vendor style & wedding budgets

In a previous post, I mentioned our awesome wedding vendors (find that post here). There are a number of factors to consider when selecting wedding vendors. Some of the big ones are reputation, location, price, availability (duh!), and style (e.g. does it fit with the theme / vibe of your event). We had a destination wedding, so for us, location of the vendor didn’t matter as much. I was most focused on reputation and style; I wanted to make sure every detail was perfect and that we didn’t “outdo” our venue, which has a stunning landscape and serves as almost an extra guest.Wedding Vendor Selection Tips

Two vendors that I didn’t think I would care much about were paper goods and flowers. If someone would have asked me a year ago what our largest expenditures would be, I would have told them photography, cinematography, and an open bar. A few friends told me how much they regretted not getting a cinematographer and it really stuck with me. And, I am a sucker for precious wedding photos (…and engagement photos like the ones below by the fabulous Kayla Barker). However, I came around and really fell hard for our paper and flower vendors.

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Every couple has their own style, and you and your soon-to-be spousey will most certainly work through what’s most important to you in a vendor. Most of our vendors came from Houston because I had a network in Houston that I could test the reputation of each vendor with. Additionally, I did extensive research -- late night bedside cell phone Googling…yep, I’m that girl -- on The Knot, Green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty and various bridal magazines. To anyone planning a wedding, I would suggest that you sit down with your partner in crime and decide on a budget before and then add a cushion -- really, just determine your not to exceed amount. If you are like us, you probably will go over budget due to unexpected expenses (hello fireworks!) so it’s best to build the cushion into your budget in advance. [Note to reader: This is where my hubs would be nodding vigorously and widening his eyes.]

Sample Wedding Budget here and here

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Papellerie is a little studio located in Houston, Texas. We worked specifically with one designer and it was amazing! We had an initial meeting where she asked us all sorts of questions about our wedding style and ourselves. We looked at other sample invitations that they had created and picked out the design elements we liked. Overall, the process was super enjoyable, and I will say that we probably had the most interaction with our paper provider; she really helped us create the vision for our special day. Both my boo and I are in a service industry, where we are used to pitching to others, so it was nice to be on the opposite end of the table for a change.

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I would like to mention here that this was probably double the cost we initially anticipated -- but to me, it was worth its weight in gold. We got so many compliments and I will say that our designer will definitely be designing our baby announcements (sorry babe!). If you do have the time though (and I wish I did but that’ s not really possible with my job), it’s totally doable to do this yourself and work through several Etsy providers to get what you are looking for. It may not be custom, but it will definitely get the job done. Some pictures from our save the dates, invitations and day of materials are below:

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The second wedding vendor that totally surprised our budget was flowers.

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We were initially going to work with someone local, but things didn’t work out – this was also a huge lesson for me. If one of your vendors is not up to snuff, cut ties early. We lost our deposit, but it was SO much better in the end and we ended up with a better product (and a less stressed Althea). We had a similar experience with our flower vendor. Alicia from Bows + Arrows Flowers, out of Dallas, TX, called us up and we had a one-hour conversation with her and our wedding planner about our design elements and the style of our day. It really helped that she had been to our venue before and understood our vision. She promptly created a Pinterest board and we let her roll with it. These folks do this for their day (and night) job, so it’s best to let them roll with it. Our experience is you will be happy with the result. The beautiful work of Bows + Arrows is highlighted in a few pictures.

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[Note to reader: When I get back my photos / video, I will be sure to post those too. But, censorship will happen – can’t have any double chins on the internet!]

So, in short, happy wedding planning! Not to be a wise ass, but if I had some wisdom to impart it would be…

Overbudget and make sure you have a slush fund.

If you don’t have the time, then make sure you get an awesome company to help you! And trust them – they work magic.

Remember -- and this is one I had trouble with -- the day is about marrying your best friend, not about the little details.