Thanks to the Internet, you can practically plan your wedding from the comfort of your own bed. While it’s tempting to use the major wedding websites full of geography-specific categories to find all your wedding vendors, there are actually plenty of off-the-beaten-path ways to find the best (and most unique!) vendors out there. Not only will this help your big day stand out from the rest, but it will bring your individual style as a couple to every aspect of your nuptials. Stuck on where to look? Check out our nine tips for unconventional ways to find your wedding vendors. Happy wedding planning, brides!
1. Seek out referrals from other vendors. So you’ve been following your dream florist on Instagram for years before you got engaged, and you know she’s your gal. Chances are she has a whole list of vendors she loves to work with and would be more than happy to share that information with you. Since you love her aesthetic, you’ll probably be into the vendors she loves, too. Some vendors even list their favorite “friendors” on the website making it super easy to explore your options. Belovely is a great place to start!
2. Check out the local bands. Whether you’re looking for bluegrass or a big brass band, check out some local spots that have live music. Peruse your city’s website for venues offering live music and look for restaurants and bars with highly rated live music on Yelp. Best case scenario, you find a band you love that comes with a fun memory of dancing at a dive bar with your fiancé, and worst case scenario, you got to dance at a dive bar with your fiancé!
3. Scour those Instagram feeds. Google wedding planners that work in the region where you’re getting married. They’ll post tons of inspiring photos from real weddings and styled shoots on their Instagram, and best of all, they’ll credit the vendors — making it super easy for you to hop over to those vendors’ feeds.
4. Ask your favorite restaurant about catering. Not all restaurants will be down to cater a wedding. But if you’re a regular somewhere and you love the food or it’s the scene of your first date, then it’s worth asking whether catering is something they have done before or would be interested in doing. This works especially well for smaller and more intimate weddings.
5. Find your wedding dress designer on Etsy. Dream wedding dress designers Leanne Marshall and Grace Loves Lace both have Etsy stores. If you’re looking for a dress that isn’t hanging in hundreds of bridal boutiques across the country, check out the offerings on Etsy for a wide array of dresses and accessories that range in price and can often be customized.
6. Reach out to your friends and acquaintances. Maybe you were late-night Facebooking and saw a friend from high school with amazing bridal hair and makeup. Perhaps you went to a wedding recently and the DJ was totally on your level. Ask couples about their experiences and get a referral! They may have other vendors they loved for you to check out, too.
7. Look for local wedding planning resources. Regions often have their own wedding websites where they feature local weddings and vendors. These vendors may not pay to be on the major sites or may be the best-kept secrets of the local wedding planning scene. Check out My Eastern Shore Wedding if you are hoping to tie the knot on the Eastern Shore.
8. Think outside the country club/hotel/barn. Nothing against the tried and true venues but there are so many original and creative options out there — if you’re willing to do a little digging, that is. Parks make amazing venues and save tons of money. Looking for an indoor option? Look into your favorite museums, a horticultural center, a bed and breakfast or renting an Airbnb.
9. Use community wedding boards for FAQs. Sites like Wedding Bee are awesome because you can actually have a conversation with people who are reviewing specific vendors. Start your own thread and ask other brides (both past and current) what vendors they loved, or just search the boards and read through to find out who they loved (or loathed). You may find yourself reading these boards more and more just for general guidance (and reassurance) from a group of people who are making the same decisions you are.
Are you ready to start planning your wedding? Follow us on Pinterest for more wedding planning tips and a whole lotta gorgeous inspo.
(Featured photo via Ryann Lindsey Photography)