Hey, I'm Chelsea.

I'm a Chicago wedding photographer and videographer who's on a mission to take the stress out of wedding planning, one anecdote, gif, and movie
quote at a time.

One day I was scrollin’ through wedding subreddits when I spotted this question: “How should we go about finding a wedding photographer? We know what photography style we’re looking for, we’re just not sure how to actually find one.”

🖐️ Raise your hand if you’re in the same boat and feel personally victimized overwhelmed by how many options there are.

Well, I’m here to help ya’ out. Whether you’re searching for a wedding photographer or another type of wedding vendor, here are the top 4 ways to find the vendor team of your dreams.

1. Referrals

The most stress-free way to build your vendor dream team? Asking others for their recommendations. You can see firsthand that you’re hiring someone who is trustworthy and delivers. There are three big referral sources you can tap into:

  • Friends and Co-workers: AKA the people in your life who’ve most recently gotten married.
  • Your Wedding Venue: Your venue’s preferred vendor list can be a great starting point if you don’t know where else to look.
  • Other Vendors You’ve Hired: If you hired a vendor that you trust, ask them who they love working with.

2. Local Blogs

If you’re someone who likes to keep things local, utilize local blogs and their social media accounts. In Chicago, the big two are Lakeshore in Love and Chi Thee Wed. You can discover vendors by:

  • Checking out their website’s member listings: Both blogs have an intimate directory if you feel too overwhelmed by bigger sites.
  • Exploring their IG hashtags: When Chicago vendors post recent work, they’ll usually use the local tags (#lakeshoreinlove and #chitheewed).
  • Scrolling through their tagged posts: Similar to hashtags, vendors will tag the blogs in posts, so you might stumble across someone you love over at Lakeshore or Chi Thee Wed’s tagged posts.
  • Peek at who the blogs follow: Both blogs are run by active Chicago wedding vendors who only follow trusted, Chicago-based vendors that have great reputations.

3. National Databases

If you want a more extensive list that has filters, utilize websites like The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Zola

One word of caution: A lot of these sites are pay-to-play. Vendors pay a premium to get pushed to the top + they have to pay to communicate with you. Typically, the ones in the top-billed spots can be a little sketchy, so don’t be afraid to dig deep into the directories. Your perfect vendor might be on page 10.

A good rule of thumb: use these sites for initial research, follow vendors on social media, then reach out to your favorites through their websites.

4. Social Media

Through hashtags, pins, and tagged photos, you can easily stumble across potential vendors and see their work firsthand. But this can add to the feeling of overwhelm, so 🚨 proceed with caution 🚨. 

The easiest ways to find local vendors on Instagram are through:

  • Hashtags: The go-to formula is #CityVendor. #ChicagoWeddingPhotographer or #ChicagoWeddingVenue #ChicagoWeddingMakeupArtist … You get the gist.
  • Tagged Photos: Similar to the local blogs, it can be helpful to scroll through your venue’s tagged photos to find photographers, florists, planners, and more.

Honorable Mention: Google Maps

A White Quill couple recently told me that they used Google Maps to find a few of their vendors. So if there’s anything that you want extra local—like a bakery or florist—consider taking this route.

There ya’ have it! Those are the 4 best ways to find a wedding photographer (or any other wedding vendor) that you can trust. Especially if you’re planning a Chicagoland wedding.

Still Looking for Your Perfect Wedding Photographer?

I’d love to chat more about your wedding plans to see if I’m a perfect fit for your vendor dream team. If not? I might have the perfect referral for ya’!

A wedding photography and videography studio for personality-packed couples who want to remember the way they tore it up on the dance floor just as much as the way it felt to say “I do”.