It’s been a while since we’ve posted a wedding specific article and thought we should put something cool and useful for brides at the start of wedding season with a guide covering the basics of vendor research and reviews. So, we’re going to cover 5 key steps to remember when researching your potential wedding team.
- Use 3rd Party Review Sites
- Ask Trusted Vendors
- Trust Your Friends
- Interview at least 3-5 Vendors Per Category
- Have A Plan and Trust Your Gut
Where Do I Find Reviews?
This is your starting point. Before you believe everything you see on the internet, make sure you are looking at 3rd party, reputable review sites. There is a caveat here though. Every market is different. Some markets have a higher review presence on some sites than others. A lot of this is due to a bunch of algorithm jargon that’s for another long post. Just trust us when we say that you can look at these sites and get a pretty good idea about the vendors. In no particular order, here’s the sites we think you should trust.
- Wedding Wire – Wedding Wire is a site that offers free vendor listings and portal areas to keep your event information organized. They have a lot of ideas from industry pros and a team that provides a lot of industry content. In our market (Albuquerque, NM) this site is a little more prominent and more widely used for collecting reviews. This is our site of preference when asking couples to review our service.
- The Knot – The Knot is very similar to Wedding Wire in that it provides a hub to keep your wedding information organized and also provides an industry blog including bridal tips, tricks, and ideas for your big day. In Albuquerque, the Knot is not as widely used for event entertainment reviews. I cannot speak to other areas like photography or videography, etc.
- Check your local industry review sites as well! For Albuquerque, we like the team over at the Perfect Wedding Guide. This is another media outlet full of information and they collect reviews from vendors that participate in their network system as well as a free listing for any other local vendors.
- REVIEW TIP: Trust reviews that are written in depth and not just a line or two talking about how great the vendor was. If you see a vendor has reviews that are paragraphs in length and has substance, this tells you that they truly made a lasting impact at that event. You want credible, impactful reviews if you too want a reception full of memories.
- REVIEW TIP 2: Don’t trust everything you read on a vendors website. Any website owner can create whatever content they want, including a testimonials section that praises themselves. But Cutmaster Music has one! Here’s the difference and what you should look for:
- Our testimonials are actually from Wedding Wire and embedded into our site. So, we did’t create that widget. It’s an actually updating feed from Wedding Wire.
- Our testimonials also include actual scanned pictures from Thank You cards sent from our couples. Testiminals should be as authentic as possible. If it’s integrated text from the website, I would raise your awareness flag.
- So, you already have a few vendors picked out! Ask your vendors who they enjoy working with. If you have picked to work with vendors that are consistently busy, they probably know and network with other trusted industry experts. I know we at Cutmaster Music have a list of preferred photographers, videographers, venues and coordinators that I always recommend. And I like to give options. Your wedding is not a one size fits all. It’s important that you find vendors that are the right fit for your style, your personality, your budget, and your team!
- Know someone that has been recently married? Pick their brain and ask them about their vendors. About 75%- 80% of our bookings have been referred from someone that have previously used our services, or have been to one of our events. I think there’s an advantage to having friends that are recently married or participate in an upcoming wedding. You get a better sense of what you like and don’t like when it comes to vendors and their offerings. So, if you have been recently engaged, go to as many weddings as you can before finalizing your own plans.
You must interview your vendors if you want to get the right fit for your wedding. This should go unstated, but I think a lot of couples skip this step and it might just be the most important. I get calls weekly from the Mother of the Bride, Sister of the Bride, the Maid of Honor, etc asking about our services. I won’t book an event if I have not personally spoken with the actual couple. And I think this should be standard for anyone you are going to be depending on and trusting to create some of the best moments on your biggest day. This goes for your photographer, videographer and anyone else that you are going to be spending a hefty part of your budget. You wouldn’t drive off the lot without test driving a car, would you? So, get into their office with your list of questions and make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for.
Why is it important to interview?
- Not all DJs only play music.
- Not all photographers have the same style.
- Not all food trucks have tacos.
- Not all wedding packages are the same.
- Not every vendor is cheap, and cheap vendors aren’t any good. (TRUST US ON THIS!)
- You want a DJ, a photographer, a videographer that vibes with you and your style.
- Not every vendor is a professional (even though their website from 2010 says they are) and YOU DESERVE A PRO!
How many vendors should you interview? This is a pretty easy answer. Interview as many as it takes to get “THE ONE.” At minimum, I’d do the research and get a list of your top 3-5 and sit down with all of them.
Who Should I Trust?
At the end of the day, trust yourself and your team. Don’t go about hiring vendors alone. Take your mom, your sister, your maid of honor, your dog, or whoever else you can trust to give you an honest opinion. But be careful not to let anyone overstep this boundary. Remember, this is YOUR BIG DAY, not theirs. Listen to their thoughts and opinions because they know you and your friends and can have valuable input in making your day a success. But when all the interviews are done, all the reviews double checked, and all the mom-daughter talks have passed, sit down with your fiance and make the final vendor decisions together. If you have done your due diligence, you will form a wedding team that fits you two, and your family and guests will be sure to have an amazing experience making all the time and effort well worth it.