I decided today that I wanted to write about something a little different. Something that doesn’t directly apply to photography but applies to the industry just the same. I think it’s probably one of the most important aspects when planning your wedding day.
Deciding on how you want your wedding day to be can be hard work and, you will need help. While planning a wedding, it’s not about getting the BEST vendors in the city… it’s about getting the best vendors for YOU. There’s a good fit for everyone. Ahh the joys of shopping around. Every vendor is different which guarantees that you will find the vendor that best suits your needs, but how can you trust the most important day of your life to strangers ? Will they care like you do or, most importantly, will they be a good fit for your personality ? After all, you’ll have to deal with these people for at least a year while you are planning.
So, How do manage to get the best vendors for your wedding day ?
Well, trick is, you don’t need to FIND the best vendors for your day… you can make them become the best (for you). Find the vendor who’s work you love and then don’t become “just another bride” for them. Become a friend.
This post applied to vendors as well. Funny enough, it’s pretty much the saaammmeee rules when you are trying to find the best clients for your work. As we all know, being a vendor isn’t only about providing the best work that you deem possible but to provide the best SERVICE and EXPERIENCE that you can, to make your contract with your business, unforgettable. Everything we create is this industry is subjective to the client’s needs. What we create for one MIGHT NOT BE good for another. It’s really hard to give it your all on wedding days if you feel just like “the help” rather than a kick*ss professional who knows their sh*t (oh yea I just said that). But, providing an excellent experience isn’t possible unless you get clients (or vendors) that you understand, appreciate and feel comfortable with. Period. There I just gave you the secret to having a successful business. You can thank me later.
So, here goes. I wrote up 5 quick tips to help you… Believe it or not, everything start with the first email.
Brides; I’m not going to lie to you, vendors receive a LOT of emails per day asking about their services. As much as that is good for business, at one point, everything starts to look the same. Probably just as much as you having to send the hundreds of emails to anyone trying to see if they are available. It’s extremely important however to “push out of the crowd” when sending your first email however. It could establish what your relationship with this vendor will be like. It defines what their first impression of you will be. Personally, if I were to get an email from someone who simply wrote me : “Hi. How much?” (yes I actually got that once) I might have the urge to reply something like “Too much for you.” And just be rude. Of course, I wouldn’t actually write that but I might reallly reallly want to. And the last thing you would want is to because a painful job contract for the vendor, no? ESPECIALLY if you are actually quite delightful. Of course, I wrote something really nice and super peppy in response to that email asking about type of session they were looking to get information about but, in the back of my mind, I was kinda hoping they wouldn’t write back. They didn’t. Too peppy maybe? The bottom line is don’t let the annoyance of having to write 100 emails to vendors get to you and show off your personally from the very start. To a vendor, if you aren’t going to take a few seconds to show your vendor how EXCITED you are about your own wedding, the chances that THEY will be excited about it … are pretty slim. So be polite and be happy.
Vendors; this works for you too. By being polite and excited about their individual wedding (and asking for more details) in your first email you are showing your clients that you care about them, even before actually getting to know them. It differentiate you from the crowd of 1000 other vendors, don’t you think?
Brides; Vendors work really hard to try to bring you the best quality possible for your wedding day. It’s nice to hear from a client that they know how hard we work. Maybe this is just me but I believe that it’s important. Don’t be shy to mention in your email how important photography, music or food is for your special day. Every vendor has their niche and we choose it because we believe it’s awesome! By showing us that you value our time and our product… We’ll be more inclined to want to go above and beyond to make sure we get it right for your wedding.
Vendors; Goes without saying. Show your client how much you value their business. They shouldn’t be known a “just another job”. They are people, right? Show them!
