Whether you have a full wedding experience or opt for choose to celebrate less traditional and more intimate there will always be a few decisions made for wedding-day coordination.  Wedding planners and coordinators make this feat so much easier, but how do you get to the point where you're selecting wedding vendors that are right for you? 

It is my strong belief that wedding vendors should be chosen thoughtfully and carefully, whether its your wedding photographer or your florist. In this post I'll share how you can find the right wedding vendor for YOU.

1. Online research is a start.

Thank goodness for the internet, amirite? At the click of a button and a few targeted keywords, like "Greenville LGBTQ-friendly wedding photographer", for example, and you'll return hundreds and thousands of results. Or maybe you heard about a vendor through a friend and took to the internet to find out more information. Online research can help you answer a multitude of questions before you even fill out a contact form or pick up the phone. You can find examples of vendors' work, read testimonials, and reviews, and learn more about them as individuals or the company in general. Leverage online research, but don't let it be the end of your search for the best wedding vendor for you.

2. What do you care most about?

 Have you ever been asked or asked someone what they wanted to eat and their initial response was, "I don't care?" Then after you rattle off a few places to eat, they decline each one? I've done this (and no, I'm not proud of it).

But the truth is that when looking for vendors for your wedding, you may not think you know what you want at first until you hear what's offered. However, to make your search more efficient, go forth by asking questions you really care about.

Do you prefer someone local? Do you have a particular style in mind? Are you on a specific budget? The important thing here is to really focus on what matters to you. There are several wedding blogs that have published questions to ask your vendors, but be sure the questions you ask really resonate with you. A professional vendor will be able to assure your needs are met with them or refer you to someone else who can deliver based on your needs.

3. Meet with vendors in person.

You may often hear me talk about effective communication. While I've failed at it more often than I've succeeded, it's an ongoing topic I'm always willing to be a student of. 

I recently took a class on leadership where we discussed just want effective communication is. The instructor challenged us to guess what the greatest indicators of how well a message is communicated. The results may surprise you:

Content  is only 7% of effective communication.

Tone comes next at 38%

But, Body Language accounts for a whopping 55% of clearly conveying a message.

What does this mean? If you have the opportunity to do so, ask to meet your potential wedding vendor in person. If you can't physically meet due to location, then opt for a video interview. 

But what if I don't have time to do this? I'm an introvert; this is so not my style.

I don't recommend meeting with everyone you find to be a prospective match, but if you've wittled down your list and found that this vendor meets all your criteria on paper it's a great next step. Not only will you get a better understanding of how well this vendor communicates with you, but you can address all of your questions and concerns with all of the cues of communication present.

4. What are your values?

Did you hear about the 2015 wedding cake court case in which a Colorado baker refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple? Without getting into the nitty gritty details, I would say that values should be at the forefront of a decision of hiring a wedding vendor.  Particularly if you are a member of a marginalized or underrepresented group, I encourage to you look where you are celebrated, not tolerated. I've had a range of LDP clients who have made their values clear-- whether they are same sex, religious, non-religious, non-traditional, etc. Voice your values and what you care about to your vendors and be sure that they can not only provide a service for you, but support you as well.

5. Ask a friend.

Word of mouth referrals are the bread and butter of small business. When a friend or family member shares a positive experience with a vendor, you are more likely to trust his/her advice as opposed to a stranger's review.

I am happy to announce a new wedding referral program for LDP Friends and Clients. Learn about our referral program here.

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Have you successfully found your wedding vendors? What are some tips you'd like to give someone who is in this process now? Share in the comments.

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