bride talking

Getting reviews from brides and grooms online is GREAT for business. We’ve been urging wedding professionals to get their raving fans to post reviews online so that your wedding business is everywhere, and to make it as easy as possible by sending couples direct links to your review profile.

The easier you make it, the more reviews you get, right?

The Dangers of Yelp

One of the most popular and highest ranking business review sites in Yelp. It’s a powerful source of reviews and referrals for local businesses, and it gets a lot of visibility.

There’s just one problem…

If you do it wrong, in the best case you’ll end up wasting your time, and in the worst case you could end up with nothing but negative reviews you can’t remove.

Yelp has a review filtering system they use to make sure only REAL reviews are visible to the public. If you accidentally trip their filter…by doing something like sending your brides and grooms a direct link to your Yelp profile…those reviews will never appear to the public.

Oh, you’ll be able to see them when you’re logged in, but no one else will.

On top of that, it’s usually only POSITIVE reviews that get blocked. The negative ones are there to stay.

You can read Yelp’s official (rather vague and irritating) statement on their review filtering policy here. Here’s a breakdown of the rule for what gets filtered out..

Tips For Getting Yelp Reviews That Stick

  • DON’T send your couples a direct link to get them to post a review. Instead, ask them to type in your business name and find it on Yelp.

Yelp believes reviews should be “organic and unsolicited,” so if you’re going to ask your brides and grooms to post one, make sure they don’t post it by following a direct link that Yelp can track.

  • DON’T ask a bunch of your couples to post reviews all at one. A large increase in reviews triggers the filter.
  • DON’T ask someone to post a positive review immediately after you get a negative review. I know, it truly sucks, but it will only get filtered out. Wait a week or two before you stir up some good reviews.
  • If you have positive reviews that no one can see because they are filtered out, contact the reviewers and ask them to complete their entire profile and post another review if possible. If the bride or groom doesn’t have an image and profile description, or if yours is their very first review, it will be filtered out.

More tips for saving “lost” Yelp reviews here.

With all the pain and agony involved in getting Yelp reviews, is it really worth it?

Businesses with dozens of positive Yelp reviews get more online leads that those without.

While it’s simpler and easier to have your couples post reviews on Wedding Wire because you don’t have to deal with the dreaded filter, if you have a local retail business, such as a flower shop, bridal boutique, venue or restaurant, careful cultivation of Yelp reviews will pay off.

What do you think about Yelp’s review filter? Have you had trouble getting reviews published or removed?

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Posted By

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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22 thoughts on “Warning: Don’t Ask Your Couples For Reviews Until You Read This!”

  1. Thanks for the insight Stephanie, and every one else who posted their experience. As always, great information. I love this site!

  2. Hey Stephanie,

    I am so glad that you created this post. This post has given me much clarity on how careful to be when using Yelp. I was doing the very things that you stated not to do. I currently have 0 reviews, even when I log in. However, I can now strategically plan for my next review request in the future. Thanks for your help!

    – Antonio

  3. A work mate referred me to your website. Thank you
    for the details.

  4. The information on Yelp was very useful since I’m on practically every directory out there. When I began my website back in the prehistoric times I was told get on them. It seemed everyday there was a new one. Finally I stopped after Yelp and I questioned doing that one. I’m on 40 directories(just counted) and I wish I could get off 35 of them. No wonder brides go crazy trying to find things. Just as I do with telemarketers that call me and make life miserable,”Local, I deal only local” I want to add a funny story that happened because you are all over the country when you are on these directories. I got a inquiry for a birthday party in Richmond, California although I’m in Richmond, Virginia so I wrote her back knowing the mistake she had made and told her I would love to do the party for her daughter’s 15 friends but it would run $6000 to fly round trip and lodging. I would have loved to have seen her face when she opened that e-mail. People just don’t take the time to read.

    1. Stephanie Padovani says:

      So funny and so true, Larry!

  5. Nyla Crystal says:

    Yelp drives me crazy! I got a beautiful and thoughtful review from a client who was eager to help me by signing up for Yelp. Yelp filtered it out and I couldn’t figure out why, but then the same client a year later made a second post and then my review popped up. I wish I had known this or I would have asked her to write a second review sooner.

  6. Great tips! I often read Yelp reviews of other local businesses and had noticed a number of reviews that I knew I had read were no longer on the site, so this explains it! Thanks as always for such great info

  7. Harlan Ellis says:

    Yelp! Puts businesses in a very difficult position. As other posters have noted they are pretty non-responsive especially if you get a negative review. And as noted here they filter positive reviews. For the wedding industry is it is a pretty lousy site. It seems to be a repository more for disgruntled people rather than people who have nice things to say. To me, Yelp! is more for people who want to review restaurants or their local dry cleaner. For weddings, weddingwire is really your best bet. They are linked in to so many other sites as well, so their reach is extensive. However, Yelp! is ranked very high by the search engines since it’s reviews cover so many topics and it is national in scope. Other ideas to help your site include Google Places, Insider Pages and City Search, all whose “stars” appear by your website when searching. If you are going to send people to a non-wedding website for a review, you are much better off avoiding Yelp! altogether and going with one of those other sites. You can send people links, too. Hope this is helpful.

