Why hello there, entrepreneur!
You may be here as a new vendor in the wedding industry or a seasoned one, but either way – thank you for being here! You are in the right place if you are looking for advice on growing your business! Working with wedding industry vendors can be overwhelming, especially since every single one operates differently. Here is our best advice on how to connect with wedding vendors and how to keep that relationship strong!
Research vendors that are true to your brand and style. If you have a dark and moody style, then reach out to photographers and other vendors with the same aesthetic! It wouldn’t make sense for us to reach out to vendors who have a different vibe than our work, because it would only be setting myself up for disappointment if we got a ton of photos back that we hated. Be smart and find the ones that will flow with your style.
If you want them to take you seriously, send them an email. It’s more professional and way less awkward than a DM. Doesn’t hurt to follow them on social channels, though and interact with them through there! Set up your expectations and processes as well; work with them on any project as you would a client so they know what to expect when they send referrals your way.
Instead of simply introducing yourself, invite them to check out your work or even offer to send them a sample pack or hop on a call if that’s their thing. You want them to get to know you and your company, so make it genuine, personalized, and professional.
We get a lot of junk mail with pitches of “would you be interested” things, so it is possible that we could miss a genuine email from a vendor that just wanted to connect. Avoid heavily templated emails and try to keep it personalized (hint: intention!). If they don’t respond, though, don’t feel bad about sending a follow-up or even following up on Instagram. We typically follow up twice when we are sending introductory emails.
Although we’re in Napa now, we love that we can still work with our SoCal vendors because of the relationships that we have built with them over the years. Here are some tips for keeping those relationships strong, but also some things to look out for:
Our wedding services mainly focus on invitations, but a lot of vendors don’t know that we also offer signage, cocktail napkins, laser cuts, bar menus, table numbers, and so much more. If there is more than one thing that you do, tell them so they can keep you in mind! If you’re a photographer, you obviously take pictures, but if you offer more such as album design + printing or engagement sessions or also newborn photography, workshops, mentor sessions, digital resources, etc. let new vendors know that! You never know who they might have that might need those extra services from you.
The best relationships we have with vendors are the ones that know the way we work. If they know that we have professional invoices, scheduled consultations, an established and easy-to-navigate website and/or pricing sheet, and professional proofs then they are more likely to refer me to their clients and even friends. When they know how you work, they can confidently refer you without “hoping for the best” and this also makes it so much easier to work with them again and again. On the flip side – ask and learn vendors that you work with how they work so you can do the same.
Tag all necessary vendors in the caption so if it is re-posted, those caption tags transfer whereas the actual tag in the photo doesn’t. Additionally, tag the ones in the photo that are shown/used in the photo. If the photo is of a bride holding the bouquet, tag all vendors you know that have to do with the photo (hair and makeup, jewelry, dress, ribbon, etc.) but you don’t need to tag the DJ in the actual photo. Planners and photographers should always be tagged.
When we work with vendors that continuously tag improperly or not at all, it’s hard to want to work with them again! Being mindful about how you choose to tag and educate yourself is crazy respectable and always noticed and appreciated.
When you’re shouting them out and really showing genuine appreciation for their work, they are going to appreciate that and take notice! If they are giving you some extra love on the gram, try to spend an extra 5-10 minutes a day to reply back and comment on a few of their posts. Some nice and encouraging words go a long way!
We have definitely struggled with this before and still do! There can be a few vendors that take a toll on you or really grind your gears. Not everyone is going to be perfect and you’re not going to click with all of them. If you find yourself working with a vendor that continually adds stress and makes your job miserable, sometimes it’s the right choice to not work with them. Or, at least be prepared with whatever armor you need whether it be additional contracts, scheduling forms, or lots of wine. The less negativity you have, the less frustration and resentment you’ll have and the happier you’ll be!
We could pretty much write forever about this, but we’ll give your eyes a break and let you take it from here. Any questions? Reach out and let’s chat!
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