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Knowing that so many of you are newly (ish!) sporting an engagement ring, we’ve been working our way through wedding planning must-dos here on the blog for the past few weeks. After several rounds of budget advice, it’s time to move on to vendors: finding them, hiring them, and working with them! For all of our best wedding planning advice in one place, be sure to pick up your copy of the Joyful Wedding Planner!

For many of us, planning a wedding is the first time we’ve had to hire someone – maybe ever, and almost certainly for something creative! It can feel like a lot of pressure to get it right, because your wedding vendors are the folks who will transform your big, precious ideas into a celebration that can be enjoyed by the people you love most. We’ve got a whole roster of vendors we love for browsing, but today we’re taking it one step further and really breaking down the question “how do I find vendors for my wedding?”

Use your network. Naturally, some of the best recommendations come from people you trust. Loved the flowers at your best friend’s wedding? Ask her who she used. And remember, negative reviews can be just as helpful as positive ones!

Ask your vendors. Found a vendor you 100% click with? Ask him for other vendor recommendations. Photographers and planners, especially, work with countless vendors every weekend and can have great insight into the best options in your area.

Look to blogs and magazines. Wedding blogs and magazines can be a wealth of vendor leads, in a number of different ways. Search for real wedding or editorials that took place in your area and follow up with anyone whose work you love. Check to see if they have a vendor directory, usually a hand-picked selection of vendors that have been vetted in some way (ours is called the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory). And don’t forget print and online advertisements – if you love a publication, chances are you’ll love the vendors that care enough to advertise with them.

There’s a common belief that vendors and venues charge more for the same services as soon as the word “wedding” is mentioned. Surprise! That’s probably true – but for good reason. A once-in-a-lifetime event like a wedding comes with an entirely different set of expectations, pressure, time spent planning, service, and creativity than your average cocktail or bridal party, and a higher price often reflects that. Though it can be hard to justify the expense on the front end of a wedding, talented vendors are worth every penny in the end!

I’d love to hear: how did you find your vendors? Who are your favorites?

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Joseph Requerme Photo reply

    Usually your suppliers will recommend someone that they trust, so, ask your supplier. Those points you have mentioned are really helpful.

  2. avatar Christine reply

    Yes to all of the above. Also, Instagram can be a great resource to find vendors. Follow beautiful wedding accounts and check to see who they tag. You can discover many wonderful vendors using that method! I found most of my wedding vendors via wedding magazines and trusted wedding websites and blogs (like this one!). I also turned to my wedding planners and their relationships for additional vendor intros. Honestly, the vendor finding process was so much fun!

  3. avatar Bri A reply

    These are such helpful tips because there are so many options out there! I especially love asking vendors that you have a rapport with, because working with someone brings a unique perspective!

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Welcome back to the round of 32! The votes have been cast and we’re bidding farewell to 32 bites and beverages, including fried okra (sigh) and coconut cake. I’m happy to report pecan pie and sweet tea both made it through along with my beloved pimento cheese. Although I have to admit that picking between butter beans and pimento cheese so early in the voting seemed unfair.

As with any good march tournament, we had a few upsets and the 7/10 match-ups were quite contentious again this year, with watermelon, pound cake and Coca-Cola emerging victorious as 10 seeds. Sadly, pralines (my gran makes the best pecan pralines in Dixie) didn’t make it through to the next round, but it’s leaving us with a battle of the Southern donuts this week: beignets vs. Krispy Kreme.

Here’s how our bracket’s looking now:

I’m dying to know? Did you learn anything new about your beau oo best friends? I learned that the SW office is loyal to Southern sweets. Marissa is rooting hard for banana pudding and Amber picked Red Velvet Cake to go all the way, which should be interesting since these treats go head-to-head in the Round of 32. Share what you learned, and what you’re pulling for, in the comments below! Second-round voting will be open until March 17th.

Vote in the round of 32 below (or click here):

kristin Written with love by Kristin
2 Comments
  1. avatar Ashlee reply

    Ah! I can’t believe I just had to pick between Fried Green Tomatoes and Pimento Cheese!!

  2. avatar Catherine Marks reply

    It’s already getting so hard! Deviled eggs v. Mac and cheese!

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What I love most about Sarah and Sean’s wedding is that it gets right to the heart of what a wedding is really about: marrying the person you love and celebrating with your family and friends. These two care about their community in a big way–so much so that their loved ones inspired practically every detail! From the daffodils Sarah chose (and arranged with her bridesmaids) in honor of her grandmother, to the way they spent the wedding morning (in church together with their bridal party), everything from Sarah and Sean’s wedding decor to their timeline was centered around the people they love most. I’m not too surprised to hear that as they focused on blessing their community, their community, in turn, blessed them–don’t miss the story of Sarah’s wedding dress below!

