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It Takes a Village: The Benefits of a Collaborative Vendor Experience

Anyone who has ever toured a wedding venue can attest to the beloved preferred vendor list: it can make or break the experience for both the couple and the venue, so who they select to be a part of theirs is imperative.

When we first began planning events in the triangle, I felt as though the preferred vendor list was about a popularity contest, and as though I would never be ‘cool enough’ to make the cut. What I soon learned however, was that it’s about so much more than that.

I like to attribute your wedding vendors like pieces of a pie-- stay with me on this one, I started as a baker, remember?

Okay, so you have about 12 wedding vendors who are going to be working together on your wedding day, to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and exactly as you envisioned. Those 12 pieces of the pie can come from numerous combinations of family friends, referrals from friends who have recently gotten married, referrals from other vendors, or internet searches.

You (hopefully), are selecting vendors that you love and connect with, rather than strictly based on their pricing, but it should also be noted that price definitely plays a role in this decision making process as well.

So we get to the wedding weekend, and there’s this collaborative magic that needs to happen in order to bring your vision to life. We’ve got slices of apple, pumpkin, chocolate chess, mincemeat, and shepherd’s pie-- basically, it’s looking like that trifle Rachel made for Thanksgiving that year on Friends, and things could go south quickly.

Now before I go any further, let me pause and say, there have been dozens of times that we walked into a wedding weekend without knowing a single vendor and everything went fine. But yall. Do you want your wedding weekend to be described as going fine? Because we want more for you!

So hear me out-- imagine that you have gone back to your first weeks of being engaged, and you haven’t booked any of your vendors yet. You have figured out exactly what your wedding budget is and who is paying for what. Stop. Go back and read that sentence again.

Because yall. Too many couples go out and book their venue because it’s beautiful and they love it, without having any idea what their bottom line budget is, and suddenly they’re what we call ‘venue poor’, and they can’t afford to do anything else. But that’s a conversation for a different day.

Okay, so you’ve gotten engaged, created a budget, and have determined that you CAN, in fact, book your dream venue! Fantastic news. That venue then hands you a preferred vendor list and it gets shoved into the bottom of a tote bag somewhere, go grab lunch with your cute new fiance, and decide to worry about vendors later.

But how does that wedding weekend look differently if you actually circle back to those preferred vendor lists, and reach out to some of those vendors? Those are the people that your venue trusts in their space, to execute your vision and to do it well. Now, I realize that I’m speaking from a venue perspective, because I have worked in several over the last decade, but the same holds true with lists coming from your planner, photographer, caterer, etc