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wedding photography

How to Find the Right Wedding Vendor For You

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How to Find the Right Wedding Vendor For You

Whether you have a full wedding experience or opt for choose to celebrate less traditional and more intimate there will always be a few decisions made for wedding-day coordination.  Wedding planners and coordinators make this feat so much easier, but how do you get to the point where you're selecting wedding vendors that are right for you? 

It is my strong belief that wedding vendors should be chosen thoughtfully and carefully, whether its your wedding photographer or your florist. In this post I'll share how you can find the right wedding vendor for YOU.

1. Online research is a start.

Thank goodness for the internet, amirite? At the click of a button and a few targeted keywords, like "Greenville LGBTQ-friendly wedding photographer", for example, and you'll return hundreds and thousands of results. Or maybe you heard about a vendor through a friend and took to the internet to find out more information. Online research can help you answer a multitude of questions before you even fill out a contact form or pick up the phone. You can find examples of vendors' work, read testimonials, and reviews, and learn more about them as individuals or the company in general. Leverage online research, but don't let it be the end of your search for the best wedding vendor for you.

2. What do you care most about?

 Have you ever been asked or asked someone what they wanted to eat and their initial response was, "I don't care?" Then after you rattle off a few places to eat, they decline each one? I've done this (and no, I'm not proud of it).

But the truth is that when looking for vendors for your wedding, you may not think you know what you want at first until you hear what's offered. However, to make your search more efficient, go forth by asking questions you really care about.

Do you prefer someone local? Do you have a particular style in mind? Are you on a specific budget? The important thing here is to really focus on what matters to you. There are several wedding blogs that have published questions to ask your vendors, but be sure the questions you ask really resonate with you. A professional vendor will be able to assure your needs are met with them or refer you to someone else who can deliver based on your needs.

3. Meet with vendors in person.

You may often hear me talk about effective communication. While I've failed at it more often than I've succeeded, it's an ongoing topic I'm always willing to be a student of. 

I recently took a class on leadership where we discussed just want effective communication is. The instructor challenged us to guess what the greatest indicators of how well a message is communicated. The results may surprise you:

Content  is only 7% of effective communication.

Tone comes next at 38%

But, Body Language accounts for a whopping 55% of clearly conveying a message.

What does this mean? If you have the opportunity to do so, ask to meet your potential wedding vendor in person. If you can't physically meet due to location, then opt for a video interview. 

But what if I don't have time to do this? I'm an introvert; this is so not my style.

I don't recommend meeting with everyone you find to be a prospective match, but if you've wittled down your list and found that this vendor meets all your criteria on paper it's a great next step. Not only will you get a better understanding of how well this vendor communicates with you, but you can address all of your questions and concerns with all of the cues of communication present.

4. What are your values?

Did you hear about the 2015 wedding cake court case in which a Colorado baker refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple? Without getting into the nitty gritty details, I would say that values should be at the forefront of a decision of hiring a wedding vendor.  Particularly if you are a member of a marginalized or underrepresented group, I encourage to you look where you are celebrated, not tolerated. I've had a range of LDP clients who have made their values clear-- whether they are same sex, religious, non-religious, non-traditional, etc. Voice your values and what you care about to your vendors and be sure that they can not only provide a service for you, but support you as well.

5. Ask a friend.

Word of mouth referrals are the bread and butter of small business. When a friend or family member shares a positive experience with a vendor, you are more likely to trust his/her advice as opposed to a stranger's review.

I am happy to announce a new wedding referral program for LDP Friends and Clients. Learn about our referral program here.

greenville asheville atlanta same sex wedding photographer latoya dixon photography

Have you successfully found your wedding vendors? What are some tips you'd like to give someone who is in this process now? Share in the comments.

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Renee & Brandon's Vow Renewal | Columbia SC Wedding Photographer

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Renee & Brandon's Vow Renewal | Columbia SC Wedding Photographer

Renee and Brandon are celebrating 10 years of marriage. When I spoke with Renee months before the date they'd scheduled to have their relatives and closest friends join them, she made it very clear what the day was to consist of. She wasn't too concerned about micromanaging the day to be as perfect as it could be (a bridezilla, she was not).  Renee reiterated that she wanted to just celebrate and capture the essence of what her marriage with Brandon represented--true love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13 (And yes, we had our own little devotional together over the phone)!

