All our members are all locally-owned, established businesses offering services for the wedding day. The Independent Wedding Association gives professional wedding vendors an opportunity to meet colleagues, exchange ideas, share marketing tips and connect with customers. Unlike many wedding industry associations, the IWA accepts new members on a merit basis. By aggressively selecting artisans who concentrate on providing great service and an excellent value, we ensure that the IWA name stands for quality. We believe that when you are associated with people that share your values, vendors are colleagues and not just competitors.
All prospective Independent Wedding Association members are screened by and ultimately voted on by the members of our board. The IWA assesses prospective members on four basic characteristics. First and foremost, we look for vendors who provide a high value of service or product to their customers. We value vendors who bring a creative or unconventional approach to their work. We also put a high premium on vendors for whom wedding-related work is “more than a job”; a passion for providing a great experience is a must. Finally, we look for vendors who are close to their product or service.
PERSONAL STAKE. Many larger wedding companies have investors who employ bosses who employ managers who employ help to handle your wedding. We want to find vendors who are close to the products and services they offer, and have a direct hand in making your day special.
VALUE. “Independent” doesn’t mean “high cost” or “low-cost,” it means a good cost for the level of service and experience they provide. We look for local people who are determined to give a lot of bang for a buck, often by not having the infrastructure that larger businesses might have. Our association features vendors who are a good value at many levels of price, from entry level to high end.
CREATIVE FLAIR. We don’t think there’s any one “right” way to do a wedding. Some brides might value vintage flair, or gothic chic, or want to spend all of their money on cake. That’s okay. We embrace vendors who do things out of the ordinary, and brides and grooms who aren’t content to have their day determined by the wedding industry’s current whims.
WARMTH. We believe that a wedding is an incredibly special and joyous occasion, and we seek vendors who will feel the same way. We work to find members who are excited to be in this business, and who will treat a wedding day with a level of respect and personal warmth that reflects the importance of the occasion.
The Independent Wedding Association is commited to providing a high-quality experience to both vendors and clients. To that end:
- We are provisionally limiting our membership in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to 70 vendors. Before we raise that limit, we want to be sure that we can maintain the group’s quality and ensure that all members can make the most of the group’s shared resources.
- We are committed to giving all vendor-members the opportunity to exhibit at one of our fairs. If a fair would be over-booked by vendors, participation may be determined by lottery.
- 25/25 – In order to ensure the diversity of our group, no single category of vendors will make up more than 25 percent of IWA’s membership. We are committed to a wide range of clients, so no more than 25 percent of vendor-members in a given category will be “super luxury” as determinted by our board.
- We will review the portfolios, prices, and other professional aspects of our vendor-members on a bi-annual basis to ensure that they’re still a good fit for the IWA. Growth is good, but we do want to ensure that our vendor-members stay close to their product and the community.
Membership in the Independent Wedding Association has many benefits including:
- A vendor listing in our member directory online – Brides looking for vendors can search through our listings with the assurance that membership is only given to qualified businesses. Because we keep our membership selective, most categories will contain fewer than 10 vendors, giving you a real opportunity to connect with brides looking for services.
- Access to quarterly networking meet ups – Membership comes with the opportunity to be associated with other vendors that share your commitment to creativity, value, and warmth. The IWA organizes coffee and cocktail meet-up events several times a year for members and occasionally their invited guests.
- Access to participate in the next fair (tentatively planned for October – membership levels are purposefully kept low enough to allow all members access to participate in at least one event per year). Only IWA members are eligible to participate in IWA events and fairs.
- Contributing to the website - As a member, you will have the opportunity to post to the IWA site several times per year with tips or special offers for your business.
We are currently updating our application process to better serve our membership – new application forms will be available in late 2012.