Jeff’s Side of the Story…

frosty at stairs

Being in the wedding business,  we tend to be absent from quite a bit of the weekend social life our friends and family tend to enjoy.  You can imagine how excited we were to be invited to an adult Saturday night party that we could actually say yes to!

I couldn’t wait to hang with some cool peeps and enjoy an adult beverage.  Here’s the some what ironic part…

All the guests were recent brides and grooms.

The party was being thrown by a photographer couple we are friends with.  They invited their past couples to a holiday party at their home.

What a awesome idea! I was amazed at how many showed up, some traveling hours and actually getting a hotel room overnight to make this party.  Can you say “customer satisfaction?”

Steal This Idea! 

It was a stroke of brilliance for this photographer couple to invite their past and present clients to a holiday party.  Not only did every guest have something huge in common, it is a great way to build trust, rapport and referrals.

Anyway, back to the party…

At first I felt a bit  weird being the only non-newlywed (what if I was missing the tell tale glow?)  Not a problem.  I really like Steph..A LOT so that wasn’t an issue.

Right off the bat we were being asked “so what was your date, have you gotten your pictures yet?”

We decided to seize the moment and go undercover, become the fly on the wall, and get the unvarnished, ugly truth.

What are they really saying about us?

Steph’s Side of the Story…

So there we were surrounded by about a dozen recently married couples.  While Jeff tipped back some rather delicious cranberry pomegranate cocktails, I thought…market research time!

It didn’t take much prodding to loosen up those tongues.

Here are some of the big beefs brides have with wedding vendors…

What Brides Think About Bridal Shows

  • Wedding vendors are too aggressive.

The bride says:

“It was just awful!  All these people coming at me and bombarding me with information.  It was just overwhelming.”

Vendor Takeaway:

Brides desperately need to be helped, not sold.  Ask her questions that help her uncover what she wants, because she probably doesn’t know yet, instead of telling her about you and your services.  Otherwise, you’ll drive her away.

Be the oasis in the center of crazy at a bridal show by NOT rushing her and NOT forcing your materials on her.

If you want to REALLY win her over, give her advice and help that has nothing to do with your services.  It will earn her trust and bring her back, even if she isn’t ready to book right now.

  • Wedding vendors drive brides away by pressuring them to set a date.

The bride says:

“Everyone kept asking me when my date was, and when I said I didn’t have one they’d tell me, ‘You better book it fast!’  It made me feel pressured, like I was behind.”

Vendor Takeaway:

It’s an important qualifier to ask the bride if she has her date so that you can confirm you availability and avoid wasting time with someone who you can’t book.

However, remember that she’s already really overwhelmed with planning her wedding, whether she tells you this or not.

If she doesn’t have a date, don’t warn her about the dangers of waiting to book…even though you’re right…because you don’t have a trusted relationship with her yet and it will only freak her out.  And if she associates that “freak out” feeling with you, she’s NOT going to book you.

  • Be a real person and not a company to attract more brides.

The bride says:

“It seemed like everyone at the bridal show was a big company.  I just wanted to work with real people, not a big corporation.”

Vendor Takeaway:

Be real, personal and genuine at a bridal show.  There is a temptation to portray yourself like a big company because it makes you seem more important or credible.

If you’re a one or two person operation, don’t hide it!  This is actually a strength.And if you ARE a bigger company, train your sales reps to deliver a personalized experience.

What Brides Remember About Their Vendors…

  • Brides remember the things that went wrong…even when they don’t complain about it to you.

The bride says:

“Our DJ wasn’t very good.  He played okay music and everything, but he gave a bad impression, and our guests noticed.  Some of my friends came up and said, ‘Is your DJ hitting on the bartender?  He came up to us at the end of the night with dip tucked into his cheek.  Disgusting!”

Vendor Takeaway:

Stay professional on the wedding day.  Don’t drink, try to pick up the staff or get caught chomping on a pastrami sandwich.  She might not say anything about it that night because she’s too busy being a bride, but she IS paying attention.

  • Couples don’t always tell you what they REALLY think.  

The bride says:

“At the end of the night, the DJ came up and asked if he could use us as a reference.  Of course, I said, yes.  What was I going to do, tell him NO to his face?  If someone did call me for a reference, though, I’d recommend that they NOT hire him.”

Vendor Takeaway:

When you ask a bride or groom for their opinion of your work, your website or your services, 95% of people are going to say something nice.  They don’t want conflict and they don’t want to hurt your feelings.

If you want to know the truth, you have to look at your results.  Are you booking the weddings you want?  Are you getting the price you want?

If you aren’t getting the results you want, you need to change, no matter what your clients tell you, because the evidence doesn’t lie.

