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
Plus some awesome donut puns
I’m a firm believer that Jesus is the way to peace, unity, and love for all mankind, but imagine my surprise to find that the close second to uniting all of humanity is… donuts. Oh yes my friends…DONUTS! When I worked on this moody antique whisky bar wedding shoot with Katie from Havenwood Design Co. we had no idea how much every single person in this world loved donuts. I mean, I knew people liked donuts, but the response to my donut cake was incredible, a little overwhelming, and so so fun!
Photo Credit: Summer Taylor Photography
Donuts: Art City Donuts
It’s, hands down, my #1 most requested cake and I get e-mails almost daily from brides all over the world asking me how to get that same cake for their wedding. I know society disagrees on a lot of hot-button topics right now, but if I’ve learned one thing this year, it’s that 98.7% of the entire world loves donuts and now it’s one of the biggest, most delicious trends for weddings in 2017.
I’ve seen donut bars, donut walls, donut towers, stacks of donuts as a wedding cake, cones of donut holes, and donut wedding favors, but I’ve love love loved seeing all the donut wedding cakes popping up as a result of our shoot. My favorite donut wedding cakes are where they incorporate the donuts into the actual cake flavors and decorations instead of just making a tower of donuts and I wanted to share some of my favorites with you, so grab an apple fritter and a cup of cocoa, sit back, and donut leave until you’ve scrolled through all these gorgeous cakes!
This first donut wedding cake is an over-the-top confection featuring macaroons, popcorn, truffles, oreos, and donuts. I’m spying some fantastic glaze and chocolate-glazed donuts as well as cream-filled donuts at the bottom. Plus, the cake topper?!?! That thing is cracking me up :) Donut be jealous! I’m sure you can have one at your wedding! I found this image on Sam and Louise Photography’s blog and they mention at the end of their post that this was a DIY wedding cake and I’m sooo impressed with how well they did.
The next donut wedding cake by Peace of Cake Bakeries was featured on Bridal Vogue and while it’s a small wedding cake, it’s still an eye-catching statement piece, and I’m drooling over that chocolate drip. I also love how the cake was incorporated into the platters of donuts with a donut wall as a backdrop. For the DIY brides - check out this great tutorial by Shari's Berries for creating a donut wall in just 6 steps! If I were a guest at this wedding, you can bet I’d be holding down the dance floor right there…by the donuts. Donut ever let me go!!!
Joe the Baker and Krispy Kreme teamed up for this dreamy donut industrial wedding in Dallas, Texas. Bet you didn’t know that donuts and industrial went together, but they do…like bread and butter baby. Donut you know how much I looooove you?!?! You can see a full feature + photo gallery over on Ruffled Blog.
Photo Credit: A Sea of Love
This is actually one of my favorite donut cakes I’ve seen, and I donut want to disappoint you, but I can’t find the story behind it! The link doesn’t take me anywhere :( All I know is that someone turned 30 and I wish I had been invited to their party because that looks amazing.
The catering team for Entwined Events created this delightful, woodsy donut cake and I think it’s the perfect cake for a wedding that is right in between the fall and winter seasons. We’ve got all the yummy autumn flavors of cinnamon, sugar, and apple, but the evergreens and white chocolate drip make it feel romantic, woodsy, and a little wintry. This would be perfect for a rustic, cabin, or woodsy wedding celebration (but donut even think about incorporating burlap) Oh burlap, donut you know you’re dead to me?!?!
