one criteria i go by with any vendor i've met is comfort level - do i like them? do i enjoy working with them? will they help make my experience more fun than exhausting?
so far i've found a decor person i like who can also supply a mandap i think will create the setting i'm looking for. he also seems to be the only decor person i've met that really understands how much i want to be involved in the decor process. i don't want people to present me with ideas and i just accept one of them. i want to bounce ideas back and forth and figure out together what will work and what won't. this is the part i enjoy most!
anyway, this level of comfort with vendors is really only felt by me right now. which kind of makes sense since i'm the only one here. the kiwi is in another town (country), so he wouldn't be working with them as much as i would. if i were to book most vendors without the kiwi having met them, it's not a huge deal. he's probably never going to meet most of them anyway and will only see the final product.
but there's always that exception..
photos and videos - those are the vendors i need him to meet before i book. those are the vendors he's going to be spending his entire day with.. he'll spend more hours with them on our wedding day than with me! sad.. but true :P anyway, because of this one reason, it's crucial that he's comfortable with them. if he's not, it's going to show in the final product - the one thing we'll be keeping for the next 50+ years.
our game plan currently is scour the web, check out their portfolio (preferably blog), then contact them if we like what we see. get as much information via email and then set up an appointment for me to meet them. once i've met a few of each that fit the budget and i like, we'll have to figure out a way to get the kiwi down here to meet them and see if he's comfortable with any of them. after he's satisfied with the negotiations, then we'll BOOK!
*sigh* i almost feel like it's a tag-team wrestling match where i tire out the opponent then tag kiwi in to finish the job.