If you have already started to plan your wedding here in Spain, I’m certain that, as a foreigner, you’ve already had a few OMG moments. People that don’t call you back, emails that are not responded until a month later, and a few other mind-blowing situations that you would never have experienced back home. If you’ve been living here for a while now, you will have learned the hard way that the “customer is not always right” in Spain! So, with that in mind, how can you weed out the good, professional and efficient wedding providers from the bad? We’ve been working in the wedding industry for over years, so we’ve got a pretty good idea of what to look out for and what key questions to ask before deciding on booking a wedding vendor. Our ultimate guide to: FAQ’s for your Spanish wedding vendors!
How long have you been working as a (fill in the blank)?
This is an important question to ask, to ensure that this person knows their stuff. Although it is great to confide in providers that are just starting out, consider this: you are planning the most important day of your lives, in which everything must be a seamless, memorable experience. If you love to give new-comers an opportunity, fantastic – just be sure to do your homework and ask if they’ve had prior experience interning or assisting someone in that field in the past. It can be varied, such as: working as a 2nd photographer at weddings, assisting a HMAO at a photo shoot, designing floral décor at a school event, and the list goes on and on. And if they have been in the business for a considerable amount of time, breathe easy – they will have experienced many different situations and will know exactly how to deal with anything that may come up on your wedding day.
Most challenging wedding and why? How did you overcome it?
In keeping with the above question, this will allow you to assess how they work. Remember, weddings are very different to other events: they take place live, there are no “do-overs” and each provider must be where they need to be, at a specific time, so that everything goes off without a hitch. Asking this question will help you gain a clearer understanding of what they consider to be a challenge, and how they overcame it will give you insight into what kind of a problem-solver they are.
Pricepoint and why?
Before we go into this specific question, we need to address one very important subject: pricing for a wedding. In this article (budgeting for BCN wedding link) you can see for yourselves what an average cost of a wedding in Barcelona is; however, it is important to point out that you, indeed, get what you pay for. What do we mean by this? If it’s too good to be true, then there is probably something fishy happening. For example, let’s say you are contacting photographers and most are quoting 1.700€, yet one of the photographers you’ve reached out to has quoted 700€. Too good to be true? Most certainly. There is definitely a catch, and you will have to do some research to ensure that the quote includes all of the hours, coverage, travel, etc., required for your wedding day. And if it does, then that means that this specific provider is either working off-the-books (article picking venues link) or is just starting out and desperate to get weddings booked.
Getting back to the question at hand, ask the wedding vendor what their pricepoint is and why. This shouldn’t be the first question you ask right off the bat, as you first need to assess if the provider’s style, work methodology and experience are suitable for your wedding. Once you are convinced that they may be a good fit for you, discuss pricing with them. Don’t take their pricepoint at face value, either. Remember, nothing in itself is expensive or cheap – it depends on the value that you receive in exchange for your payment. So be sure to ask the vendor why they charge that fee, and exactly what it entails. Also address any other additional fees that may not be included, such as travel, tolls, meals, etc.
How do you problem-solve on the day?
As wedding planners, we must admit that, realistically, there are always some minor issues during a wedding. Most frequently, they occur during the set-up phase and can be easily handled. However, if they occur during the wedding itself, it is of the utmost importance that your wedding providers know exactly how to act to resolve it quickly and without alarming the Couple. Discussing this with your provider will help in understanding how they can resolve any issues and work together as a team with the rest of your wedding vendors.
Have you ever worked at (fill in the blank) venue?
Depending on the type of service provider that you are addressing, prior experience at your selected wedding venue can be greater or lesser importance. For example, for a caterer, it is great if they know your wedding venue well, as they will know all of its particular intricacies: are generators required, do they need extra personnel, will catering ovens need to be sourced or does the venue already have on-site? But for a DJ, it won’t be that important if they have never been to the venue before. So, when asking this question, keep that in mind and analyze which services need to have worked at your venue in the past.
Can you provide references from past Couples?
Any professional, efficient wedding provider will always say “yes” to this question. Vendors who take pride in a job well done and have been doing this for years will be able to reach out to many Couples to ask them for a reference. Beware of those who come up with a vague excuse as to why they can’t give you that information – they definitely have something to hide. For example, they may say something along the lines of “because of the Data Protection Law, we can’t give out information…” which is correct; however, as long as they contact the Couples before giving out their contact details, to ask for their consent in giving you a reference, then it can be done. Again, be very, very wary of those who don’t want to give out references.
Do you provide an invoice?
Seems like a seemingly straight-forward, inoffensive question, but the truth is that this question is very tricky. Given that there are numerous providers in the wedding industry that work off-the-books, on a cash-only basis, this will be a very easy way for you to weed out the good from the bad. Something as simple as asking for an invoice for their services will be a determining factor in knowing if that provider that you’ve reached out to is reliable or not.
Do you provide a contract?
As is the case with the above query, this also helps you gain a clearer understanding of which providers are more professional than others. All of your wedding vendors, should, for your peace of mind and for their legal side of the business, provide you with a detailed contract. It doesn’t necessarily need to be 10 pages long, but it should cover the basics: their full company name and details, including VAT number; your full names and passport / NIE numbers; the date, time and location of the wedding; the service contracted and what it entails (number of hours, etc); additional costs that may be applicable; contingency plans in case of not being able to provide service; cancellation or postponement terms and payment conditions.
Discuss with each wedding provider what their contingency plans are in case of any or all of these: pandemia, lockdown, force majeure, illness or death, among others. With this current situation, they should have a plan A, B, C, D, F…..all the way down to Z to cover any and all situations that may come up that are out of their control. Check with them to ensure they would be able to provide the service that you need, and what would happen if for some reason they are unable to do so.
Have you worked with my wedding planner?
Lastly, we always recommend that you check with each provider to see if they have worked with your wedding planner in the past. With each wedding, emotions run high, providers are working under pressure and the wedding team, made up of each and every single wedding vendor working on your wedding, is as strong as the weakest link. An anxious or uncomfortable wedding provider can make for a bad working environment, and you really want all of your vendors to be happy, comfortable and at ease so they can give your wedding their 100%. So, discuss this with the provider and check their facial expressions for tell-tale signs that they are comfortable of working with your wedding planner or not. Most Spaniards, as you already know, are non-confrontational and will say whatever you want to hear to sell, but their eyes don’t lie. So maintain eye contact when asking this question!
We hope that we have been able to help you in your quest to find professional wedding providers in Barcelona. We too know what it feels like to be a foreigner working in this fabulous city, and sometimes the cultural differences make it more difficult than it should be. Rest assured, planning your wedding with an open mind and a smile will help you achieve the wedding of your dreams in the beautiful city that you’ve grown to love.
Still need help finding suitable providers for your wedding day? Give us a call or contact us anytime. We will be delighted to set up an initial consultation with you, free of charge, and discuss your wedding day, your providers and your vision and how we can help you each step of the way.