Have you ever been the fly on the wall listening in to the conversations of brides and grooms?  What did you learn?

Photo by Steph

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Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

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0 thoughts on “Brides Uncensored: What They REALLY Think About You”

  1. Really great insight here. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Bradley says:

    Fantastic insights here. I was a bit surprised about the point about comapanies at first but when I thought about it we booked all our vendors except the venue because of the person we were dealing with.

    1. [quote name=”Bradley”]Fantastic insights here. I was a bit surprised about the point about comapanies at first but when I thought about it we booked all our vendors except the venue because of the person we were dealing with.[/quote]
      That’s exactly it! We want to deal with people, not corporations.

      A lot of wedding vendors really want to make sure they come across as professional, so they use the corporate “we” in their marketing and on their websites, and try very hard to come across as a big, established company.

      One of those brides said to me more than once that they had hired their vendors because, “They were just people.” She kept referring to her videographer as, “just a guy,” who happened to shoot video because he loved it.

      That’s what makes brides fall in love with you: you’re a real person who just happens to have a passion for what you do. And aren’t they lucky they found you? :-)

  3. Anne Roos says:

    Great info! A bit difficult to do this party when your area is known for destination weddings, though…

  4. Stephanie,
    Great post – thank you. I am particularly glad to hear the feedback about being a real person and offering solutions and advice. Did you get any insight about how brides evaluate a prospective vendor and how much of their decision is influenced by price vs. experience, responsiveness and personality? That would be very valuable.

    By the way, Wayne and I hosted a similar event a few months ago – an engagement party for couples in our area and included some former as well as current clients. It was a great event at an interesting wine bar and gave us a chance to show our personality and humanity. Couples preferred this setting far more to a bridal show because there was no hard sell. (http://on.fb.me/sljNDi) Making investments in events like this requires patience because the response/new bookings don’t come quickly. It takes time.

    1. [quote name=”Larisa Gurnick”]Did you get any insight about how brides evaluate a prospective vendor and how much of their decision is influenced by price vs. experience, responsiveness and personality? That would be very valuable.
      [/quote]
      Larisa,

      I didn’t get specific feedback about how price factors into the buying decision vs. other factors on that night.

      However, the Wedding Report http://theweddingreport.com/?brand=bmb has some interesting stats on it.

      A synopsis from my own experience and the studies and surveys I’ve read:

      – If all other factors are considered equal, PRICE is the most important.

      – If factors are NOT equal, it really depends on what’s most important to the bride and groom.

      For example, if you’re a photographer and the couple has placed photos high on their list, price will likely not be the deciding factor. However, if they don’t place a high value on photos, price will factor more into their decision.

      The important thing to remember: just because the couple starts out thinking one photographer, DJ or planner is just like the other and price is the most important determinant, that doesn’t mean they will stay there.

      [b]It’s up to us to show those couples how we are different from the competition so that they understand that all choices are not equal, and we are worth the price.[/b]

      Thanks for sharing about the event you hosted! It might be interesting to do a casual event like this in conjunction with a venue’s tasting.

  5. Very interesting. It reminds me of that movie, Bambie…where the animals are hiding in the grass. They are scared. One says I need to fly, and the other keeps telling it no, don’t. The first just felt safe trying to fly away, when the second knew that would mean certain death. We as wedding vendors need to put the needs of brides above our business, treating them as a friend, and building a relationship. If we choose to fly when we really need to lay in the grass, we certainly will die.

    1. [quote name=”Rebecca Kennedy”] If we choose to fly when we really need to lay in the grass, we certainly will die.[/quote]

      I’m not really sure what you’re comparing Bambi to in the bride feedback scenario. Can you clarify for me? It sounds fascinating.

      1. Bradley says:

        She means if you look out only for yourself (like the bird that flew away) you’re not going to survive. It would help if we knew what happened to the bird that didn’t fly away though and it would be super great if the bird that didn’t fly away based their decision to stay on the benefits of working in a team. I haven’t seen Bambi though so I have no idea why the bird stayed.

  6. Sara says:

    What an awesome opportunity you guys had to really get into the minds of these couples and to find out how they really feel about expos and certain wedding vendors. I have definitely taken away some important points that I will be sure to keep in mind…especially for the bridal shows. Thanks Jeff & Steph for sharing!

    1. [quote name=”Sara”]What an awesome opportunity you guys had to really get into the minds of these couples and to find out how they really feel about expos and certain wedding vendors…Thanks Jeff & Steph for sharing![/quote]

      You are most welcome!

      It really isn’t that hard to find out what they think. Surveys work great, and so does just flat out asking them.

      Of course, loosening them up with a few drinks helps, too.

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