It’s been a minute since I’ve posted a blog. And I’m not one to make excuses, but I know exactly why that is. If you follow along on social media at all (like here, here or here) you’ve seen that I just got married (ahh!!) and went on a super fun + blissed out honeymoon (more ahh!!). Those two pretty enormous life events have consumed my brain a bit and have kept me away from the screen. It was a nice hiatus but I am SO happy to be back, my fingers flying across the keyboard with so much to tell you guys!
This blog is going to be about how I made a very concerted effort to support small and local businesses as I planned and executed my wedding. As an entrepreneur myself, I know how important it is to support my peers. Even more importantly, I’m trying to be more conscious about where, how and what I shop, and buying local is a great place to start. I’m happy to give my money right to the source rather than funding yet another gigantic corporation.
How did I manage to throw an epic, perfect, magical (the list of adjectives can go on and on) wedding while supporting local and small businesses? Read on, my friends.
I have spent more time scrolling through Etsy than I care to admit. And I’ve given them even more of my money. But, like I said, I’m happy to do it. When you buy from Etsy, you are buying from the source and supporting the art + business of a small shop. That alone was enough reason to buy everything I could from the site. Along with that, they have everything you can possibly imagine! Every obscure, super specific, custom, personalized gift I would dream up…I was able to type in a few key words in the search bar and be greeted with artist upon artist creating exactly what I was looking for. I’ll share another post all about “thoughtful gift giving on your big day”, but here is a list of shops I purchased from that completely knocked it out of the park!
These shirts for my bridesmaids. These bowties for my guys. These personalized cufflinks for dad. This custom necklace for mom. My absolutely gorgeous dried flowers and bouquets! These custom headphones for my groom. My beautiful kiddush cup, all the way from Israel. And these funny cards to ask my 2 MOHs to stand up there with me.
And always, always, always remember to rate and write reviews for the shop owners. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know the enormous weight a good testimonial can carry. This is one of the best ways you can support a small biz.
It makes sense that you’d use local vendors for your wedding. But I just wanted to make a note of how important this is. In hiring local, privately run vendors, you are supporting your community. That’s a huge deal! I could have gone with some big name, chain catering or photography company. But, instead, I took my time and vetted out all the different local shops in the area. And I could not have been happier with my experience! Every single one of my vendors went above and beyond to make our day as perfect and special as possible. Take the time to research who is offering these services in your community. I promise, it’ll be a better and more personalized experience. Below is a list of all the vendors we used.
- Our DJ company, who also provided beautiful uplighting and a super cool photobooth! I worked with Jorge, Arti + James (the DJ)
- My day of coordinator, Sam Smith, was a dream! I hired her from here and although I signed up for “day of” coordination, she helped me every step of the way as I planned the wedding. Their team was just spectacular! They helped executed my vision perfectly.
- I’m lucky enough to be very close friends with a wildly talented photographer. I’m still in awe at everything he was able to accomplish. He didn’t miss a thing! And I didn’t even notice him there. Plus, it was super special to have a friend taking the photos.
- Almost every guest has told me that our food was the best wedding food they’ve ever had. That is a huge testament to how amazing our catering company was.
- Although we didn’t get a chance to eat our cupcakes, we know how drool-worthy they were since we did the tasting. Our guests all agreed, unanimously.
- Our venue! Not only was it where we had on of our first dates, but it’s a non-profit organization preserving one of the oldest homes in South Florida. Most of our guests, who have been living in South Florida for decades, had never even heard of it! I’m so happy we got to share it with them.
- And I have to mention our Rabbi. Guest were flocking to him after the ceremony to get his card. And more than one person came up to me saying they wanted to convert so he could officiate their wedding. True story.
Like I mentioned before, you NEED to write reviews for your vendors and shop owners. It truly is the best way to support small and local businesses. I made sure to jump on to WeddingWire.com the days following our wedding to write glowing reviews with 5 stars for everyone who helped make our day so perfect. You can also leave reviews on TheKnot.com. Or, ask your vendors where they prefer to have a review left. Some may just want you to send them a testimonial to add to their website. Testimonials are one of the best ways to help a small biz attract new clients. Speaking as the owner of a small business, I know how true this is.
Word of mouth
This goes along with writing glowing reviews. If you’re happy with your vendors or the shop owners you purchase from, TALK about it! Tell your newly engaged friends. Tag your vendors in social media posts about your wedding. Write blogs about them! Keep paying it forward. I promise, it always comes back to you. In spades, usually. One of my vendors actually asked me to send her a list of some of my newly engaged friends so she can reach out to them. I thought that was genius! What a smart biz tactic to get new clients.
Finally, my favorite pastime. Finding a killer deal at a local thrift store. As you’ll see in a later post, I made all of my centerpieces, by hand, using vintage tea cups and such. I filled them with succulents (again, from a local farm). I went to Goodwill once and a few garage sales, but almost all of my finds came from small thrift shops in the area. One of them in particular was my favorite! Not only did I find a ton of beautiful stuff there for dirt cheap, but they’re a non-profit and all of their proceeds go toward helping abused and abandoned animals. And if you know me at all, you know I cried when I heard that…and then threw all my money at them.
Also, I wore a “second dress” for the reception. My mom found it at an estate sale for $3. Three. Dollars. She’s taught me everything I know about finding the best deals.
Things we bought that weren’t small biz or local:
- My dress (on clearance from last season, David’s Bridal)
- Suits (Damiani + Issac Mizrahi)
- Our shoes (TJ Maxx + DSW)
- Wedding day perfume (Michael Kors, Ulta)
- Other decor, gifts + accessories (Target + TJ Maxx)