4 Huge Mistakes Brides should Avoid when Selecting Vendors on Social Media
Thanks to sources likeInstagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, finding and booking your wedding vendors should be easier and more convenient than ever right?! False. Brides and wedding professionals alike are finding that there are many pitfalls and downsides to searching out vendors on social media and through hashtag searches. An informal poll of local leading Utah wedding vendors revealed the 4 main mistakes every bride is making when researching vendors online.
1. Obsessing over Feed Aesthetics
The #1 comment I hear from a bride is, “I’m obsessed with her work!” Brides looking for vendors simply hop on Instagram and search hashtags like #utahweddingflorist or #utahweddingflowers. They’re instantly bombarded with thousands of gorgeous images from vendors all across the state! Soon they start to notice that they keep liking images from the same 10 accounts, and they’re sucked down the rabbit hole of beautiful imagery, marketing, and pinning and emerge truly obsessed with that person’s work. They come to believe that they HAVE to have it or their wedding will be nothing.
Unfortunately, one good image doesn’t guarantee a gorgeous wedding. Feeds are “Best of” highlight reels, and too many brides make massive assumptions about the quality and professionalism of their wedding vendors because they have a feed full of eye candy. It’s not a bad thing to love someone’s feed, but once you find a vendor you think may be a good fit, you need to do more than obsess over their best. You need to head to their websites or blogs and research full galleries from real weddings. You’ll want to look and see if they have the experience and tools to work around your wedding parameters. Do their images still look incredible in harsh or low light? Can that florist also bust out 20 centerpieces and a ceremony installation, or is she just good at creating a bouquet? Social media hasn’t taken away the need to research and find someone that will be 100% from start to finish.
We also see this problem in reverse. Many talented, experienced vendors don’t need to invest the time and effort necessary to create the perfect social media feed. They’ve built a solid clientele and market through other avenues. They may post an occasional cell-phone shot of a bouquet, but it’s hardly editorial quality. These incredible designers get passed over because brides AREN’T obsessing over their feeds. Instead, they’re judging based on the lack of aesthetics in a vendor’s feed and passing over real talent. It’s more important to go to their websites, dig in, and do your research.
2. Size of Following Assumptions
Ever heard a phrase like ‘bandwagon’ or ‘mob mentality’? Even if you don’t consciously acknowledge it, high amounts of followers, likes, reposts, or chatter about a certain person’s Instagram feed is impressive. You’ve been mesmerized and sold on a person’s branding and often make wild assumptions because of it.
The biggest complaint from wedding vendors is that too many brides make pricing and skill level assumptions based on the size of a vendor’s following, but a following is not always an accurate way to judge price, experience, or professionalism. If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “Oh I love his/her work but he/she is so popular I could never afford them.” then you have fallen victim to these same assumptions. There are many, many factors that go into size of following, and none of them include pricing. Big name Instagram accounts often bemoan that brides think they are now somehow unattainable.
Or vice versa, someone like me with a more modest following is often judged as a discount wedding vendor. I’m frequently approached by brides who will “allow me to do their wedding for free in exchange for exposure”. Yes. You read that right. Because I don’t have a 10k+ following on Instagram, I shouldn’t be paid for my work, despite 14 years of education and experience in designing wedding flowers.
We all know logically that social media makes it effortless for everyone to create false assumptions about a person or business, but don’t let those assumptions keep you from creating your dream wedding. Go to a vendor’s website and request pricing info, ask how long they’ve been in the industry, or get referrals from friends who have actually gone through the design process with them so that you know what to expect.
3. Shortcuts with Mass DM’s
Another common complaint from brides is that social media introduces them to so many vendors that they are overwhelmed and can’t choose. Wedding planning already requires a million decisions, and the internet has just opened up another can of worms. Instead of just going to your local main street florist, you’ve now found 100 other florists to choose from. How will a bride decide?!
I can tell you that the most common method of sending mass DM’s to 15 florists at a time and asking them to quote you a price from a Pinterest picture you love is not the way to go about it. Most vendors need and/or require a sit-down consultation to design your wedding before getting you an accurate price. You may not realize your image is way out of your budget...circle arches anyone?! They respond with a quote based off of the image you sent and it's higher than you wanted, so you cross them off your list. but you’re not giving them the chance to have a face-to-face design consultation where they show you how to sub, what to prioritize, and where to cut in order to get the look and style you want in the price range you need. Being able to e-mail or message someone does not replace the need to meet in person and pound out all the details, but it is a great way to just check really fast and see if they even have your date available before you start the design process with them!
