Jumping head first into planning, we actually had some basic requirements to even reach out to vendors, let alone sign contracts with them. The requirements morphed as time progressed, but let’s talk a bit about our requirements…
A little background in case you haven’t picked up on it—we are a lesbian couple from California getting married in Kansas City, Missouri, which is definitely a more conservative/family-values kind of place. Some of these vendors may not be too excited about a same-sex wedding. We 100% feel that our vendors need to support marriage equality and they need to be interested in working with us as a couple and with any other vendors we hire. So we created rules that automatically eliminated vendors:
- We had to like their work.
- Their reviews on WeddingWire and Yelp (if appropriate) had to be in the 4/5 range or higher.
- They could not mention G-d on their website.
- When they met with us they had to look us in the eyes.
- They had to be genuinely interested in us, our wedding, and our guests.
- They needed to put forth a little effort in preparing for our first meeting.
- If they had questions about us we wanted them to ask us directly—no beating around the bush here.
- After meeting with them we had to want to have a drink/hang out with them (the coolness factor).
- They must play well with others (team work what???).
- They needed to be OK with kids running around.
Why #3, right?
Let me be very clear—we are both very comfortable with G-d and religion. We hold a very special place in our hearts for religion and our beliefs, so it isn’t that we are opposed to people of faith. It’s one of those right time/right place kinds of things for us. The chance that someone who announces on their business website about their relationship with Jesus or G-d will disagree with our relationship and our marriage is infinitely higher than someone who really focuses on the core of what they do on their business website. For us it is crucial that vendors don’t agree to work with us because it is a gig that pays the bills; we want vendors present that will support our wedding fully and with warm, smiling, happy hearts (idealistic, yes).
We started off with the first three requirements, and as our planning progressed we realized points 4–10 were pretty important, too. We are totally fine working with vendors who have never done a same-sex wedding before (a majority of our vendors haven’t), but we want honest, genuine people to work with, not poseurs. Let’s get real here: a wedding isn’t cheap. Ours will end up costing more than our current vehicle. I have very high expectations for salespeople/pitches. I expect people to do their research and to actually sell their services to us because this isn’t a $10 transaction and these are memories and experiences—not some trinket you pick up from the store.
Points 5, 8, 9, and 10 are there because we care about the experience our guests and vendors will have with each other. I used to work as a wedding videographer, and I can’t count the number of times the DJ or photographer did not play well with others. In the end it hurts the couple because they don’t get all of the shots. As a guest I can remember DOCs, planners, photographers, and DJs that were really abrupt and were there for the job point blank. They were not there to help the wedding as a whole come off without a hitch and ensure people had a good time.
Yes, we might have missed out on some great vendors, and it’s possible that we might have been able to show someone that does not believe same-sex marriage how much it means to us and how similar we really are in the end. Maybe they would change their minds…but our wedding isn’t about making someone else OK with gay marriage; our wedding is about our community supporting our relationship and surrounding our event in love and thoughtfulness. We know the feeling we want guests and vendors to leave with—taken care of and full of fun and love.
Wow, that sounds very idealistic, right? It does, but guess what? It seems to be working out!