As you start your vendor search and book your dream team for your wedding day, you should know this secret…….
You might be getting less out of your vendors than you could be.
Hopefully those you book are experienced, and professional, and able to deliver on all of your expectations. BUT. There’s some things in your power that will make your wedding vendors go ABOVE AND BEYOND for you.
Here’s the secret:
Wedding Vendors are People too.
and the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have others do to you” is the most vital piece of advice in your wedding process.
Follow these tips:
First and foremost, pick someone who is a good fit for your style, and personality instead of choosing based solely on their rates. That way you value them as an individual, and you appreciate their work and talent, and you trust them to make your dreams happen.
From your very first inquiring email, you can make your potential vendors’ hearts’ glow by telling them what you like about their work, why you are interested in hiring them etc. They also love to know about you, your vision, and all of the details you have planned so far!
The excitement I feel when I get an inquiry that tells me a little background to the love story I might get to be a part of, the style they are going for with their wedding, what they have booked so far, and why they think I am a good fit for them is drastically more than when I get an inquiry that says simply: “what do you charge?”with no details or personal messages following.
You can get your vendor’s extra invested in you by being invested in them right from the very beginning of your relationship! You should be excited about your vendors, if you’re not excited about someone they’re probably not who you should include in your wedding day plans. And if you are excited about someone your correspondence should reflect that!
It may surprise you, but all the small and simple things you do make a BIG impact. Wedding vendors are people too, and many of them (Photographers, Videographers, Makeup Artists, Florists, Wedding Planners..) are probably a one-person-show. Which means Their work is very personal and they put their heart and soul into it. It’s not just a 9-5 job where they get to clock out at the end of the day and turn in a timecard at the end of the week. Their work is a MAJOR part of their life. So when a client is kind, respectful, and thoughtful it truly makes a vendor even more dedicated to you and your happiness.
Your Vendor is probably trying her best to make you feel like you’re the only bride in the world, but the reality is that you are not. Your vendors are catering to the important needs of several brides at a time, which means that having considerate clients is the biggest blessing they can ask for.
Be patient when waiting for a response to a text or email. Social media and cell phones make us feel like we are entitled to someones’ time and attention 24/7! But these people are running a business, and even though they want you to feel loved (because they really do love you), your texts and emails are still “work” and in order for Vendors to keep a healthy work/personal life balance, they might avoid answering texts when they are on personal time. (i.e. even if they are posting on instagram, they may not be ‘on the clock’ so don’t think they are ignoring you! They will surely return your text, call, or email as soon as possible within their work hours)
Be mindful of their time when asking for special requests and favors. Contracts are a super helpful way to give you guidance on the boundaries they have set for their clients. Refer to your contract to know if what you’re asking for is within the agreement between you. And if it isn’t included, try to be understanding if they are unable to fulfill your special request, or if there is an added fee required to make it happen.
keep them in the loop
If plans change, or there are things going on that will affect your vendors, LET THEM KNOW. Most vendors know what questions to ask and will try to get info out of you in a timely manor but the more you communicate with them the more they will be able to serve you. Give them details, send them updates to your itinerary, and ask if they have any suggestions (they have witnessed A LOT of weddings and have so much valuable insight)!
This is a big one. I personally appreciate a response to every email, if you reach out to a vendor and ask for rates, and they respond back— even if they are out of your budget and you’re going with someone else responding back and saying “Thank you so much for the info, we decided to go with someone else” or if you put a hold on wedding plans for one reason or another, sending a “Thanks for the info, we are deciding on things, and we’ll get back to you soon!” Lets them know that you appreciate the time they took to respond to you. THAT BEING SAID: I know that many brides when searching for vendors send A TON of initial contact emails, and if it really is overwhelming to you to send a response to everyone It’s not the WORST thing in the world if you don’t.
Where it is the worst thing, is when you have had multiple messages back and forth AFTER they sent you their rates, maybe you even asked for a contract—-and then they never hear back from you after they took time to respond to multiple emails and put together a contract for you. I know it doesn’t seem like much, and it is a “part of the job” but it’s always very disappointing for a vendor to spend over an hour (or sometimes more) of her time talking with a potential client and putting together an agreement for them, and then after it’s sent off— getting ghosted! BOO! A simple update to your potential vendors on where you’re at with booking them is gracious and helpful.
Plus, not responding may result in you losing your reservation! If you are still planning on booking a vendor, but you don’t respond for days or weeks to them, they may be unavailable when you do finally get back in touch. If you let them know you’re interested and tell them when you’ll have a decision by, they know you are serious about booking them and will be more likely to inform you if your reservation is at risk before they give it away to someone else.
SAY “THANK YOU”
(if all it is, is 8 letters, why is it so hard to say?)
