If I Still Blogged To Brides, This is What I'd Tell Them Today
Dear Planning Couples,
I have worked with over 150 wedding professionals in the last 4 years … and before that I ran a national wedding blog for 8 years … and if there is anything I’ve learned, it’s this:
AN APP REPLACEMENT FOR A WEDDING PLANNER ISN’T
Publications are getting desperate … social media has taken a large chunk of their viewers away, business owners aren’t advertising as much as they used to - and they need ‘stuff’ to pull interest back to the blogs and online wedding magazines … you will see things like: ‘you don’t need a wedding planner, just use our app!’ and it will sound like a DREAM!!! They’ll market it in beautiful ways and make all sorts of amazing promises … ‘just submit your email, so we can spam you over and over and over again and your wedding will be planned for you!’ … yikes, who falls for this sh*t!?
The only thing that can replace a wedding planner is another wedding planner … a few things on this …
A venue coordinator is NOT A WEDDING PLANNER … learn that early
There are a lot of BAD wedding coordinators out there … choose wisely
Some people get into this industry to wear cute clothes and ‘live’ at parties every weekend … when you choose your wedding planner you need to have a strong ‘badass radar’ and look beyond the bubbly ‘looks like they are fun to have lunch with’ vibes …
PICK A PHOTOGRAPHER THAT KNOCKS YOUR SOCKS OFF, EVEN IF IT COSTS A SMALL FORTUNE
I look at HUNDREDS of photographs every week while designing websites for wedding industry experts … I’ve seen things that would make you shudder and run screaming … I’ve seen images that bring tears to my eyes … I’ve seen galleries of photos that make it IMPOSSIBLE to choose the best because every single photo is the best … and it brings me to my point: DON’T SAVE MONEY ON A PHOTOGRAPHER. Just don’t do it!! If a wedding publication sends you an email that says: get an engagement session and full wedding day coverage for $1,500 on a Saturday in June!! << DO NOT OPEN IT. That photographer who offered that deal probably isn’t getting booked … and why aren’t they getting booked?? Refer to ‘shudder and run screaming’ above … there are TOO MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS << fact. There are TOO MANY PEOPLE who think they can be photographers << fact. The GREAT photographers will charge what they are worth and you CAN’T COMPARE their pricing to the photographer down the street who just bought a camera at Costco and can’t wait to attend your wedding to grow their portfolio!
When you walk away from your wedding you leave with:
A lifelong partner (I hope…)
Memories that make you smile
Photos so you can see it all over again
Film coverage of your day
Will it help that you saved $3,000 but get to look at hideous images for the rest of your life???? IMO, no.
NOTHING BEATS GREAT LIVE FOOTAGE
Speaking of film coverage … JUST DO IT. Photos are amazing to have … to fill your house walls with, to print for family members … photos are a MUST DO … so is hiring a cinematographer for your wedding day. When I design websites for videographers / film makers, I’m amazed at the emotion that is captured. When I walked away from my ceremony the day I married my husband, I immediately forgot everything … it’s like you blackout while you are up there reciting your vows … when I was able to watch those back on our wedding film, it was like I was experiencing it again for the very first time. An unreal feeling, truly. Hire a film maker for your wedding day … you’ll never regret it, unless you hire a sh*tty one … so DO YOUR RESEARCH and don’t try to ‘save money’ on this service!!! The best will charge for being the best … so pay it, silly.
PRICING BETWEEN VENDORS WILL NEVER MAKE SENSE
If you visit 5 florists in your local area, each one of them will price their service differently. None of it will make any f*cking sense either. Pricing as business owners is one of the hardest things we do because we are basically guessing << yeah, not even kidding. Nobody teaches us how to price our service … we basically have to devise our own formula of:
experience + what we need to pay our monthly bills + throw in some padding for good measure + what our competition charges + take some off just in case the price we originally came up with scares potential clients off = whatever the f*ck it equals minus or plus a few extra bucks
which means, it’s literally impossible to charge appropriately. Know your budget, toss in some padding (because it’s just smart to do that) and then when you meet a vendor who you feel is amazing and the perfect fit, take a look and if the pricing matches up, go for it … DO NOT COMPARE PRICING BETWEEN VENDORS WHO DO THE SAME THING!!!! It will just drive you insane. Which brings me to my next tip:
NEGOTIATING PRICING WITH YOUR VENDORS IS NOT OK
Don’t be this client << really, don’t. If a service providing wedding professional tells you their pricing, it’s not a question, it’s a statement. You wouldn’t go to Nordstrom and offer $20 less then they are asking on their price tag, so don’t do it with business owners either.
