Cathartic Vendor Review

At first I struggled with whether or not to review my vendors because the information is only relevant to those people getting married in Minnesota. But being that there are not very many Weddingbee blogger bees from MN, I decided to go ahead and write the post.

The reason this is cathartic for me is because I had a bit of an issue with one of my main vendors. I’m not sure how to handle my frustration while still being the bigger person and avoiding pointless catty comments, other than to be as vague as possible while still letting it all out.

I am disappointed in how things went down with my photographer. Sister Big Eyes’ and I shrendored her, which makes my frustrations doubly upsetting.

Our photographer is a talented artist—no doubt—but she was not easy to work with. For example, my photos were late, multiple other promised deadlines were missed, and there was an overall lack of business savvy. Days before Sister Big Eyes’ wedding, there was an issue via email that could have been easily avoided with better communication. There were misunderstandings about expectations, excuses instead of apologies, and both of us are still waiting on a part of our package—an album we were promised.

While I do love my pictures and am incredibly thankful for them, it’s hard for me to encourage others to hire her when she caused us both so much unnecessary stress, which is why I’m not linking to her website or recommending her. (Although her information is not difficult to find if you go to any of my recaps.)

To turn this into something positive, here are a few things to remember that I wish I had known when interviewing photographers besides the usual—look at all the photos from one wedding, not just the favorites, and make sure they match your aesthetic/vision.

Picking the Right Photographer:

  • Get a timeline in the contract so that you have something to refer back to if they are late getting you your photos.
  • Ask them how many weddings they shoot per year—the lower the number, the more time they will have to devote to the ones they have booked.
  • Trust your instincts. To quote Oprah quoting Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
  • Respect them as an artist, but remember you have a right to hold them accountable as a paying client. Be kind but firm with expectations.
  • Finally, do NOT pass their name along to someone else until AFTER you’ve had the full experience of working them. Unless of course you’re sisters getting married within three months of each other and it makes sense for you both. :)

Now that the icky stuff is out of the way, let me tell you about a shrendoring experience that was the complete opposite of the last one.

Laura Westrem: A+

Sister Big Eyes’ and I shared our hair/makeup artist and I would recommend her a million times over! She was so easy to be around and really focused on making the bride feel special and happy. She also got to know our family pretty well from doing both weddings and she offered Sister and I discounts at both weddings. She works really hard, but still makes time to respond to emails, and was extremely accommodating of my out-of-town schedule. If I need a hair/makeup artist in the future, I’m calling Laura.

Midwest Sound and DJ: B

The music selection at the reception was fantastic, but they caused us some unnecessary stress by phoning the week of the wedding saying they couldn’t get the legal copies of TWO songs for our ceremony. I was pretty annoyed because I had sent them our packet of song choices back in February. The issue was resolved in time, but it was still frustrating.

Embassy Suites Bloomington: A-

What can I say? This hotel knows weddings. The two ladies in charge are both very nice and great with responding quickly over email. They worked with me when I had to set up meetings pretty far in advance and they answered all my questions without making me feel stupid. A few hiccups—one, they asked for a payment after I’d already given it (I almost paid them twice for the same thing, but luckily we caught it), and they switched my coordinator at the last minute, and AGAIN I found out the week of the wedding. It wasn’t a huge issue, but being that I’d only met one of the two woman, I felt very much like the rug was pulled out from under me. Their expertise in the wedding biz came through in the end and it didn’t matter who my coordinator was—it all got done.

Also, one last thing that doesn’t really have to do with Embassy Suites, or so we think—our bathroom baskets were stolen! I was pretty pissed at the time, not only because those baskets were from my own house, but mostly because we were going to reuse them for Sister Big Eyes’ wedding and instead we had to purchase new baskets and new items and make them all over again! Dear people who steal bathroom baskets: you make me sad. Drag your ass to Target and buy a Tide-to-go pen on your own dime!

The Gunn Slingers: A+++

Our Ceilidh band was the highlight of the night. Hire them. They rule. Since they don’t have a website, Google them to find their Facebook page or private message me for an email address.

Evan the Bagpiper: A+

He was young, sweet, talented, and on time. He even came to our rehearsal. Everyone loved his music. Private message me for his email address if you want pipes for your Minnesota wedding!

Lake Harriet Florist: A

My bouquets were stunning and she worked within our meager budget. The first and last place we went to, win win.

Videography

I can’t review or link to our videographers because they are done filming weddings and do not want inquires about them, but they rocked. And if I ever need to film a commercial, I’m calling them. :)

Did you have a frustrating experience with a vendor that you need some closure on? Is anyone else shrendoring?!?! :)

BLOGGER

Mrs. Sword

Location:
Chicago
Wedding Date:
March 2013
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comments

  1. Member
    texasaggiemom 594 posts, Busy bee @ 6:56 am

    So sorry to hear about your photo frustrations, especially after what that cost! But your actual photos are some of the best I’ve seen, so hopefully the quality will eventually feel worth the stress. I’m sure going to miss your recaps – hope you think of a few more things to share before you sign off!

  2. Member
    Mrs. Rucksack 496 posts, Helper bee @ 7:25 am

    I’m glad you shared this! I unfortunately had a terrible experience with our DOC. I’m dreading writing about because it gives me anxiety to think about all the ways she messed up, but I think maybe it will be cathartic to write it down and then forget about it. Loved that you put a positive spin on this by adding suggestions too!

