Talk about a time to be alive and engaged! If you’re a bride in today’s world, you have so many awesome resources to be able to get all of the information you could ever imagine! Vendor lists, checklists, and testimonials are all at the tips of your fingers – and yet, while some of these lists can be super helpful with asking questions that cover the basics of what a vendor will provide for your wedding, sometimes they don’t reach into the heart of the matter.
Here’s how I like to think about it: how are you supposed to know if the vendor you’ve met with for forty-five minutes at a coffee shop once is capable of handling your wedding day, or if they really have the passion to push through all of the grit? There are lots of potential question lists available from places like The Knot, Wedding Wire, Brides, and the like who offer up some decent options, but after being quizzed by a number of brides myself, I’ve found that there are a couple of REALLY important questions that are rarely asked – questions that help you see not just what a person does, but who a person is. Don’t get me wrong – you definitely want to ask what they’ll do if they get sick the day of your wedding, if they have backup gear, and if they have liability insurance, but those questions barely scratch the surface of who a person is, which is just as important.
So if YOU are interested in having vendors at your wedding who aren’t just booking you for the cash, but who genuinely care about making your wedding day the very best it can be, I encourage you to try asking these questions:
1. How and when did you get into [wedding photography, DJing, catering, event design, etc.]?
This is just an important question to know in general, and surprisingly, one that I rarely get asked as a wedding vendor!
2. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
This question will give you an idea of the “why” behind what they do. If you hire someone to produce a product or service for you, chances are if the person creating the product or performing the service has tons of passion and purpose behind their chosen career path, they’ll put a lot more effort into making whatever they do the very best it can be!
3. What’s the toughest part of your job?
To me, honesty is key. It’s always promising when someone can answer a question like this in a positive light without putting anyone down. There are parts of every job that are tough, but this question specifically will give you a good look into a person’s integrity.
4. Why did you choose [insert service] for your career?
Do they love what they do? Is it a passion, or a just a job? A recent book I read entitled "Creative Confidence" has allowed me to see the work I do as not just a job or a career, but as a calling. And, effectively, why it is so important to find others who are called to their work, not just working a job or pursuing a career.
"Amy Wrzesniewski, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Yale University's School of Management... has found that people have one of three distinct attitudes toward the work they do: they think of it as either a job, a career, or a calling... When work is strictly a job, it may effectively pay the bills, but you're living mostly for the weekend and your hobbies. Those who see work as a career focus on promotions and getting ahead - checking off achievements rather than pursuing deeper meaning... for those who pursue a calling, their work is intrinsically rewarding in its own right - not just a means to an end. So, what you do professionally fulfills you personally as well. And often that work is meaningful because you are contributing to a larger purpose or feel part of a larger community." - Tom Kelley & David Kelley in "Creative Confidence"