4. Not Knowing the Difference between a Styled Shoot and a Real Wedding
Welcome to the age of the internet where everything you see on there is real :) Oh wait. Sorry. That’s a lie, and one that confuses brides pretty quickly. Instagram and Pinterest set ridiculously unrealistic expectations because much of the wedding inspiration out there is staged. It’s totally faked my friends. It’s called a “Styled Shoot” and it’s where wedding vendors get together and create faux wedding inspiration for publication, to trial-run an idea before the big day, to create content during the slow season, network with other industry professionals (it’s like book club only 1,000 times more fun!) or just to stretch themselves artistically.
I absolutely adore these shoots, but lately I’ve noticed a little problem. My brides can’t tell the difference between the magic of a styled shoot on a small scale in a controlled environment and a real wedding. They put those same over-the-top staged expectations on themselves and their wedding without realizing how much it would cost in reality, or that the vendor they selected may not have the experience or tools necessary to re-create that look.
Ask the vendors you’re researching to see examples of real weddings, not just small scale style shoots where they can create the perfect setting in a controlled environment. It may rain on your wedding day, so ask you photographer for images in inclement weather, or insist on seeing before and after shots of real women from your hair and makeup artist, etc.
Above all, remember that the convenience of finding possible wedding vendors does not replace researching them. You may feel stressed and overwhelmed vetting vendors for your wedding, but if you don’t have the time to research them, will you have the time to deal with the issues that blow up in your face on the biggest day of your life? Time spent really researching your wedding vendors is a worth-while investment into your peace of mind and enjoyment on your wedding day.
Photo by Ella
The Pear Blossom
Bling It On Dress Rentals
Designing A Couture Wedding in Provo, UT
Let’s be honest here. Provo, Utah isn’t exactly known for being a mini Milan, Paris, London, or New York. When fashions and trends hit our scene, they’re literally 5 years behind Europe, and as they come over the Rocky Mountains and enter Utah County, they tend to take a little twist and become heavily adapted to our local culture and fashion scene.
A typical Utah wedding is cream, blush, and gold, with just a few pops of burgundy. Every bride is wearing a lace wedding dress of some variety, and has her hair down in loose, bohemian waves or curls. Admit it. You’ve been to this wedding a hundred times over the last five years :) It’s a lovely look, hence the reason it’s popular, but I worked with an amazing team to design a wedding that will prove to you that you can have an elegent, couture wedding right here in good ole’ Provo, UT. One that’s romantic, dramatic, and truly one-of-a-kind. You can also see this wedding inspiration featured on Utah Valley Bride!
The main source of inspiration for this shoot was this amazing artisan chocolatier shop named Taste. With an elegant black and antique gold exterior façade, an incredible interior design that can stand on its own as far as décor goes, in house artisan chocolates for guests to sample, and a fantastic menu, this is a dream venue for a small-town upscale wedding. Check the small town you live in, or one nearby! There may be a gorgeous historic building that will let you host an event!
Ashley with Hawkeye Photography and I designed our tablescape featuring Taste's beautiful built in gold tufted benches, marble tables, ghost chiavari chairs, and cream and champagne linens and chair sashes.
We’ve accented this with gold chargers, white gold-rimmed place settings, gold flatware, crystal stemware, a red accent goblet, and antique gold monogrammed trivets for the coffee cup. I love the neutrals and golds together with the pops of red and how it keeps the table stylish and classy.
To decorate each table, we’ve set out white pillar candles on mercury glass holders and small floral centerpieces and each place setting at the table has a bar of Taste’s artisan chocolate set out as their wedding favor.
Taste has a full menu to choose from, but we opted to highlight their absolutely divine artisan chocolates and this amazing charcuterie board filled with the most delectable meats, cheeses, nuts and fruit. To top it off they have something called “Sipping Chocolate” on their menu and when I tasted it, I basically swooned it was that good. I wish you could have seen us behind the scenes trying to put bits of bread and cheese or a spoonful of sipping chocolate into models’ mouths without spilling on raw silk because they’re wearing gowns that would cost me a glass full of unicorn tears and my firstborn child :)
The bars of artisan chocolate made exclusively at Taste were wrapped up as darling wedding favors or Thank You gifts for bridesmaids, vendors, etc.
The refreshing drink of choice to go with all this rich food was an ice-cold glass of strawberry mint lime Sprite. This was a super simple, DIY drink to freshen up a basic soda – just add a strawberry, two mint leaves, and a quarter of a lime – but it was a big hit all around. As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I love finding easy yet fancy, family-friendly drink options, so win win!
Because this is Utah and Utah loves its DIY-ness, I created a DIY chocolate-themed seating chart for weddings that have sit-down dinners. I used 3” raw silk ribbons, black chalkboard stickers, and gold chalk markers (all from JoAnn’s) to create a seating chart. Then, I filled vases with Lindor truffles and set gold table numbers (from Partyland) down into each vase. Finally, each separate ribbon seating chart was placed with its table, ready for guests to come up, find their names, grab a few chocolates, and head to their seats. Forget laser-etched seating charts, or charts of artistic modern calligraphy and give me all the chocolate seating chart ideas!
