How to identify actual wedding professionals for your wedding day.
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As a kid my parents taught me to both look at the stop light and to also check for traffic before crossing the street. This advice is as true today as it was when I was growing up. In the wedding business however too many couples don’t take this advice. They go running out into “wedding traffic” without ever looking at the stop lights and checking for traffic before crossing the street for their wedding day. Let me tell you about some of the stop light and traffic signals that you should be looking for while planning your wedding.
- Can you find the wedding professional that you are considering using on the internet?
I know that the first thing that most consumers look at today is the internet when it comes to researching anything they are interested in. Online, a consumer should be able to find the company website, reviews, pictures, social media pages, blogs, etc. If the company that you are considering doesn’t have these standard internet basics, you should move on. There are a ton of great companies in the wedding industry that can accommodate all budgets and needs. God forbid there is an issue, you should be able to look up the company that you are working with and be able to find them just by searching for their company name.
- Is there a mailing address anywhere on the company website?
I know that this sounds like such a simple thing however I can’t tell you the amount of businesses I see in the wedding industry that are here today and gone tomorrow. Less than 5% of businesses in the US will be in business for more than 5 years. Those are the statistics today. While the wedding industry is a 53 billion dollar industry annually in the U.S., the majority of companies servicing most couples today are all small businesses. If you need to mail in a check, drop something off, etc. you should be able to look on their website and easily find an actual brick and mortar address. A wedding professional will have their mailing address on their website on their contact page. A lot of great wedding professionals work out of their home, at least you know where to find the person/company should you need or want to.
- A cell phone # is not a business #
In today’s day and age everyone 5 years old and up has a cell phone or smart phone. Cell phones are used every day by business people to conduct business however a legitimate business will have a traditional land line phone number. When you are interviewing wedding vendors, ask them for their business phone number as well as their cell phone number. If they are one in the same, you should consider choosing someone who is dedicated enough to their business to have a dedicated landline business phone line.
- Do they have a city business license?
If you are a legitimate business, you will have a business license in the city that your business exists in. Some cities and suburbs don’t require it for home based businesses however a business license typically will cost a small business no more than $200. This is once again about finding companies that choose to do it the right way and opposed to cutting corners. If cutting corners is a standard business practice for them so much so that they won’t invest in a traditional business license, how do you know what corner they may cut on you as the consumer?
- If they aren’t insured, you as the couple will be held liable.
The United Stated is the most litigious country in the world. There are more than 15 million lawsuits filed annually. Insurance isn’t an option for a wedding professional, it’s a must. More and more reception venues are requiring to be named the day of a wedding by the wedding professionals that you are bringing into their facility. In the event that you choose a vendor that does not carry liability insurance and there is an incident of some kind, you as the hosting couple will most likely be named in the lawsuit. I would make sure that you see proof of insurance before hiring a wedding professional for your special day. You don’t want to start your new life together followed by a law suit because you hired the wrong wedding vendor.
- Can you go to their home or office to conduct business?
I know a lot of people find it more convenient to meet at a Starbucks or a Panera Bread however by meeting with your wedding professional in their home or actual office you get a different vantage point of who they are and how they run their business. You can clearly see if they are neat and organized or if they are a disorganized mess. This vantage point should give you even more confidence in your choice of wedding vendors because their brick and mortar business is a representation of their brand and their quality.
- What are your hours?
No one knows how expensive and stressful weddings are more than myself. It is the most expensive party you will ever throw until you have a daughter and help her with her wedding someday. I know a lot of people choose to hire a part time private wedding vendor or a part time friend of a friend for a variety of reasons one of which is price. One of which is comfort. The only problem with choosing a part time wedding vendor is that you have someone giving you a part time commitment for the most expensive event you will ever host. When choosing wedding professionals for your wedding day, I strongly recommend that you choose full time wedding professionals that are available to you when you need to speak with them for any reason large or small.