Most brides and grooms find their wedding vendors through referrals. Couples working with a wedding planner are at an advantage, as that pro will likely make recommendations on everything from the venue and caterer to the florist and photographer. If you're not working with a professional planner, you're not out of luck. Many couples planning their weddings on their own still get vendor recommendations, and these often come from recently-married relatives and friends or from a preferred vendor listing provided by their venue. Still struggling to book big-day vendors you feel a connection with? Consider these tried-and-true methods for finding wedding vendors you'll love.
Lean on your network.
If no one is offering up names of their favorite vendors, reach out to your friends and family members directly. Loved the flowers at your cousin's wedding? Ask if she'd be comfortable doing an email introduction. Think someone in your network might know about a great venue you haven't discovered yet? Put out a social media call for recommendations or send an email to a few people who are usually in the know. Some people may have held off on offering their advice out of a fear of looking pushy.
Ask for referrals from any vendors you've already hired.
Wedding vendors know the industry better than anyone, so don't be afraid to ask for their advice. If you've already booked your venue and photographer but are struggling to nail down a great florist and band, ask who they've worked with and liked. More often than not, your team will be happy to recommend people they've enjoyed working with and can vouch for. And since they have an idea of how other vendors work, these recommendations are often some of the best you'll receive—if a vendor has a great reputation among other vendors, there's a good chance they'll be professional, well organized, and easy to work with.
Review other weddings.
With a little online research, it's easy to find photos from weddings particular vendors have worked on. Check out their digital portfolio and a variety of their past events to get a feel for their work. If a vendor comes up again and again in weddings you're drawn to, there's a good possibility they'd be a fit for you.
Consult social media.
Social media really has become the crown jewel of wedding vendor and venue research. You can search easily by hashtag or location, but it's usually best to start with a venue or vendor you're eyeing and jump around to see who else they work with and follow on their own accounts. While this isn't as great a method as getting a personal recommendation, social media is a fantastic tool for viewing a vendor's body of work both behind the scenes and in its final format.