Pam with Bitsy Bridal provided the perfect dress to go with our upscale venue; the couture, fit and flare, Anthony Gual gown “Erin” made from 100% raw silk. This dress felt like butter, my friends, and fit our model Cindy like a glove. The silhouette accented every beautiful curve in the most flattering ways and was breathtaking.
I love the smooth, clean lines of the silhouette, and I can’t get over how gorgeous and luxurious that raw silk is. Every step and every movement was sheer beauty and grace. FYI to all my Utah brides: if you’re looking for something a little more couture than a fitted lace dress, Bitsy Bridal is one of my favorite shops!
I’m totally wishing I could pull of a dress like that, but with my pear shape and birthing hips that have now birthed three beautiful baby girls, there would be a little too much squeezed into the bottom, and not near enough to fill out the top. One can dream amiright?!?!
Hair and Make-up Artist (HMUA)
To complete the bridal look, Julie from Blushing Blonde swept Cindy’s hair into an elegant chignon updo (and that’s all her hair people – no extensions necessary!) with just a few subtle tendrils framing her face.
Julie gave Cindy a formal “evening wear” look on make-up with a dramatic smokey-eye, but then contrasted that with a nude lip color. I love how this makes Cindy’s eyes full and gives them depth.
We love this stunning bridesmaid's dress from Ypsilon Dresses! Their Salt Lake formal-wear shop is filled with gorgeous gowns. For a truly chic, black-tie affair, go for one of these amazing black cut-out dresses. I love the sleek elegance of the silhouette and the beaded trim around all of the cutouts is absolutely increadible!
Our groom has some serious smoke show vibes going with his tuxedo from DC Tuxedos, a Utah-county based tuxedo shop. We chose a deep charcoal tuxedo with black lapels and black piping, a black vest, and a sophisticated charcoal on black striped tie.
Now if this were truly a traditional black tie affair, the groom would be in full black tuxedo/vest/tie, but I ended up falling in love with this tux at the tux shop and couldn’t resist putting my own little spin to “black tie”. It’s still very couture and very formal, but it’s not stuffy either.
We pulled in the true black tie tuxedo on our groomsman to match him to the bridesmaid. Our Groomsman is wearing a matte black tuxedo from DC Tuxedos with satin black lapel and piping, a satin black vest, and black tie. Black tuxes and bridesmaid dresses are the ultimate “black tie affair” attire, and will lend real elegance to an event if you’re going for the couture/luxury look. Plus, I have this little pet peeve about being able to pinpoint the groom amongst the groomsmen in wedding photos, which is almost impossible when they're all wearing matching tuxes, so keep that in mind when making your selection.
Nothing says dramatic, couture, and romance to me like deep red roses, but an all rose bouquet was soooo 2002. When I was designing these florals, I really wanted to find a fresh, modern way to design the classic red rose bouquet and I’m so so happy with the result. I took the red rose bouquet and added in burgundy peonies, protea, red snapdragons and alstromeria, and then accents of cream hypericum berry and curly willow to create a textural, romantic hand-tied bridal bouquet that feels luxurious, but also very natural.
I rounded all of this out with this amazing greenery, grevelia! It’s the perfect touch of wood-nymph on these red wedding flowers. It did make me break out into a light rash on my arms as I was designing with it, and a few other designers have mentioned this as well; however, our model didn’t experience any of these issues while just holding the bouquet, but if you’re prone to plant-based allergic reactions, you may want to select something different. This bouquet would also look amazing with Italian ruscus, agonis, or honey myrtle and those would be more allergy-friendly options.
For the bridesmaid – I created a bridesmaid bouquet of similar florals, just in a slightly smaller size, and for the groom and his best man, we have the classic red rose boutonniere. Very dashing and debonair if I do say so myself.
You’ll see more of these fabulous red florals in the table centerpieces. I love the look of lush centerpieces, but let’s be real here. Most brides don’t want to spend $300 per centerpiece (times 18 tables), and I do like the styled shoots I put together to be inspiration that a bride could actually achieve, so I went with a small, glass, bowl-shaped vase that’s low to the table (low enough for guests to easily see and talk over) and filled that with roses, snapdragons, alstromeria, and greenery. It’s the same luxurious color palette, but in a much more affordable size. A centerpiece like this could be in the $35-$50 range as opposed to the $150-$300 range.
One of the big floral focal points for this shoot was the wedding cake! I worked with Marcia from Sweet Cravings 12 to do the cakes on this shoot. She created the most stunning four-tier wedding cake and then I topped it off with a coordinating fresh flower topper, center section, and floral base. I can’t get enough of the drama here!