Photo Credit: Heather Kidd Photograph
And I can’t leave off without sharing this gorgeous creation by another local Utah cake artist whom I really admire! Keli with Sweetest Things Cake Shoppe is so talented and I love following her work to see what amazing creations she is going to come up with next. Her take on the donut cake is so clean, classy, and perfect for a wedding. I love how she has expanded the idea to three tiers and really made her cake a focal point. But, my favorite thing about it is the neutral color palette. It’s visually really easy on the eyes and just a pleasure to look at. And I’m willing to bet $100 (but not literally…you think I have a spare hundy laying around?!?!) that it was a pleasure to eat as well. I think it’s safe to say that we like this one a “hole” lot :)
And now I need an apple fritter, which is my favorite donut by the way and I’ve been dreaming about an apple fritter cake lately, so that may be happening here real soon. For the best apple fritter in the world, go to the bakery at my local grocery store Ream’s. Seriously, I’ve never tasted a better apple fritter in all of Utah, but if you think you know of one that might be better, drop the info in the comments below. I'm always willing to take one for the team and do a side-by-side testing :)
I like big bouquets and I cannot lie :)
Hold on a sec’…Excuse me while I go ugly cry that summer is over, school is starting, and I’m no longer going to be woken up by fresh morning sunlight, but rather by the heinous noise that is the alarm on my husband’s phone that I hate more than anything else in the world…
Photography Credit for all Images: Sarah Dixon Photography
Ok I’m back and now that I’ve got that out of my system (for the moment) I’m sharing this beautiful formal session with Ben and Keely! I love it when work and family collide and I get to be such a big part of a family member’s amazing day and doing the flowers for my youngest brother was so so special! We were all a little skeptical when he told us he had picked up a girl working at Sodalicious (where he was a regular) but Keely is beautiful, funny as all get out, loves Ben, and is –probably most importantly - a fabulous chef! All the heart eyes that my brother snagged a culinary school graduate!
Their first look is so romantic and adorable…that look of surprise and joy on Ben’s face when he sees Keely in her wedding dress for the first time is so fantastic. I love seeing people in love :)
They’re going with this classy color palette of navy, cream, peach, and orange with just a subtle hint of neutral gray as an accent color.
You’ll see this color palette in a very debonair suit and tie for our handsome groom and then again in Keely’s perfectly sweet little posy. We’ve got navy blue thistle, peach stock, peach peonies, orange roses, and gray hypericum berries. All of this was rounded out with dusty miller and seeded eucalyptus and made a darling little nosegay.
Now I know monster-sized bouquets are all the rage, but this hand-tied posy was just so sweet and unobtrusive. It’s perfect for the bride that loves fresh flowers, but doesn’t want her bouquet to be THE statement piece in every photo.
There’s a reason the flowers are all you notice in an image when brides have huge bouquets – it’s a dramatic piece that draws the eye and visually speaking, they're often the "heaviest" object in the photo so they're going to pull a lot of attention. And for a flower fanatic like myself, that’s perfect. But, there are some cons. While huge bouquets look amazing in photos, they are super-d-duper heavy which makes carrying them around a pain, they cover your entire dress, and they tend to take the focus off of the couple in the picture and pull it onto themselves. But a small posy or sweet little nosegay like the one I designed for Keely is going to be just the perfect pop of texture and color. It's the nod to a beautiful tradition of a groom giving his new bride flowers without stealing the spotlight.
So, if you have amazing detailing on your dress that you don’t want covered, or if your upper-body strength is low, you may want to consider a small-medium hand tied bouquet or even a smaller posy. Those who watched Pippa Middleton’s wedding this year may have noticed that her bouquet was teensy-tiny (and a little under-whelming for one of society’s biggest weddings this year IMHO) but it did really allow her stunning lace dress and veil to shine in all of the photos!
Keely’s dress from Gateway Bridal and Prom had incredible detailing, especially in the neckline and through the bodice and waist, so we didn’t want to cover that up with a wildly large and cumbersome bouquet.
Also, you’ll see that the silhouette on her dress is a much dressier, classic style that wouldn’t pair well with the overly-large, earthy, organic, bohemian look that is so the rage right now. I’m forever trying to help brides keep dress style and bouquet style pairings in mind when we design their weddings, but sometimes they just want what they want regardless of how well things do or don’t go together. Maybe that needs to be a post for another day. For today, we’ll just focus on size.
And as you can see from Keely’s navy, peach, and orange bridal bouquet, you can have just as much detail, movement, and texture in a sweet posy as you can in a loose, more organic bouquet. This smaller navy, peach, and orange bridal bouquet just allows you to focus on other elements of the shot instead of just the wedding bouqet.
So congrats to my baby brother and his beautiful bride. You guys are such an amazing couple! And thank you to Sarah Dixon Photography for capturing their formal session so beautifully!
Sarah Dixon Photography
The Pear Blossom
Gateway Bridal and Prom/Latter-day Bride
And a special glimpse into weddings from 2007 :)
10 years?!?! What? How did that happen? Where did the last decade of my life go? Oh yeah…it went down the rabbit hole to die on Pinterest and be replaced with really ridiculously gorgeous weddings. And maybe just a little intense, but still so so gorgeous. All the same, I look at my wedding and while I don’t have darling chalkboard dessert table signs, or custom laser-etched oyster shell seating charts, it’s still beautiful in all its classic simplicity. So if your DYING to see what a typical wedding in 2007 looked like, scroll on down! I got a good laugh seeing how much has changed in the wedding industry in the last ten years!