Many thanks to Michelle Boyd for sending this special day our way for Southern Weddings V9!

My bridesmaids wore long skirts the color of daffodils. I wanted each girl to be able to showcase her unique personality, so I left the top up to her! One of my favorite memories from the wedding was making bouquets with my bridesmaids. I ordered flowers wholesale from the Austin Flower Market. Then, with rainbows of flowers piled before us, we made our bouquets together. I chose daffodils because my grandmother and namesake, Sara, loved yellow daffodils.

Tell us all the basics of your wedding! Why did you choose these things? Did any of these details hold special meaning for you as a couple? Sean and I got married at Brison Park, a city park tucked away in a sleepy neighborhood, under the Grandmother Tree where Sean had proposed. During the golden hour, under an arbor built by my family, and surrounded by our people, we said yes to forever.

Because our relationship was so marked by our community, we wanted our wedding to be as well. As I walked in, all of our wedding guests sang. Our ceremony was in the round, our bridal party was big, and our friends played music and sang and read verses from the Bible.

What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? All of our bridal party and family members gathered around us and prayed for our marriage and future life together. I’ll never forget standing there in that moment–under God, under the Grandmother Tree, under the arbor, and under the love and prayers of our friends and family.

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? We thought it would be fun to make our exit by running through the field behind our ceremony. So after we had been pronounced husband and wife, our bridal party parted and we darted through the opening and away toward the tree-line.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Our wedding was overflowing with friends. I know one wouldn’t usually describe a design inspiration as community, but there’s no other way to put it. Every inch of the wedding–from the bouquets the bridesmaids put together, to the arbor built by the family, down to the wedding band that had been my grandmother’s–was influenced by our community. There would have been no wedding without our community gathering around us to make it possible, and it was oh so sweet!

As Sean and I planned the reception, we just kept thinking, we get to throw a big party for our best friends! Instead of stressing about every detail, we tried (key word, try) to plan the best party we could to bless our community. We ate a fabulous farm-to-table dinner around long wooden tables that snaked through the woods, strung with candles and lights. We danced into the night in an old barn lit with lanterns.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met at Dallas Theological Seminary in Houston on the first day of our first week-intensive class. By the end of the week, we decided to date, despite living in different states. By the end of the month, we had decided to get married.
Describe the proposal: On a hot day in August, Sean moved from Nashville to College Station. He had always said that our first date living in the same city would be a bike ride. Before his car tires were cool, he jumped on his fixie and I on my ten-speed, and we raced off to buy a Coke. We biked to my favorite park, Brison (where we got married!), and sat under the Grandmother Tree. The tree is thus named because she is stately, beautiful, and very old. No doubt, she’s watched countless young Aggies fall in love under her branches. Sean picked me up and sat me on a drooping branch. He then said some wonderful things that neither of us can remember, and then asked me to be his wife. I said yes twice! We stayed at the park an hour or two more, just laughing and talking and praying and dreaming, before we told anyone. Those few hours of keeping our special news to ourselves were priceless.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? About once a week for the months leading up to our wedding, Sean and I had meaningful discussions on all matter of topics, from sex to finances, with our mentor couple and dear friends from church, the DeVores.
How many guests attended your wedding? 200
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: My house where I lived with my roommates was just around the corner and a few blocks down from Brison Park, so all of the girls got ready together at the house, and then, gathering our skirts and bouquets, we walked down the road to the park.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? After finding the dress of my dreams at a consignment shop in Austin, but being unsure that I could afford it, I was told that my dress and all accessories had been anonymously paid for hours earlier. I’ll always remember that as an incredible gift from God to me.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? Since Sean and I got married on a Sunday, we wanted to spend the morning at church with our bridal party. That was one of my sweetest memories.
Tell us about your grand exit. Sean’s uncle shot off a cannon (which scared most of us) at the end of the Aggie War Hymn. Through a tunnel of sparklers, Sean and I ran to his beat-up Toyota Corolla that was filled with balloons.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? In all of the planning, with all of the decisions and deposits, don’t forget what the day is about: the person you love, surrounded by the people you love.

Photographer: Michelle Boyd Photography | Videographers: Michael and Alyssa Meyerdirk | Ceremony Venue: Brison Park | Reception Venue and Caterer: Ronin Cooking | Florals and Bride’s Flower Crown: Sweet Magnolia Floral Studio | Dessert Baker: 1541 Pastries and Coffee | Bridal Salon: Second Summer Bride | Bride’s Earrings: Francesca’s | Bridesmaid Skirts: Morning Lavender | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Tara at Head Shoppe | Groom’s Fashion: Jos. A. Bank and Levi’s

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Brittany reply

    Dying over this bride/color scheme. Everything is dreamy!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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