Wedding Vendors, take some notes here!

I was recently perusing Preston Bailey’s blog (he’s so creative and talented) and came across this blog post – Vendors, What You Wear Matters.  Of course, this is right up my alley so I read it as well as all the reader comments (the comments section is mighty interesting).  The main question that was asked at the end of the post was:

What do you think is the proper way to dress when you’re working an event?

I’d like to give a few tips on exactly what you should wear that is: professional, appropriate, functional, and (yes) stylish.  Before I do that though, I’d like to share a great tip that was given in one of Preston Bailey’s follow up posts:

“Rule number one in our industry, giving great service is about NOT attracting attention to ourselves. Our events should always be about our clients and their guests!” (Preston’s Blog, March 21, 2012)

I think this is great advice and a rule I’m highlighting as I share some event-appropriate tips with you.

Tip #1: When in doubt, ask your client what is appropriate attire for the event

  • If you’re directly involved in most of the planning, as a wedding/event planner would be, it’s perfectly ok to ask what the dress code is for the event.  It shows initiative and thought on your part and will probably give your client an additional level of confidence in you.  By doing this, you will know whether formal, business casual, casual, or other types of attire is appropriate.
  • If you’re uncertain of how formal an event is (and you didn’t take the opportunity to ask), always err on the side of more professional than less professional.  For ladies, this may be as simple as throwing on a suit jacket or blazer on top of your outfit.  For gentlemen, you can never go wrong with a suit.

Tip #2: Opt for a look that is conservative and neutral… it doesn’t have to be boring though

  • You’re not at your client’s event to make a major fashion statement but rather to support their event and help make it the best it can possibly be.  With that said, I’d suggest you find a look that follows the rule of providing great service without attracting attention to yourself.
  • Without knowing the type of event you’re working on, I’d suggest the following:
    • A dressy suit – depending on the type of event, you probably want to opt for something that is slightly dressier than what one would wear in a corporate setting.  Perhaps that means you need to find a suit with a great cut or more formal material.  For ladies, a skirt suit is perfectly fine, just make sure the skirt ends right at your knee and properly fits your curves.  Again, you want to attract attention for your great work, not your great legs!
    • Find the right neutral for you – a black suit may not be best for the event or for you (you do want to look and feel great as you deliver amazing service).  Well before your client’s big day, make sure you know what neutral colour works best for you, especially if you’re going to be highly visible on the day of event.  I’d imagine you want to come across as not only professional and competent but also complementary to the event (no bright red when the event colours are, for example, lavender and cream).  Some neutral colours that may work are: charcoal grey, taupe, dark purple, light grey, tan, navy, or, black.
    • 1 or 2 accessories – It’s perfectly ok to wear an accessory that plays up your personality but it’s not ok to go overboard and wear all your bling on your client’s special day.  For both male and female vendors, I recommend wearing a maximum of 1-2 accessories that are suited to your style preferences without going overboard on the “drama”.  Again, this is not your special day! Don’t forget that.

Tip #3: Footwear can be stylish and functional

  • You’ve done this before.  The day of your client’s event is going to be long and busy for you, particularly if you have a more significant role (e.g. wedding/event planners, photographers, videographers, audio/visual support, etc).  You’re going to be moving around and/or standing for most of the event.  Make sure your footwear doesn’t limit you from being able to do all that you can do.  Sky-high stilettos are fabulous but may not be the most practical for the day.  On the other end, sneakers or UGGs might be comfy but they certainly don’t belong at or even near a wedding!  Well before your client’s special day, make sure you’ve taken the time to find shoes that complement your overall look (yes, style has a small place here) but will allow you to move around, comfortably, all day long.

Lastly, don’t forget to step it up a notch.  Yes, you will be busy during the day of the event but don’t forget, vendors, YOU are your greatest sales tool ( think business development opportunities).  Wearing UGGs, baseball caps, messy topknots, no makeup, or jeans doesn’t really tell others that:

“I am a professional and am here to meet your expectations and also create additional value for your event”


Instead, it probably says:

“I am kind of lazy, I don’t have great work-ethic, but I need the cash so sure, I’ll do it.”

I completely agree – vendors, what you wear matters!