OPEN THREAD: Why are some wedding vendors disrespectful to potential clients online?

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Snarky cross stitch from CatsPJsCreations.
Snarky cross stitch from CatsPJsCreations.

While Offbeat Bride's primary readership is folks planning their weddings, we also have thousands of readers who are our wedding industry colleagues — vendors like photographers, planners, dressmakers, and more. (So many more! Check the Offbeat Bride Vendor Guide for hundreds more…)

As a publication, we straddle the two groups. We serve couples planning their weddings, but we do business with the vendors who love working with those couples.

Or… vendors who mostly love working with those couples. I will say that over the years, I've been SHOCKED by how poorly some wedding vendors present themselves online. I'm talking about basic “don't be a jerk to potential clients” stuff here. On the Offbeat Bride Facebook page, there have been vendors who have mocked our readers' wedding themes (octopus weddings are weeeird, you guys) and who've been very outspoken in insulting other vendors' work. On the blog, we've had vendors who've shamed readers for having low budgets or not prioritizing things the vendor felt were important.

It's always weird for me, because it seems like just small business common sense: “don't be a dick where potential clients can see you.” It's happened frequently enough though that I've stopped being surprised by it, which is weird!

As someone in the middle, I don't have any answers here… but I'd love to hear from both couples and vendors: What have you seen from the other side that's been hurtful? How can Offbeat Bride support vendors and couples treating each other with more respect?

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Comments on OPEN THREAD: Why are some wedding vendors disrespectful to potential clients online?

  1. We haven’t had a vendor be actively rude to us (yet), but what I have noticed are a few vendors just generally being..either very aloft or just flakey. We just finished picking a venue, and I ended up nixing one or two of them because they couldn’t be fussed to spell my name correctly in their follow-up e-mail (even though I made sure to mention my name so they could avoid such.)

    We’re currently working on videography and photography, and I’ve nixed a business for not only sounding too business like (I want to talk to a person, not a machine. If I’m not going to be able to talk and spend time with you comfortably, you aren’t being hired.), but because they made it REALLY obvious it’s a copy-and-paste job – if I put out a feeler because I’m looking for a videographer, I don’t need a paragraph and a half or more about why videography is so, so important and that I need to consider hiring one for a wedding, guys.

  2. I love that you’re talking about this.

    As I planned my wedding I visited a lot of forums and blogs. Even when I agreed with a vendor, if they were being snarky or rude I was immediately turned off. I’ve mostly seen photographers on forums and I’ve seen them just rip people’s wedding photos to shreds even when the bride/groom isn’t asking for critique but just sharing pictures they LIKE. And like you said, a huge target is budgets. Every small business runs their own way, but I feel like often not-quite-so-business-savvy vendors feel defensive about their own pricing and therefore need to tear down any other vendor who charges less, charges more, offers raw files, edits less, has a different style or WHATEVER.

    I think ultimately if vendors are going to post in forums they should feel free to share wisdom and even talk about what they do differently, but always in a positive light. If you ain’t got nothing nice to say, it’s better for business if you say nothing at all.

    • Photographer bullying is a thing! I’m glad to know you see their acting out as a red flag. I sure do! I’m a photographer, I believe in treating clients and peers right. Wedding photography is not just about the art, it’s about the art of kick ass relationships as well.

      • “Wedding photography is not just about the art, it’s about the art of kick ass relationships as well.”

        YES! I’d say this is true of most of wedding vendors… and even more broadly, lots of small businesses. I get that sometimes folks need to vent (work can be frustrating for anyone!), but it’s so weird to see folks bad-mouth potential clients…

        • YES! I’m a vendor (planning/coordination) and I still don’t understand the snark/judgment that comes from a lot of my peers. I know this is just another workday for us, but this is someone’s *wedding* fer chrissakes. If you can’t say something nice…

          • I do understand that it must be hard for a wedding professional, who is probably very knowledgeable and savvy about his or her job, to watch people make wedding decisions when they perhaps have never done anything like this before in their lives. And in that sense, Offbeat Bride does help, by giving people planning weddings an opportunity to learn more various wedding aspects before dealing with vendors–so we’re not going in totally blind. That said, it’s still unforgivable–and pointless–for professionals to be angry at potential clients for not knowing enough about the business. I was told off by a wedding-cake vendor for asking “dumb” questions and she pretty much told me she couldn’t work with me because I didn’t know enough about wedding cakes! I can’t imagine that’s a good business model.

