When was the last time you spent thousands of dollars to hire a professional musician? When was the last time you spent hours working with a caterer to come up with a perfect menu?

If you're like most brides and grooms, the answer is never. That's one of the reasons planning a wedding is so stressful. One of the best ways to reduce some of that stress is to take the time to get to know your professionals before you hire them.

Think back to your last job interview. You were asked about your professional accomplishments and your last job and you were asked for references. But, you were probably also asked a few personal questions as well. Nothing inappropriate but maybe a question about hobbies, or books you read, or favorite movies. That's because most businesses don't just want to hire people who can do the job, they want to hire people who can add to their office culture, people who can do the job without driving everyone else nuts.

The same should be true of the people you hire for your wedding. Micro-managing every detail of your wedding will make you and your professionals nuts. Instead, pick a wedding pro who gets you and understands your ideas, visions, and needs.

So, how do you do this? Here are some tips:

  1. Find your professionals through a reputable source

    The first step in finding a professional you like, is to find one you can trust. Use a site like GigMasters to research a professional and make sure you read reviews.

  2. Meet in person if at all possible

    Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to get a feeling for someone. It can be difficult if you live in a different town than where you're getting married, so if it isn't possible, see if Skype or other video conferencing options are possible.

  3. But, keep it reasonable

    If you try to meet 10 photographers, 10 caterers and 10 band leaders, you'll be busy and stressed. Limit your face-to-face meetings to three people per category. We suggest a very expensive person, a middle price range person, and a fairly inexpensive person. If you really don't like any of the three you talk to, move on to the next three.

  4. Just this once, judge a book by its cover

    We're not saying that if you don't like the DJ's haircut you shouldn't hire him, but in a lot of ways, your wedding entertainer is the voice of your wedding. They represent you. If that idea makes you uncomfortable, keep looking.

  5. Go off topic

    Sometimes when a bride and groom meet with professionals for the first time they have a list of questions they've been told to ask, things about price and details, etc. But don't stick to the list, and don't be surprised if the professional wants to talk about other things as well. If you're interviewing a videographer, ask what her favorite movie is. If you're talking to a florist, ask about his favorite music. Remember, you'll be working with these people a lot, you need to like them.

  6. Ask pros about other pros

    If you find a wedding professional you really like, ask his or her opinion about other professionals you're considering. Don't just ask about the other professionals' style, ask how they are to work with. Listen carefully to what the pros tell you. It's in their best interest to recommend people who do great work, and are easy to work with.

  7. Be honest

    There's an urban myth that a great way to get good prices on a wedding is to lie about why you need the service. For example, not telling your hair stylist that you need an updo for your wedding, but pretending it's just for a fun night out. We've even heard of people lying to the venue and saying they were holding a family reunion, or telling the same lie to the photographer. This is a bad idea. Be honest with your wedding pros about what you want, and what your budget is. They have a wealth of experience and can help you with your wedding, but only if you're honest. Don't worry if the pros will like your ideas, or think you're cheap, they want you to have the wedding of your dreams, not theirs.

Main image credit: Kristen Wynn Photography