There's no doubt that highly-experienced, expensive professionals are worth their weight in gold as experience is often the very best teacher. But most of us will gladly work with vendors of varying backgrounds and styles as long as they are professional, pleasant, and good at what they do.
If you've been looking for wedding vendors in the more traditional ways and find yourself still searching, these tips will help you revive your search and will very likely find a vendor who is a great match for your wedding and budget.
#1 Look on the last page of the search results that appear on wedding websites first. As you probably know, wedding vendors who are listed up front have paid money to be there, but buried far below are the vendors who have a free listing. They may not have as many reviews and they may not have as attractive listings as some of the front runners, but they are definitely worth checking out and including in your search.
#2 Turn small talk into helpful talk. Next time someone asks you, “How’s the wedding planning going?” respond with something like, “Great, thanks. Actually, right now we are looking for a bluegrass band and were hoping to find one that’s talented and affordable.” If you respond with that enough times, you’re bound to unearth a hidden gem of a band at some point. To get even more results, ask your partner, parents, and future in laws to do the same. You can be sure people are asking them how the planning is going as well. That can quadruple your chances of some good leads immediately.
#3 Hang out in wedding groups on Facebook. If you haven't joined a wedding group in your area on Facebook, it's totally worth checking out. Often they have thousands of members (especially the wedding recycle ones), and generally more affordable wedding vendors hangout in those groups looking to connect with couples having budget-friendly weddings. Find a group by going to Facebook and search for "wedding " and the name of the state your wedding is in. Then click on "Groups" in the search results. Join a group (or two, or three), and post in the group with "ISO" (in search of) at the start of your post and the type of vendor you're looking for. Put your feet up and watch the recommendations roll in.
#4 Use websites where people look for services for all types of events. For instance, Eventective is a useful place to look for event professionals such as caterers and event staff. ReverbNation is a great source for entertainment professionals such as bands and DJs. Sites like these expose you to a range of vendors who work all kinds of events, including weddings.
If you do these four things, you're very likely to unearth some hidden gems who are also within your budget and certainly worth including in your search. Many times it's the hidden gems who end up making the wedding unique and fun for you and your guests. They require a bit more time to find, but often it's well worth it!
NOTE: Always make sure there are excellent reviews and referrals before booking a vendor. Otherwise, know you may be rolling the dice. Have any other tips for finding vendors? We'd love to hear them! Leave a comment below.