Where do brides go to find their wedding vendors?

The truth about what really works to attract high quality leads and turn them into booked weddings is somewhat surprising.

In order to really laser target the couples you want to attract, you need to understand how they plan their weddings, where they search for products and services and how they determine who to hire.

Wedding magazine advertising and bridal lead services that make big promises often don’t deliver.  Here’s why…

The Hiring Process

This is what today’s couples actually do to find and hire vendors for their wedding.

Step 1 – They gather recommendations from friends, family and wedding vendors they trust.

Ever notice that word of mouth referrals tend to the be the highest quality leads?  That’s because the people recommending you have hired you or have seen you in action, and their endorsement carries a lot of weight because it’s powerful social proof.

Couples also turn to their “friends” in the social media and wedding chat community for recommendations at this stage.

Step 2 – They research those recommended businesses online.

Once they’ve gathered the names of potential vendors, they gather as much information as possible online.  They find your website and go over it with a fine-toothed comb.

They’re Googling the name of the business and the owner, searching for real wedding reviews, and digging up the dirt in reviews on business directory listings.  Brides and grooms ask for the opinion of other engaged couples in chat rooms and forums.

They’re all over the web searching for information that will help them determine the best match for their wedding.

Step 3 – They contact the vendors who make the cut…and dump the rest.

After examining all the information they’ve gathered, couples are finally ready to contact the wedding professionals who meet their criteria.

It turns out that most couples actually DO prefer meeting with vendors in person before hiring them!  But they do so only after they are recommended to you and like what they find during their online research.

(This hiring information was collected in surveys of engaged couples taken by The Wedding Report.)

How to Get Found, Get Leads and Get Booked

Your marketing is much more effective if you focus on getting connecting with couples at these early stages of the hiring process.

Networking & Word of Mouth – The more word of mouth recommendations the couple gets for your business…from wedding vendors, from brides in the forums, from couples who’ve hired you…the more likely they are to contact you.

The fastest way to get more high quality leads is by nurturing powerful networking relationships with other wedding businesses and giving your past clients an incentive to refer you.

Your Internet Presence – When couples start researching potential vendors, they will only contact the ones who pass their criteria.  This means you need to have a strong, positive presence online with lots of reviews on multiple sites.

Provide evidence of your expertise and value by making it easy for couples to find information and reviews on your website, blog, social media accounts and business directory listings.  The more they find, the better!

By focusing your marketing on networking activities, you hit them at Step 1 of the planning process because more people are recommending you.  By focusing on online marketing, they’ll find you everywhere when they start their research.  And making sure people are engaging with and sharing your content online, and sharing, liking, commenting and retweeting other vendors, means you’re networking and making it easy for brides to find you online at the same time.

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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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3 thoughts on “The Surprising Truth About Where Brides and Grooms Really Go to Hire Their Vendors”

  1. Derek Evan says:

    I have to agree with most almost everything that is in this article, however, I do disagree on one point which is that “couples do prefer meeting with vendors in person before hiring them”. I haven’t actually done a research project on this topic, and I’m only basing my comments on my own personal experience in the entertainment business. I would say that 95% of the bookings that have been confirmed at my entertainment company involved clients that we only communicated with by email, through text messages, or by phone. We have absolutely no problem setting up a meeting with someone if they would like to do so, and in some cases (depending on the event) I feel that it might be beneficial to meet in person. However, only a very small percentage of the clients who book our services request to set up a meeting in person, and even when we offer to set up a meeting, they usually say that they don’t feel it’s necessary. They prefer to just talk on the phone, set up a conference call, or even just discuss everything through email. Of course, whatever method the client prefers is always great with us, because we are hear to give people what they want and accommodate the clients (or potential clients) in any way we can.

    1. Hey, Derek! This stat about couples preferring to meet with vendors comes from surveys done by the Wedding Report. These surveys indicate that MOST couples prefer to meet.

      However, this is going to vary based on your market and the type of service you provide. Our personal experience has been that about 35% of our clients would book us without a meeting, and found it more convenient to “meet” by phone or skype.

      You’re point about meeting with the client according to their preference is key!

  2. I bought the course this morning and already I am finding several great new marketing ideas. I had been doing the same things my competition has been doing and it sure was crowded. Can’t wait to start implementing more of these strategies

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