couple looking at phone

One of the most time-intensive (and downright difficult!) parts of wedding planning is pursuing all of your vendor options, parsing through them, and figuring out which one works best for your vision and your budget. But it’s also the most important part—choosing the right vendor can mean the difference between a good wedding and your dream wedding. So once you find them, what’s the next step for all the vendors you don’t choose? They’ll be just fine—but there’s the right way to tell a wedding vendor no, you won’t be hiring them, so everyone carries on feeling peachy.

Here’s how to tell a wedding vendor no, you won’t be hiring them.

Decide ASAP.

Declining to go with a wedding vendor you’ve spent a little bit of time getting to know is not impolite—it’s all part of the game. But declining them at the last minute, causing them to miss out on potential business if they were reserving your wedding date, is very impolite. Just as you expect wedding vendors to get back to you in a timely manner so you can hold to your own deadlines, you owe them that courtesy right back. After all, even if a particular vendor becomes low priority once you’ve selected someone else, they still have a business to run!

Don’t stress.

Wedding vendors are in the business of being chosen by some and discarded by others. Aside from those few famous photogs you see snapping pics for every famous fashion blogger, most wedding vendors are on an even playing field and choosing which one to go with simply comes down to a matter of taste! So don’t freak out or feel uncomfortable when telling a wedding vendor no, you won’t be going with them. It’s not personal and they know that (unless you’ve led them on, signed a contract, or gave them a deposit and are now asking for it back, that is). It’s all in a day’s work!

Stay respectful.

Duh! Wedding planning is emotional and if you have your heart set on a vendor but can’t work with them for some extenuating reason (like budget), keep in mind that this is not a personal affront to you and they still deserve your respect. For example, you can decline a wedding vendor by simply telling them they are out of budget. But you shouldn’t take it upon yourself to offer criticism of their pricing by saying they’re “too expensive” or “not worth the money.” The wedding industry is a tight knit one—you don’t want to burn any bridges in the community by being disrespectful or critical. Not worth the drama!

Express gratitude.

Even if you ultimately don’t end up selecting a vendor to hire, every one you speak to takes time and energy to give you a quote, send you info, and whatever else they did to help you make your decision. So be sure to thank them for their time and the materials they offered that helped you decide. No one should charge you for whipping up a quote, so never be concerned that you owe a vendor money if you decline their services (unless, again, you’ve already signed something) but a little gratitude goes a long way.

Refer them if you wish.

If you genuinely love what this vendor offers, but can’t choose them for some reason not related to taste or personality, you may wish to refer them to a friend who’s planning their wedding or event. Or let them know you’ll keep them in mind for a future event you’re planning. It will make you feel better about declining them, and it will make them feel respected. Don’t feel compelled to do this, but it’s a nice touch if you genuinely want to get these folks some business beyond your wedding.

Keep it simple.

You don’t need to tell a vendor you won’t be working with anything but no thanks. Don’t overthink it and don’t feel guilty! Every wedding vendor knows that at the end of the day, there are a million reasons why a couple may go with a vendor other than them, and there is no obligation of the couple to choose a vendor they’ve inquired with, no matter what.