But, I’ll be honest, my very favorite part of this whole shoot was the red rose petal ceremony aisle installation. Taste has incredible stenciled wood flooring and it was just BEGGING to have red rose petals on it.
This is just a small-scale installation for inspiration only, but you guys, I’m seeing a whole long aisle of this rose petal ceremony aisle decoration. It would be absolutely fantastic. The red rose petal ceremony aisle is gorgeous as stand-a-lone décor, but then you add the bride in and my heart just stops! Red rose petals and raw silk were meant to get married together. Crossing my fingers a bride will want to do this someday!
Our invitation suite was provided by the lovely Jeneze Designs. We love her elegant, antique gold laser cut card and the touches of red and black in in the text along with black envelopes and the dramatic, rose red liner.
Wedding Cake and Groom’s Cake
I was thrilled when Marcia with Sweet Cravings 12 reached out and wanted to collaborate on a wedding cake set-up together. She pulled together the most beautiful 4-tier, white fondant wedding cake with gum paste floral accents. We paired her incredible cake artistry with my florals to create an elegant confection designed to really wow!
And because I love cake…and I REALLY love chocolate (I mean we’re doing this shoot at a chocolatier’s venue for cryin’ out loud) I created this triple chocolate brushstroke groom’s cake. The bottom tier is layers of dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and the top tier is milk chocolate cake with Nutella buttercream filling.
The outside is frosted in a watercolor-esque blend of dark, milk, and Nutella frosting and I love the shading it gives the cake. It’s also decorated in accents of gold leaf and adorned with semi-sweet and white chocolate brushstrokes and a darling laser-cut “Love” cake topper in golden script from Partyland. I was so excited when this cake was featured byUtah Valley Bride as one of the top cakes of 2017! See the feature here.
Soooo funny story about what was going to be an awesome brushstroke cake. The chocolate brushstrokes were supposed to extend up onto the top tier as well to complete the look. I spent FOREVER creating a bunch of these babies and then left them on the counter to cool…and guess what wasn’t there when the kids and I got back from errands?!?! Most of my brushstrokes. Because my husband ate them. The night before the shoot. Good thing I love him right?!?!
Have you ever walked into a jewelry store and then walked out again with $25,000 worth of jewelry??? WITHOUT stealing it?! Me either. Until now. For the record…I’ve also never walked out of a jewelry store having stolen that much either :) but I know you'll love these jewelry details our bride is wearing! There's some serious bling from Tresor Jewelers. Her raw silk gown is adorned with diamond-studded necklace, bracelet, and earrings and our groom got in on the action with custom cuff-links and groom's ring.
No wedding is complete without a send-off and get away car. I’ve seen pretty much every type of send off you guys can imagine. Rice, birdseed, confetti, biodegradable sugar rice, sparklers, bubbles…you name it, I’ve seen it. The bubbles and confetti are two of my faves, but nothing, and I mean nothing will ever have my heart like the drama and romance of a rose petal send off.
They’re romantic, smell absolutely heavenly, and flutter down perfectly so they can be captured on photo or video (rice and birdseed are too heavy and fall too quickly :) These luscious red rose petals are expecially vivid! As a little budget hack, create your rose petal ceremony aisle and once your wedding ceremony is over and the venue is flipping the room, have them gather up the petals in baskets to save for the send-off toss. We did that at the shoot as a trial run and it worked like a charm.
Once your wedding guests have bid you a’dieu, it’s time to make your getaway, and nothing fit our couture bridal inspiration like this gorgeous limo that is available to rent from Antique Limo of Utah. Now let me be real here for just a sec and say that by the time you get to this detail in your wedding budget, renting a car may just be the fluff that isn’t going to happen that night. I would know. My hubby and I drove away in his magical 98’ Honda Accord and that seems to have set a nice practical, reliable, economical tone for our marriage. Did the sarcasm come across well there? I wasn't sure it would :)
But then we aren’t what I would call “car people”. Cars aren’t something we dream about, invest money into, or follow as a hobby. I do know there are loads of people out there who love cars like I love cake, and those are the people that may want to squeeze renting a luxury getaway car into their wedding budget. And if that’s so, I highly recommend looking into a Utah luxury rental car company that would be willing to incorporate using a luxury car in a portion of your formal photos. By the time you exit your reception it will most likely be dark and the images of you snuggled in the back of the car won’t be the quality you’re looking for, so get some images done with the car earlier! Then you can enjoy lovely memories like this!
If these heart-stopping images by Ashley with Hawkeye Photography and Kylie with Life Looks Photography weren't enough, Kylee with Kylee Kay Videography filmed the sweetest wedding video inspiration!
So for you lovely couples that enjoy the finer things in life, it is possible to do haute-couture in Utah! Below, you’ll find convenient shopping links to help you achieve this same look at your wedding, as well as a list of amazing vendors who have the talent and skill to pull off this type of wedding. Be sure and check them out!