In their 10 years of marriage, they've grown personally, spiritually, journeyed through business together, and best of all, created 3 beautiful children.  In fact, this was one request that Renee was adamant about--she definitely wanted a photo of her family, as a milestone of all the special moments they've shared together, whether ups or downs.

Renee & Brandon's vow renewal ceremony took place in Blythewood, SC, just north of Columbia, at their beautiful family home.  Brandon's mother took care of the decor, the front and back yards dressed perfectly for a beautiful spring day.  During the ceremony, Brandon and Renee exchanged the most heartfelt vows, partook in Communion together, and embraced each other in celebration of a decade of friendship, loyalty, and love.

Thank you Brandon & Renee for allowing me to join you on your day to do what I enjoy most. 

Special thank you to Quamecia Barr-Thomas of QBT Photography for joining me as my second shooter for this ceremony. 

Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Lally-75.jpg
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography
Greenville SC Wedding Photographer Latoya Dixon Photography

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What I Said I Wouldn't Do | Latoya Dixon Photography

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What I Said I Wouldn't Do | Latoya Dixon Photography

I said I wouldn't do it.  But I did.  I didn't even have plans to even consider it. But I did.  I made a choice, even made a public declaration of what I said I wouldn't do.  But I did.

A few months ago, after seeing a Facebook post made by another photographer who'd run away from the wedding industry, I too dismissed the notion that I would ever even consider or entertain the fact of one day becoming a wedding photographer.  It's hard work. It's stressful.  You can run into Bridezillas.  Having to get clients to agree on what goes in their album afterwards can be a nightmare.   Yes, while all if that may be true, these statements, made with resistance, are nothing but excuses. You cannot be a failure at something you haven't tried enough times to fail at.

I have second shot at two (and a half) weddings, all entirely different experiences (and one may have been the reason I was deterred initially).  I was fortunate enough to accompany my friend and fellow photograpHER, Stacey Smith of Smitn Photography at a local wedding in Simpsonville, SC at the Events at Sapphire Creek.  Stacey thoroughly prepared me going into the day by providing an order of events, list of names of wedding party, a pictorial guide of suggested poses...I mean, she really set the expectations very clearly.  With her as my lead, the afternoon went as smooth as could possibly go with the typical delays of waiting for key people to arrive for group pictures.  After the wedding, I was convinced that TEAMWORK truly makes the dream work. Working with Stacey was great; she was confident, assertive, fun to work with, and never left me feeling lost at any point.

But I said I would never shoot a wedding. Tuh.

A few weeks later, one of my sorority sisters from college, who was also engaged, reached out to me and asked me the inevitable, "will you be our wedding photographer?"  As a professional, I proceeded to ask her the details of her day, how much coverage she'd be needing, her style, etc.  As a SISTER, I knew I couldn't say no anyway.  

I had a moment of reflection after we got off the call and had to laugh at myself. I believe in God  & know that He has a comedic way of letting me know that His plans supersede my own.   Going into 2016, my continuous improvement focus will be on wedding photography.  I plan to start small with elopements, vow renewals, and small, intimate weddings. My first one up is March of this year in Blythewood, SC and the next one following, in April in Summerville.  

My goal this upcoming year as I seek new clients for Latoya Dixon Photography is to incorporate my style of genuine and expressive portraiture to the brides and and grooms whose special day I'll capture, focusing on the candid joy and pride from their family members, and creating images that are not only memorable for the occasion, but show genuine expressions of love and happiness.

 

I have to thank SmitN Photography's, Stacey Smith, for allowing me to work with her during this wedding. It was a wonderful bonding experience, as well as a learning experience. I hope you enjoy these images.

Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer
Latoya Dixon Photography Greenville SC Wedding Photographer

For vendor information, check out this wedding on Smitn Photography's blog.

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