Saturday, November 25, 2017

What You Need To Know About Ordering Wedding Gifts From A Small Business

This is an old post, based on an old story. But when you're shopping from small businesses today on Small Business Saturday, it's a good post to revisit.

My friend Mallory got a message on a Thursday night. Late Thursday night. After her husband and four-month-old baby should have been in bed.

The message, at first glace, was a simple one. Someone was asking her to create ten bridal party gifts for an upcoming wedding. Mallory is the owner of Created on 86th, a small vinyl business that designs everything from t-shirts to car decals. So an order for wedding favors is something of the norm.

But here's the thing about that late night Thursday request: It was for a Saturday wedding. Which means the bride was looking for a 24 hour turn around time.

You can shop local and support small businesses when you're wedding planning. Just be sure to use this advice about what you need to know about ordering wedding gifts from a small business at

I'll be honest. There are last minute wedding tasks that somehow don't get done until the very end. Personally, we didn't have our card box until just a few days before the wedding. I couldn't decide on one and kept pushing it off until my parents swooped in and made one for us during wedding week. So I get it. But you know you have to get your bridal party gifts, so that's something you can do weeks -- heck, even months -- ahead of time.

Not 24 hours ahead of time. At least not when you're asking a small business owner to drop everything and bump your order ahead of everyone else. Some kiosk in the mall, run by a chain that boasts one hour service, sure, but someone whose home office often doubles as a playroom/bedroom, no.

"When this happens," Mallory started, "The small business owner has to stop all other orders they are working on, and that ends up delaying everything. It also could mean longer working hours for me and less family time."

Would she drop everything for a last minute bride?

"If I can and have all the items in stock, yes," Mallory said. "But that's if the bride is local and can pick up her order. It's not that easy if I have to go to the post office to ship it. Overnight shipping is really expensive and I don't always have everything I need to package and ship."

So a potentially longer turn around time can be a downfall of ordering from a small business, but there are so many perks to it. But I'm going to give you my top three: First, you're supporting a small business. (I run two small businesses out of my home and Pete runs a small batch sauce business, so of course, I'm a big proponent of supporting other solopreneurs). Second, you have a lot more creative freedom with a small business. If you are ordering online, you usually have a few standard layouts to choose from and that's it. With a small business, you can generally talk to the owner and tell him or her exactly what you have in mind. The owner will work with you to bring your vision to life. And third, you're getting something unique. There's a good chance that none of your bridesmaids have ordered from (or heck, even heard of) the small business you're ordering from, so your gift will be completely unlike anything they may already have.

And, oh, speaking about that second one, the concept that you have creative freedom to order what you want? That's exactly what I did with Mallory for the image in this post. I told her exactly what I had in mind and she made it. Amazing, right?

This doesn't have to do with just bridal gifts too. It applies to any other aspect of your wedding when you're looking at a small business as your vendor. Graham Jennings of GDH Photography saw this post on Facebook and replied, "Even as a photographer last minute bookings can be difficult. It is easy to think that we just pick up our camera and we're ready to go, but that isn't the case. We need time to ensure all our kit is clean, and all the batteries are fully charged. I like at least 24 hours notice, but 48 hours is so much better as I also have family commitments."

BRIDAL BABBLE: Would you prefer to order your bridal party gifts from a small business?


  1. As I small business I often stop and make rush orders for a mom that forgot too purchase a gift for a kids party. As a business owner it just makes sense. you do well for a customer and get it done quickly when some one comments to the Bride or Mom they will share your info. Which means repeat buyers and there friends buy also. That I how I built my business word of mouth.

  2. I just checked out your site and your items are adorable. I love the crowns and superhero gloves. They look so time consuming, so it is great that you are able to fit in a rush order when you need to. I think small business owners need to do that because, as you mention, word of mouth is so important for a small business to survive.

    I think, though, customer need to know they can't make a habit out of this. Just because a business is small, that doesn't mean the owner is sitting at home, staring at the phone, waiting for orders to come in. The business generally as orders in queue -- some of which are large or last-minute jobs. Unfortunately, sometimes you just can't have a 24 hour turnaround, no matter how badly you would like to.