The Pear Blossom
The Pear Blossom
Dress Designer: “Erin”
Kylee Kay Videography
The Pear Blossom
Cindy Perez Roberts
Groom: Adam Colvin
Groomsman: Riley White
A Bleak Mid-Winter Bridal Session
It's the middle of winter which means that right now, everyone is crossing their fingers and hoping against hope that those lovely white snowflakes will fall so that we're not in a draught come summer. Utah brides are rejoicing at the thought of stunning mountain bridals with romantic wisps of snow clinging to the tendrils of their softly elegant up-do's, but I know you my fair-winter weather friends! Come Valentine's Day, you'll be singing a different tune! You'll have had your fun of evergreens and pine boughs and blanket scarves and you'll just be trying to survive until spring.
Those formerly magical snow-covered woods now look a little bleak and dismal, but never fear...you can still have a lovely wintery wedding in January and February without it looking like a Christmas wedding! It's all in pulling on the native color palettes and foliage around you and even though the earth isn't as lush and bounteous in the winter and she is in the spring and summer, there's still so many lovely options.
I worked with Utah Bride Blog to design this lovely mid-winter wedding inpsiration. I wanted to mimic the natural winter landscape for my inspiration. Many brides worry that there won't be any wedding flowers available when they set a winter wedding date, but that simply isn't true! My heart was drawn to the frost and snow covered woods and the organic winter color palette of evergreens, deep browns, icy blues + grays, and stark white.
Winter is a wonderful time for berries, evergreens, pine boughs, and bare branches; all of which contribute fantastic elements of design. In the bouquet itself you’ll find white spray roses, white calla lilies, white snapdragons, white waxflower, white anemones, and white astilbe with pops of peach hypericum berry, peachy-blush Sahara roses, slate blue thistle, and deep brown curly willow, dried rudbeckia, and bare tree branches. All of this is rounded out with Juniper and darling little gray-blue juniper berries, fir, and pine branches. The result is woodsy, but romantic.
I also love these peach hand-dyed silk ribbons from Frou Frou Chic. They are perfectly paired with this cream and peach winter bridal bouquet, a great accent color to the pops of woodsy brown and dusty blue blossom, and add elegance and movement to your wedding flowers - especially if you're outdoors and pic up even just a bit of wind!
You can view the full Utah Bride Blog feature here, or see it in their online magazine here! And this was just Part 1 of this session, so stay tuned for it's companion post!
Jessica E photography
The Pear Blossom
Trumpet & Horn
Cyndi Johnson Beauty
Lovely Locks & Darling Dyes
What to expect from your wedding vendors on social media
So you've planned the perfect wedding and can't wait to share it with your family and friends on all your social media profiles. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest are just waiting for the inspirational wedding bomb that is about to be dropped into their laps! Guess what! We are just as excited! We've spent hours of hard work, stress, laughter, stress, tears, and more stress pulling together your vision because it became our vision. We're fully invested and we can't wait for our followers, clientele, and future brides to see what we're capable of.
Many brides, however, don't know what to expect or aren't prepared to see the biggest day of their lives splashed across social media. Some are thrilled and secretly hoping it goes viral! Others may be less-enthused because they don't like that particular image or it brings back the stress of planning a wedding. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when you see your vendors posting images from your big day.
Let's use a Utah wedding florist as our example shall we? :)
Guideline #1: Permission to share images belongs to your photographer
A Utah bride should keep in mind that in most cases (you'll want to check your contract with your photographer) a bride has print rights only and cannot grant permission to share images, so vendors should be reaching out to the photographers for images from the events to use on their social media, websites, and blogs. If one of your vendors contacts you for images, in most cases you should refer them to your photographer. If you have any questions about who owns the rights to the images at the end of the day, you need to ask your wedding photographer and clarify that in your contract.
Guideline #2: Compensation and/or discount for use of images
Because it is the photographer's legal right to give permission to use the photo and not the brides, a bride should not expect compensation for use of images. Most vendors will state this in their contracts. So, as a Utah florist, I'm getting permission from the wedding photographer to share images, not the bride which means I will work out any compensation details with the photographer.
Many brides today consider themselves "influencers" and are hoping to receive a discount from wedding vendors for posting images on their social media profiles in exchange for "exposure". I don't know how else to say this, but in general, your following is not big enough to create enough exposure to be worth a discount. Before you scoff, let me ask you this question. Do you know and follow the florist from Pippa Middleton's wedding? How about Serena Williams? These people are A-list celebrities and faux-royalty and have had their weddings featured on every big name wedding account, blog, magazine, news channel, and celebrity magazine. They were watched via live stream by millions of people all over the globe. They shared their wedding images to their profiles that have millions of followers and gave credit to all their vendors.
