Collaborative Vendor Networking

by Audrey on 09.04.15

in Inspiration

by Audrey
09.04.15

Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com

Today’s post is to inspire wedding vendors (and brides will see beautiful flowers and fun ideas too).  It is impossible to produce an entire wedding by yourself.  The industry needs teamwork to succeed, and a great vendor team will produce the best events.  It’s time to embrace collaboration over competition.  Cavin Elizabeth Photography put together a fantastic networking event to focus on just that.  Here are her thoughts on collaboration, the wedding industry, and a truly lovely party with a few beautiful images mixed in.

When I first arrived in San Diego in October of 2014, I knew absolutely nobody in the wedding industry. I needed to make an effort to meet wedding vendors who I could refer to my brides and who I would enjoy working with. Although I’m a huge introvert, I emailed anyone from planners to florists to cake artists whose talent was inspiring. Some never emailed me back, even after a follow up, and some emailed back to say they were too busy for coffee, but several were excited to hear from me and were just as eager to meet. 

Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com

I think many wedding vendors would say that their city’s wedding industry is filled with a large number of people. Some see this as a bad thing, though I see it as a good thing. It doesn’t just give brides a large choice pool; it also ensures that you will have a great chance of meeting at least a handful of vendors whose styles, personalities, and levels of professionalism jive with what you’re looking for in long-lasting relationships. I’ve now been in San Diego for over half a year and have gained a fantastic network of vendors, some of whom have even become close friends. I still continue to meet with new vendors at least a few times a month, as you never know what good things new partnerships can do for each other! 

Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com

When I first decided to host a vendor networking event, I did so because I wanted all of the vendors I’ve grown to know to have a chance to network with each other. I knew that I wanted the event to be a fun, easy-going party that was enjoyable for everyone. I’ve been to a handful of networking events that were stiff and unwelcoming, so it was important to me to create an atmosphere that was very casual and anxiety-free. Because I’ve surrounded myself with vendors who are kind and welcoming people, my guest list definitely played a part in ensuring that the night was clique-free, lively, and fostering of new connections.

Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com

Earlier I mentioned that I was an introvert. Most people don’t believe me, especially after they hear that I hosted a networking party! It’s no lie that I love time alone to recharge from social events and that some nights I’d rather be working…or Netflixing. The trick is to try several different networking groups or events (I didn’t say it was painless!) and find just one that you enjoy, even a little bit. Eventually I found a few groups that consisted of like-minded creatives who were nice, talented, and interested in similar styles. I get excited about going to these group events, rather than dread them for their networking factor!

Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com

My best advice to anyone who doesn’t enjoy networking or feels they aren’t good at it is to find a new community and focus on meeting 2-3 new people at each event. It’s much less intimidating that way and I think it’s better to connect with people than collect people’s cards. Follow up over email with the people you meet and try your best to stay in touch. Keep this up and you’ll soon find your tribe!

Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com Wedding Vendor Networking Event |  by Cavin Elizabeth Photography |  www.smittenmagazine.com

Hosting your own beautiful networking event?  We’d love to hear about it and see pictures.  Vendors, what industry topics would you like to see posts about?  Send us those thoughts too, either in comment section or via email: hello@smittenmagazine.com.  -xo

Photographer: Cavin Elizabeth Photography | Floral Designer: Bespoke | Event Planner: Classically Lovely Events | Specialty Foods: Curds and Wine | DJ: DJ GarGar | Calligrapher: FourThings Paper | Bakery: Kuba Kreations | Marquee Letters: My Marquee SD | Cocktails: Native Spirits | Gin: Old Harbor Distilling | Linens: Patty's Linens | Invitations & Stationery: Sable & Snow | Venue: The bash! Boutique | Cake Pops: The Cake Pop Shop | Catering: Toast Catering

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