  3. Guest
    Lone Star, Guest @ 8:13 am

    I had the same problems with our photographer. Over two months to get the photos, no editing whatsoever, and they weren’t the best photos. Don’t get me wrong, there were some lovely ones and she in no way messed up our big day, but it was really frustrating. We had to be really ugly just to get our photos TWO MONTHS after the wedding, and then it was clear she had just downloaded them from her camera onto CDs. We’ve refused to recommend her to anyone. It’s frustrating because you can do your research but you just can’t know for sure.

    We also had a major problem with the florist–the bouquets were lovely, but we expressed three separte times NO high floral arrangements at the tables, and what did we get–ALL high floral arrangements. Oh well, c’est la vie. We let it go, but it was annoying.

    When you get so many vendors at once, someone’s bound to stink!

  4. Member
    StarryNight2011 3150 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:32 am

    Your frustrations with your photographer sound a lot like mine! She was quite nice before she had the deposit and then ignored me once I had given her the deposit. We waited 5 months for the CD with digital images, and I don’t think she did much of anything as far as editing. She also had a poor attitude on our wedding day (I chose to ignore her and made sure to ask friends to take pictures).

    Unfortunately, sometimes you can do the research, hire an experienced professional and still end up with problems.

    Fingers crossed that you receive your album soon!

  5. Guest
    Sarah Cool, Guest @ 8:41 am

    This is such a tough situation, but I wish we (as brides) would feel more comfortable leaving negative reviews for bad experiences. It would help out other brides SO MUCH.

    But personally, I just don’t want to 1) be uncomfortable, 2) open myself up to legal issues, and 3) BE UNCOMFORTABLE. You know?

    Our photographer took incredible pictures, but wasn’t the best at the business side of things. I’m still waiting on my album (… over a year later) so I am holding off on my review for her. What I’m planning on doing is writing her an email that explains what we loved about our experience and what we didn’t love – so that she can hopefully take that information and possibly make some business changes. Then I’ll feel more comfortable leaving a general, public review that raves about our photos and briefly notes that we weren’t always happy with her communication timelines.

  6. Member
    epalmisano829 453 posts, Helper bee @ 9:34 am

    @Mrs. Rucksack: +1
    I had a similar issue with our hired planner. The owner of the company fired the planner I was working with and I was stuck with the owner. Who I DID NOT LIKE. She was rude, refused to do things that my previous planner had said she would do (even though I had emails to back it up) and dipped out early in the night. I wish I had trusted my gut when I first met her after my planer had been “downsized” and cut ties right there. The Omni’s DOC was so much better than my *** planner was.

  7. Member
    luluvohn 1065 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:43 am

    I’m optimistic that because I had a rotten experience with my engagement photographer (separate company from my wedding photographer) that everything will be shiny elsewhere. We’d initially scheduled our photo session for one date, but then found out we were moving with very short notice and emailed to change the date. The woman emailed back to confirm and we thought everything was great, until we showed up for our shoot at 7:15 AM and nobody was there. When we tried to call the woman, she’d gone on vacation for two weeks and the rest of the office didn’t open until 9. It was miserable. We ended up getting the photos done later that day (it was the only sunny day before we moved) and most of our photos are good, but when I look at them I can see more than a few strained smiles, frizzy hair, and shiny faces that could’ve been avoided if we didn’t have to sit around getting grumpy for three hours.

  8. Member
    Mrs. Sword 1020 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:08 pm

    @TexasAggieMom: Thank you, I wish I could blog more, but I’m all done with wedding posts unfortunately!

    @Mrs. Rucksack: I completely understand, I would get so much anxiety thinking about it even for a few seconds but now that I’ve shared what happened in writing I’m just gonna let it go. Not easy though!

    @Lone Star: Sorry you had a bad experience with your photographer and florist! You’re right, the odds are they all won’t be amazing!

    @StarryNight2011: wow, that is a long time to wait, and no editing, I’m sorry! Thanks, hope I get that album soon as well but not holding my breath!

  9. Member
    Mrs. Sword 1020 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:11 pm

    @Sarah Cool: yes, so uncomfortable! I’ve written emails to my photographer in my head so many times but in the end I wasn’t sure anything I could say would make her understand. I feel like some people just won’t hear it. But I think what you’re doing is a great way to handle it!

    @epalmisano829: Such a bummer about your DOC! Sorry to hear that.

    @luluvohn: That sounds very frustrating!

  10. Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1311 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:01 am

    Wait, somebody stole the entire basket? People definitely swiped things from ours within the first couple of minutes, which I found super lame…but how do you even swipe an entire basket?

    That sucks about your photographer, it’s such an important vendor for a wedding! Our photographer was so amazing that he didn’t even ask for an extension in getting our photos to us after he had to put his dog down, which I would have been totally sympathetic to as a fellow doggy parent.

  11. Member
    Mrs. Sword 1020 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:55 am

    @Mrs. Waterfall: your photographer sounds amazing! Yea, we forgot to pick them up at the end of the night and by morning they were gone, and they weren’t tiny baskets either! The hotel asked their staff, nothing. Just a guest of the hotel probably.

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