I'm sure this resulted in an uptick in followers and several new inquiries, but it's a game of numbers. How many thousands of followers generate an inquiry? And how many inquiries does it take to land a wedding? This is a long-winded way of saying that your following of 3,000 doesn't have the number base needed to generate a final sale. The best exposure has been and always will be a referral. Pay for your wedding and get all the amazing work and talent possible from your vendors. And then as your friends get married and ask who they should use for this or that, pass our info along.
Guideline #3: Vendors select which images will be shared
A bride should be aware that images may be shared on multiple platforms. When I design wedding flowers, I usually post 2-3 times about the wedding on Instagram, update my portfolio on my website, blog about it, and share it to Facebook. I also upload the photos to Pinterest. I will use, on average, 30-40 images (possibly more) from each wedding, editorial, shoot, or event. With very few exceptions, vendors (not brides) select the images that will best portray their work and abilities and designate which images will be posted. We understand that you may not love every single image from your wedding, but don't expect vendors to remove an image or take down a post simply based off of your personal feelings surrounding the image. Again, it's the photographer's right to give permission to share images (see Guideline #1).
If you have special circumstances where certain types of images absolutely should not be posted for legal reasons, like images of foster children for example, this should be clarified with each vendor in each contract in advance. Above all, just keep in mind that your vendors are never trying to purposefully degrade, defame, or harm your reputation when posting images from your wedding. They're simply trying to market and keep up their portfolio and have received permission from photographers to do so.
Guideline #4: It's not my job to make your wedding go viral
In a world of social media influencers, where YouTube, Instagram, or blogging can be a full-time, paying career for some brides, they naturally want to see their wedding go viral. To put it plainly, it is neither the job of your wedding vendors to publicize your photos, nor do they have very much control over what goes viral. Anyone deep in the rabbit hole of social media should know that the algorithms pretty much make posting, getting likes, and building a following a crap-shoot (pardon my French :). You hired your wedding florist to create a gorgeous bridal bouquet, not send your brand viral. If you are determined to have a viral wedding, I would suggest hiring a PR/Social Media Manager manager for your event and trying to pre-book a publication with a Top 100 wedding magazine or online wedding blog. Your wedding vendors should never be held liable or responsible for the number of likes and comments an image or post receives.
Guideline #5: Handle sensitive matters privately
It's the sad truth that no matter how magical and talented your wedding florist or any other vendor may be, they're still human and may have an off day. Or maybe you had an off day, or your mom, or your future mother-in-law. With social media encouraging us to share anything and everything we ever think of with our entire following, our knee-jerk reaction is to jump online and start "venting" about that person. Let me caution you to avoid any degradation or defamation of reputation in a public forum. This could be seen as libel or slander and could result in serious consequences. If you have a concern, disagreement, or miscommunication with your wedding vendor, respectfully contact them in private. Showing respect, tact, and professionalism in your communications will go much farther than slandering a person online.
The same goes for wedding vendors. I can't tell you how many posts I see not naming names, but ranting about "bridezillas" or crazy mothers of the bride. If I were your client, this would make me feel incredibly insecure in our vendor/client relationship. I would always wonder if it was me and feel like I have to walk on eggshells to avoid a similar post about myself. We all get that there are some whack-job crazy emotional brides out there that are losing it over the style of their bangs, but don't publicize it. Keep it professional and keep it private.
Does this mean you have to pretend to be happy with services rendered online when it's quite possible your vendor did a horrible job? Absolutely not. But the difference between a bad review and slander is that a review is based on concrete facts instead of attacks on personal character. A review would cover concrete things like:
Guideline #6: Give credit for Intellectual Property
The internet is a black hole of plagiarism and IP theft. Work is stolen and posted and portrayed as one's own. Even Top 100 wedding journals, magazines, and blogs with supposed "journalists" will post a photo on Instagram with no credit to work seen in the image. Giving credit is a two-way street between vendors and clientele. Let's start with vendors...
Vendors: Unless brides have a wedding planner coordinating the event and keeping everyone in the loop, most vendors only know what is happening with their own business. We don't know where you bought your dress, who designed your ring, or who did your hair and make-up for the big day, so giving credit when posting can be very difficult. We're starting to ask brides for lists of websites and Instagram handles from all booked vendors in order to better credit our fellow industry members. Try to have this information on hand! Keep it on a note in your phone, in a printed list, or jotted down in a notebook. Or e-mail a complete list to all your vendors! Be sure and include you and your fiancee's social media profiles if you want to be tagged. This will allow us to give credit and help build our fellow industry professionals. Or if you'll just get me a list of the names of the businesses, I'll take the two minutes and Google their info myself. I just gotta have the basic info first.