I honestly think that this is the very most important thing you can do. When I have a bride who thanks me for the shoot, sends me a text with feedback and tells me “thank you” after I send the gallery etc. It makes me so HAPPY. And most importantly it makes it so I feel personally motivated to bend over backwards for that bride. When I send off a gallery for engagements, and hear nothing back—I go into their bridal session or wedding day feeling like they don’t appreciate my work, and it makes the job a lot harder when you feel like your client is ungrateful, unappreciative, or unhappy. I am far less likely to give more of myself (above and beyond what I have agreed to) when I am working with an ungrateful or unpleasant bride.
The crazy thing is, that I think a lot of brides who don’t say anything about their pictures, or send a “thank you” message, aren’t even dissatisfied or unhappy. I think they are just not thinking about it. They don’t realized how big of a deal it is to respond. (i.e. I had a bride who didn’t say one word after I sent her wedding photos, but she literally posted over 50 of them on her instagram and said in the captions how excited she was about them. So I know she was happy with the final product, but since she didn’t ever respond to me after I sent the gallery I felt like she didn’t appreciate all of the time and love that had gone into her images).
tell them what you love
If you love your photos, video, flowers, etc TELL YOUR VENDORS!!! Speak up! Your kind words mean the world to them and encourage them to keep putting all their love into their work for you and other brides. If you love the way your experience went with your vendors give them a good review, pass their name on to your friends and family, send them an email, thank you card, or a text saying you love their work!
tell them what you need
Sometimes it’s not all love that you have for your vendors. If you are unhappy or disappointed with something your vendor has created for you, talk to them! There is always a kind way to communicate what you need. If your flowers weren’t what you expected them to be at the bridal session, talk to your florist before the wedding and communicate clearly and kindly without offending them that you would like to have changes made for the next bouquet. keep in mind that there’s a chance what you had in mind and what you paid for are two different things—i.e. if you felt like your bouquet was too small at bridals, it may cost more for you to have a fuller bouquet on your wedding day.
Your vendors want you to be as happy as can be. Tell them what you need and talk them through your vision so they can meet your expectations and give you the wedding of your dreams!
read your agreements
read your agreements.
read your agreements.
read your agreements.
Before you text your videographer and ask “when the video will be ready” GO LOOK AT YOUR CONTRACT. I can almost guarantee your vendor will have the answer to most of your questions written down in your agreement. I always feel like bride’s are disappointed when they feel as if they’ve been waiting an eternity (of 7 days) for their wedding photos;) and I have to break the news that it takes longer than that to process all the images from a wedding, even though it shouldn’t be news to them, since it’s clearly stated in my contract— So don’t let yourself be disappointed! And don’t make your vendors feel bad about telling you things that you should already know from day one of working with them. Your vendor has the agreement so you can both be on the same page and know what’s expected out of each other. (Did you know that the number one cause of unhappiness is un-met expectations? If you know what to expect there won’t be any gap between expectation and reality and you will be a happy bride!)
When you do things that break policies in your vendor agreement you put your vendor in the awkward position of either choosing to get taken advantage of and not standing up for their policies, or telling you that it’s against the agreement and risk you forming a negative opinion of them. In a business where referrals and client satisfaction are GOLD, that’s the trickiest fence to sit on! We want to be accommodating to our clients, but our policies are there for a reason, and they are instigated to create the best possible experience for all parties involved.
The agreement goes out before any money goes down— so if it’s important to you to have your photos delivered the day after your shoot, you better read that agreement and see how much the rush processing fee will be before you move forward with that vendor. That way you can plan accordingly to accommodate for their processing time, or if it’s impossible for you to work with a standard processing time, you’re not surprised when you ask if you can have your photos back in a shorter amount of time, and your vendor responds with a “yes it will cost this much”.
get payments in on time.
This goes along with reading the agreement.
No one likes to feel like they have to beg for money— and your vendor shouldn’t have to. It is your responsibility as the client to get your payments to your vendors on time. Of course we understand that you are so busy with your wedding, and you have a lot of checks you’re writing. We are used to sending reminders, but just be aware that when you have a late payment it may result in a late fee, or a later delivery of the product from your vendor, or even a loss of reservation with your vendor! Again, each vendors’ payment policies are likely outlined in your contract with them, so check to see when things are due, what forms of payment are accepted, and what will happen if you forget to get your payments in on time.
The overarching principle of how to get the most out of everyone you interact with is the golden rule (as I mentioned before) Just like you want to feel appreciated, respected, loved, and valued— your vendors do too!!
also— pro tip—- this is great life advice too (want to get out of a speeding ticket? be nice to the officer at your window! want to get an extra big portion of guacamole on your cafe rio salad? BE NICE AND APPRECIATIVE!)
I hope this was helpful to you!
Also Just a disclaimer— this article is not meant to call people out. I understand that not everyone communicates appreciation in the same way and that’s ok! I have been blessed to have so many amazing clients, and I still love my brides who may forget to send a thank you text;) —BUT the more kindness and appreciation you show towards your vendors the more they will be willing to do for you, which is what you want right?! These are all tips to help you show your vendors some love in ways that are meaningful to them! XOXO