This post is going to sound so biased because…well…I’m a vendor. Of course, I want to be treated well, but I also want to explain why I feel this is so important. Plus, I have a few ideas for you so you want to treat your vendors especially well. Or maybe just some pointers you hadn’t thought about yet that will greatly impact your vendors, which in turn, will greatly impact your wedding day.
- Tastebuds (otherwise known as Food, but the other topics start with Ts so this one needed to start with a T, too, lol) This isn’t applicable to all of your vendors, of course. Florists usually show up, set up, and leave. Your cake artist will do the same. Caterers comes with your food so you don’t need to worry about them. Sometimes, you should consider your hair and makeup artists depending on how long they are there with you. Almost definitely your photographer and their team, your videographer and their team, your coordinator, and your DJ. Your photographer and videographer will likely need two meals. The first meal is most likely lunch. There are three options here. You can either feed them the same thing you feed your bridal party (most preferred and most common), you can give them a 30 minute break to grab something, or you can tell them they need to pack a lunch and give them time to eat it on the wedding day. It’s amazing how often this is forgotten. Before I started bringing it up to my couples, I typically sustained on a granola bar until the reception, which is totally not enough, you guys. We are running around like crazy getting everything we possibly can, trying our hardest to be in two places at once, and by the time we get to the reception, we are literally running on fumes. Feeding the appropriate vendors helps them serve you better. Help give them energy for all the things they are doing for you on your wedding day. If you can’t or don’t want to feed them, make sure to prepare them for that so they can budget enough time to grab something! The second meal is typically dinner, which takes place at the reception. If your caterer offers you a “vendor meal” option to feed your vendors, please make sure you double check what that means. The vendor meal should be the same food they serve your guests. Also, make sure it can be eaten at any time throughout the night while food is out. If you want to take it one step further, designate a “vendor table” at your reception where all the vendors can sit when they have time to eat their meal. The best place for this table is close to the main events in case they need to pop up in the middle of eating to serve you best! Also, different vendors have different prime eating times. For example, photographers and videographers should eat while you’re eating. That way when you’re done eating, they are done eating and able to get back to work. I think we can all agree that no one likes pictures of themselves stuffing their faces. Also…cake. Need I say more? Don’t judge us if we snag a slice of your cake, one of your cupcakes, or a donut off the donut wall. Even those of us who are healthy eaters will indulge at the end of the night on a wedding day. I’d say on average we walk 7-10 miles throughout the day, we sweat our buns off, and we just really feel like a treat at the end of the night. Okay. The food thing was a big one so I wanted it to go first and get it out of the way.
- Talk. This is another one that helps us help you. Do you remember back to the beginning of wedding planning? When you were emailing all those vendors that you were interested in hiring, and then waiting for them to respond? Some were quick, but most were not. You waited. and waited. You found yourself frustrated because why could they not just get back to you? All they have to do is respond back to one email. Later on in the process, the roles kind of reverse. Instead of you emailing your vendors, your vendors start emailing you. If you can’t respond back right away, just let them know with a quick reply that you got their email, and you plan to get back to them in a few days or by the end of the weekend. They are trying to serve you the best way possible, and they can only do that when they get answers to their questions. I know it’s so cliche to talk about how communication in the younger generations is getting weaker and weaker. With all the social media and texting, communication is becoming less important. But in wedding planning, in setting expectations, in taking as much stress out of your day as possible, communication is so key. Also, communication via email is the BEST. Not every vendor feels this way, but most do. Emails are key because it helps us separate personal things from professional things. Also, texts disappear, and if they need to be looked back on, they can’t be. Emails are always there. Keeping all the communication in one place helps us stay organized and serve you better. When some things come through email, then text, then a phone call…it’s hard for us to keep it all together. So, email is the way to go! Also, communication to your bridal party and family. The best time to do this is at the rehearsal dinner. Go ahead and print out a copy of the timeline for all your peeps. I know this sounds crazy, but this will help them understand how important it is for them to stay on schedule, too. Print out a copy of your family shot list (Which I do for all my brides. If your photographer doesn’t, I recommend you putting one together) and give it to all the applicable family members. Make sure they know they need to stay at the ceremony site right after the ceremony to ensure we get through your family photos as efficiently as possible!
- Tips. This is SUCH a sensitive topic. I don’t claim to have always done this right in my own life, but now that I’m on this side of it, I want to encourage you that if you have a crazy awesome experience with a vendor…if they go above and beyond and you are impressed with them from start to finish, give them a little something extra. A tip doesn’t always have to be money either. You could leave a REALLY great, long, time-consuming review everywhere you can possibly review them. It could be a small gift or a handwritten thank you card and a $5 Starbucks gift card. It could come in many many forms, but of course, a monetary tip is also appreciated. Now, if you’re not impressed with how they deliver their services, don’t tip them. Please never feel like you have to tip just to tip. Only do so when you have an exceptional experience.
