On February 20th, I attended a bridal panel discussion hosted by the Northern Colorado Wedding & Event Professionals at The Agave Room in Fort Collins. Four recently married couples answered questions from a roomful of local wedding professionals regarding their decisions about their who they hired, why they hired them, and if they had to do it all over again……what would they do differently. It was an insightful evening of information.
Here are my Top 10 Takeaways (in no particular order):
- At least half of all wedding planning research is done online. Social media plays a key role, but few couples initially find their professionals via social. Most are found from word-of-mouth, venue referral lists, or online review sites like Wedding Wire and The Knot.
- Online reviews are huge. Most couples are very aware of Wedding Wire and The Knot and realize these review site are legit, and the reviews can not be altered by the vendor.
- The top 3 things couples would have spent less on if they had to do it over again are: Food…Dress…Flowers.
- Other things that they would have done differently included: Having more time with guests (longer reception / rehearsal dinner / cocktail hour)…Having a weather backup plan for the outdoor ceremony….Spending more time writing their individual vows for the ceremony…and the ever-popular “Should have hired a professional DJ”.
- Most couples were limited by their parent’s allocated budget which seemed to be split evenly among brides and grooms parents.
- The top 4 reasons for hiring a particular wedding professional was: Price / Value…Reputation…Familiarization with the venue….First impressions when meeting them.
- Almost all couples liked the idea of all inclusive package pricing vs. an ‘Ala Carte’ style pricing structure, mainly due to a concern for hidden charges and extras.
- Recent photo trends that couples like: ‘The First Look’ and the photojournalistic / candid style wedding photography. Photo booths are also still hot.
- Their wedding budgets ranged from $10,000 to $30,000 and guest lists ranged from 130 to 190.
- Speaking of budgets, their top 4 budget items included: Photography…Food / Bar…Venue…Entertainment (DJ/MC, Photo Booth)