As a Bride – Connecting with Vendors

July 11, 2016

As I sit to write this post, I realize that being a vendor impacted some of my actions as a bride. What I learned as a vendor, helped me be the best bride I could be. If I hadn’t ever experienced “the other side” of it, I may not have known any better, which is why I’m going to share this tip with you all today.

When you reach out to a vendor that you really want to work with for the first time, give them as much information as you can. Tell them about your love story. Tell them about your day. Tell them how you envision them working with you on your day. Tell them why you think they’re the best fit for you.

Let me explain a bit, from a bride’s perspective, and then from a vendor’s.

Thomas and I really wanted a singer/guitarist duo to perform at our wedding. We didn’t have one in mind, but we really wanted that “hanging out at a cafe enjoying brunch” type vibe for our day. So, we started doing research. We went to Google. We went to WeddingWire. We physically went to restaurants and ate brunch in search of our perfect duo. I reached out to vendor friends for recommendations. Finally, we found “our duo.” We reviewed their site. We watched them on YouTube. We creeped them on Instagram. We adored them – every single thing about them. They are the cutest and amazingly talented! We knew we wanted them to perform at our wedding.

We reached out to these two after a few days of mulling it over. It was a nice inquiry sent through their site (I can’t remember what it said, because it is all in cyberspace now) but we talked briefly about what we envisioned for our day, what kind of vibe we were going for and that we thought they would be the perfect fit.

Well, you know what happened? They said they weren’t really available for us, as they would be traveling throughout the US touring at colleges. I was heartbroken. There was no one that we had seen that came close to these two.

They were kind enough to recommend other singers/guitarists in the area. We did more research, reached out to a few more individuals, but we kept coming back to our original favorites. So what did we do? We (ahem, Thomas) wrote them another email.  He poured his soul out. He told them the full story. He told them how much we adored them, how we hummed their music, and how we danced in the kitchen to their songs that they had written. We wanted our first dance to be to one of their originals. He put all of his awesome personality into this email and really explained how much we were hoping for them to be a part of their day.

And then you know what happened? They said that they had to be a part of our day. They said they would drive from Ohio overnight in their RV to sing while we had our first dance as husband and wife.

At the end of our wedding day so many people came up to me and told me how awesome the music was – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 🙂 (Now that the suspense is over, please check Shane and Emily out! This is probably my favorite performance of theirs!)

Sure, maybe this is a crazy exception and I know it isn’t necessarily the norm, but what I realized was how important it is to truly express your interest in having someone be a part of your day.

Now, as a photographer, I will repeat the exact same message (and hope that I don’t sound like I’m venting).

More than half of the inquiries we receive are simple. Couple’s name. Date. Venue. A sentence asking for a quote.

Now, you may think that is perfectly fine (and for a lot of vendors, it might be), but think about it from our perspective for a second. I have no chance of impressing a couple with my response. I’m going to send my template email because I really don’t have any other option. I may add something unique about your venue, but I have no chance to personalize my response and really connect to you because I have nothing to react to. When this happens, I feel like I’m failing my couples right from the start, and I don’t have the chance to even put my best foot forward.

On the other hand, some days I receive the best emails- the emails that make my day – week – or even month!

Some days I receive messages like the following (these are just snippets of the inquiries):

“…He and I have decided to get married at Carlouel Yacht Club. We love the old Florida feel of the club and the timeless elegance it provides. We have not yet decided if the ceremony will be on the beach or on the front lawn. Either way we are looking forward to the opportunity to take sunset photos on the beach we call home. I’m still deciding on colors at this point but my favorite color is navy so it safe to assume either the bridesmaids or groomsmen will be in navy. He doesn’t care about colors. He cares more about food. He has fulfilled a lifelong dream a few years ago by purchasing his dream car, a 1976 VW Westfalia. Her name is Baba O’Riley. I have fully embraced the car since and we will be leaving our wedding in the VW.”

“I have looked at the work of more photographers than I can count. Through all of the pictures I’ve looked at, I kept coming back to yours! I love the crisp and natural look of your pictures, but also how they’re soft and almost vintage looking at the same time.”

“To be honest, we just want to be married and have been so preoccupied with a move, a remodel, and preparing for our future, that the details of the event itself have not been the primary focus. I know I will get much more into the nitty gritty once I have some larger details nailed down (like our photographer!). It will be a very simple and intimate ceremony with just our immediate family. The vibe we want when we get married is happy, carefree, sweet, and special. Having witnessed so many friends get married under a heavy coat of stress, that is the last thing we want on such a joyous day. We are both naturally introverted people who enjoy spending time in nature rather than in crowds so I can’t stress the word “intimate” enough!”

“Our vision for our wedding day is a time that we can celebrate each other and our love!  We want it to feel very romantic, organic, and joyous.  We want everyone to feel relaxed and happy, especially ourselves.  Our four bridesmaids will wear blush pink dresses, and our flowers will be very neutral with white & blush flowers, and lots of beautiful greenery.  We would like to have candlelight on the tables to show off our unique centerpieces – each table will feature a different fresh fruit arrangement (pomegranate, figs, berries, blood oranges, etc.).  We are working on getting some very talented friends to play live music at the reception.  If it works out, we will either have a grammy nominated trio (piano, bass, and drums), or an extremely talented band that will play covers of classic rock.  I’m sure my fiance and several of his musician friends will want to get up there and play a song or two, as well!

All of the food at our wedding will be plant-based, but we are not making a big deal out of it.  We are hoping that everyone will enjoy a nice meal and then be pleasantly surprised if they find out it was plant based.  Even the wedding cake/cupcakes will be from an amazing gluten free/vegan bakery in Bradenton called Retrobaked – the cake will be a semi-naked blueberry lemon lavender, and the cupcakes will be assorted fun flavors like PB&J and pumpkin caramel.”

Now, after you read something like that, aren’t you smiling? Isn’t that how you want to start a relationship with someone that is going to play a big part in your wedding day?

I know it might be a bit more time consuming, but I really encourage you all to spend even three extra minutes emailing your vendors for the first time. It will provide you with a springboard to develop a connection with these individuals. And who knows, it may lead to something even more beneficial down the road. 🙂

Thank you, as always, for reading! I appreciate you!

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