Welcome to unVEILed, a home for all of the latest affairs within the wedding and lifestyle spaces.
Written & curated with love by The Opal Affair.
01. Don't Use Relative Words
(How much IS an arm and a leg really worth, anyway?)
Words like "affordable," "won't break the bank," and "don't cost an arm and a leg," are all relative words. Essentially, they mean vastly different things to different people. (For example, Heidi Klum insures her legs for a cool $2mil a piece. Meanwhile, I think I'd be lucky to get $300,000 for mine...combined.)
If you are planning a wedding that has specific budget requirements, we recommend using maximum budgets and price ranges when searching for (and reaching out to!) vendors on platforms like Facebook Bridal Groups, Wedding Boards, and online wedding websites (looking at you, Wedding Pro. What's Wedding Pro? Don't worry. We'll get into it.)
The more specific you can be about what your expectations are, the less time you'll potentially waste on looking through portfolios that are outside your budget, which frankly just elongates the process of finding and booking the right vendors!
Here's an example of how to format your inquires without using Relative Wording:
"Looking for an affordable _________________." or "Looking for a _______________ that won't break the bank."
"Looking for a __________________. We have a max budget of __________________. Our style is ______________________, and our Wedding Date is ________________ in __________________."
Hot Tip: As a vendor who sees inquiries in bridal groups almost daily thanks to social media, I will NEVER recommend another vendor on posts that use words like "affordable," "won't break the bank," etc. Using that language implies you want something cheap, and I'm not going to insult
my fellow vendor friends like that.
02. Ask Your Married Friends
Okay. There is literally no need to reinvent the wheel here. Chances are, you know someone who's been recently married. A friend, a cousin, a co-worker. Seriously, just ask them about their experiences! Ask them who their vendors were and, maybe more importantly, if they'd recommend them!
I've had some very in-depth, revealing conversations with friends in the industry over the past couple of months, and it's done nothing but further solidify my belief in this truth: There is nothing quite as powerful as the personal referral.
Which leads me, trepidatiously, to the third tip...
03. Do Your Research If Using Wedding Websites
"Hey y'all! I'm newly engaged and wondering if I should use The Knot or Wedding Wire? Any opinions?"
It's a question asked a million times in bridal groups across the globe. And well, there's a simple answer: The Knot and Wedding Wire are both entities of the larger conglomerate, Wedding Pro (told ya we'd get back to it.)
Now, I'm not here to go toe-to-toe with the literal wedding giant that is Wedding Pro. And I want to be clear that the reviews that vendors get on those sites are totally real and well-deserved! I just also firmly believe that potential clientele deserve to know that when they're using certain sites, there's still a chance they're being marketed to...let me break it down.
If I, as a wedding vendor, create an account with Wedding Pro, I then have access to create "storefronts" on both The Knot and Wedding Wire. I also have the ability to choose tiered pricing options, based on where I want my business to be listed within the search results, etc.
AKA, if I want my business to be listed on the first page of either site, I'm hypothetically going to pay a top-tier monthly bill to Wedding Pro.
Bottom Line? If you don't see a vendor profile fleshed out on The Knot, don't be alarmed. Some of the best, most luxurious and sought-after wedding vendors on the planet are able to fill their books solely based on what I mentioned above- those referrals, baby!
(Also, because my husband is nervous that I'm going to disappear in some weird, off-the-grid, "accident" after "spilling the secrets" of Wedding Pro, I'd just like to point out that all of the above info is already totally public info through a simple Google search. SpooOooOOky!)
04. Follow Them on Social!
Okay, so you found a vendor you're interested in, you heard about a great experience your 3rd cousin had with them at her wedding...what's next?
Follow their social accounts! You are going to spend a pretty significant chunk of time with some of your vendors (particularly your planner, photographer, videographer, and Glam Artists.) So watch their Instagram Stories, give them a follow on Facebook. Retweet them! (jk, Twitter is dead...right?)
Make sure that you not only like the style of their work, but that you actually think you'll jive with their personality as well!
Hot Tip: Even though you may not be spending a lot of one-on-one time with this person, your DJ isn't a vendor to overlook in this arena. They hold, almost single-handedly, the power to make or break your reception. Just saying...make sure you understand them, and they understand you.
05. Don't Sleep on Getting Your Vendors Booked!
Here's the thing- you can always plan a wedding in a tight timeframe. But, you may not always be able to book your preferred vendors with that tight timeframe.
It is industry-standard at this point for many vendors to be booked out at least one year in advance. This is especially true for dates that fall within peak wedding season (May-June and August-November!) So if you're interested in a vendor, inquire with them as soon as you can!
Hot Tip: Also understand that with most vendors, you are not considered officially "on the books" until you've signed a contract and paid a deposit!
Well folks, there it is. 5 simple tips for finding and booking your favorite vendors. Remember to: Be as specific as possible. Ask married friends and family for recommendations. Do your research. Make sure that the vendors you find, are vendors you like. And then get them booked!
And above all, enjoy the process. This is the only time you'll ever do this!