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Q & A to help you find which one is right for you

Feeling overwhelmed in your search to find professionals for your wedding day?  To help you quickly and efficiently find local professional for wedding services, start your search on WeddingWire.com or TheKnot.com – two leading website resources where locals pay to advertise their services.

I understand your stress, frustration and the time that is takes to find a venue, caterer, officiant, musician, photographer, baker, hair & make-up.  The key players that you select need to understand your focus and budget too.  So, I did some research this week and looked into those businesses marketing their services on WeddingWire.com & TheKnot.com – starting the search in South Carolina under ‘wedding planners’ category within the 29928 zip code.  Here’s a summary…

WeddingWire.com – within the 29928 zip code:

·         39 wedding planners total

·         29 ‘Day-Of’ services

·         31 Partial Planning

·         27 postings have 2 or less reviews

·         3 business shown are not located in South Carolina

·         1 business has closed its doors

·         1 photographer listing

·         2 caterers listing

·         3 links won’t open

TheKnot.com –  Hilton Head Island & surrounding areas = Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Myrtle Beach, Abbeville, Columbia, North Carolina, Georgia:

·         239 wedding planners total

·         12 ‘Best of Weddings’ Winners

·         71 rated in the ‘Affordable’ category

·         32 rated in the ‘Moderate’ category

·         2 rated in the ‘Expensive’ category

·         163 offer Full Service

·         42  offer Destination Weddings

·         62 Al-A-Cart (services)

·         131 ‘Day-Of’ Coordination

·         73 note ‘Budgeting’ skills

·         18 note their website address within their ad

So, how do you sort out the many wedding planners marketing their services?   Here’s a few thoughts to consider prior to your initial inquiry when interviewing professionals…

How do you pick the right one for you?  Focus on what you believe you need prior-to and on your wedding day = a wedding planner that knows the area and venue and can suggest/coordinate all the details. Are you wanting a full-service planner or can you get by with a ‘Day-Of’ Coordinator?  Review the initial lead-in photo to determine if this business shows personality and style thru the photo they selected to represent their business.

Should price be a deciding factor?  Yes, it always comes down to price/fees.  The consumer will pay more for a professional who has earned a degree, attends seminars related to the wedding industry, networks, works full-time at their craft and can document successful events from happy couples.

Multi-hat professional = caterer, florist, linen, invitations, and wedding planner??  No, not a good idea.  It’s is tough enough for the wedding planner as the ‘go-to’ person on your wedding day but to add catering & florist (services provided ‘day-of’) to the equation too just to save money, I don’t suggest the thought.  Each professional has its own specialty.  Let each one shine on your wedding day.

Don’t be fooled by the business name – do your research.  Look deeper into the marketing page to see if exactly what the professional does.  Just because a business owner lists their info on a wedding site doesn’t mean their specialty is wedding events.

Are they still in business? I was surprised to find a business listing that I know has closed its doors still marketing online.  Add this question to your initial Q & A.

Word-of-mouth vs. reviews?  You can’t go wrong with word-of-mouth testimonials from family and friends.  Reviews are great to read/know when the message comes directly from the person who received the service.  If you are planning a destination wedding, refer to your venue or wedding planners Preferred Vendor List for word-of-mouth testimonials.

Accreditation / Experience in the Industry / Full-time vs. Part-time:  Business owners who take the time to earn accreditation, earn a college degree, attend networking event & seminars and know their niche within the wedding industry because they are focused and work full-time at their craft are the ones that you want to hire.  Do you want to hire a person who works a full time day job and does wedding coordination part-time?  Or, a person who dedicates their day to event planning and can return your call, email or text during the day – the same day?

Trust a professional but don’t have blinders on … Everyone should be accountable for the services noted within the contract that is agreed upon and signed.  Plan on getting all your questions answered before signing a contract.  And, don’t feel that you cannot contact that person again to ask additional questions before, during and after signing.  Knowledge is power so use it to your advantage and be informed to make the right decision for you.


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