Brides: When you share the images from your wedding, recognize that you are sharing someone's intellectual property. Give credit and tag vendors related to each image every time you post. If you post an image of your reception, tag the venue, the dress shop, the florist, the caterer, or anyone else whose work is visible in the photo. If you had a great experience with one of them, give a shout-out and recommend them to all your friends, family, and followers! Word of mouth is still our #1 source for new business!
Guideline #7: Critiques of the wedding in captions or blog posts
When designing a wedding, there's often a gray area between what the bride wants done and what the vendor would personally do. As a wedding florist, I see this a lot when brides put together color palettes or flower combinations that make me raise my eyebrows a notch or two :) It isn't how I would do it. It isn't what I would recommend, but that's not what matters. What matters is finding the sweet balance between steering my brides in the right direction and helping them acheive their dreams for their wedding. As an artist, however, I'm constantly critiquing my own work and you may see a caption about things I would change or do differently. Hindsight is always 20/20 right?! A bride may read on my blog or in a caption that I would have recommended a slightly different color palette, or that an upgrade to this flower would have been awesome. We strive to keep things positive online, but also want our feeds to be an honest and true reflection of ourselves, and let's face it... I'm never gonna like burlap as a wedding style. I'll do it, but that doesn't mean I think it's pretty! lol :) So if a vendor shares an opinion about your wedding, recognize it as just that...an opinion. And if you don't know it by know, let me be the first to tell you that posting an image or comment to a public forum is inviting the public to respond. If you don't want people to share their opinions don't share yours. But remember that you don't have to agree with vendors on every aspect of the wedding to have a great relationhip and get their best work! Just scroll on by and remind yourself that you loved your wedding and that's all that matters.
We're all still fairly new to social media etiquette and no hard and fast rules have been written like they used to about soup spoons in the olden days :) So I hope these guidelines help you know what to expect and how to navigate these waters! Be sure and share this with your friends who are getting married so that they know what to expect as well!
This cozy, wintry bridal session was created by the following vendors:
The Pear Blossom
Salt and Pepper Make-up
K Foster Hair
And working professionally and respectfully with others in your industry
Enjoy this gorgeous couple - they're too good looking for their own good! I loved seeing these light and airy bohemian lakeshore bridals come together and how this springtime white and pink cascading bridal bouquet turned out. I really wish lilac, tulip, and peony season weren't quite so short :(
I'm also sharing some thoughts on politely navigating the networking world of the wedding industry, but this would be so applicable to many other work environments out there. And it isn't meant to be ranty or cranky or anything like that. More just food for thought and me writing about a topic I've been thinking a lot about lately. Feel free to share your thoughts below! And a huge thanks to Taynee Miller Photography for providing the gorgeous imagery for this blog post! Be sure and use the link below to check out her work!
Photography Credit: Taynee Miller Photography @tayneemillerphotography
Recently, a photographer posted on a group page of wedding vendors I’m a part of that a florist had reached out to her and asked for some of the photos from a wedding they both worked and she was unsure whether or not to charge the florist for the images and wanted some advice. Curious what everyone’s response would be (because as a florist I’m often in the same situation of needing good imagery for my portfolio) I was pleased to see that almost every photographer offered the same advice – that there are more pros to reaching out and sharing with others in the industry than there are cons!
I get it I really do! We all need to make money at our jobs. I get it that in every industry there are single moms, dads, and even dual income families that NEED the income to make ends meet. I get that there are families out there that are sooo strapped for cash, that losing even $1 may mean the difference between paying a bill and having enough food to eat. Believe me. We’ve been there. My husband was unemployed and underemployed for two years. There are so many times it came down to that dollar; how to earn it, how to keep it, or the best way to spend it with so many basic needs clamoring for attention.
But, do we all need the almighty dollar so badly that there is no room to share and give back to our coworkers, community, or industry? I know that as a florist and cake artist, my talents lie in a certain direction. Sadly, that direction is not photography :( Which means that I really rely on the talents of other vendors in the wedding industry to help me keep portfolio, website, blog, and social media up and running and looking top notch and professional. If I had to pay for every. single. image. that would make this task and the task of making a profit on each wedding verrrrrry difficult. So I’m frequently that florist reaching out to photographers like, “Hey, we recently worked so and so’s wedding together! Would you be willing to share at least 3-5 final images from the bridals and the wedding that are good shots of the flowers for my portfolio?”
Most are very considerate and willing to share at least a few images. Others…are not. And I get why, but today I’d like to offer up a few points to consider when someone reaches out to you and how to handle it respectfully and professionally.
Point #1 – Our work added to your image: While your photography work and editing are gorgeous, it’s also what’s IN the picture! Most people don’t look at a picture and see just the photographer’s capture, framing, lighting, or editing. They’re also seeing a beautiful dress, flawless hair and make-up, an incredible bouquet, or a delicious cake. All of these vendors contributed to YOUR picture to make it look the way it did. In essence, we are a team! An image of a blank cake table or hands with no bouquet isn’t going to sell your work very well. So when these vendors reach out to you, you may want to remember that their talents helped make your shot what it is.
