Guest Post: 6 Signs That Your Destination Wedding Vendor Is Terrible


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Wedding Rain Out by Flickr user Sister72
Wedding Rain Out by Flickr user Sister72
Photo by Flickr user Sister72.

One of the biggest problems with hiring a vendor from afar is that you never know how reputable they are, or how responsive they will be once you have signed the contract to hire them. One of the biggest fears is that a disreputable vendor will go out of business and will walk away with your money, leaving you with little time or funds along with a major-league headache.

In order to avoid doing business with an incompetent destination wedding vendor, read the six tips below. Once you know what to look for, a bad vendor will stick out like a lemon in a crate filled with oranges.

Here we go.

Too busy to be hired

You know that guy at work that never gets anything done on time? The one who is always shuffling papers, extending deadlines, and complaining about his lack of time. If your vendor reminds you of this person, then don’t hire them because you are headed for a potential disaster. These kinds of people are always late, always disheveled, and will always be running behind. If they don’t know how to manage their own life, how will they manage a wedding for you?

Takes more than 24 hours to return your phone calls

There is no excuse for a vendor to take more than 24 hours to return a phone call. It takes all but 30 seconds to call someone back and yet we have run into a countless number of vendors who won’t call you back for days at a time. Whether you are asking for a proposal or have a signed a contract, a reputable one will always call you back within a reasonable amount of time. The only exception is if they have a voicemail that states that they’re going to be away for one reason or another. Any other excuse is simply unacceptable.

The best time to gauge whether a vendor is responsible is before you sign a contract with them. When you are looking for a proposal, or asking follow-up questions, see how long they take to answer each question and how thorough they are each time. If the responses are quick and the answers are satisfactory, then that’s your vendor.

Lack of a website

Creating a website is no longer an expensive venture. Vendors can create a simple website with a portfolio of their work for as little as two or three hundred dollars. So the question really is, “Why don’t you have a website?” Is it because they’re not making enough money to invest in the business? Does the vendor really have as much experience as they claim since they don’t have enough of the portfolio to put online? The only exception to this would be if the vendor has a spectacular page displaying their work on a website like Pinterest.

Afraid to give out references

The problem with most references is that they are glowing because the vendor is obviously not going to send you to a dissatisfied customer. So how do you get around that?

Before you even ask for references, ask how many weddings he/she did last month or last quarter. The vendor, to show you how busy they are, will give you the number of weddings they did. Then ask them to provide references from their last three or four weddings. At this point the vendor has a choice of turning down your request (that’s really not a good sign) or they can provide you those references.

How detailed is the contract?

Different vendors will have a varying amount of detail in their contracts. After all, an officiant may have a one-page contract, whereas a caterer may have five or ten pages. The trick is to take a look at how detailed each contract is. If the contract looks like it was created with the lack of thought, then this vendor is obviously not very detailed and it will show on the day of your wedding.


This last one is very obvious but we wanted include it anyways so you remember to take it into consideration. As an example, if you are about to hire a photographer, consider asking the manager of the wedding venue if they have worked with this person before. And if they have, what is their opinion? Other questions to ask: Whether they were responsible? Were they on time? How is the quality of their work? How well does the person get along with other vendors? If the reviews from other vendors come back negative, then you have just avoided a potential disaster.

With the signs above, you should be able to determine the competency of the vendor. If you’re still unsure, then what? What if you still can’t tell if the vendor is good or bad?

That’s a fair question. It can be very difficult to determine the competency of the vendor from thousands of miles away. After all, a phone conversation or e-mail thread will only reveal so much about the person. The best way that we know of to protect yourself is to ask for a 90-day refundable guarantee in the contract. So in effect, you have 90 days from when you sign the contract to assess the work of the vendor, and if you are not satisfied, you have the right to get your deposit back.

You should be able to hire a responsible and competent vendor for your wedding using the six signs above along with the clause in the contract that protects you for the first 90 days. And if it turns out you got yourself a lemon of a vendor, then you can always pull the plug on the contract.

Have you ever dealt with a terrible destination wedding vendor? Tell us in the comments below.

This post was written by Nusair A Bawla, who runs a popular group travel website. Along with some great articles on planning a destination wedding, the website also provides an easy way to get group rates at hotels without making a phone call.

3 thoughts on “Guest Post: 6 Signs That Your Destination Wedding Vendor Is Terrible”

  1. I think that couples should consider using local vendors who they meet and trust who travel, in the case of photographers for example a couple could even consider booking an engagement photo shoot to see how the relationship is, weddings are too important to take a gamble with terrible vendors like you mentioned. Thanks for sharing!

    • Andre, what you said about hiring a local photographers is very true. With a local vendor, it is easier to communicate before the wedding and you feel far more comfortable having that familiar face at the wedding. I don’t know of many brides that prefer to meet their wedding photographer for the first time on the day of their wedding.


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