Planning your wedding right now is hard! All wedding vendors are deemed non-essential in the time of COVID, including Houston wedding photographer and thus are not able to work. So how do you book a vendor for your 2021 and beyond wedding? The good news is that technology is freaking awesome and can help you a lot with this. Technology won’t fill in all the gaps, but it will help a lot. Let’s dig into how to virtually plan your wedding.
How to "Meet"
Let’s be honest, FaceTime, Facebook Video Messenger and Skype are going to be the best tools to “meet” with all the vendors you want to hire right now. Sure, it’s a little awkward. That being said, as a Houston wedding photographer, I would meet with couples through this medium before COVID-19 hit. The only thing that is hard to convey is tangible product. But the ability to see if we connect personality-wise is there, and this is the most important piece for the vendors that you will spending a ton of time with. Like your planner, photographer and florist.
"Tour" with your Vendors
When you virtually plan your wedding, ding a “tour” works best for venues. Quite a few of them have been creating virtual tours of their spaces in the past few years, and never have we needed them more! I specifically like these virtual tours because you get a good feel for the venue that a photo isn’t able to replicate. You don’t 100% get to take in the full size and scope of the venue, but you get to see all the highlights, how one room flows into the next. A few great examples are Water’s Edge and Station 3. You can see how they show off how a wedding would look in their spaces. Newer venues like the Luminaire and Arrowhead Hill are using Instagram to show off their spaces in saved stories.
The other cool thing that vendors do, is to share behind the scenes in their Instagram stories. I encourage couples to stalk their favorite vendors on this platform specifically, especially now, because their stories are a peak into not only their work but their personalities.
In the time of COVID-19, this one is a bit trickier, but there are a lot of food vendors that you can test out, even if you can’t meet with them. I know a lot of catering companies are doing to-go food right now, so on top of email and FaceTime, you can get to-go food from them and test them out. Of course I would reheat the food when I got home to ensure that there’s no virus on the food. I especially love what The Hometown Chef and Catering is doing, they are catering for essential personnel as well as doing recipe videos on Youtube.
What about dessert? I know a bunch of cake bakers who are making tasting boxes for their prospective clients. I know the bakers will have a limited schedule in making these, and not every one of them is offering these. I have seen bakers like Wink by Erica selling cakes and doing home delivery during COVID-19, so you could buy one of their cakes during this time to test them out. Plus, you have lots of leftover cake to eat for breakfast! Win-win.
I saved the most obvious for last. Photos and video will be a huge factor in your decision making when you virtually plan your wedding. There are certain vendors whose photos will help with your decision making process, like photographers, hair and makeup artists, bakers, florists and stationers. For Houston photographers you can request recent weddings they have captured to get an idea of what a day looks like from them. Compare a few weddings to see whether their editing is consistent as well as what they deliver from each day.
With bakers, florists, stationers and the like, you can get a feel for what they create. For these vendors, know that they don’t always get photos from the photographers, so their portfolio might not be as robust. Also know that some of these businesses are great at what they do and might be on the struggle bus when it comes to social media. Facebook business pages and Instagram are great places to get a beat on potential vendors, but not all of them post regularly. When reaching out ask to see extra photos so you get an idea as to what they can do.
Another great thing to look for is any video the vendor might have of them. Instagram stories pop to mind, which is great for behind the scenes. I find video is the perfect format to get to know planners, officiants, DJ’s and lighting designers. Pictures only do so much for these vendors, where video really helps bridge the gap. Even for myself, I have a professional branding video on my wedding photography webpage, for you to get to know what it is like to work with me. I would look on vendor’s websites for videos like mine. Another thing you can do, is to see if these vendors had a videographer as part of the wedding team, which is usually tagged in social media posts. From there, go to the videographer’s website to see that wedding and get an idea as to how each vendor works.
Testimonials and Referrals
Lastly, internet stalk each vendor you are considering by looking at their reviews. The obvious places are on The Knot, Wedding Wire and their website. A favorite spot of mine is their Facebook business page, and Google. In fact, I prefer Google over Facebook, because you can turn off reviews on Facebook. I also would request information on past clients to see if I could call them and hear what their experience was like. The internet only tells you so much!
Referrals are also great. Get them from the vendors you have already hired, specifically the planner. A planner knows how each vendor they recommend works, and the great ones will adjust their list if someone on it starts to not perform well.
Are you planning your wedding for 2021 or 2022? Are you finding it challenging? Email your favorite Houston wedding photographer at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me how the planning is going and if there are topics you’d like to read about!
Tell me in the comments what part of this blog helped you the most!
Most weddings I capture are downtown, so it’s a fun and rare occasion when I get to go to Cypress Texas to capture a wedding!