Regardless if you're planning a social event or a wedding, the same rules will apply when picking your vendors. Start by asking your venue or hotel if they can provide you with a list of recommended vendors. For DJ's, photographers and bakeries most importantly, you'll want to ensure that the following guidelines are followed:
- They have the insurance coverage
- They have a business with appropriate licenses
- They can provide you with at least 3 professional references
- They provide quality goods & services
Furthermore, you'll want to ensure that the respective event vendors can fulfill the task to fit your needs. For example, maybe you're looking for a high-energy DJ who will show up fully equipped with an assistant to help encourage the crowd onto the dance floor. Or maybe you'd like to work with a bakery who can make a gluten-free cake. Make sure to ask these questions as you shop around.
Another note regarding vendors is that most event hotels and some other unique or special event venues will do the legwork for you by including vendor services in all-inclusive packages. You'll pay a premium for this, but it may be worth it depending on how complex your event is.