Every day I read. I spend time on the computer reading everything from Facebook to message boards to articles about the industry, to publications such as eWedNews and many, many blogs. I see all kinds of opinions, all manner of information and every sort of vendor- good and bad. Yesterday, I read a blog post from Preston Bailey about the value of your dollar and whether a bride hires a vendor for their experience or their price. Hence, my idea for this post.
He asked, you said yes. Now the planning begins. You sit and read, peruse the web and bridal magazines, look to friends and fellow brides on message boards for recommendations. You see big ads on wedding websites telling you how and why this vendor or that is the best- all from a photo and their big advertising dollars.. So, you click on their site and see more photos and maybe "packages" and pricing. You think "Wow, that's cheap and look how good it looks". But, do you compare? Do you look to see what those "packages" entail, what they DON"T? How many hours do you get? How much time before the wedding do they allow for questions and meetings? What is "extra" or "a la carte"? How qualified are they? Where have they worked and what do those vendors think of them? What do other brides think of them?
The old adage "you get what you pay for" is never more true than now. Why would you shortchange your wedding day for "cheap"? I understand wanting to stay within a reasonable budget. Times are hard and this is one day.
One example of this is the dresses. Yes, you can go to the internet and buy a dress on line for very little. But, will that dress actually come? Will it be the dress you ordered? And, what if it looks terrible when it arrives? You have no recourse. You have lost that money and you still need a dress. Have you saved anything- NO! You have wasted time and money. As a former bridal shop manager and buyer for the stores, I can tell you that workmanship is of utmost importance in buying a wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses. The cheaper they are made, the more chance they won't look right- no matter how good the seamstress is. Are you going to risk it?
Another important component to your wedding is the venue. There are lots of them out there.
They promise everything, including and on site coordinator. But, that person is only there that day for the venue- not before and not for you personally. they may have 2 other events going on at the same time. And, they don't care if your photographer is late or if your bustle loops break. The food may not be fresh, but frozen and microwaved before it is plated. I have witnessed mice in a very well respected venue on the couple's final walk through. The linens may not be pressed or they may be too long or too short. How many other events are going on the same time as yours and how much staff do they have for your wedding? The per person cost and the gratuity may be great- and cheap, but not if these questions are not answered to your satisfaction. Do you want people to leave your wedding hungry or upset at the service? How much is ti worth to you to have a fresh, hot meal that all will enjoy and wine that tastes like wine and not like watered down soda- or worse.
The photographer and the florist are also important to your day. What is included in the photographer's package? Is a DVD of all the pictures taken included? What happens to them after you have chosen your album? What kind of album do you get? How late does the photographer stay and how much extra does that cost? What type of film do they use or is it all digital? How many photographers will be covering your wedding? You can get wedding pictures for less than $2000, but how good are they? Will you ever see your wedding pictures or will that "cheap" photographer lose them, abscond with them or just change their phone number? It has happened, many times.
Let's talk about the wedding planner. Do you need one and how much should you be willing to pay for one? First, YES you need to have someone at your side for your wedding day to see to the details- and it can't be you, it shouldn't be your mother or your bridesmaids and your great aunt Millie has no idea how to do this. Is your wedding day, that you have worked so hard to plan and spent so much money to make perfect, not worth this wise investment? I have done some research by looking at these web sites. Read the fine print carefully. The "packages" are limited. Do you only want to see this person who is supposed to keep your day running smoothly once or twice before you wedding? Do you want them to leave after dinner is served- or pay more to have them stay? Do they spend the day with you or are they decorators, busy setting up the venue while you are struggling to get ready and the limo is late? Be careful. Are they really wedding planners or are they florists or event design firms who make a wow room, but have no idea about your needs before you walk down the aisle. Do they offer to do the invitations, the favors, do they have a retail button on their site? How available are they before your big day? How many weddings are they doing on your day? Are they coming to your wedding or sending an assistant? You can get a wedding planner "cheap", but are they really cheap? Or, are you paying extra for things by the hour?
Every bride deserves to have a perfect day- no matter the budget. But, it is up to you to read carefully, to research diligently and to hire vendors that make an impression at the start. Cheap is not always better- in fact, it is almost never better. So, don't wind up with bad food, dead flowers, awful music, amateur photos and no one to be your advocate through the process. Be smart and have a perfect day!