Vendors, Or Creative Wedding Elves?

Since minute one of wedding planning I’ve always felt a bit weird about the idea of vendors. I was envious of those couples who had “vendor free weddings.” That is until David pointed out that I was, after all, a practical person, so he had no idea why I was fantasying about feeding 125 people ourselves.

Lately, I’ve figured out my issue is really around the word “vendor.” I mean, what are we planning? A county fair? Please. I have, however, valued supporting independent artists since I was a little girl. I grew up around a artist community, so I know what it’s like to live as a independent artisan (hard), and how it feels to buy something handcrafted and know you supported the artist (great). So! I’m proposing a terminology shift. Out with the vendors, in with the helpful wedding artists (or innovative wedding elves? Wedding creatives?)

I’m lucky to be exposed to some of the cooler wedding artisans around, thanks to both this blog and living in the Bay Area. I’m featuring some awesome artists this week, and invite you to share you recommendations in the comments. On that note, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned so far about choosing wedding artists:

  • Don’t put money into what makes you crazy. If there is a aspect of the wedding industry that drives you totally mad (for me, wedding gowns and engagement rings), don’t put money into it. Find an alternative way to spend your money. The WIC is only as huge as it is because of all the cash in it’s pockets.
  • Find vendors (achem, artists) that want to work with couples like you. It’s going to make you nuts to have a photographer that really wants the garter shot, if you are not garter tossing kind of girl. Save yourself the headache and find someone who likes you both for who you are. Luckily some vendors are willing to travel for reasonable rates, so if you can’t find good people in your area, you have options!
  • Prioritize. You probably can’t have all the amazing vendors you want. And you know what? That’s ok. That’s going to make you appreciate the people you do have working on your wedding that much more. If you really love paper goods, spring for cool invitations. If you love photography, find a great photographer. Don’t splurge on things just because it’s what you are supposed to spend money on, if it is not what you are into.
  • Don’t limit yourself to artists that advertise as doing work for weddings. If you love a photographer, ask them if they would be willing to work on your wedding (and then explain that you are a SANE bride!) And always, always let your friends and families volunteer their skills.
  • And my best tip is this: You know you have found someone you want to work with when you feel like “We can’t possibly afford to pay this person what they are worth,” or “If I had a extra $1000 to spare I would shove it in their pocket right now, because they are that awesome.” If you feeling ripped off by a vendor, that is a red flag. This doesn’t mean the vendor is a bad person, but it’s your subconscious piping up to say that they are not right for you.

What are your vendor tips internets? Do you have vendors that you love?

Photo via (also, check out their article about thrifty weddings).

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