When looking for wedding vendors, do you ever consider how they brand themselves, both personally and professionally?
As a professional wedding vendor, there are so many ways and directions that we can take our branding -- do we post pictures only of weddings on Instagram, or do we include a baby picture every once in a while too? Should our social media handles be our real names, or the names of our companies? Is Facebook a place to share only our work, or can we have dialogue about potentially controversial topics as well?
I know this may not seem entirely relevant to you, but how we brand ourselves really reflects the values that YOU, our consumer, place on your wedding vendors. It can be argued that in 2014, the wedding industry is saturated, if not entirely overflowing, with both amateur and professional vendors, hoping to get their time in the spotlight. So, how do you choose?
While portfolios and websites are great, why not look at how they position themselves in the industry? And in effect, determine what you value in your vendors.
The debate over how much of ourselves we should share online will never go away, regardless of whether or not you are a wedding professional. But is oversharing always a bad thing?
Think about it this way -- do you want someone that comes in, does their job perfectly, and then exits from your life without a backward glance? To some, this is important! They want that purely professional vendor because their work speaks for itself! The relationship is of a business nature; boundaries are well established, expectations are set early on, and the quality of work is fixed from the beginning.
An alternative view, however, would be working with someone who presents themselves as a real person. I consider myself in this category, without question. We are the ones who share the nitty gritty, of both our personal lives and our professional ones. We are the first to admit that we are people, with flaws and who make mistakes, but that we can't be sorry for it. We establish deeply personal relationships, which is not always a good thing. Boundaries can be blurry, expectations are constantly evaluated, and the promise of good work is dependent on communication. But I'm the last person you're going to see before you walk down the aisle, and I want that memory to be a beautiful one.
One isn't better than the other. They are just different roles, and it's up to YOU, as a potential client, to determine the type of relationship that you want with your vendor.
Are They an Expert?
By writing this article, I'm positioning myself as an expert.
Not all vendors feel the need to contribute to publications that educate consumers about wedding planning, and that's okay. Some want to focus on their work, which they feel speaks for itself. Some may not have the knowledge just yet, but they have the talent. Others just don't feel comfortable sharing their experience in such a public way, or may not find value it in.
The question is whether that is important to you. Do you want someone who regularly contributes to the dialogue about wedding planning and shares their expertise with the world? Again, there's no one right answer. It's about what values you place on hiring experts vs. hiring those who prefer to rely on their past work to get them clients.
Ahead of the Trend vs. Classic and Reliable
In the age of blogs and editorials, this is a big one. There are wedding vendors out there whose job it is to figure out the next best thing, and go for it before anyone else even sees it coming. And then there are those who understand an aesthetic to the bone and work with it in such incredible and unique ways that it almost brings new life to old traditions.
I've been on both ends of the spectrum, and there are pros and cons to both! It can be exhilarating, discovering a trend before the rest of the world knows about it, but you run the risk of looking dated in only a few months. And while there's comfort in committing yourself to a particular style and creating around that, you may find yourself growing tired and need to rebrand yourself every few years.
These are only a few ways to determine what you value in a wedding vendor, but it really is up to you. You are in the advantage when it comes to choosing your vendors, and you have an entire host of things that you can look for when deciding.
I am a firm believer that the best thing that we can do when getting into this business is to define who our perfect client is. When searching for your vendors, remember that not everyone is going to be for you, and that talent, experience, style, etc. can only go so far. But you are someone's perfect client, and if it's meant to be, it'll be.