Brides; This is a big one. This is one of the most important day of your life. Take the time to see who you are hiring! The last thing you want (and we want) is to be disappointed with the product that you will receive. When I first started in photography, I was very lenient. I was so hungry for work that I booked ANYONE that asked. Once, I booked an older bride that was on her second wedding and that didn’t really care about the little details about the day. She just booked her vendors because … that’s what you do. On her wedding day, I shot her photos how I would always shoot my weddings. Despite it being a winter wedding at 8pm (no light!) I liked what I shot!! Well.. turns out.. she was noooottt happy with my work. HOW DEVASTATING. I found out after the wedding that she was looking for traditional photographs of her wedding day and didn’t understand why I didn’t bring my studio equipment into the reception area to pose the family portraits. Huh? I don’t do that! Never have. The bride had never seen my work. After I delivered her the wedding, she complained, I showed her that her wedding was exactly like all my other weddings (and sent her my website) and she said ” oh no. I don’t really like your work” WHATTTTTTTT. You’ve hired me blindly? My goodness. Needless to say that I was super sad that she didn’t like what I gave her. Even though it was exactly like everything else I produce. And she gave me my only ever bad review 🙁
I believe this is what happens to everyone that ends up telling me “My sister booked up a [something] last year for her wedding and she was super disappointed” I always wonder if the couple actually took the time to properly search for their vendors.
When shopping for a vendor, make sure you LOOK AT THEIR WORK, ask for more of their work and book only the people you LOOOOVEEEE. Because I promise that in the end, you’ll both get heartbroken. After you find that LOVE, send them an email and tell them about HOW MUCH you love their work. It’s always nice to hear and it makes us appreciate you as a client that much more. Clearly, I love my own work and now, you are telling me that you love it too? We have so much in common [put sappy music here]
Vendors; Show that you understand what they are going through with all their planning. Give support and offer your help as we have done this soooo many times before.
Brides; I don’t think there’s anything worse than someone who takes for-ever to answer their email. Not only because we want to provide the best and fastest work possible (and can’t do it without having all the information)… but also because we could accidentally forget about you. Vendors get a lot of emails per day. They have a lot on their minds. By taking your time in answering emails, vendors might end up putting other jobs above yours. It’s that simple. They might think that you aren’t that interested and so will prioritize someone else who is. Nothing personal… promise!!
By answering your emails right away (and getting a response back quickly enough) it’s easier for you to create more of a friendship with your vendor. The vendor will have an easier time remember you by name, will know what you are both working on, at all times and, will be able to finish the work you need done, FASTER !
Vendors; Same for you. By not answering your emails fast enough, clients might feel neglected and move on to another vendor. Want the job with that awesome bride ? Email back!
Brides; So you booked up all your vendors for your wedding day and now are planning your wedding next year. Now what? Do you forget about everyone until the month before the wedding day?
This is my personal opinion (as is this entire post) but I believe that picking your vendors shouldn’t be all business. Yes, we are all busy people and we all have lives to live (and jobs to complete) but getting on a little more personal level with your vendors might benefit you a little.
By checking in with your vendors and talking to them about how your special day is coming along, asking for advice or even simply about the fact that you saw the photo they posted last week and had to tell them how much you loved it!! It will get you more excited about having to spend the day with them, on your wedding day. You’ll also get more comfortable with their personality, giving you piece of mind that you’ve made the right choice with your vendors and will allow you to just enjoy your wedding day!
Most importantly, they will all be there for you on your special day because you aren’t only dealing with “the help” but… with a new friend.
Vendors; By getting a little more personal with your clients, you can gain “insider information” about their personality and their wedding day plans to help you (vendors) provide an even better product for your clients. It’s not just about “booking” and then going to do the job. It’s about knowing the type of lighting, the colours of the napkins, what style of dress she bought last week and what she is planning to setup with the flowers on the aisle. It will make your job easier down the line.
Brides; So, you showed off your personality, sent off compliments and tried to become their best friend but still don’t feel a connection with your vendor? Don’t be afraid to move on. Just become your chosen vendor creates great work and has raves reviews, doesn’t always mean that they are a right fit for you. This is YOUR day. Your brother, cousin (or theknot.com ) might have different standards than you and your hubby-to-be. If your gut says that you could do better… you deserve to let yourself explore other options. It all starts with the first email but it ends with making a choice which will affect your big day. So choose wisely!
Vendors; Same to you, don’t be afraid. Don’t book everything that moves. Allow yourself to say “no” to clients that don’t seem to fit with your brand (and your philosophy). It’s really not worth the heartache (not to mention the headache). Those clients will find their way to someone better suited for them so don’t feel bad and you’ll still book that date.
The truth is, even though vendors love their job , There’s nothing worse then not connecting with your client, no matter what industry you are in. The day can become very long if someone ends up realizing that they weren’t a good fit from the start. So… working a little harder in those initial conversations might get annoying but it will make sure that everyone ends up having the best experience ever. Yay!