[Editor’s note: I started writing a completely different post and then I started ranting and raving about this, so yep, here’s another post about finding vendors!]
So I’m sure most of you are like I was- everything that you see online seems kind of out of your reach. In all truth, I honestly thought that if I found a vendor ONLINE, in a directory online, or through an ad, they were too expensive. WHAT?!?! I am seriously LAUGHING OUT LOUD at my stupidity and ignorance right now. But that’s what I thought! And so I ended up with not-so-great vendors because of it.
But now I am here to tell you that vendors who are online and have ads AREN’T too expensive and just might be PERFECT for you! How do I know? Because I’ve worked with them and worked for them. Don’t be afraid. Don’t let a pretty ad hold you back, or just because they’re listed on an awesome site as a preferred vendor. You can have an AWESOME wedding by looking for awesome vendors. They’re out there! Don’t be stupid like I was and settle!
So now I’m going to hold your hand and walk you through finding vendors and then inquiring with them! :)
Step 1: Figure out your wedding logistics. IE: What style of wedding you are going to have. Your wedding date. Your venue. Essentially, the only vendor who you should book WITHOUT any of these things is a planner.
Photo by ELV Vendor, Jason Mize Photography
Step 2: Look for vendors! (Now this is where you could retreat back into your “I’m not cool enough for vendors who are online” hole, but I won’t let you!)
– Go to your favorite blogs (HI!) and look up posts that feature vendors from your area. If they have a vendor guide (like the super awesome Every Last Vendor) look through there as well. [Note: I specifically made it a point to have vendors in Every Last Vendor be categorized by price in addition to style, location, and what type of vendor they are. No questioning whether or not you can afford them when you look in ELV!]
– Ask friends who have already been married for their recommendations. If you already have a vendor or two, ask them what other vendors they recommend as well.
– When looking around, be sure to read vendor blogs, look at past work, and read their “about” section on their sites. You want to “connect” with all of your vendors because they’re going to play a huge role in your wedding! There is SO MUCH information online now- sometimes you’ll feel as if you already know the vendor before even talking to them.
– And definitely be sure to read THIS POST too. (No need to repeat myself a bazillion times)
Photo via ELV Vendor, OCD Events
Step 3: Inquire! This is something that I was NOT good at. I would keep going back to vendor sites and just be a little stalker- never once asking about their services or pricing. Email is awesome. You can still be a little shy and find out information- I would have NEVER called to ask vendors about info, but that’s just me- I’m an email person. So now that I myself have been on both sides of inquiring, here are some tips:
– Don’t send a mass email to a million vendors. Sure, copy and paste your inquiry email, but a) it’s more personal to send a single email and b) it will help you keep track of your inquiries better.
– Include information about your wedding in your inquiry email. Everything that I mentioned in Step 1- location, date, style, and any other info you feel like you want to include.
– Ask what the average amount is that a bride spends with them. It’s a great question, because yes, they could start at $2,000, but that’s their lowest and most brides spend $5,000 with them. It will give you more insight into their costs and quality of work.
– Tell them what you’re looking for. This is different with every type of vendor, but for example, if it’s a photographer, say that you want 8 hours of coverage and a small album. Or an event design company, say that you want just flowers and linens or you want the whole shebang (lighting, draping, linens, flowers, details, etc etc). This will help the vendor provide you with the most accurate information.
BOTTOM LINE: DON’T BE AFRAID! You deserve awesome vendors, they’re out there- and most of them are online, listed in directories and have advertisements. None of that should scare you, sway you, or dissuade (that is a word, right?) you. All of that- it’s just business. It’s what they do to be able to find awesome brides like YOU. So go on, find vendors, and ask away! Oh, and if you’re a bride and you have a vendor recommendation, put it in the comments! Help each other have amazing weddings! :)