Happy Wednesday Loves! Today we are tackling one of the things that gave me the most anxiety when planning my wedding… choosing the vendors. I remember thinking, “how the heck am I supposed to trust all of these people to make my wedding dreams come true?!” Honestly… it was easier than I thought it was going to be. So if you’re feeling stressed, scrolling through pages and pages of The Knot trying to find just the right florist, just stop, take a breath, and take these tips into consideration!
Before even starting to look for my vendors I came up with a mini checklist of questions to ask myself before making a final decision.
1. Are they in my budget?
2. Do I like the examples of their previous work?
3. Do I feel like I can trust them?
Next, I knew I needed to get my personal priorities straight. What was the most important things to me about my wedding day. Would I rather have a top notch photographer or videographer? Do I want florists that have worked on celebrity weddings or could I get the look for less somewhere else, and spend more money on the DJ of my dreams. These are personal decisions that are all up to the Bride and Groom. For me, I knew I wanted a video of my wedding day. However, videographers and photographers can be crazy expensive. I started to worry right off the bat. How can I possibly justify paying $5,000 for a photographer and another $3,000 for a videographer? I just couldn’t. Luckily for me, I had a photographer already in mind, that was honestly WAY too cheap. Her photographs are freaking phenomenal and I could have paid triple what she charged me, for a veteran photographer, and still not gotten photos like I got. Because she was so affordable, I was able to book an amazing videographer too. I seriously lucked out majorly!
Now that you have your vendor wish list prioritized, it’s time to start your research! Places like The Knot and Wedding Wire are awesome when you’re beginning the process. You can search for vendors in your area, see a price point, and read reviews from past clients. I loved this. I went through and made a list of the places that I liked best. Also, take recommendations from those you love. Many of them may have had a florist they loved or a caterer they absolutely hated. However, take these recommendations with a grain of salt. Be sure to check out vendors on your own. Don’t just take someone else’s word for it. Also, your venue may have some recommendations for you! It’s always nice to work with someone that already has been to your venue.
Then comes the hard part… contacting everyone. Be sure in your initial message, you tell them your wedding date, and location. Sometimes these will affect if a vendor can take on your wedding or not. I made a list of all of the vendors that I contacted as soon as I sent the emails. I left a space next to their name, so that when they responded I could write a price point, and what I liked best about their craft. Some vendors will respond right away. For me, this was a huge plus! (I put a big star next to those that responded quickly.) I also looked for how they conducted themselves, either through email or on the phone. I wanted people that I felt like I could trust with my wedding. You can learn a lot about someone just by taking a few minutes to talk with them!
It’s easy to narrow down your list once you’ve heard back from possible vendors. Some may be out of your price point, so you can easily cross them off. Some may never respond back, so you can cross them off. Some may not have your date available so… you guessed it. You can cross them off too. Pretty soon, your long list will be much, much, much, much smaller. And I can guarantee that you will feel less anxious already!
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, look at the options you have left. Decide what you like about them, and what you don’t. However, don’t take too long to contact them back… especially if they are a popular vendor in your area. If you still aren’t too sure, make an appointment to meet with people face to face. In the end… go with your gut, and who makes the most sense to you and your wedding. (I didn’t need to meet any of my vendors face to face… I trusted them all whole heartedly! The only one I would recommend meeting with before you book them is your photographer. You have to make sure that you will be comfortable around them… or your pictures won’t turn out like you hoped. I already knew my photographer personally, so I didn’t need to set up a face to face meeting!)
Once you’ve made your choices, it’s time to sign on that dotted line, and put down some serious cash. If you’re anything like me, this will make you SO VERY ANXIOUS. I still remember that feeling. I kept second guessing myself. I knew these decisions were super important and I was so worried I was making a mistake. Don’t do this. It will drive you crazy.
Trust your instincts. Don’t second guess them. They won’t lead you astray.
Okay… now I want to take a quick second to brag about my incredible vendors. You guys, I seriously hit it out of the park with these people. They were all so amazing to work with, and made my dreams into a reality. If you are in the Northern Michigan area and stuck with who to book, check these people out. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Alyson Fink Photography
I honestly can’t say enough amazing things about this girl. She is young, vibrant and insanely talented. She was so professional, and made sure every photo on my list was taken. She pays attention to all the little details, not only on the day of your wedding, but after too. I mean, she had a personalized flash drive made for us that said Mr. and Mrs. Klump and delivered it with a hand written note! Seriously check this girl out if you’re in the market for a photographer.
Future Focus Media
We were so lucky to have Paul, from Future Focus Media capturing our wedding day. We haven’t gotten our film back yet, but we just know it’s going to be incredible. He spent the entire day with us, capturing all the beautiful moments of our wedding day, that we honestly probably wouldn’t remember years later without him. He is a seriously cool guy, and a lot of fun to be around. I can’t wait to get our film back! You can bet I’ll be sharing it here as soon as I can 🙂 Oh. And he had a drone. #winning
Victoria’s Floral Design
Choosing a florist was the hardest for me. Before I even started looking at people in the area, I was already freaking out. I had an exact vision in my head of what I wanted, and I didn’t want to be disappointed. The second I contacted Victoria’s Florals, I knew they were the one. I worked with Chelsea, and she was incredible. I sent her pictures, explained my vision, and she just got me. It was like a match made in Wedding Planning Heaven. What I loved is I was able to fill out a detailed worksheet, and they sent it back to me with prices, explaining where I could change things to lower the cost. Whether it was using a similar type of flower, and choosing a different type of greenery. They also provided all the candles that I needed to complete my centerpieces. They were seriously so beautiful! I almost cried when I saw everything decorated. It was even better than I pictured. Plus, if you aren’t sure what you are looking for, you can visit their shop and see mock set ups, and arrangements. It’s really cool!
For me, choosing the right DJ was essential. I wanted someone young and lively, but also that played a good variety of music. Enter… 2Bays DJs. These guys are seriously awesome, and know how to keep the party going. They are young, energetic, and some of the best DJs in the area. So many of our guests told us how much they loved our DJs. And we couldn’t have agreed more!
Bay Shore Strings
While our DJs livened up the reception, we went for a classic string trio for our ceremony. These three ladies are the absolute sweetest ladies on the planet. They will learn to play any song you would like them too, but they have an awesome list to choose from already. I got to walk down the aisle to the string trio version of All of Me by John Legend. Cue the heart eye emojis! They played through our cocktail hour too. We just loved them!
Sugar Delites is owned by Manistee local Jennifer Dontz. And she seriously makes the most delicious cakes in the world. I mean she’s even been on TLC’s the Ultimate Cake Off TWICE! She has made every cake for me for every significant event in my life, starting at my first birthday, and I couldn’t imagine choosing anyone else for my wedding day. She is one of the kindest people you will ever meet, and her cakes are truly a work of art.
The Homestead Resort
While technically The Homestead was our venue, I’m including them here because of everything that was included when we booked them. I didn’t need to choose a caterer, because they have their own catering service. I didn’t have to have a wedding planner (I chose to plan myself) because I had a Day of Coordinator and a Coordinator that helped me through the entire wedding planning process. (Shout out to Lynzie and Connar for being the best of the best!) I didn’t have to worry about bar tenders… they supplied those too. The Homestead is a well oiled, wedding machine. And they truly know how to make your wedding day flawless.
Okay.. I’m done bragging now! But seriously, if you are anywhere near Northern Michigan, check all these wonderful people out. They seriously receive A++ ratings from me!
I hope everyone is staying cool! It’s a scorcher here in Michigan today.
*All pictures courtesy of Ms. Alyson Fink!