Choosing Quality Wedding Vendors (Part Two!)

Hi friends!  I hope you were able to catch part one of this post last week!

This summer I’ve been really inspired by working with such quality wedding vendors, who are creative and serve my clients so well!  I really want to empower all of my brides and grooms for choosing quality wedding vendors, people who they would develop a great relationship with.  I gave some general guidelines for selecting a wedding vendor in my first post, so here, I really want to focus on the rest of the wedding vendors that I interviewed!  They’ve been so wonderful answering my questions – it’s truly incredible hearing their perspective :)

Again, please note that the photos below do not necessarily correspond with the professional interviewed.  Additionally, I couldn’t interview every wonderful person I’ve worked with, so please do count each person’s advice as coming from one awesome professional in their field!

And of course, at the end of the post, I HAD to include information about choosing your wedding photographer!

Enjoy – hope this post is helpful :)


Wedding Band

Interview with Marcus Reid


KL: What advice would you give to a bride/groom looking for a wedding band? (What questions should they ask, and what values should they share with you?)

MR: I would say look for the highest quality with only the very best reputation. You only get to do this once.  The band must be highly entertaining from the minute the guests enter to the very end of the event when the guests are calling out for “one more song”.  The band leader, probably the most important part of controlling the energy of the party, must know how to work a room, read the guests to make sure that they are on the dance floor the entire night, be very personable and able to work well with the staff and other vendors. The band leader directs everything from the entertainment to the flow of the wedding. I cannot express enough how important the band leader/musical director is! Make sure your bandleader is very passionate and very professional about what they do. The band should sound incredible, be unbelievable entertainers and look the part.


KL: What do you feel are some of the greatest misconceptions in the industry about your service?

MR: That a wedding band is a “wedding band.”  This is not 1970-1999.  A great modern wedding band should be as good as any modern band at the Grammy’s or better.  A great band knows how to take any style and bring it up to date, from the music itself to the entire production. The band should be current know the very latest hit(s) that came out yesterday all the way down to the greatest classics.


KL: How would you advise couples who are deciding between a DJ and a band? 

MR: A great band can play any style of music.  A common misconception is that only a DJ can do some of the newer music. This is not true at all. My band (Marcus Reid Band) has been told on many occasions that we actually sound better than the record. Your night is going to be long. You will need multiple styles of music regardless. I think it really comes down to taste, what do you feel most comfortable with, and what you envision for your one time very important date.  



Interview with Renzo Zanelli



KL: What advice would you give to a bride/groom looking for a wedding cinematographer? (What questions should they ask, and what values should they share with their cinematographer?)

RZ: When you meet with a cinematographer, ask to see the fully edited long version of the wedding, not just the 3 minute recap. You are going to want to watch your full ceremony and all your speeches uncut and a 3 minute recap won’t show you if the cinematographer can successfully deliver a full feature documentary. Does the video include important family members and friends or just the couple and shots of objects? Are the shots in focus and steady? Get to know them. You will be spending your whole day with them so make sure they are nice and fun. 



KL: What do you feel are some of the greatest misconceptions in the industry about your service?

RZ: Many people expect cinematographers to get in the way with big lights and block the audience. It is important to find a cinematographer that knows how to work with the right lenses that can shoot farther from the action and require less light.



KL: What makes your service so valuable on the wedding day? (i.e. why should they hire you instead of setting up their own camera to record?)

RZ: After all the hard work and money put into this day, the videos will tell the story the way you want it remembered. You can hear the laughter of your parents and grandparents, see how your maid of honor danced with her fiancé on the dance floor and listen to the vows your husband made on that special day. That is can only be accomplished by a professional team with experience that can deal with manual focusing on the fly while maintain themselves in the background of the event. A truly challenging feat that requires both technical skills as well as people skills.



Makeup Artist

Interview with Meredith Hayman


KL: What advice would you give to a bride looking for a makeup artist?

MH: Know the look you want to achieve: As your flipping through “Martha Stewart Weddings” and “People” magazines, rip out pictures of models and celebrities who’s makeup you like. These photos will open the conversation between you and your Makeup Artist so he/she really understands how you want to look on your wedding day. Try not to say “You’re the professional, I trust you”. If you are not used to wearing a lot of makeup, be honest. This will prevent the Makeup Artist from being too heavy handed.



MH: Come prepared: It’s a good idea to bring your “everyday” makeup with you (even if it’s just mascara and lipgloss). This will give the artist a good sense of what colors you are comfortable in. Don’t be surprised if your Makeup Artist suggests you wear foundation on your wedding day. If your skin isn’t even, the rest of your face won’t look clean and finished.

It’s also a good idea to wear a white or ivory top, so you get a better sense of how your makeup will look against your dress. Bring a camera so you can take before or after pictures.



MH: Questions/Concerns: Write of list of questions you may have for your Makeup Artist such as the ones listed at the beginning of this post. It’s also a good idea to ask your artist how long he/she thinks each person will take on the day of your wedding. An experienced artist should be able to manage their time wisely and work faster if the day is running behind.


MH: Be Honest: Try not to form an opinion or ask for anything to be changed until after the Makeup Artist has finished the look. Once the application is over it’s more than OK to ask for something to be changed or to start all over. It’s easy to make changes (more blush, less eyeliner, etc…) Any artist would rather do a little extra work than risk not being booked because the bride isn’t 100% happy with their makeup. Remember, you are paying for this makeup trial, get your money’s worth!


