The Not Wedding concept gives us plenty of inspiration when it comes to the vendor selection process. In essence, these are the experts who come on board to help you translate the dream you've always had about the big day into reality. The goal is to enlist the services of wedding professionals who you can confidently trust to bring your vision to life.

Wedding vendors should also have the expertise to produce seamless and uniquely beautiful fêtes. Navigating the vendor search process isn't something that most newly engaged couples have experienced. Even if it's not your first time at the rodeo, soon-to-be spouses could always use some working guidelines coming from the vendors themselves.

With that said, here are a few tips and guidelines compiled from the wise words shared by couples who've previously been down the path as well as wedding experts.

A Checklist of Some of The Wedding Vendors You'll Need

It takes a team to put together a heartfelt and memorable wedding. Top-notch vendors know that they must treat the big day as a high-stakes event because their input can essentially make or break your vision. Their role is not only to take care of select aspects related to the wedding but also to make sure that the experience is as hitch-free as possible.

It's entirely up to you when it comes to determining how many vendors you'd like to supply various aspects for the big day. That's because some betrothed folks may choose to handle certain elements themselves or friends and family members might volunteer their services in different ways. With that in mind, this is the general list of wedding vendors you'll end up collaborating with:

Wedding Planner

While some couples consider working with a wedding planner as an unnecessary expense, the truth is that it's worth it if you team up with the right professional. For starters, they have industry connections and can link you up with the best vendors as well as sources for great wedding deals. Most planners are equally flexible enough to work with your budget and prioritise your preferences.

The Wedding Venue

The wedding venue falls under the category of vendors simply because it ties in with contracting other professionals to work on your big day. It's especially the case if the chosen location is providing a wedding package that includes services like catering, decor, and entertainment. Most importantly, locking down a venue gives you a concrete date to work with as well as guidelines on things like capacity and facilities, which are things that most vendors will ask about.

The Florist

Wedding flowers are an important part of setting the scene because they also double up as decor pieces. Plenty of discussions and consultations are needed in terms of settling on the style of the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centrepieces. You typically want to enlist the services of a florist at least six to eight months before the big day.

The Caterer

Celebrations and food go hand in hand. It's an unwritten rule that you should serve something to eat at your wedding reception. Teaming up with the right wedding caterer ensures that your guests will have a delicious menu to dig into on the big day. It's worth noting that most reception venues also offer catering services but in some instances, you'll have to outsource the service.

The Wedding Photographer

Perhaps you are planning an elopement or putting together a grand ceremony; you simply must document the special occasion. More than often, wedding photographers will capture your engagement party, other prenuptial events, and the big day itself. That's why it helps to work with a professional and enlist their services early enough.  

A Baker

The icing on the cake is literally the wedding cake. Some caterers might offer you a package that includes supplying the grand dessert but again, you might need to get a contract with a professional baker to whip up the baked treat. Visit bakers at least six months before the wedding date.

Other Wedding Vendors

While those are the core wedding vendors most couples work with, there are lists of other professionals who have a hand in the success of the big day. That includes hair and makeup stylists, jewellers, and stationers. You'll also need the services of a band or Dj, a rental company, a videographer, and a wedding officiant.

Tips & Considerations For Choosing Wedding Vendors

Newly-engaged couples figuring out how to go about contracting wedding vendors might find the following tips helpful:

The Venue Should Be First On The List

With the wedding venue booked and locked, you'll also have access to lists of tried-and-tested vendors. Most venues have a list of vendors they can recommend to assist in planning your big day. It also helps to collaborate with professionals who are familiar with the wedding space but you are still at liberty to work with your preferred vendors.

Research & Make Use Of Social Media

It helps to look up wedding vendors near you and also look into their track record. Social media is a great resource in this regard because there are endless lists of websites, groups, forums, and boards dedicated to the big day. Ask for recommendations and reviews about particular vendors to figure out who to work with.

Stick to Your Budget

Once you have an itemised wedding budget to work with, don't budge too much when negotiating with vendors. There are endless lists of vendors and that alone tells you that you'll eventually find a professional who can meet your expectations within your budget. In the same breath, have a contingency budget in place to cater for unexpected expenses.

Read The Fine Print

Take your time, within reason, before inking a deal with various wedding vendors. You'll also want to read the fine print or have it written out in black and white, particularly when it comes to cancellation policies. Ask as many questions and have every crucial decision or agreement included in the vendor contract.

