A lot of money goes into planning your wedding—and for good reason! It’s an important step in your life, and it should be celebrated. But imagine if you could put some of that money for your wedding back into your community. You wouldn’t just be celebrating your future; you’d be investing in it, too. Thankfully, it’s easy to support small businesses with your wedding planning. In this post, we’ll explain what small businesses are, why they’re important, and how to support them with your wedding.
What Is a Small Business?
You’re probably familiar with Small Business Saturday, the celebration started by American Express that takes place between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While the latter two holidays usually have a heavy presence of large chain and big box stores, Small Business Saturday aims to support local businesses that aren’t huge or far reaching. But what specifically makes them a small business?
There are a few things that make a small business, well, small. For starters, it has to have fewer than 500 employees. That might seem like a lot until you consider that a single Target store alone has an average of 150-200 employees. In addition, it has to be independently owned and operated. This means that it’s not a franchise or subsidiary of another company. If you’re not sure whether the venue or vendor you’re interested in is a small business, you can ask them directly or look up this information on their website.
Why Are Small Businesses Important?
Small businesses are an essential part of our economy. As of 2019, small businesses employed almost half of private-sector employees. And they account for almost half of U.S. economic activity, too. On top of that, they create jobs, spark innovation, and provide self-sufficiency for people who otherwise wouldn’t have financial independence. So when you support small businesses with your wedding, you’re strengthening your local community, the national economy, and the livelihood of the owners and employees.
How Can You Support Small Businesses With Your Wedding?
One of the easiest ways to support small businesses with your wedding is by booking local venues and vendors. Instead of hosting your wedding at one of a chain hotel’s many locations, choose a local country club or hip independently owned restaurant. You can do the same for your florists, caterers, jewelers, make up artists, and every other vendor: Book local and shop small. However, we know that isn’t always possible for everyone. You may have limited venue options in your area, or maybe you’ve already booked some larger vendors. There are still plenty of other smaller ways you can support small businesses.
1. Use a local print shop for invitations and place cards
We know that you’re going to Google phrases like modern wedding invitations for inspiration before choosing your invitations. And we also know how easy it is to purchase an entire matching wedding suite online. While there are plenty of large companies to purchase beautiful invitations from, there are also small print shops that give every card their utmost attention. Not only will your purchase support the business, but their logo on the back serves as additional exposure to all your guests.
2. Shop local for favors and thank you gifts
What are you giving guests as a thank you for celebrating your love? How are you thanking your wedding party and anyone else who helped you plan? Those favors and gifts are the perfect opportunity to support a local business. For example, you could work with a local maple sugar shack and use mini syrup bottles as favors. Or you could find a small candle shop or plant nursery and gift candles and cacti. Sometimes, small businesses have the capacity to ship items to you, so the store doesn’t have to be local to you. It doesn’t even need to have a brick-and-mortar store to be a small business!
3. Order prints from your photographer
Yes, you could make prints at your local pharmacy or retail store. Or you can buy prints and photo books from your wedding photographer, who is more than likely a small business. That way, you know the print quality will be excellent, and it won’t take you 12 months to order prints yourself. Of course, you can’t assume that your photographer can accommodate this request, so be sure to talk with them about their services outside of day-of photography.
4. Tag the businesses on social media
Whatever small businesses you support with your wedding, let the world know! If you share any photos or posts from your wedding, tag the businesses. It’s a simple, easy way to support their work—and it goes a long way for them.
Any time you share wedding photos, tag your photographer. Post a picture of your cake? Tag your baker. What about the wedding bouquet? You guessed it: Tag the florist. You can even do a single thank you post and tag all the vendors at once with a few photos attached.
5. Write reviews after the fact
When you sit down to write thank you cards to all your guests, add your vendors to that list. But instead of (or along with) a thank you card, write a detailed, positive review online. This could be a Facebook, Yelp, or Google review. Or it may be a review directly on the vendor’s website. Wherever they accept reviews—write them one. Of course, we don’t want you to lie about your experience, so don’t feel obligated to oversell if you truly have a negative time. But if they made your special day easier, other couples should know.
From booking local vendors to tagging them on social media afterwards, it’s easy to support small businesses with your wedding. It’s important, too. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and workforce. So when you shop small and support local businesses, you’re investing in your own community and the larger, national economy at the same time. Plus, you’ll get those feel-good butterflies for doing something important.
How do you like to support small businesses? What other small businesses can you support with your wedding?