Feature Story: Wedding Row Kentucky press kit
Pitching to: Lexington Herald Leader, News Section (Lexington, Kentucky)
Tom Caudill, Asst. Managing Editor of Metro Section
Wildcat graduate helps Kentucky businesses as wedding blogger
By: Stephanie Vermillion
As a well-known wedding blogger, Quinn Sherman’s mornings are spent over coffee and croissants with happy couples eager to talk about their engagements. For lunch, photographers pitch their latest and greatest wedding photos for her blog over soup and salad. Immediately after, it’s time to head to the local bakery and taste test the newest wedding cake recipes. And somewhere in between the wedding run-around, Sherman composes her daily wedding blogs.
Despite the exciting daily regimen, Sherman’s career has been anything but a piece of couture cake. As a blonde-haired, green-eyed lifelong “fashionista,” Sherman fits the perfect wedding blogger mold. She developed her fashion interest while working at a boutique in her hometown, Kettering, Ohio. After graduating high school, Sherman attended the University of Kentucky, where she landed a wedding planning, summer internship in South Carolina. While interning, she met her current boss, Adel Smith, the owner of The Wedding Row Network. Upon graduation from UK, Sherman opened her own branch of The Wedding Row Network in Louisville, Kentucky.
She started her blog, The Wedding Row Kentucky (weddingrowkentucky.com), during the fall of 2011. She solely developed the contents for her site, and reached out to wedding vendors in the Kentucky area for six months before the blog became a hit. While the startup was stressful, it was worth it, she says, and the process shaped The Wedding Row Kentucky’s business model: keep it local.
“Starting up The Wedding Row Kentucky was more challenging than I imagined, but it really gave me an appreciation of the work that goes into developing and maintaining a small business,” Sherman says. “Now that I’ve been successful starting my own business, it is my goal to help other local, small businesses survive and thrive despite economic troubles.”
Sherman has been true to her word. The Wedding Row Kentucky website features only local, Kentucky vendors. From caterers to event planners, hairstylists to florists, and everything in between, all of Sherman’s vendors have the neighborhood “mom and pop” story.
“When I first interned with a larger wedding company, we used national, chain vendors. While the weddings still turned out beautifully, it felt like something was missing,” Sherman says. “Starting my own business I realized the missing piece was the vendor owner and bridal party interaction. These small businesses put the specific bride first, no matter what, and that’s what’s most important.”
During one specific wedding, Sherman recalls helping in the ultimate crisis moment. The bride, decked in white lace and minutes from walking down the aisle of rose petals, noticed a tear in her dresses’ hem. The second Sherman was alerted to this, she found the tailor, who had been on site all day, and helped quickly stitch the hem. Within minutes, the bride was sauntering down the aisle in gaze with her bow tie clad fiancée—minus the tear, and crisis averted. The tailor’s customer loyalty and willingness to be on site throughout the day further convinced Sherman that local vendors are the best vendors.
While local vendors are key to Sherman’s success, as they offer the best possible detail-oriented customer service, what she often doesn’t realize is that her willingness to keep business local and work with Kentucky’s small business vendors helps the community at large. Just within the six months since The Wedding Row Kentucky launched, many local companies have had heightened sales. One of these companies, Honey Heart Photography, based in Central Kentucky, says its success came from joining the wedding world.
A photography husband-and-wife team created Honey Heart Photography. The business started out a bit rocky in 2010, but recently, with photographs featured on The Wedding Row Kentucky’s website and blog, Honey Heart Photography is gaining popularity.
“For my husband and me, photography has always been a passion, but making profit out of a passion is tricky,” says Mary Lashbrook, co-owner of Honey Heart Photography. “After meeting with Sherman for the first time it dawned on me that wedding photography was a great avenue. Now we’re getting almost more business than we can handle, and we love watching our business grow.”
And The Wedding Row Kentucky helps more than just local photographers. Sherman works with the Louisville-based, online style blog Lou What Wear, which a fellow UK alumnus developed. Sherman also helps Dee Ruel, a Kentucky jewelry artist, reach brides and wedding parties with her newest designs.
After only four months in business, The Wedding Row Kentucky website features detailed information for over 10 local vendor, to give couples the best wedding options, while at the same time sparking local business economy. Sherman thoroughly evaluates vendors before featuring them on The Wedding Row Kentucky, and this process can usually take up to a month. So while the number of her featured vendors may appear small, Sherman promises only the best local vendors. She is also continuously expanding as her business grows. Sherman realizes her good fortune with having a successful local business, and hopes to help spread this fortune throughout Kentucky.
“I am lucky to have a successful blog straight out of college [University of Kentucky},” Sherman says. “I want to help other Kentuckians have the same good fortune as myself.”
Sherman’s goals to help the local community surpass job requirements of maintaining any old wedding blog, but she knows the bigger picture is most important. She does more than simply write about weddings in hopes that driving community business will show that the wedding industry is more than just pretty dresses.
“When I first tell people I work in the wedding industry, they think it’s all fun and games,” Sherman says. “But it’s not. The wedding industry generates millions upon millions of dollars annually. If I can help generate at least a little of that to local Kentucky vendors, then I think people will realize the wedding industry does more than help couples say ‘I do’.”
At Honey Heart Photography, Lashbrook sees firsthand how vital the wedding industry is for her business. “When we started out photographing, we were worried our business wouldn’t last,” she says. “But once we specialized in wedding photography, we realized the huge market available. People are always getting married and willing to pay photographers to capture those moments.”
Specific wedding industry data depicts how integral weddings are for economic stimulation. According to Sherman, the average Kentucky wedding costs from $20,000 to $25,000. That money is, for the most part, split between local boutiques, bakeries, florists, venues and other vendors. With Sherman blogging about a new Kentucky wedding daily, it’s easy to see just how quickly the numbers add up.
And for Sherman, keeping it local does more than the numbers can show. Creating the relationship between the couple and their venue manager or the bride and her wedding stylist gives the wedding a more comfortable, relaxed feel.
Sherman witnessed this her first week blogging, when she met with a couple, who met while studying at UK, and now live in Louisville. They had already begun planning their wedding and wanted to be featured in The Wedding Row Kentucky blog for their family and friends to see. Sherman was used to meeting over coffee at the Starbucks down the street from her apartment, but the couple suggested she join them at the bakery where they planned to buy their wedding cake. Over vanilla and red velvet samples, Sherman, the couple and the bakery owner spent the afternoon chatting about wedding details, cake styles and, most importantly, the Kentucky Wildcats.
“That afternoon everything just seemed so perfect, everyone was so happy – including the bakery owner, despite the fact he was working,” she says. “I realized that using local business was not just a great way, but the only way, to go about planning the perfect wedding.”