Vendor Referrals

In recent weeks, I’ve received two sweet emails from wedding service providers that I’ve written about on the Bee. Both emails were from vendors thanking me for a positive review. One vendor (my makeup artist, Nam Vo) mentioned that she received many inquiries for her services after I posted my pictures. These vendors had never heard of Weddingbee, so I’m happy that they are now exposed to the wonderfulness of our little forum!

This also brings up the interesting topic of vendor referrals. As a bride-to-be exploring the unfamiliar world of wedding planning, I often feel like I’m Alice in Wonderland. Every aspect is foreign and requires tons of research. Where do I order candy for my candy buffet? How do I get things printed? What’s the proper wording for invitations? What is a reasonable price for everything?  Referrals from other brides and my own wedding vendors have been priceless through this process. Most of my vendors have been discovered through recommendations:

  • Reception Hotel – Family friend hosted a wedding here
  • Photographer – Photographed a friend’s wedding
  • Cake – Neighborhood bakery
  • Lighting – Referred by the reception hotel
  • Music – Not sure, Mr. Eggplant found them first but they were also recommended by the hotel
  • Flowers – Google search and mybayareawedding.com [this is the only vendor that we did not find through a referral]
  • Officiant – Our pastor
  • Printing Company – Referred by Mr. Eggplant’s coworker
  • Makeup – I loved the artist’s work from another wedding
  • Hair – Haven’t had my trial yet, but referred by makeup artist

I’ve often felt that brides have a disadvantage in a world of service providers charging sky-high prices and providing poor customer service. I’m begining to realize that we actually do have power in our voice. A bad review can draw business away from a vendor and also tarnish a reputation while good words can create more business. We actually have a big responsibility here in our forum!

Personally, I’ve found that word of mouth is the best and often most honest advertisement. My friends have given me golden referrals. Our reception venue has surprisingly recommended excellent vendors also. A few were out of our budget, but many were affordable and a blessing to work with. Now, as a champion for other brides, I feel extra responsible for writing completely candid reviews for the vendors that I talk about on the bee.

How did you find your wedding vendors? Word of mouth? Google searches? Paid advertisements? Have you given a vendor recommendation to someone else?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Eggplant

Location:
San Francisco
Wedding Date:
October 20, 2007
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comments

  1. Guest
    Tessa, Guest @ 7:44 pm

    Our reception site, Photographer, Florist and Hair stylist were all recommendations… some of the most expensive things in our budget so it’s nice that we know somebody who knows somebody so we have a better chance at getting a great deal with great service.

  2. Guest
    starjas, Guest @ 8:02 pm

    Our DJ was a recommendation from our videographer friend of ours. What better person to recommend a DJ that someone videotaping and editing the footage of tons of weddings.

  3. Guest
    Pencils, Guest @ 8:20 pm

    What about bad reviews, though? I had a REALLY bad makeup trial with an eager new makeup artist. She made me look like Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. The last thing an older bride wants is to look even *older,* and I did. Ugh, it was awful, and her partner had come along for the ride and kept agreeing that it was wonderful. They didn’t let me see until it was finished. Anyway, I’m at the point where I’m writing up my wedding reviews and my final Knot bio, and I’m torn. She was nice enough personally, and I don’t want to ruin her new business, yet she wasted my time and charged me $40 for a trial that made me cry. Should I post the bad review with the company name?

  4. Guest
    Miss Popcorn, Guest @ 8:55 pm

    jewellery: jeweller is family friend
    wedding bands: make-your-own-bands workshop, newspaper article
    flowers: florist did a friends wedding, I’d tagged along for the final meeting
    groom’s tailor: recommended by groom’s dad
    bride’s dressmaker: seamstress who has done our alterations for a while, originally a friend referral
    mob’s dressmaker: friend referral
    choengsams: referral by mob’s dressmaker
    venues: all places we have a history with

  5. Guest
    Miss Popcorn, Guest @ 8:57 pm

    Pencils, I’d perhaps simply tell people she had a “heavy hand” and let people read between the lines.

  6. Guest
    dorothee, Guest @ 9:12 pm

    i’m about half and half…

    church: home parish
    reception: found through here comes the guide.com. later found out that people we knew had gotten married there and loved it.
    photographer: friend’s photographer
    videographer: friend’s videographer
    dj: been working with him for several weddings
    florist: been working with her for several weddings.

    oh, guess i’m not half and half… only my reception location was something new to us. but i’m also a wedding planner on the side, so i’ve had these resources at my fingertips for years. i just hadn’t found the *perfect* location for my own wedding until i really looked!

  7. Guest
    Julie, Guest @ 12:09 am

    Reception: It was available, affordable and our photographer we interviewed loved their food
    Photographer – Did my cousin’s wedding and all her photos were online for me to view
    Cake – inside my dress shop so it worked out nicely

    Most of the other things were found on this amazing St. Louis weddings site that has vendors listed out by category and we have forums attached to it so we all give reviews to each other live. It’s been my biggest savior.

  8. Guest
    rachel, Guest @ 1:10 am

    Photographer – friend of my fiance
    DJ – Longtime friend of my cousin; he also did my cousin’s reception and his whole family thought highly of him :)
    Reception Venue – my mother knew a woman whose parents used to own the hotel so that’s how we heard of it…too bad they don’t own it still :P
    Officiant – my pastor, a.k.a. my old piano teacher, a.k.a. my friend’s father :)
    Flowers – recommended by my cousin who used to work as a florist in our area

  9. Guest
    cyan, Guest @ 2:47 am

    i’m probably the first of my group of friends to get married, so i didn’t have any recommendations to go off of. i’ve found everything entirely through my own resourcefulness on google and after all my research i feel like i have 50 local venues that i could recommend and a dozen local photographers – i have this sense that i should become a wedding planner in my free time.

  10. Guest
    BaghdadBride, Guest @ 4:45 am

    I’m planning from abroad right now so a ton of our vendors have been done based completely on recommendations, reviews, and interaction over e-mail with the vendors. Keeping my fingers crossed…

  11. Guest
    Iris, Guest @ 10:50 am

    Agreed!

    When using a friend/relative’s referral from their wedding (past or especially future), it’s a nice gesture to get his/her “permission” to use the same vendor because some people (not me) are sensitive that you are “copying” or trying to “top” his/her wedding or pre-empt it if you are in the same social circle and many of the same guests will attend both weddings. Personally, I figure imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. : )

  12. Guest
    AmandaB, Guest @ 2:56 pm

    I’m the first of my friends to get married in the city we are getting married in, so no friend referrals to go from here…
    Plus the wedding is taking place 350 miles away from where we currently live. Luckily it is in the town where we both grew up, and where I lived for the first 21 years of my life.

    Church: fiance’s family’s church
    Reception venue: they have catered functions for several people we know and we didn’t hear a single negative thing about them
    Pastor: we both went to high school with his kids
    Photographer/DJ: long time friend of my dad
    Flowers: very popular local florist that my family has used several times
    Hair: my sister’s hairdresser
    Invites: we printed them ourselves…
    Cake: read about in local wedding publication, and mentioned by our the woman we met with at our reception venue
    E-ring: band from local jeweler (family-owned, in business for several generations) where we currently live, referred to us by a coworker, my uncle hooked FI up with the diamond.
    Wedding bands: local jeweler where we currently live

  13. Guest
    Patty, Guest @ 4:46 pm

    Most of my new customers are referral by other brides that used me before, and some from vendors’ recommendations.

  14. Guest
    Christine, Guest @ 2:06 pm

    hi…
    i was wondering what your recommendation is for lighting service? i’m currently looking for one.

    thanks!
    -c

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