Hey there, Team Practical!
Associate Editor Maddie, here.
One of the things I remember most clearly about planning my own wedding was my vendor search. Wedding blogs hadn’t hit it big yet, and I’d never planned a big party before, so armed with only Google and a somewhat pleasant phone demeanor (Michael calls it my “phone voice,” but usually that description is accompanied by a sour face) I went to town trying to find people who were local, who fit in our budget, and who wouldn’t laugh when we described the kind of laid-back wedding we were planning.
It was hard. Which was why I was so thrilled last year when Meg announced the APW vendor directory. Even though my wedding was looooongg past, I was excited for the people who were now planning their weddings and could take advantage of this awesome tool. Which is funny, because even though I’m a sponsor as well as Associate Editor, and I pay for front-page advertisement, I’m also a reader, and I still really value the ability to search for a specific kind of vendor in a specific area that starts and ends at a specific price point. Especially when that price point is teeny tiny. There, I said it. I’m a vendor directory junkie.
Which is why when Meg mentioned that we were going to write about the benefits of shopping the vendor directory , I jumped at the opportunity. So here are some of my little secrets about the vendor directory that you might not have known about, as well as a few spoilers for what we’re doing this summer to make it even more awesome:
- The vendor directory is extra friendly to those of us with smaller wedding budgets. It’s no secret around these parts that front page advertising costs more than the vendor directory (and it should, because we put a ton of time and resources into our front page advertisers, but that’s another story for another day). But what that means is that usually our vendors in the directory are newer wedding elves who are up-and-coming in the wedding industry and working their way up towards front-page sponsorship. In the meantime, many of those advertisers (especially of the photography persuasion) are offering introductory prices as they build their businesses. Translation: lots of the vendors in the vendor directory are going to be right in line with your budget (and you can search them by geography and service type! Win!)
- The vendor directory has a greater variety of services available to you than the front page. I’m sure you’ve noticed that many of the front-page sponsors tend to fall under the same few categories: photography, jewelry, sometimes fashion. This is mainly because those businesses specialize in weddings and are therefore able to concentrate their advertising budget on a specific market, which makes the front page a good fit for them. But for other services where weddings are a part of the business and maybe not ALL of it (DJ’s and makeup artists, for example), the vendor directory is a perfect place for them to advertise and begin to build their wedding clientele. What does this mean for you? You can finally find a sane florist who has agreed to the sanity pledge and will help you figure out a bouquet that matches your taste and your bottom line. Oh and you don’t have to worry about getting those promoted Google ads for 1-800-Flowers in the vendor directory.
- Vendor Highlights: Coming soon, we’re going to bring the vendor directory folks out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Each week on Monday afternoon, we’ll highlight a different vendor group that you can find within the vendor directory, along with links to their businesses. Then, once we’ve highlighted some of our existing vendors, we’ll be letting you know when we get new vendors to the directory. That way, if you’ve been dying to find an affordable photographer in the NYC area who takes just that kind of photo you love, you’ll be the first to know when they’ve arrived.
- Ask a Vendor: Ever wonder why a certain kind of flower costs more in a certain geographic location than another? Or really, just want to ask what a good alternative to peonies is because you think you love them, but you live in New England and have never actually seen one in real life? (Who? Me? What?) Well, now you can ask the professionals and maybe (hopefully) save yourself some planning headaches along the way.
- General Improvements to the Vendor Directory: As we work to bring you a greater variety of more affordable vendors, we are also working hard to improve the directory itself. Spoiler alert: we are hard at work improving on the existing search function so that you can narrow down your search even more specifically than you already can. We are also doing everything we can to fill out the directory with as many different kinds of vendors as possible (especially in those underserved regions where it never seems like we have enough representation). So if you’ve got someone you’re working with this summer that you absolutely love, send them our way!
At the end of the day, the vendor directory is a win for everyone. It allows us to bring you more affordable vendors, in harder-to-reach corners of the globe. It allows newer talent to get their foot in the door and work with this awesome community. And, with the sanity pledge, it allows us to take one small step closer to creating a network of wedding professionals who are committed to treating clients like people and vice versa.
So, if you’ve been dragging your feet on choosing vendors because you were feeling frustrated with the lack of availability, or just couldn’t pull yourself together for another Google search, then go check out the vendor directory. And if you did end up working with someone that you found on Google (or Bing? Do people use that?) and they aren’t in our vendor directory, but should be, please send them our way. Everyone deserves to work with creative, sane wedding elves that they can afford (and with awesome clients, like yourselves).