A great thing about planning your wedding is that you don’t have to go it alone. There are literally hundreds, no thousands, of superb professionals out there who will make sure you have the wedding of your dreams.
Unfortunately, the wedding industry has very little regulation – meaning there isn’t much that a person has to do to be an “expert.” A guy with a good camera can call himself a photographer. A gal who planned her own wedding can call herself a wedding planner.
Here are a few things to look out for to help you make sure you’re really getting what you’re paying for.
1. Their “title” may be just something they chose themselves, not because they’ve earned it
Titles such as “wedding planner,” or “event decorator” aren’t regulated, meaning that there are no special requirements a person has to meet in order to be called that.
Super easy for a person wanting to get into the business, but not so good for the person requiring their services.
So when someone says they are a “wedding planner,” or an “event designer,” or a “wedding dj,” or whatever their specialty, be sure to ask “Sez who?” What training have they received? What experience do they have? What are their real qualifications?
2. Not all training is created equal
* Was it a one-day workshop? A 5-week course?
If a course is too short it may have only covered the basics, skimmed over (or omitted) important information. Longer courses are often more extensive and thorough.
* Who taught the class?
Let’s use DJs as an example. OK, I’ve been around the block a few times, and have seen many DJs in action – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly – so I can definitely offer pointers on how to be a good DJ.
Now let’s take this example one step further and create a “Wedding DJ Certification Program” – put together a few documents on how to be a good DJ, create a test, and have wannabe DJs take my “course.” Once they complete it I’ll give them a pretty certificate showing their “certification.”
The certification makes them look reputable, but . . . I am not a DJ, have never DJ’d an event, so I have no business teaching others on how to be a DJ. Therefore this “certification” isn’t worth much.
This example goes for all types of wedding vendors, including planners and designers.
3. How did they get on that “Preferred Vendor List”?
Many wedding vendors, especially venues, offer Preferred Vendor Lists to their clients. It’s useful and helpful to know which vendors are actually recommended by other vendors. If they’re on a list, that can mean that they are good to work with, and provide a good product/service . . . I mean, who’s going to recommend someone who isn’t any good, right?
But being on a list isn’t always the whole story. How did they get on the list in the first place?
Many companies actually charge vendors to be on their list. So they’re on a “preferred” list because they paid to be there, not because of their skills and abilities.
Not all companies charge, so be sure to ask how they came up with their list.
* As a side note – just because they’re on a preferred list doesn’t mean that they’re the best fit for you. Recommending someone because they’re “good” doesn’t mean that they are the right fit for you. The basis for recommendations and referrals should always include: their availability for your event date, their style fits what you are looking for, and their pricing fits into your budget. Anything less is meaningless.
4. Not all wedding consortiums/organizations/groups are created equal
“Surround yourself with like minded people. Success is a group activity.” ~ Angel Alzona
Studies have shown that people who are around like-minded individuals are more successful. Like-minded people are your allies which becomes a sense of community.
But . . .
What criteria is required to be a member of that group?
Like asking how they came up with a preferred vendor list, it’s important to know how local wedding groups recruit and accept their members. Is it a “pay to play,” meaning all you have to do is pay dues or a membership fee to be a member? Or is there a screening process involved?
Hearts, Joy, Love!
Do you have a question or wedding concern? Let me know. I’d be happy to help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 937-235-2586.