  3. I wish I could say I didn’t know what you were talking about but I do. I’ve seen it especially with wedding DJs. I can’t afford a DJ and am going to use Spotify and I’ve seen DJ’s online talk about cheapskate couples and how their receptions suck and I feel like I can’t even talk about it online ever without someone mocking me. I think DJ’s are the bees knees but I still can’t afford one. I wish I could.

    • I WISH we had used Spotify or just made a seven hour playlist on my laptop. Our DJ was cheap by industry standards and seemed like a good idea until the wedding. He basically ignored everything we’d discussed in our meetings and started just doing his usually thing until I told him to cut the Top 40 and stick to our list. It’s been a month and a half and songs will come on the radio that prompt me to think “Hmm, that artists was on our list … he didn’t play them.”

    • I emailed a DJ to ask about his package because his price was close to our budget but still a little too much. His standard package included a few items we didnt want or need such a a kid candy toss (no kids invited to the wedding), a video screen with a video of photos of us the couple (which he will take hours to put together), and burned CD of the music. I asked if we didnt want these additional items, but just music and announcements could he work with the price. His response was dismissing me, telling me to find a DJ company since he does only one job a day and they might give better discounts. He also said ,”I have a degree in audio engineering, I’ve been a certified audio engineer for 30 years.” Instead of working with me, he was rude and threw his 30 years of experience back in my face (but he didnt learn customer service in those 30 years!) Other DJs were not rude in their responses but we decided to go with spotify and a friend in charge of the music. At least we have had a good experience with our venue, florist, and salons — Thank goodness!

      • That is ridiculous! We didn’t even ask for a discount and our DJ could have had the easiest night of work ever. We provided him with our cocktail hour and dinner playlists, like not just giving him a list of songs, we gave him a flash drive with the mp3s on it and in the proper order. We listed like seven genres we wanted to hear, seventeen specific songs, and even chose what songs we wanted to open at close the night. I really feel like he made it harder on himself by not getting into it or doing the necessary prep work. I think he thought that he could show up and do his normal thing and we would just go with it. He looked really surprised when I went up to the booth and said “Fade this out and do NOT under any circumstances play any more Top 40.” No tip for him!

        • Do DJ’s seriously just think they can play top 40 at a wedding when you’ve given them a setlist? That’s going to be something to consider for our medieval and metal themed wedding…

          • Not sure that all DJs do but ours certainly did. We had asked that he open the dancing with Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and he opened with “Shut Up and Dance With Me.” I actually don’t mind that song except for the fact that it saturated the radio in our area so I was sick of it, but it was more the fact that he blatantly ignored the very specific list we had given him. He had our list for four months prior to the wedding too so if what we wanted was outside of his usual realm he had plenty of time to source the songs we wanted and come up with a playlist.
            I think in the end it just wasn’t a good fit and I feel like we were had. He presented himself as being really flexible and totally behind our ideas but when it came down to it he tried to slip into his usual routine. So when picking a DJ make absolutely sure, have it put in the contract even, that they will play what you want to hear.

  4. I had a weird thought about why vendors might do this. Could it be some sort of weird reverse psychology trick? Is it sort of like a “I want to attract traditional clients who’ll pay out the nose for my services so to do that I will publicly make fun of non-traditional weddings and that way the people who are having a big expensive traditional wedding will think I’m cool and want to hire me.” I’m probably thinking too deeply about this but whether that’s the intent or not it may actually work that way in some instances.
    In some cases though I think vendors might get tripped out and not know how to handle a non-traditional wedding. They’re used to doing their thing and when they meet a couple who wants something different they might get anxious about it. Our DJ was obviously very used to just using his go to “wedding playlist” of Top 40, annoying dances like the cha-cha slide, and providing crazy lights and props. We didn’t want any of these things and even though he said he understood and was behind us 100% when it came down to the night we had to remind him to cut the Top 40 a few times and stick to our list.
    None of this excuses vendors from being snarky about other vendors work or about weddings. That is just no way to win clients … unless they’re doing my evil reverse psychology thing …

    • Even from a reverse psychology thing, I really do wonder if they think that’ll win them clients – and are the few clients they’d gain by being rude really be worth ostracizing not just offbeat brides, but kinder, nonjudgemental traditional brides?

