you’ve got trouble.

5. Get everything in writing. Not only is a signed contract or written estimate a sign of good business, it also ensures that there are no miscommunications as to the services you’ve requested and the services the vendor thinks you requested.

6. Make a deal. Don’t ever just agree to what’s first offered. Try to negotiate a lower price or extra services.

7. Be a pest. Periodically check in with your vendor (let them get to know you by name) to ensure that everything is on schedule and there are no hiccups. You’ll at least want to confirm two weeks before the wedding.

(Cara Davis is the author of “Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot” and blogs about savvy ways to spend and save at http://www.cheapwaysto.com. For more savings tips, check out FreeShippping.org’s “Go Frugal” blog at http://www.freeshipping.org/blog/)

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