Behind the Scenes: Vendor Collaboration

April 29, 2018 | Christina Bleifess


Second to my love of working on real, live events is collaborating on styled wedding shoots. If you’re not familiar with the term, a “styled shoot” is when a group of talented vendors come together to create a mock wedding or other type of event. The details are then photographed and used in the vendors’ portfolios as well as submitted to industry magazines and blogs for potential publishing.

While it all may seem like one big marketing strategy, styled shoots allow vendors to test and showcase new trends, which equates to new ideas for couples tired of the seeing the same-old styles on Pinterest. There’s really no better way than a styled shoot to have a wedding vision come to life. And that’s especially important if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the myriad of wedding theme options or simply don’t know where to even begin with wedding details.

There’s No ‘I’ in Team

I recently had the pleasure of working with an amazing Madison-based vendor team to create a bohemian-meets-industrial styled mock wedding. As you can see from just a few of the sneak peeks I can share (I promise there’s a lot more to come!), our goal was to provide unique ideas for an intimate affair small in size but still big in personality.

As an event planner (be it for real or styled weddings), I act as captain of the ship, making sure every aspect is covered, creating timelines for the day to run smoothly with the best attempt for it to all come together. However, I’d be lost without the vendor “crew” and the creative inspiration, direction, and execution they provide. They are the pros in their fields. So while it’s my job to paint the big picture and direct everyone toward the overall vision, I rely heavily on the vendors’ expertise and experience to see where their creativity leads. (Hint: It usually leads to all the pretties!)

Bringing the Vision to Life

Just as I love couples who want to go against the grain and express their personal styles on their wedding days, I seek out the same traits in vendors. After figuring out what I wanted to achieve with the styled shoot, I started reaching out to vendors who aligned with that vision. Because I’m always intentional about the professionals I choose to work with, everything far exceeded my expectations.

For example, we had a vision board for an embroidered floral jacket but not the actual details we were going to be used. In the meantime, I ordered some floral embroidered patches online and glued them onto the groom’s shirt as an option for him to wear. When we got to the shoot, we realized that we had ordered the floral to match perfectly! Also, when Kelly Blexrud, owner of Bash Creative Design, told me she was going to create some off-the-grid invitations, I had full faith she wouldn’t disappoint. After all, not many people would think of hand stitching leather into an envelope and using a silk dyed pocket square to hand paint the invitation.

It Takes a Village

Similar to styled shoots, putting on a big event like a wedding can’t be a one-person show. It really takes an amazing team to bring every detail together. As a bride, you can certainly be the captain of the ship, but it often comes at the cost of enjoying your day. Instead of spending quality time with out-of-town guests and stealing away sweet romantic moments with your new spouse, you could miss out by choreographing the behind-the-scenes logistics.

You only have one chance to enjoy your special occasion; just because you can do it all, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Trust in someone to have your best interests at heart. For me, I always keep the big picture in mind, as well as the reasons why I chose a career in helping to turn moments into memories. I’m in love with celebrating the love of other people, and I’m so grateful I get to work with awesome vendors who love and cherish the same important values of our industry.

Styled Shoot vendors