MH: Don’t feel pressured to make a decision on booking hair or makeup at the time of your trial. See how the makeup wears on your skin in the hours following your appointment. It’s good to take a look in different lighting and to ask a friend or your mom their opinion.



KL: What makes your service so valuable on the wedding day? (i.e. why should they hire a professional instead of doing their own makeup?)  

MH: I highly recommend hiring a professional Makeup Artist on your wedding day.  I am experienced with every skin tone and texture and I know what products to you use that will help you look flawless but not overly made up.  A professional also knows what the best products are to help your makeup last hours and hours through sweat, tears, and humidity.  



Wedding Coordinator

Interview with Jeanne Stark


KL: What advice would you give to a bride/groom looking for a wedding planner / coordinator? 

JS: Brides and grooms should look for someone they feel they are friends with or could be friends with. Someone they are comfortable telling the most personal information to about their wedding and the people at their wedding. It is not just skill it is about wanting to work with this person and wanting them at their wedding. They should truly like all of their vendors at the end of their planning they should feel a close connection with all their vendors.


KL: What questions should they ask? 

JS: How many weddings do you do in a day/weekend?
Do you have our wedding date open?

Is wedding planning your full-time job? If it’s part-time, what is your other job?
Have you ever worked at the venue we’ve chosen?
For the vendors who will be on site the day of our wedding, can I provide you with checks for final payment that you will distribute to them?
Will you stay on site after our wedding to make sure everything has been broken down and all vendors have left the location?
Will you provide us with a timeline of the wedding and a floor plan of the wedding venue?
Do you offer different package options?
How many meetings and phone calls are included in our package?
Is the wedding day rehearsal included in your services?
Do any of your packages include planning the rehearsal dinner and/or post-wedding brunch? If not, would you provide that service and what would be the extra cost to include it in our contract?
Can you provide a list of references?



KL: What values should they share with you? 

JS: They should share the things that are most important to them for their wedding day as well as the things that make them most uncomfortable. That way I am able to respect all of their wishes.

KL: What makes your service so valuable on the wedding day to the bride, groom and their guests? (i.e. why should they hire you instead of setting up details themselves, or letting the photographer put together the timeline?) 

JS: The main goal for hiring someone like myself as a planner/coordinator is the ability to allow yourselves, your family and your guests be guests at the wedding and not work at the wedding. When putting together a timeline as a wedding planner I work on not only the photo timeline needed but also music, deliveries, food and many other events occurring throughout the weekend. With the timeline I create it with the assistance of the other vendors so everyone gets exactly what they need. 




My Advice


Lastly, I have to include advice about searching for the right photographer!

I know it’s such a huge and important decision for couples to hire a photographer they love! First, I would advise couples to look at a lot of images and find a style of images that resonates with them. Consider what types of images are you drawn to, and why? And how is that type of imagery consistent for the look and feel you would like for your wedding day as a whole? Ask friends for advice, or search google for photographers in the area, read online reviews by their previous clients. As you’re looking at photographers’ websites and social media presence, consider not only their photographs, but the value of the experience they are giving to their brides and grooms! Then, “go with your gut” as you set up a few meetings.



When you meet with a photographer, be prepared to communicate clearly what is most important to you on the wedding day. Tell him/her specific images or types of images that resonated most with you. Paint a picture of the overall look and feel you’d like your wedding day, so they understand how your photography will fit into that larger picture. Ask specific questions about the experience working with them, from the time leading up to the wedding day, the wedding day itself, and after the wedding. Many people forget your relationship with your photographer is at least over a year (and hopefully longer!) Make sure as you communicate with the photographer, that they understand your vision for the day and they will be able to translate it in a way that is meaningful to you :)



Lastly, but most importantly, it’s critical that your personality jives with your wedding photographer. He/she is with you for 8-10 hours on your day, from when you’re in your robe in the morning through the dancing in the evening. You want someone around you that you feel comfortable with, so you can open up and be yourself. Your images will reflect your level of comfort, so take this part very seriously! Like I said before, it’s like a date – you’ll just know. In the end, go with your gut!




Following your instinct is so important as you choose your wedding vendors. And through the process of planning your wedding, create relationships with each of these people. You’ll be so happy you did!



Hope this post was helpful!  Please feel free to share with friends and family members who are planning their wedding! :)


Another HUGE thank you to all of the vendors who took the time to give their advice!!

Jeanne Stark, Hudson Valley Ceremonies

Marcus Reid, Marcus Reid Band

Meredith Hayman, Meredith Hayman, Makeup Artist

Renzo Zanelli, Magic Flute Videos


And credit to all of the vendors whose work is pictured above, Band: Marcus Reid Band / Hank Lane Productions; Cinematographers: Magic Flute Videos, Kadams Media, Authentic Photo; Makeup Artists: Meredith Hayman, Makeup by Marcy, Celeste Von Damon; Wedding Planners / Coordinators: Hudson Valley Ceremonies, Urban Chic;  Photographer: Kerri Lynne Photography (me!)


Lastly, a huge thank you to the photographers who took a second to take my picture: Aaron Berger, Anastasiia Ostapovich, Andrea Perry.


Hello Friends

A life filled with gratitude begins with finding thankfulness in the small moments