I've been thinking a lot about how to thank my clients for the immense honor of being trusted to capture their wedding days. I revamped my welcome boxes last year and this year I decided to incorporate adorable little mini prints into my post-wedding thank you package to the sweet new Mr. and Mrs.!
I also have been investing a lot of time and energy into making sure that the fellow vendors whose work I get to photograph get thanked, by me, with the images of their work in a timely manner! This is just all part of my growth as a business but all of this got me thinking...
Florists, photographers, videographers, venues, decor companies, makeup artists, hair stylists, officiants, DJ's, coordinators... they all have dedicated their livelihoods and lives to making a positive impact on a couple's union. We truly, truly love our jobs and are honored to help make dreams come true for so many beautiful people. From the perspective of a newly married couple, what are some of the ways that you can make your rockstar vendors feel appreciated and loved? Your wedding is over, you've returned from your honeymoon and life is returning to a state of normalcy that you both likely haven't felt in many, many months. If you have wedding vendors that went above and beyond, exceeded every expectation and made you so thankful for the time and talents that they dedicated to making your once-in-a-lifetime day magical, how the heck do you appropriately express your gratitude?
I'll share with you some ways that you can make your vendors feel warm and fuzzy before, during and after your wedding!
1. LIKE, FOLLOW & SUPPORT
After you've booked your wedding vendors, the easiest and best thing you can do to make them feel like you're excited to be a part of their work is like, follow and engage with them on social media. Follow their Instagrams, check out their business Facebook pages and interact and get to know them online! Your simple hearts, likes, comments and shares help with those all-important algorithms and get the vendor's work in front of more potential couples. It's key for us over here in small biz land!
2. REMAIN IN COMMUNICATION
This goes without saying but it's so important that you're communicating openly with your vendors, replying to their emails and keeping them informed of your important wedding decisions. If you ghost on us for weeks at a time, it makes it really hard for us to serve you well and provide you with the experience that you're longing for.
Believe it or not, we love to know all of your big and little details and we're usually more than thrilled to give our insight before you make big decisions so please, communicate!
3. FEED THEM
Am I perpetually hungry? Maybe. But seriously... feed your vendors! For most day-of vendors that will stay through your reception (photographer, videographer, DJ, band, coordinator, etc.), providing a meal is included in their contract. I've seen a lot of pushback on this thanks to some really not vendor-friendly wedding blog posts. But, let me just say that personally... when I eat during a wedding reception, I'm so ridiculously grateful for that 5-10 minutes. I try to eat as quickly as I can and it's very important for the photographers to eat while the bride and groom are eating (a time that we're not going to be shooting anyway).
By this point all of the reception details like the bar, the centerpieces and other decor are already captured and guests get super uncomfortable when a photographer is taking pictures of them eating. Truly, they hate it and it makes us as photographers look and feel bad. It's likely the first time that your photographer has sat down all day long and the first chance they've had since before breakfast to eat something other than a protein bar and some fruit snacks in .02 seconds between portraits. While I eat, I'm also pulling together the same-day slideshow for my couples so truly I'm inhaling my food, uploading images and hopping right back up.
The same goes for your DJ/band and coordinator!
I can't tell you how happy it makes myself and my second shooters when brides graciously encourage us to snack on their getting ready food with them or eat a leftover bagel that is going to end up in the trash otherwise. I'm always hesitant but secretly very excited. What can I say, my love for food runs deep.
4. SHARE THE WORK THEY POST OF YOU & GIVE CREDIT
My couples receive same day sneak peeks on Facebook, a blog post the Tuesday after their wedding and additional sneak peeks on Instagram. I know a lot of other photographers that do this too! Want to make your photographer feel really loved? Instead of copying the link to your blog and posting it yourself, share it from their Facebook pages so it links back to theirs and helps with that algorithm stuff I mentioned earlier! When you're posting photos of your wedding on social media down the road, tag your lovely photographer or mention your awesome florist! Putting our business names out in your social channels is invaluable to us!
5. LEAVE A GLOWING REVIEW
If you absolutely loved your wedding vendors, truly one of the best ways to thank them is to leave them a review. If you have time, hit up all of the sites where they are featured or shoot them an email asking for where they would most appreciate you leaving a review. My go-to personally is always Google. Before I hire a company, visit a restaurant, take my dog to a new park, anything... I always check the Google reviews!
6. REFER YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
What's even better than a review? A recommendation! Recommend your wedding vendors to your friends, family, coworkers and even strangers on the internet. It's such a wonderful compliment and many vendors even offer referral kickbacks. When you're dropping names on Facebook, make sure to tag the vendor's business page and leave their website link (don't tag their personal accounts, pleaaaaaase). Your friends will appreciate a personal connection to a vendor as it's so much better than booking someone they have no relationship with at all!
7. SEND A HANDWRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE
Gosh, maybe I'm just a sucker for snail mail but I love a handwritten note and I love knowing that I've made a joyful difference in a couple's wedding day! It's really special to receive a little letter or card in the mail from one of your clients. I keep every single one that has been sent to me because they're a sweet reminder of the fact that in this job, I do get the opportunity to help people make their dreams come true! Plus, who doesn't love getting mail?
AN EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS FOR THE VENDORS YOU WOULDN'T HAVE SURVIVED WITHOUT...
For the wedding vendors that went truly above and beyond, knocked your socks off, make you feel like a million bucks and continued to wow you after your wedding, you could consider sending a small token of your deep appreciation. Whether it's a Starbucks gift card or something personalized with their business logo - small gifts are truly cherished and appreciated by your wedding vendors.
Don't get me wrong, this is by no means required of you and we as vendors never expect anything like this but gosh does it make us beam with joy and pride! Some of my favorite little gifts that I have received are a Lilly Pulitzer koozie (everyone knows my deep love of Lilly so combining that with a cold cider is just A+ after a long wedding weekend and I think of my couple each time I use it), a camera print little pouch that I keep my batteries in now and take to every wedding, a personalized pineapple cheese board and a tile from a couple's wedding venue that used to be the estate of a tile maker and concrete sculptor (the tile has a pup on it because I fell in love with their dog and they wanted to give me something to remember him by and also their stunning venue)! I seriously use and appreciate all of these little gifts and they help to remind me on the toughest days, of the joy that I'm blessed to be able to bring people at the start of their marriage.
By following your vendors on social media and forming a good relationship with them, if you feel like you want to really thank them for their dedication with a small gift, you'll know what they love and what makes them happy!