Updated: Oct 30, 2018
Weddings are a uniquely personal event, celebrating the commitment of a lifetime and true love between two people.
But if we’re being honest, most of the time it takes more than two people to put together a wedding. For me, it took a dream team of vendors who worked tirelessly to ensure I had the wedding I envisioned.
And I could not be happier with the vendors we so carefully chose, because each one of them contributed to the wedding in personal and touching ways.
With that in mind, here is what I recommend if you are planning your wedding and want a team of vendors you can trust to bring your vision to life.
1. Gather referrals.
Have a friend whose hair looked amazing at her wedding? Ask who styled her!
Listening to a DJ mix up a great selection at a local bar with friends? Get a business card.
Look first to your social circles for recommendations of trusted vendors. It narrows the search, and gives you a head start in finding someone you will enjoy working with.
And if you’re like me, you can also ask your wedding coordinator for recommendations! I ended up with the most amazing hair stylist because I asked Emily who she would recommend. Jen Lagers tackled my thick mane, and my hair has never looked better. (She’s also an incredible person all around, full of light and laughter. I was lucky to spend my morning getting ready with her.)
2. Do Your Research.
Look into each vendor you are considering. There are numerous resources for finding wedding vendors, and once you’ve narrowed down the selection be sure to do your research!
Comb through their business websites, social media accounts, and wedding site reviews. This mix will give you a feel for their business philosophy, their aesthetic, and how other brides have felt about their services.
Our wedding photographer was someone who is near and dear to me, Tonie Christine. I’ve followed her on Instagram since I was the bridal consultant who helped her find her wedding dress, and her website and social media accounts truly reflect how she is as a business owner and photographer. Not only did I love her aesthetic and know that I wanted her to shoot our wedding, I also knew that I wanted her to be at our wedding (and as you can see below, on the dance floor)!
3. Meet in person.
Through research and referrals, you should be able to make a short list of contenders for each of your key vendors (think photography, coordination/planning, hair and makeup, and officiant).
Reach out to your top choices and set up a consultation! Email correspondence and phone calls will give you an idea of what it will be like to work with them, but nothing holds a candle to that in-person chat.
Be sure to bring any questions you may have (more on that in a second) and something to take notes with!
4. Meet with more than one of each key vendor.
Chances are you’ve likely never planned an event of this scale. It’s a good idea to meet with a couple different vendors for each role, so that you have a point of comparison and options in case of a scheduling conflict.
But don’t overdo it! Reach out to two or three initially, and narrow it down from there. It can get complicated trying to schedule multiple meetings and keep track of all the details involved. You want to be able to have options, but not get so overwhelmed that you end up missing out on the perfect fit!
5. Ask the right questions.
Before you meet with prospective vendors, figure out what questions you would like answers to. Start by considering what is most important about this aspect of the wedding, and base questions around how this vendor will take care of it!
For my hair stylist, I needed someone who had experience with thick, wavy, long hair. I’ve had many a bad haircut because the stylist was unfamiliar with my hair type. So I knew when reaching out to prospective stylists that I had to ask their experience and comfort level with thick hair.
And for hiring a coordinator, my main priority was that I did not have a bridal party, and wanted my friends and family to be able to enjoy the wedding without obligations. My preliminary questions for Emily centered around what tasks she would be managing as a wedding coordinator.
6. Choose people you want at your wedding.
This seems like a no-brainer, but choose vendors who you are genuinely excited to work with, and that you want to see at your wedding. Not only are you spending this important day with them, they’re the ones who help make it happen.
On your wedding day, you’ll be getting ready with some of these vendors, like your hair and makeup team and your photographer. Keep in mind this can include some personal and touching moments, so you will want to be comfortable around them!
If you surround yourself with people who have a genuine passion and love for what they do, it will be reflected in your wedding day. (And if you’re lucky enough to have an amazing wedding photographer like Tonie, it will be reflected in your photos, too!)
7. Once you’ve chosen them, trust them.
When you’ve carefully selected your dream team of vendors, you can trust in their abilities to bring your vision to life.
Having professionals who know the industry and care deeply for what they do will translate into a seamless, beautiful wedding day.
My dream team of vendors included passionate entrepreneurs whose talents were evident from the first meeting through our wedding day. I had the utmost confidence in their abilities and trusted them when making decisions. The result was a wedding day beyond what I had initially dreamt.
8. Let them know how appreciated they are!
When you work with people whose company you truly enjoy, and you see the time and energy they have put into making your wedding dream a reality, showing your gratitude comes naturally. We had small gifts made for a couple of the wedding professionals who truly made our day what it was.
You can also show your gratitude with positive reviews and words of affirmation! Refer your favorite vendors to your newly engaged friends and talk up your experience with them. It can make all the difference.
Assembling a dream team of vendors takes time. Be thoughtful and purposeful in your search, and trust your intuition when you choose who will help make your wedding a reality!
And see below for the dream team who made my wedding happen!
Coordinator: Emily Sullivan, Prudence & Sage
Venue: Twin Willow Gardens
Photographer: Tonie Christine Photography
Bridal Hair Styling, Hair Styling and Makeup for Mothers: Jen Lagers
Bridal Makeup: Stace Cho
Catering: Maverick Catering
DJ: Drew Hobson, Groove Entertainment
Officiant: Matthew Thuney, Weddings with Spirit and Wit