I’ve seen loads and loads of posts from photographers saying things like, “My bride’s florist fell through do any florists have leftovers they could whip up for her?” or “ My bride didn’t order a bouquet for her bridals, but it’s so awkward to just have her there holding nothing. Will any florists contribute a bouquet last minute?” Even photographers acknowledge that their images NEED the fluff from florists, cake artists, jewelers etc. in order to look their very best. And since the florist in those situations bailed you or your client out, I would hope that you would, as a courtesy, send her the images of her work.
Point #2 – Marketing, Advertising, and Credit Credit Credit: With intellectual property theft being THE PLAGUE of the internet, more and more creatives are crying foul and getting very aggressive when their work isn’t properly credited on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., but most people seem to know the basic rule of giving credit to the person responsible for creating the gorgeous imagery – the photographer; however, this leaves a lot of work uncredited – bouquets, dresses, HMUA (who really get the shaft on this), decorators, venues, etc. Unfortunately, much of the lack of credit comes from the actual wedding photographer. They post stunning image after stunning image that builds their following, gains traction for their SEO, and helps them rise in the algorithms on Instagram, but don’t credit all the vendors involved in the wedding for one simple reason…they don’t know all of them. In a styled shoot, we are all given a list of every participant and it’s a simple matter of just tagging everyone. But a real wedding?!?! I have no clue where my bride got her dress, or where their rings came from, or who created the macramé backdrop, and I’m sure this goes for photographers as well.
My point is that all these vendors work together to create gorgeous photo ops for a photographer to shoot at a real wedding, but then no credit is given – often simply because they don’t know whom to credit. So when a vendor reaches out to you for images, you now know whom you should be crediting when you post your stunning bride and her bouquet, but on the flip side, you can request that they be sure and credit you anytime the blog or post about it on social media.
After all, algorithms and SEO are based so much upon how much you are being talked about and interacted with. It only helps you to have 20+ vendors from a real wedding sharing their work on Instagram, blogging about it, or pinning it to Pinterest – all with credit to you as the photographer. Even if those vendors only have 1,000 followers each, you’ve just reached 20,000 people outside of your following. I’d say that’s worth 3-5 free images.
In fact, I would go so far to say that a good marketing and advertising strategy would be to have each of your brides fill out a vendor list about three weeks before the wedding and try to find out who as many of the vendors are as possible. Then, as a courtesy, e-mail them the Pass/Pixieset/Dropbox/whateveryouuse file from the wedding along with a note explaining that they are welcome to use the images and to just please be sure and tag you, give credit on blog posts, etc. While this may seem like a lot of effort to organize and implement, it’s FREE advertising and marketing and virtually guaranteed to get your name out there just that much more, whereas boosting your post on Facebook or Instagram may or may not help, and it may or may not reach your target audience (I would know...I tried both of those and it didn't help at all. It was a total waste). All you had to do was add in some extra e-mail addresses when you send out the wedding and BOOM you’ve just reached all of their followers.
Point #3 – Referrals: We all know that more and more brides are using the internet to plan their weddings. Brides are more likely to Google, search Pinterest, or do a hashtag search on Instagram to look for vendors and wedding inspiration. That said, for all of the effort we put into SEO and hashtagging, nothing replaces word of mouth. Our brides text, chat, Direct Message, Facebook, Skype, and share boards on Pinterest and they talk, talk, talk about who they like, what they like, and what they don’t like.
The same goes for vendors in the wedding industry. After over 13 years in the wedding industry, I KNOW who I like to work with and I KNOW which vendors are going to take care of their brides, each other, and build a community. So when my brides come in and want a referrals, you better believe I’m referring not just the talent in the industry, but those vendors who are kind, considerate, warm, giving, and willing to go the distance for not just their paying clients, but industry professionals as well.
Now, if a photographer asks me to pay for images that doesn’t make him or her a bad photographer and it does not mean I won’t refer them. If they truly do good, solid work I’m still willing to pass their name along. But, I’m more excited and authentic in my glowing praise about someone who has truly taken care of me and reached out to help me just as my work helped create their gorgeous image.
So, I guess I can pay you that $25 per image. Or I can send a wedding your way. I might do both, but I’d really rather just receive some beautiful, free imagery, put you on my preferred vendors list, and rave about you to my clients :)
As a final note, whether you share images for free with vendors or ask them to pay (and I would love to build my business big enough that I can pay!), I hope you’ll be professional, gracious, and respectful to the other creatives who pulled that wedding together. Give credit where known and where you can. Share and give back as much as you are able. Think outwardly and build up others. It will only reflect well on you.