PAPER ISN’T OVER AND SHOULDN’T BE OVERLOOKED
A wedding isn’t a birthday party for an 8 year old … it’s a big event … guests typically will dress a certain way, purchase a gift that you ask for on your registry, be gone for 3-4 hours, drive out of their way to get there … and your invitation shouldn't come in an email. Your invitation shouldn’t come via text with a link to your wedding website. It should be DELIVERED via snail mail to their house because the invitation will either say GET EXCITED FOR OUR WEDDING or NOT. Your invitations are the first impression of your wedding day and totally sets the tone. Nice invites = nice wedding = people will take it seriously, spend more money on gifts and dress better. Cheap invites = cheap wedding = cheap gifts = guests showing up way underdressed … think about it hahaha … There are some things that technology should never replace, and an invitation to a wedding is one of them. Period.
IF YOUR VENDORS ARE GOSSIPING OR TREATING THEIR STAFF POORLY, EXPECT DRAMA ON YOUR WEDDING DAY
I hear it all from my wedding industry clients … the things you, as a bride or groom, should NEVER hear if you have great vendors … but not everyone has GREAT vendors and when drama strikes on a wedding day, it ain’t good. One of the red flags that will tell you if you might have drama happen on your wedding day?? If you witness a wedding vendor gossiping about other professionals they work with or for or if you see them treating their staff poorly. We, in the wedding industry, are still people with flaws … we are human beings walking around who also create pretty things … if you are starstruck by a certain planner or a photographer you want to work with because they are major talents, you also have to think of them as a human who has life happen to them … and if you see life happening ‘too often’ for a vendor you are hiring or have hired, then mentally prepare that it might get a little crazy on the day of ;)
How to avoid this??? Choose TRULY PROFESSIONAL service providers to hire for your wedding … go on experience, reviews, their demeanor during the initial consultation … first gut impulses are very telling, so listen to them closely.
AWARDS ARE USUALLY A POPULARITY CONTEST OR BASED ON ADVERTISING
BEST OF FLORIST 2017, 2018, 2019 badges are very impressive and I’m not knocking them AT ALL … but it’s important to know what these badges are … a lot of publications offer these ‘rewards’ as enticement to get more advertisers … which means, some awards are PURCHASED … to ‘win’ one of these awards a professional typically passes around a ‘link’ to all their friends via social media and emails to gather votes … most votes, wins. It’s important to know that these awards, while exciting, aren’t based on REAL CLIENTS contacting the publication and sharing their real experiences << in MOST CASES … I’m not here to say that these awards mean nothing, but I will say that if you find a vendor who doesn’t have any of those ‘awards’, still give them as much attention as a vendor who has them ;) and then decide who is best for you after you have a consultation.
CERTIFICATION ISN’T A REQUIREMENT FOR A WEDDING VENDOR TO BE ONE
Going to the doctor??? You can rely on the fact that they went to school to become a doctor … Dropping your kids off at school?? Most likely that teacher went to college to become a teacher … Planning a wedding??? Uhm …. hmmm … well … SCHOOL ISN’T REQUIRED … a certificate saying they know sh*t isn’t part of the equation … I could literally walk away from this computer right now and go become a stationery designer and nobody could stop me. So, it’s important to hire based on experience and what YOU SEE of their portfolio and work before you hand over your money. Listening to your gut will come in handy … personality ‘fit’ is HUGE … I’ve heard of so many things going wrong, it’s crazy … so CHOOSE CAREFULLY and ask the right questions.
IS THERE MORE?
Look, there is nothing more daunting, confusing, and exciting then planning a wedding or large scale event. It’s stressful, time consuming, and at the beginning can be VERY confusing … hiring the right wedding planner who can navigate through the waters is a very important first step to take … and from there making sure that all the people you hire have a personality and the talent you are after.
I’m not turning The Editor’s Touch into a blog for brides … but if this article finds its way to a planning couple, then I hope it was helpful ;)