    1. [quote name=”Harlan Ellis”] If you are going to send people to a non-wedding website for a review, you are much better off avoiding Yelp! altogether and going with one of those other sites. You can send people links, too. Hope this is helpful.[/quote]
      Thanks for the suggestions, Harlan.

      I’m definitely in agreement. Since it requires effort to gather reviews no matter where you get them, I’d focus on wedding-related sites and possibly Facebook, because that’s where the brides are hanging out.

      Wedding Wire is my fave. We’ve also had some great reviews on Wedding Mapper, which lets you claim a wedding as your own or reject it. That’s a nice feature that helps prevent fraudulent competitor reviews.

  8. I have 3 filtered reviews, and I couldn’t figure out why! Thanks for the explanation. Now I know it’s because they all added a review on the same day after an event. How frustrating.

  9. Anne Roos says:

    It works the other way, too. If you post a truly positive or truly critical review of a restaurant, hotel, etc., sometimes it is posted and sometimes it is excluded. It amounts to a waste of time for me when I type reviews. I assume it also equates to a waste of time for my clients, as well, if their reviews are not being posted.

  10. As Always- Great Information!
    Thank you guys- You Rock!

  11. Michael says:

    I have been experiencing this glitch in their system. I have nearly fifteen reviews but all of them are filtered. I have tried to contact Yelp to correct this but little success.

    1. [quote name=”Michael”]I have been experiencing this glitch in their system. I have nearly fifteen reviews but all of them are filtered. I have tried to contact Yelp to correct this but little success.[/quote]


      Unfortunately, Yelp won’t help you correct this problem, but there are some things you can do.

      Follow the steps suggested by Dr. Bazan in this article:

      You CAN add your reviewers as friends, comment on their other reviews, and ask them to complete their profile. In some cases, once their profile is complete it will make their reviews viewable for the public.

  12. Do you have any tips for getting couples to post reviews on other sites, such as the wedding channel? We get unsolicited genuine comments from our clients, usually shortly after the wedding, but they typically either post on FB or send us personalized emails and handwritten notes. These are true gems, in my opinion, but not as easy to share socially. We post all of them on our web site, verbatim –

    1. [quote name=”Larisa Gurnick”]Do you have any tips for getting couples to post reviews on other sites, such as the wedding channel? [/quote]

      Sure do, Larisa. Ask ’em!

      An easy way to increase the number of online reviews you get is to send a nice thank you email to the couple after the wedding. In your email, include a direct link to a few sites where they can post a review.

      We’ve found that when we do this, about 50% of our couples will leave a review for us.

      NOTE: Part of the reason I wrote this article about Yelp is because the strategy of sending a direct link should NOT be used for Yelp reviews. It’s fine to use for Wedding Wire, The Wedding Channel, etc.

      Here’s another way you can use those lovely handwritten notes and personalized emails…

      Write up a nice thank you email to the couple. Include a quote from the couple’s thank you note, and ask for permission to share it on your site.

      Then, ask if they would mind copying and pasting their words on some online review sites. Include direct links to your listing on Wedding Wire, Facebook, Wedding Mapper, etc.

      It’s much easier for couples to copy and paste something they’ve already written, and most of them will be happy to do it.

      BONUS – If you want to get even more reviews, offer them a little thank you gift in advance, like a gift certificate to Bath and Beauty or Starbucks.

  13. Rachel says:

    I don’t like Yelps business practices or sales tactics. Therefore, I don’t use them and I don’t take the reviews seriously. They seem to be more about the hard sell to vendors on the front end and then creating a difficult sales environment for vendors on the backend. Angie’s List is a better tool.

  14. Chuck says:

    I would avoid Yelp at all costs- I think that is easier for DJs and Photographers, but much harder for restaurants, florists, etc. I’ve had two business people tell me Yelp uses the positive/negative reviews to strongarm them into buying advertising… so much so that they do not rely on Yelp for any legit reviews because they are so skewed.

  15. susan says:

    I hadn’t even thought about yelp for the wedding industry, I thought other review sites were more popular like “angie’s list”

    Yelp’s rules seem a little over the top and would not be where I would ask a wedding couple to go for a review.

    Why not just set up a review page on your own wedding site and ask for reviews there?

    1. [quote name=”susan”]

      Why not just set up a review page on your own wedding site and ask for reviews there?[/quote]
      You certainly can. However, reviews posted on an independent site are much more believable.

      One of the reasons Yelp is so powerful is because it gets so much visibility. If a bride is searching for local businesses, it’s likely that Yelp results are going to show up.

      1. Susan says:

        Yes, agree about “believability” but,I also think that having done everything right online so far – ie. / no smoke n’mirrors, no bs – That on-site reviews will be believable and further – What better place for them than your own site.
        Put another way – They won’t hurt you – only upside to providing “all reviews” both good and not-so-good.

  16. Jen says:

    Thank you so much for explaining this!! Yes, I have recently experienced this and its so irritating! And I just sent an email out to my last 6 clients asking them to type a review. Uhh!! I’m glad I now know what not to do!

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