- Timeline. Stick to the timeline. There will be a timeline that will run your wedding day. If you didn’t read my Wedding Planning 101: The Importance of a Timeline last month, you should. That post is mostly about the photography timeline, but every single vendor will have their own timeline. These timelines take a long time. They take a lot of working with to get all of them to sync up perfectly and make your day awesome. The single most important thing you can do with regards to the timeline is to make sure you stick to it! If you are the type of person that is always running 10 minutes late, go ahead and set alarms 20 minutes before you’re supposed to be doing the thing so that you can do it on time after your tardiness. The main source of stress on a wedding day is falling behind on the timeline. You’ve planned and planned and planned. You’ve invested tons of resources and time into this wedding. Now all you have to do is stick to the timeline. And hold your vendors accountable to this as well. If you notice that your HMUA team is running behind, help them to get back on schedule. See if one of your bridesmaids can help them somehow to get them ahead of the game. You should hold them accountable just as much as they should hold you accountable. Timelines are there for a reason and it’s so every single vendor can serve you the absolute best way possible. Don’t underestimate the importance of a timeline!
- Trust. When you are planning your wedding, I really recommend spending some extra time vetting your vendors. You should always choose vendors that you can trust to get the job done the way you want it done. For example, if you want a wedding cake with the really artistic sugar flowers on it, you shouldn’t go hire a cake artist that specializes in buttercream, naked cakes. If you want a glitzy, glam wedding, you probably can’t get away with using a rustic barn venue no matter what coordinator or rental company you hire for decor. So once you’ve done all the work to fully vet your vendors, choose the ones you want to hire, the next step is easy. Trust them. Trust them to do what they are professionals at, and trust them to do what you’ve hired them to do. If you aren’t confident they can make your vision come to life without you being intricately involved on your wedding day, then don’t hire them! Find someone else… there are plenty of people out there!
- Time. Give them the time they need to serve you well. So many great examples of this. The first one that comes to mind is your HMUA team. If you have a large bridal party, don’t expect two HMUA girls to get all the hair and makeup done in 2 hours. Be willing to get up earlier in order for them to have enough time to do their job well. Same with photographers. Different photographers run their wedding days differently. Some will spend an hour doing detail pictures, some two hours, some 30 minutes. You likely have chosen that photographer because of the work that you’ve seen them post. Whether that be on social media or on their blog. You liked that work which is why you hired them. Now in order to get that work for your own wedding, they need ample time to do so. When you see a huge variety of portrait locations and you think to yourself, I just love how many portraits she got of the bride and groom! She only could do that because she got 45 minutes with the couple during their first look, 15 minutes after the ceremony, and another 15 at sunset. This doesn’t sound like a ton but when you start ironing out a wedding day timeline, that is a lot of time. But it’s worth it if you want lots of fabulous pictures as husband and wife on your wedding day. Give your vendors the time they need to provide the thing you hired them to provide!
- Thank yous. Sometimes all we need is a simple thank you. This one goes both ways. I try to ALWAYS be really grateful to all of my couples. I mean, without them, without you, I wouldn’t be able to do this and I am eternally thankful for your support and encouragement. But also, we really like to hear a thank you every now and then too. Especially if we have gone above and beyond our duties to make your wedding experience better. I know there are plenty of people out there that do not prefer hugs, but for me and my team… we like hugs. So a big hug at the end of the night with a fat THANK YOU makes us feel so stinking good. Then if you really want to kick it up a notch, making a social media post tagging our page making a public thank you and asking all your friends to go “follow” us and “like” us is incredible and will totally make our whole week. It’s hard in the online world for a small business owner. Every single like, every single follow, every single share, and every single tag counts you guys. And on that note…
- Tags. Tag all the appropriate vendors when you share an image from your wedding day! If your flowers are in the shot, tag the florist or if your dress is showing, tag your dress store and/or designer. If your hair and makeup are killing it, tag your HMUA artists. And from a photographer perspective, always always always tag your photographer. And if you want to take it one step further, tag them in the body of your text AND in the photo. Being in the body of the text is actually more important because your followers won’t always look at who you tag in the picture, but they usually read your caption. Make sure you’re tagging the right person and keep your hubby up to date on what he needs to do to tag as well if he wants to share an image. I can’t speak to all vendors, but for photographers, a huge chunk of our business comes from word of mouth marketing. That doesn’t always mean you talking about your experience with us. Sometimes that means you tagging us in a photo on Instagram. We all know that you will forget sometimes though. Especially if it’s an anniversary post and it’s a year after your wedding. It’s okay, we aren’t going to hate you for the rest of time. But we might DM you and ask you to tag us. We don’t mean anything by it, we aren’t mad, we just hope that with your tag that someone somewhere might see it and choose to hire us for their wedding day!
Okay. I know there are more that this pregnant brain is forgetting about right now. But this is a really great start. This post is not to condone anyone for not doing these things. I am just as guilty as you are at times. But hopefully this will serve as a reminder of the extra little things you can do to appreciate the extra little things that we do. Below I pulled some vendor shots I’ve gotten the last few weddings. See the caption on each photo to see what vendor they are!
I’m a Knoxville Wedding Photographer that loves to travel…I shoot anywhere! Click here to contact me with any questions you have about pricing or booking! If you liked what you saw above, go ahead and follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see my daily updates of the latest sessions!
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