Like these engagement photos for example. When I was getting married, the photo-overload announcment was so so popular! Do you guys remember those? A tri-fold wedding invitation with a collage of love on it. I saw announcements with upwards of 12 photos somehow all stacked in there. It was something amazing that's for sure!
And back before the days of having a professional shopper to perfectly style my engagement outfits and a hair and make-up artist to give me flawless skin and bouncy Revlon hair, there was just me, Big Sexy Hair root pump, a round brush, a hair dryer, and so many tears.
But the important thing...I guess... is that I felt beautiful that day and when I look at our pics I can see how much my husband loves me. Maybe I’ll tape this picture of him looking at me all lovey-dovey to his face the next time he’s upset at our Costco bill. It will be so much better to look at while he's ranting away than his “Phillip Angry Face”.
Also, when I see those smokin’ hot engagement sessions all tousled together in their beautifully decorated studio loft, I have to give a little chuckle at how nerdy and not model-y we are :)
Did you guys even know that back before formal couples sessions…DO NOT CALL THEM GROOMALS! (and yes I’m shouting at you in a loving way)…brides just got pictures taken. Alone. All by themselves. It was called bridals and we did it because of this tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding. Do people even know about that anymore?!?! FYI it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the wedding day. Or at least it used to be...like one hundred years ago.
Also, there was this thing about bridals where we got all dressed up and fancy for our photos. I poured over magazines of updos, got my nails done (cause florist hands are joke), bought a great bra to get the honey’s up where they belong, and splurged on real jewelry. I must be getting old and cranky because I look at most bridal styles today and think to myself, “Isn’t that just how she wears her hair to work?!? Hanging down in loose waves and blowing all over the place all messy like? Why didn’t she do something more formal and special for her wedding day???” So enjoy the olden golden days of formal wedding updos and trying to make your hair extra Extra EXTRA special.
Oh oh oh and remember tiaras?!?! Back before flower crowns I HAD a crown. A real one. And I totally felt like a princess in my tiara. Loved it!
Oh. My. Gosh. We can all thank Charlie’s Angels for this uh-maze-ing photo series.
But praises be for the wedding-shoe revolution where we all finally figured out that wearing heals all day is horrific, so we mutinied and wore white bridal flip flops. And felt so cool about it. Er-mah-Gosh scandalous!
The number one question I get asked is whether or not I did my own flowers for my wedding day and the answer is, “No freaking way!” This may sound crazy, but as an artist, it’s hard for me to love my own work because I can see every minor imperfection and it drives me crazy. But, when another artist hands me their beautiful creation all I see is the effort, care, and beauty that went into creating something truly unique and beautiful for me. So, while I helped my florist design the bouquet style and look I wanted, I didn’t do the actual arranging. And hats off to my florist for creating a bouquet that would set the trend for the next several years!
How awesome that we pulled together a loose, organic, free-cascading bouquet 10 years ahead of its time?!?! My florist was a true artist!
These were the days man! And I love my whole entire album of me :) *snortlaugh
The Wedding Day
Many of you may not know it but back before grooms wore whatever the heck they wanted for their weddings (looking at you, you jean and suspender clad grooms!), they only ever wore black or white suits and tuxes. None of this grey/navy/taupe/jean & suspenders stuff. So when my fiancée said that his hill to die on was a chocolate brown tux? I died a little inside. It just wasn’t done. It threw off my entire color palette for crying out loud! But it was his “Thing” so we went with it, and now I’m glad I did, otherwise every anniversary would be like, “Remember how you didn’t let me wear a chocolate-brown tux at our wedding?”
One thing I’m really glad about is that we got married pre-Instagram filters. So, our skin colors look regular – not tinged with blue, orange, or green, although that’s pretty too…ahem. As cool as photoshop is, sometimes the editing goes a little over the top and it’s either so over-exposed trying to achieve that light and airy look that everyone looks like ghosts and all the details are totally blown out, or it’s so heavily moody and tinted that colors of skin, clothing, the landscaping, etc. all start looking a little wonky. Sometimes I get photos back from weddings I’ve done recently and I feel bad because the editing has made it impossible to see all the details the bride worked so hard to achieve. I love photographers who have a nice, subtle hand with the editing and use just enough to enhance the picture, but not so much that it detracts.