Watch the Vendors in Action

Keep an eye for The Not Wedding events or other similar shindigs hosted near you. It gives you the opportunity to see the vendors in action, ask questions, and also make initial contacts when putting together a team to handle your big day.

A big fake wedding (that you’ll love)

It was about a month ago that I stumbled across The Not Wedding. Intrigued, I got in touch with Callie, the founder of this amazing new alternative to a traditional wedding expo, and learned that The Not Wedding is “a bridal show alternative in the form of a big, fake, wedding. Wedding guests are brides-to-be who enjoy an emotional ceremony, a tasty dinner, and a dance-party reception while truly experiencing the wedding vendors in action.”

Isn’t that awesome?! If you love weddings half as much as I do then this is going to be right up your alley. These events serve as a source of inspiration for brides and grooms as well as a way to really see your local wedding vendors in action!

lavender and herb wedding inspiration board

The Not Wedding holds their events all over the US (check out upcoming locations here) and one of their recent weddings was held in the Historic Rice Mill Building in Charleston, South Carolina. I love that when planning this event, because there are so many vendors involved in making it come to life, they of course created an inspiration board first!

The inspiration for the Charleston Not Wedding includes a gorgeous lavender and rosemary colour palette that is perfect for a laid back and intimate wedding with lots of organic accents. It’s so fascinating to me to see inspiration boards come to life – and that’s what you’re about to witness here!

Another fabulous aspect of this event is that afterwards you’ll get to see an array of different image styles from local photographers who were there. This first set of pictures covering the bridal party and ceremony (including an epic DIY backdrop) is from Lime Green Photography.

bride and bridesmaids / Lime Green Photography
bridal party attire / Lime Green Photography
beautiful veil shot / Lime Green Photography
wedding ceremony details / Lime Green Photography
DIY ceremony backdrop / Lime Green Photography
The Not Wedding Ceremony / Lime Green Photography
rosemary and lavender wedding / Lime Green Photography
leafy green bouquet / Lime Green Photography
The Not Wedding / Lime Green Photography

Part of the reason I love styled shoots so much is that the wedding vendors who participate can really cut loose and get creative. The vendors at this Charleston Not Wedding were no different and these invitation and reception shots from Izzy Hudgins Photography are stuffed full of inspirational ideas.

lavender and rosemary wedding invitations / Izzy Hudgins Photography
lavender and green wedding / Izzy Hudgins Photography
lavender and green wedding / Izzy Hudgins Photography
lavender and green reception / Izzy Hudgins Photography
yarn wrapped silverware / Izzy Hudgins Photography
watering can floral arrangement / Izzy Hudgins Photography
wedding decor details / Izzy Hudgins Photography
lavender seed table runner / Izzy Hudgins photography
Bourbon Pecan Cupcakes / Izzy Hudgins Photography

Part of the draw of The Not Wedding is that while you’re there, not only do you get to experience these wedding vendors as a guest would at your own wedding, but you get to meet and greet them, ask them questions, and get to know them.

Plus, as with most real weddings, there’s a dance, bouquet toss, cake, and at least in this case – a sparkler send-off! Angela Cox Photography captured all the fun below.

drink flag / Angela Cox Photography
The Not Wedding / Angela Cox Photography
ribbon chair decor / Angela Cox Photography
yummy macaroni / Angela Cox Photography
The Not Wedding / Angela Cox Photography
bouquet toss / Angela Cox Photography
bouquet toss / Angela Cox Photography
Lavender cake / Angela Cox Photography
The Not Wedding / Angela Cox Photography
Sparkler send-off / Angela Cox Photography

Needless to say, I’ve fallen quite in love with the entire concept behind The Not Wedding and hope to someday attend one (hint hint, big obvious wink to The Not Wedding – how about Hawaii?!). Being able to see their initial inspiration board and how it was brought to life by local vendors for brides-to-be is pretty amazing!

Credits: Photography: Lime Green, Izzy Hudgins, & Angela Cox Photography // Coordination & Event Design: Ashely Nicole Events // Jewelry: Birdsong Designs // Logistics: Bowtied // Transportation: Charleston Black Cab Company // Entertainment: Charleston Groove Factory // Desserts: Cupcake // Makeup: Dannon K Collard // Travel Solution: Destination Wedding Experts // Rentals: Event DRS // Vintage Rentals & Event Design: Ever Thine Vintage //

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