Where to find experienced wedding vendors (hint: it’s not the Knot!)

We don’t shy away from unpopular opinions around here, and today we are sharing where you should look when searching for experienced wedding vendors. Despite what these popular platforms would want you to believe, websites like The Knot and WeddingWire are NOT where you want to find your vendors. While they advertise themselves as “one stop shops” to help you plan your wedding, ultimately, they do a lot more harm than good for the wedding industry. Here are just a FEW of the reasons we don’t recommend them in your search to find experienced wedding vendors.

outdoor wedding ceremonies need experienced wedding vendors

Photo Credit: HereNorth Photography

1. There is a very big pool of vendors

As wedding planners, we have found time and time again that more options do NOT make decisions easier. It’s our job to make the heavy lifting easier for our couples. On sites like The Knot and WeddingWire, there is a very big pool of vendors, making it hard to narrow your search with the filters they provide.

2. Most experienced wedding vendors do not PAY to PLAY like these platforms encourage

Why not? They don’t need to. These platforms prey on brand-new wedding vendors and lure them into expensive and lengthy advertising contracts. Then, they encourage vendors to collect reviews on the platform so they can give them “awards” based on the number of reviews they received each year, making it hard to stop advertising with them. Experienced wedding vendors know better, which means a lot of the “first” vendors that come up in your search, are NEW vendors who paid to be there.

3. You can’t easily reach out to the vendors directly through these platforms.

Most vendors prefer you inquire via email or their website to ensure nothing is missed. Reaching out to them through WeddingWire or The Knot will likely not guarantee a reply, especially if you are using one of those template responses they suggest. On top of that, because the platforms encourage you to reach out to many, many wedding vendors at once, the chances of YOU feeling overwhelmed are quite high.

gorgeous indoor barn wedding reception

Photo Credit: Monika Eisenbart Photography

If you look for experienced wedding vendors on TheKnot or WeddingWire…

If you decide to use these platforms anyway, we suggest you search for vendors with “$$$” or more, as they tend to be the more experienced, reliable, and professional vendors. Vendors who are advertising $$ or $ are usually people just starting out in the industry, which means they won’t have a high level of experience or reliability. I say this from actually testing the platform recently with a client searching for a floral designer. She was on a tighter budget than my usual florist recommendations could work with, and we reached out to ten different floral designers before we could land on anyone who truly understood what she was asking for.

How to Find Experienced Wedding Vendors Instead

We would never bring you a problem without a solution, right? That’s what makes us good wedding planners. If you are looking for your wedding vendors, here’s where we recommend looking instead.

1) Search on reliable platforms like Google

While it may take a little more effort than browsing The Knot or Wedding Wire, hear me out – the research is worth it! Reviews on Google are not incentivized like those on other sites, allowing for more authentic and trustworthy feedback. So take the time now and thank yourself later for using a source with unbiased reviews!

2) Ask vendors you are already working with for recommendations

Your venue and wedding vendors have a vested interest in making sure that your wedding goes off without a hitch. They also have higher standards for the vendors they recommend, as they do not receive referral fees or commissions to recommend vendors. Almost always, you can trust their recommendations infinitely more than those found on The Knot or Wedding Wire. Plus, when you work with someone that’s already part of your wedding vendor team, the communication tends to be easier, and the expectations are clearer from the start – and that can make a big difference for your wedding planning!

dance floor

Photo Credit: HereNorth Photography

3) Ask friends that have been married how they felt about their wedding vendors

Asking friends for recommendations on which vendors they used for their wedding can be incredibly helpful. Hearing about their firsthand experiences can give you a little extra confidence in your choices too. Plus, you may discover hidden gems that you would have otherwise missed out on! Don’t be afraid to lean on your inner circle for support and guidance.

4) Trust your wedding planner

Lastly (and more importantly), trust your wedding planner to provide vendor recommendations. Their expertise includes vetting and working with vendors of different price points. We are experts at ensuring that you receive the best possible service for what you need. By putting their reputation behind the vendors they recommend, planners seek to build and maintain strong relationships with clients. Trusting your planner’s recommendations for vendors is the BEST place to find experienced wedding vendors.

Hutton Brickyards wedding

Photo Credit: HereNorth Photography

Looking for Wedding Vendors in the Hudson Valley, Berkshires, Catskills, or beyond?

We would love to help! As Hudson Valley wedding planners, we have seen it all. We have been privileged to work with some of the top wedding vendors in New York. For ways to work with us (there are a few different options) click here, or head straight to our contact form for more information. You can also find more inspiration (and say hi!) over on Instagram.