How to Support Small Wedding Vendors

Do you want to know how to support small businesses on your wedding day? We're here to help! Read on to learn how.

By Anni Irish

How to Support Small Wedding Vendors
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • There are a lot of advantages that come with working with small vendors. If you are after a more personal feeling to your wedding details, consider hiring locally owned small businesses to assist with your wedding.
  • As you are looking to source your vendors, it is important to do your research, but narrowing it down to people in your community can save you.
  • Relationships go a long way, and smaller vendors can really work with you to get you exactly what you want, plus they can also be more flexible.

The awareness of shopping locally has been a growing movement over the last decade. From Small Business Saturday and the larger shopping locally mentality, supporting your favorite small business is a big selling point for many people. Increasingly it has become important for people to shop at vendors that are based in the communities in which they reside. Supporting local vendors is also something that has made its way into many industries, including weddings.

We can see this reflected in Zola’s First Look Report, an outlook on how modern couples are planning their weddings, as 44% of today’s couples are intentionally supporting small businesses in their wedding planning.

Prioritizing small businesses helps them keep their doors open and is also helping the community in which you reside to remain financially strong. As more and more people are steering clear of buying from larger companies, having a consciousness about where and who you shop from, as well as who you are hiring for your big day, is a big thing to consider.

The Perks of Working with Small Businesses

Being a small business owner comes with its own unique struggles, so that's why taking the time to find and use wedding vendors who are local to your area is important. There are a lot of upsides to hiring smaller vendors that you might not have even realized.

Using local businesses versus a large company has a lot of upsides, such as more personalized service, the fact that they know the area, and that they can help you get better products overall. Often, these vendors want to forge a relationship and will take the time to get to know you too. And nowadays, there are tons of creative ways to use small businesses for your wedding.

Everything from using a local bakery for your cake and favors, shopping at a small clothing boutique for wedding day outfits, and getting your hair and makeup done at a local salon are just some of the ways to incorporate small vendors into your big day. Wherever you are in the throes of planning for your wedding, or you’re in the process of researching and booking vendors, here are 11 ways to support small businesses.

Do Your Research

As you’re seeking out local wedding vendors, one big thing to remember to do is to research them thoroughly. Look into people in your area who have the services you are after.

As you are researching, one thing to keep in mind is trying to get a better handle on the specific things you and your partner are after in a vendor. Being clear on these things can really help in your search overall.

From there, start to narrow it down to a few small vendors who could be a match for you to work with. As you are researching, it’s also helpful to know what some of your non-negotiable/must-haves for your wedding are. This can help you prioritize as you are shopping around for the best fit in terms of what vendors you want to work with, plus it will really help keep you on track for the kind of wedding you want.

Review and Share Vendors Work

Everyone knows one of the best ways to get recommendations is through word of mouth. Sharing what your experience has been like working with a specific vendor can go a long way and can help get their business. It can also play a big role in whether or not you want to work with a vendor or not.

People's experiences with a vendor are really telling, and when you've had a great interaction with one you want to share it! Sharing your experience, as well as listening to other people's accounts of working with a particular small local business can make or break it, so when you've had a positive experience it's important to spread the word.

One big way that you can support small wedding businesses is by reviewing them and sharing their work both online and through word of mouth following your wedding. This can be done in a few ways, and each will have an impact.

Writing a review or testimonial of their work is something that is easy to do, and it can be used in a variety of ways, such as on their website or other marketing campaign materials. Usually, a company will have a place to upload comments, such as via their website, their Yelp page, or their social media accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter. You can always reach out directly to a vendor to share your great experience too.

Another thing that couples can do to help is simply to share photos of their wedding that feature the work of their wedding vendors, as well as writing captions that can illustrate what their experience was like. This can give people a really good idea of how they approach wedding and engagement events, and it allows you to share images from your big day with others. And remember, as you’re sharing images online, make sure to tag the correct businesses and their social media accounts.

