* Location: You don’t have to look within the city your wedding is taking place in. If your wedding is in your small hometown but you live in a larger city, you can choose a vendor in your larger city. Some vendors have different travel policies, but usually if it’s 1 to 2 hours away, it’s no big deal to them. The key is to have vendors that you LOVE, not vendors that you’ve settled on because they were the only ones available.
* Reviews: You want to see past client reviews on the vendor. Use Wedding Wire or some other reviewing site, and if there isn’t anything online, ASK. Ask on forums like Weddingbee, or ask other vendors you have booked. They can usually give you some feedback, and if all of that fails, ask the vendor to give you a list of past clients that would vouch for his or her work.
* Friends and Family: Talk to your friends and family about their vendors that they had. This can go one of two ways. You could have loved their wedding and check out their vendors, or you could have hated their wedding and know not to check out their vendors. And keep in mind that just because your sister-in-law loved her photographer, it doesn’t mean that you will too.
* Meet: You want to LOVE your vendors, so make sure you meet them before hiring. Meet a couple of vendors if you need to. Keep in mind to look at their work and make sure their style suits you and your wedding too. Don’t let their personality overpower your decision- if you really liked their personality, but your gut feeling says their style won’t fit your wedding, go with that feeling.
Around the Web:
Site Directories are awesome. Some are free, some are paid, and some are based on client recommendations. More and more blogs and wedding sites are getting better and better vendor directories, which I love to see! Here are some of the sites that have directories providing some great vendors:
WeddingWire: Wedding Wire is the greatest. Previous clients are able to review their vendors on a scale of 1 to 5, and you can read these reviews to get an idea for what their past clients think of them. You can also see their website and a portfolio of their work. It’s a great place to go when searching for vendors!
Style Me Pretty Little Black Book: I know what you’re thinking- vendors on the SMP Little Black Book are going to be too expensive for your wedding. That’s what I thought too. But now that I’m in the industry, I can tell you that Little Black Book members are most likely NOT too pricey for your wedding. All LBB vendors are preapproved and hand-selected by the SMP crew, so you know that you’re going to have a great experience. And a cool thing is that you can view a vendor’s portfolio on the LBB too.
Wedding Chicks Vendor Directory: Along with having a great blog, Wedding Chicks has a great growing vendor directory. You can’t see a vendor’s portfolio, but if you follow the Wedding Chicks blog, you may see a post or two or million from the vendors in their directory.
EAD Vendor Guide: The Elizabeth Anne Designs Vendor Guide is awesome too. Vendors are listed by category, and then divided up according to the state. The EAD vendors are approved by the site, so it’s a pretty select list.
BestWeddingSites Vendors: Another great location-based vendor directory, starting with the state, and then more concise with vendor type.
Of course, I also have a list of vendors to love, so just ask me for a copy if you are interested.
Even I still use these resources when finding vendors that I haven’t already worked with, or when a bride comes to me with a particular vendor in mind. And if you have another great resource for finding vendors, please share, and I’ll add it to this list! More than anything, no matter how much planning you do, the majority of your wedding is going to be reflected by your vendors, and of course you want them to be great! So definitely search for your vendors and do your research on them. And if you don’t have time to do that…hire a wedding planner, and they can do the searching for you! 🙂