A couple of weeks ago, I attended a panel discussion that was sponsored by the Association Of Bridal Consultants entitled “Brides Are Talking”. It took place at Northern Colorado’s newest wedding venue, The Windsong Estate. This great spot is located about 5 miles east of Fort Collins on a hill overlooking the entire Front Range and surrounding plains. Windsong looks like it will be one of the area’s most popular ceremony and reception venues as they are already mostly filled for most prime dates in 2014 and are booking dates through 2015. I’m looking forward to my first wedding there this June.
Five couples (four that were in the process of planning their wedding, and one that already had their wedding last year) were part of the panel. They were asked a variety of questions from the audience which consisted of more than 30 wedding professionals (vendors). It was a unique opportunity to see what couples are thinking before and after the planning process to help better understand and serve brides and grooms who are planning the biggest day of their lives. Here’s a sampling of some of the subjects covered and some of the information the panel shared.
What was your method of contacting vendors? Overwhelmingly, most couples contacted their vendors initially by e-mail. This seems to be the simplest, most convenient form of communication. The phone was ranked second, followed by text. All couples agreed that whatever form of communication was used, the next step was an initial consultation.
What sources were used to find vendors? Overwhelmingly, the top answer was a referral whether it be from their wedding venue, another vendor hired, or other couples that have gotten married. The internet was also used via Google-type searches or Wedding Wire and The Knot through their reviews and ads. Print (bridal magazines) and bridal shows were also used, though not nearly as much.
What were some of the things that made you NOT hire a vendor? The number one answer was not returning calls and e-mails in a timely manner. Amazingly, some vendors never returned messages. Other answers included service charges and hidden fees that were not divulged until they saw the contract, venues that overstate actual occupancy, rude and arrogant behavior, and companies that are so large that they didn’t feel they would get personalized service.
What were the top things that made you hire a vendor? The answers here were across the board and there was not a clear cut #1 reason. Some of the top answers included being flexible, a good value (versus the lowest price), being a good fit personality-wise, and someone who understand the expectation of the bride and groom.
Here are some other comments that were made by the panel that were interesting. Most couples like itemized contracts (versus all-inclusive) because that way they know exactly what they are being charge for. Out-of-state couples like vendors who have the accessibility to have their planning meetings via Skype. Most couples do not like numerous follow-up calls / e-mails in the days following an initial consultation while they are still trying to make a decision. Outdated information and pricing on websites was a turn-off as well as a lack of web presence.
Overall, it was fun evening of networking with many of my wedding friends, especially since we don’t get to see each other too often during the off-season. And what’s a social event without great food? Special thanks to one the area’s top caterers, Greenspoint Catering for providing the awesome cuisine!