I'm looking at images from my reception and realizing how simple it was. I got married about three years before brides started using Pinterest for wedding inspiration and while that's a great tool, it's overuse has led to the idea that your wedding is nothing without all of that fluff. My husband and I chose Sun River Gardens as our fantastic venue because it could stand alone without extra décor other than linens, centerpieces, and a framed portrait from my bridals. By the time we added in the cake vignette, and a flat-screen TV playing our wedding video, it was more than enough to look at!
We got married sans the chalkboard signs, vintage buntings, eclectic chair collection, creative place settings, custom balloons, and all the other stuff stuff stuff Pinterest pressures us into needing and it was still a gorgeous wedding and reception! I was able to take money otherwise spent on decorating and put it into coordinating wedding outfits for our large families, which I felt really added to the look and feel of the final images from our wedding. Although I should have known my 10 brothers and brothers-in-law would be nothing but mischief for wedding pics.
We also were able to splurge on a great videographer and the most AMAZING cake. Five tiers of bridal glory for all to see and eat. Everyone except me that is. One bite people that’s all I got. One stinking bite of all that amazingness. If I had a do-over, I’d go grab myself a piece of cake and be like, “Um yeah of course we can hug it out…after this cake.”
K – there are so so many amazing things that you can DIY for your wedding day that will actually save you money. Catering is not one of them. Learn from our mistakes. Catering real food for hundreds of guests (not just sugar cookies and soda) takes a ton of time and money and is a logistical nightmare and you will end up spending as much money doing it yourself as you would paying a catering company. It’s not a maybe. It’s a fact. My mom and a family friend absolutely outdid themselves putting on a fantastic buffet for my wedding day, but goodnight they spent so much time and effort on it and it cost exactly the same as having a catering company do it. So, while I love and appreciate all the energy my family went to, trying to save some money here, and I loved all the eye-catching food they prepared, in the long run it would have been easier, less stressful and cost the same to hire a catering company.
The only consolation is that my mother’s cooking is AMAZING and the food tasted fantastic. Can every catering company say the same?!?! Probably not. For future family weddings, though, I think we’re all ridiculously glad our youngest brother married a culinary school graduate with loads of catering experience :)
On a side note – does anyone even DO chocolate fountains anymore?!?! Or remember those punch waterfall fountains where the punch spilled over a cascading waterfall and then dripped into our cups on little chains? Those were so so cool.
I hope you enjoyed this little walk down memory lane with me! It’s fun to pull out the old wedding album and reminisce over all the trends that were so poplar decades ago. I’m sure we’ll only be laughing more and more as we hit 20 and 30 year anniversaries!
Just remember in today’s highly stylized world to use Pinterest for inspiration, but don't ever let it fool you or pressure you into thinking you HAVE to have it all in order to be married, have a great home, or enjoy a fantastic lifestyle. No one is going to walk into your ceremony and say, "Did you see how we weren't greeted with a professionally scripted chalkboard sign with greenery bunting and handed an organic, hand-pressed, 100% biodegradable menu?" And if they do, those aren't the kind of friends you need in your life :)
Splurge on the few things that are really important to you or your fiancé and then take a deep breath, let the rest go, and enjoy your special day! Preferably with a fancy updo because goodness knows I truly have no idea and will never understand why brides want to look like it’s just another day at the office with their hair down and loosely curled.
*Side Note: Many of the businesses I worked with on my wedding are just absolutely some of the best in their industry! I’ve compiled a list of my wedding vendors so you can check them out for yourselves!
Photography: Michael Lloyd Photography
Bridal Photography Venue: The Shops at Riverwoods
Wedding Ceremony: Salt Lake City LDS Temple
Reception Venue/Linens: Sun River Gardens
Florals: Solstice Studios
Cake: Cakes by Dawna
Dress: Latter-day Bride
Bridesmaid Dresses: Latter-Day Bride
Flower Girl Dresses: Gymboree
HMUA: Lisa Ballard Shear Xpressions
Rings: Shane Co.
Invitation Suite: Pro Digital Photos
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.