When you’re booking vendors for your wedding, you obviously want to partner with wedding vendors that do an amazing job—and can help you bring your wedding dream to life. But, for many couples, when choosing wedding vendors, there are things that are just as important as quality—including finding vendors that align with their values.
In Zola’s First Look Report, we surveyed thousands of engaged couples to find out what matters to them for their 2022 weddings. What we found is that couples are being more intentional than ever when hiring vendors. Of the couples we interviewed, 44 percent are intentionally supporting small businesses in their wedding planning—and nearly one-third (29 percent) are intentionally hiring wedding vendors with values that align with their own.
So, if you’re looking for wedding vendors that align with your values, you’re not alone. But the question is how, exactly, do you find those vendors? And how do you ensure that, when it comes to wedding vendors, you’re “speaking with your wallet”—and hiring values-based companies that you can feel good about?
People tend to flock to like-minded people. So, chances are that your friends, family members, and loved ones share similar values with you and your partner—and if any of them have recently gotten married, they can be a great resource for finding vendors that also share those values.
Ask your recently engaged and/or married friends if they worked with any wedding vendors that they feel would align with your values. Getting a recommendation from someone you know and trust is always a good place to start, because your loved one already knows you and your partner’s values, and, thus, they can be a great matchmaker in connecting you with vendors that also share those values.
As mentioned, hiring wedding vendors that align with a certain value (or set of values) is becoming a major wedding trend. And because hiring values-based wedding vendors is on so many couples’ radars, there is plenty of information on how to do it—all you have to do is find it. Do a little online research to see what content you can find around how to hire wedding vendors that align with your values.
For example, here’s an article on how to find Black-owned wedding vendors—and another on how to find LGBTQIA+ wedding vendors. You can also use social media to connect with vendors that align with the kind of values that you want to partner with—for example, by searching for specific hashtags (either in vendor content or their social media bios), such as #disabilityowned or #womenownedbusiness.
There are a variety of marketplaces where you can find wedding vendors, but not all marketplaces are created equal. If hiring wedding vendors that align with your values is a priority, it’s important to spend your time searching the right marketplaces.
At Zola, we’re committed to bringing together vendors that are not only the best at what they do, but are also diverse in style, budget, and background. Zola vendors also commit to our Vendor Vows, thus honoring their commitment to respect, transparency, and inclusion, so you can rest assured that every vendor you find on the platform operates with ethics and values that you can trust.
So, whether you’re committed to hiring BIPOC-owned vendors, want to support sustainable wedding practices, or are looking to engage small businesses in your community, at Zola, you can find wedding vendors that align with your values and deliver the highest quality services for your big day
Now that you have a general overview of how to find values-based wedding vendors, let’s jump into tips on how to find—and hire—wedding vendors that align with specific values:
If you’re committed to hiring small businesses for your wedding, you’re in luck. Most wedding vendors are small businesses—so unless you actively seek out large chains (for example, hiring a wedding photographer from a national chain, instead of hiring a local photographer), the vast majority of vendors you speak with will be small business owners or independent contractors.
If you’re a LGBTQIA+ couple, an ally, or you just want to support LGBTQIA+ businesses at your wedding, there are a number of marketplaces that focus specifically on LGBTQIA+ and/or LGBTQIA+ friendly wedding vendors—including Pridezillas, Equally Wed, and Rainbow Wedding Network.
Nearly 14 percent of the couples reported that they were intentionally supporting BIPOC-owned businesses during their wedding planning. And, if hiring BIPOC vendors is a priority for you, there are a number of ways to connect with aligned wedding vendors in your community; in addition to the general tips listed above (such as leveraging social media and retail marketplaces, many of which have BIPOC-specific search functionality), many cities have business associations that can connect you with black and minority-owned businesses—including wedding vendors.
There are plenty of women-owned businesses in the wedding industry, and, if you’re committed to supporting female vendors (and female-owned businesses), you can use the same strategies as searching for a LGBTQIA+ or BIPOC-owned business; just change your hashtags and search criteria. (For example, instead of connecting with BIPOC business associations in your area, reach out to business associations focused on women-owned businesses).
Searching for AAPI-owned businesses would leverage the same strategy as BIPOC-owned businesses. Again, you would just want to narrow your search criteria to focus on businesses owned by Asian Americans and/or Pacific Islanders.
If you’re looking to engage LatinX-owned businesses for your wedding, again, take those BIPOC-related search tips—and apply them to LatinX businesses.
Most vendors that incorporate green, sustainable, and eco-friendly practices into their business operations are vocal about it. So, researching vendors’ social media presence can give you insight into whether they value sustainability and what kind of eco-friendly services they would utilize while supporting your big day—which can help you decide whether they’re the right vendor for you.
If you’re committed to working with vendors with a specific religious affiliation, start with wedding venues/ceremony sites that align with that specific affiliation (for example, if you’re committed to a Christian wedding, find a local church where you want to host your wedding; if you’re looking for Jewish vendors, lock in the synagogue where you want to say your “I do’s.”). A place of worship that’s accustomed to performing wedding ceremonies will likely have an approved vendor list—and if you specify that you want your vendors to also share your religious affiliation, they can point you in the right direction.
If you want to partner with nonprofits for your wedding, most areas have directories of all their nonprofits, complete with contact information—and searching those directories is a great way to get in touch with potential nonprofit vendors. (For example, if you are planning a wedding in Oregon, you could search for wedding vendors through the Nonprofit Association of Oregon’s Directory.)
Social media (for example, searching the #disabilityowned hashtag) and word-of-mouth recommendations are great ways to find wedding vendors that support disability rights, equality, and accessibility. If you have a specific value in mind, it’s always helpful to ask vendors directly (for example, if you’re looking for an autistic-friendly wedding venue, ask what practices they have in place to make their events inclusive for guests on the autism spectrum.)
Hiring wedding vendors that align with your values is important to a lot of couples. Whether you want to hire a BIPOC makeup artist, an AAPI-owned catering service, or fill your wedding vendor roster with local small businesses, you now have everything you need to go find wedding vendors that will not only do an amazing job, but will also mirror the values that are most important to you. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and find your wedding vendors.