Book With a Local Venue

Booking your wedding at a local wedding venue is another way that you can support a local small business or wedding vendor. Having your event in a place that's not too far away can really work in your favor too. Often, wedding venues have preexisting relationships with vendors that can really work in your favor. They can recommend other businesses to work with, and this can really help save you and your partner time and effort on your end trying to find them. Also, often, because they have worked with these vendors before, this means that they have been vetted, which can take some of the stress out of your search.

Use an Independently-Owned Caterer

Food also plays a huge role in a wedding, and as you are looking for wedding caterers for your event, consider working with your favorite small business or even a local restaurant. These culinary professionals are extremely knowledgeable about their industry and, as a result, can help guide you through the food selection process. And, often, because of their location, they work with many farmers and local food proprietors in the area.

This can really play to your advantage in ensuring that you are getting the freshest and best ingredients that are more than likely locally sourced. Using small shops means that you are then able to help local farmers and other suppliers too. So, in essence, you can help two local businesses at once.

Use a Local Florist

Flowers are a huge part of a wedding and can be one of the most expensive items people can spring for. Hiring local wedding florists comes with a lot of benefits. They will ensure that you will get the items you want, and because they are in the same area, they don't have to travel a far distance to deliver your bouquets and floral arrangements for the big day. Also, more than likely, they will be familiar with your venue, and they will get the job done in the way that you want it.

Shop at a Local Boutique

Finding your outfit for the wedding, as well as what the wedding party will wear, can be really stressful on top of everything else that comes with planning a wedding. Working with a local boutique/small-owned clothing shop to source your outfits can result in some really special looks. Because it is a smaller shop, this means that the collection and the kinds of styles they have are more curated. If you are looking for really unique designs, this is great news for you and your wedding party, because you definitely may be able to find that in this kind of location.

Book Your Hair and Beauty Treatments at a Locally-Owned Salon

When it comes to hair and makeup for you and your wedding party, another way that you can support locally owned businesses is by booking a nearby salon. Whether you want to hire your regular hairstylist for the big day or you’re seeking out a really specific updo, having a nearby salon to help make you even more gorgeous on your big day makes it even more special. Often you can book both services at the same salon, which is very convenient and allows you to look your best and get the most out of your salon trip.

Find a Local Photographer

Like food, photos are another element that are also a big aspect of a wedding; they will last for years, and you want to make sure that you look your very best. To get the most out of your photos, hiring someone locally means that you are getting wedding photographers who know the area best, are professional, and can present you with options that you might not have thought of on your own. They possess a lot of knowledge about the weather, lighting conditions, the best locations for photographs, and more.

Pick Local Favors

Every wedding location has something unique to offer, and one way that you can capture the uniqueness is by picking a favor that helps showcase that. Try finding a local boutique or shop that creates items that are special to the area to include in your guest favor bags. This is also a fun way to highlight your local area, and, thus, have your guests appreciate it too.

There are many ways to get creative with how you want to approach your favors, and this can add another beautiful layer to your wedding in a way that you didn't expect. Try thinking about specialty food items, beverages, labels, beauty items, or other items.

Use a Local Print Shop or Printer

When it comes to picking your invitations, place cards, and more, there are many options. While many couples opt for a large company for convenience, instead try a local print shop. A local spot can help you get all your printing needs met in a more personalized way. If you’re looking to add a little extra flair to your invitations, programs, and place cards, you may also be able to find a calligrapher, either on staff or separately. These special details can help make your big day even more memorable, and you can feel better knowing that you supported a local small business.

Hire Local Musicians

Another way to support a small local business is by hiring local musicians for entertainment. Whether you want to use a wedding DJ or a musician for different parts of your ceremony and/or reception, there are a lot of ways to incorporate their services into your big day. There are a variety of options to use their talents to make your wedding day even more entertaining.

Small, local vendors offer a lot of advantages for people, and when you’re working with people who are willing to go the extra mile, that can really help make your wedding day even more special.

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