Have you ever gone to a doctor's office and had to sign a waiver/contract before you got serviced? Maybe/Maybe not. Well some doctor's offices require you to sign an agreement/waiver to protect each party because no one wants to be at fault for any reason or worse get sued. This just goes to show that a commitment/agreement must be made before any service.
Weddings also have a whole lot of agreements, from the venue's contracts to all the individual vendor contracts, and these are made to protect every party involved in the process. The contract outlines in detail the services the vendors will be providing and the time frame of the service. It also includes the cost of the service and if applicable, the number of people in the vendors team.
Your initial conversations or consultation with the vendor is to get to know them, their pricing and vibe with them. During these meetings vendors flood you with lots of information and all about their services, its like they are at a job interview and their goal is to land the job but in this case an ideal client. These details can overwhelm and even confuse you sometimes; so then what do you do? Request for a proposal (this does not mean you are sticking with them) and that can help you make a decision about who to move forward with.
After you have read the proposals, quickly make a decision about who you would want to move forward with and nicely let the others know that you went a different route (just like a job interview) because they took time to put together a proposal for you. At this point, your chosen vendors will put together a contract for both parties to sign. Ask for everything in writing and READ IT so that you can hold them accountable if something is missing; you are paying for the service.
WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T DO IS' assume that everything you talked about on your first day is in there, they are human as well and may forget so the best thing is to READ and not have any surprises. As a matter of fact have your wedding planner look over and witness as well. You don't want to ruin someone's reputation by bad mouthing or writing a bad review because you didn't read and understand their services clearly.
Oh and one last thing, I believe in respecting people's work and not asking for a discount, it can be very insulting/discouraging to the vendor. You saw their work and loved it enough to choose them so instead of asking for a discount, find out what they can do with your budget, its worth asking and NO PROFESSIONAL VENDOR WILL TURN YOU DOWN, it shows respect for their work. However, pay attention to the proposal and see what you are being offered if its not within your means then pick vendors according to your budget (there are price tiers in vendors as well lol) because you get what you pay for.
DISCLAIMER: It’s your day, your choice, this is just my ✌🏾cents from experience and being a boss planner :)
-The Boss Planner