Facebook communities are a relatively recent development in the wedding planning world. And they’re brilliant! (I’m not biased at all…). You can quickly connect with other brides-to-be, wedding professionals and newlyweds in a relaxed environment. It’s on Facebook, so you can keep up with the conversations as they go on, and don’t have to remember another set of logins and passwords. But please use some common sense and caution when asking for wedding vendor recommendations. Here’s why…
I’ve worked hard to ensure the Southern Bride Facebook group is a positive, safe and supportive community. We try to keep drama off the group – and drama usually comes in the form of upset brides dealing with not-so-professional wedding professionals. The thing is, we only get one side of the story, so giving people a forum to bitch is a bit rough – and while I love a bit of juicy gossip with the best of them, at the end of the day, it’s focusing on the negative, and I want us to focus on the positive. The people who went above and beyond. The solutions we can come up with for your issues. The issue that you resolved.
Wedding drama is part of the job description…
But despite being a bastion of positivity, that doesn’t mean I don’t hear the negative stuff. I get to hear a lot of it. I email with a few brides or talk to them up the street. There’s some sucky people out there (although I want to reiterate, I do only hear one side of the story). And then there’s the wedding (non)professionals who keep. coming. up. And it’s the same. story. Poor communication. Vague pricing. Cancelling appointments last minute. Unkept promises.
The annoying and frustrating thing is seeing these people getting recommended in Facebook groups (like Southern Bride). Their name comes up amongst amazing wedding vendors… but they are not good at what they do. Or they might be great at what they do – but incredibly poor business-people, terrible communicators, or in too deep. It’s part of the reason I don’t allow self-promotion on the Southern Bride Facebook group. Southern Bride Verified vendors are able to promote themselves, but they’ve been vetted and are trusted, awesome, professional wedding vendors that I wouldn’t hesitate to use myself, so that’s why they are allowed to.
Who are the wedding vendor recommendations actually coming from? Satisfied brides, or mates?!
I was talking to an unhappy newlywed who never ended up sending out her thank you cards – because she HATED how her hair looked. I asked her if there were any red flags leading up to the day and she said “…when I think about it yes, she was very cheap and when I went to see her before hand she didn’t do a trial but she was recommended by more than one person on a brides FB page“. (emphasis mine).
This guts me guys. She’s so upset by how her hair looks that she cries when she looks at her photos 🙁
Of course more than one person could recommend the hairdresser… and this is another thing that gets my goat about recommendations in groups:
- The bulk of people who are doing the recommending, are not married yet. So they haven’t actually seen the wedding vendor in action – that’s when it actually counts.
- Some of the people doing the recommending are friendly with the wedding vendor. They get preferential treatment because they know them, or they’ve never actually used them, but want to support their business.
- And as I mentioned earlier, some businesses recommend themselves (but present it like they’re a third party, which is a bit morally ambiguous)
While these things are not necessarily malicious or spiteful, they aren’t helpful either. When a bride is asking for recommendations, she’s asking for genuine, helpful and useful recommendations. Because if your buddy stuffs up, that’s it. You don’t get a redo.
Finding amazing wedding vendors: step 1, listen to your gut
Please. Please, please. If you want to get some recommendations from Facebook groups like Southern Bride – go for it! That’s what it’s there for. But do your research too:
- Check the Southern Bride directory.
- Go read up on my wedding hack for finding a wedding vendor who is a great fit.
- If there’s red flags (like taking forever to reply to emails, inconsistent quotes, cancelled/late appointments) then you need listen to your gut, not Facebook, and look elsewhere.
I hope my rant hasn’t put you off participating in the Southern Bride group, but I hope it does make you more cautious when considering other people’s recommendations.