    • The market a vendor is trying to reach is definitely a factor. If, for instance, you know you only want to cater to high end luxury clients, then there’s no real need to worry about losing the business of lower budget clients (because they’re not your market!), but then the question becomes, fine: you don’t care about alienating them, but do you really want to alienate them? As a business owner, does it ever make sense to insult non-clients online?

      Then again, I have seen the reverse here too: vendors who I think unintentionally dip into “offbeater-than-thou” language that alienates more traditional clientele. Like, it’s great that a vendor loves shooting punk couples… but that doesn’t mean a vendor really benefits from saying things like “Mainstream weddings FUCKING SUCK.”

      • I’ve seen a ton of photographers being very outspoken about ‘traditional’ wedding photographs their clients ask them for. Like ‘UGH WHEN CLIENTS ASK FOR A BLACK/WHITE PHOTO WITH ONE COLOR UGH SO UNORIGINAL AND DUMB’. Mostly on tumblr. It makes me very nervous to request certain poses and types of photographs because apparently you can be both ‘too weird’ and ‘not weird enough’.

    • I don’t think it’s that big a mystery. Vendors are people; people suck at acting like grown-ups on the internet.

      • Totally agree with this… but generally people are less sucky about acting like grown-ups when they have the potential to lose money over it. I mean, I know we’re all dicks online, but we’re also all self-serving money-grubbers… and it’s weird when the impulse to be a dick overpowers the impulse to make a buck.

  5. I think some wedding vendors act rude because they think “this is a one time client, it’s not likely they’ll be planning a second & third wedding. People will always get married, so there’ll always be a steady stream of new, one time clients.”

    • I agree, which I think is a shame. I run a small business contracting out circus performers – we don’t get a lot of repeat customers (there’s only so many times you’re going to need fire twirlers in your life), but I try to provide the best service I can because I want people to speak well of my business and recommend me to their friends and family. You might not need a pair of aerial artists more than once in your life, but your coworker/cousin/best friend’s niece might need one soon, and I hope that I’m the first person you think of calling!

      Plus, it’s a really lousy view to have – even if you’re dealing with weddings all the time, your clients aren’t! This is THE wedding for them, so all vendors should remember that even if this is just another job for them, this is a very special occasion for their client. I take a lot of pleasure in being a part of my client’s wedding magic.

  6. Honestly, I’m actually kind of happy when vendors show themselves to be jerks, because it warns people not to work with them. No one wants a surprise jerk vendor.

    Like the photographer from the budget post the other day who kept insisting that everyone was completely unrealistic and only the rate she charged was correct – her photos were beautiful, but I’d never work with her at this point.

  7. I will never, ever understand this. As a photographer trying to make ends meet I am always super careful about anything I say online, especially here where so many prospective clients could see it (case in point: this is my third draft of this comment). I’ve often wished that certain wedding vendors would get training in customer service and public relations. Reputation can make or break you in this business.

  8. I’m seeing a lot of comments from people on the client-side of the transaction. Having had a bit of experience on the vendor-side (I run a small business contracting out circus performers for special events), I would never badmouth a client, or a potential client publicly. That’s just a no-brainer. Planning a wedding should be an exciting, wonderful and memorable experience, and I want to be a part of creating that magic for my clients.

    The only thing that has really hurt on my side is when clients have tried to undervalue my work, or the work of my performers. This includes demanding I create a very large performance package just for them with very specific details (which often includes a lot of phone-calls to performers to check prices and availability), only to then turn around and say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” without offering any reason as to why the sudden lack of interest. Or sneering at the price of my performers, (“$500 for a burlesque performer! I could get my friend to perform for $100!”), or their abilities (“But the performers in Cirque du Soleil can suspend themselves in the air for half-an-hour just with their arm strength! Why can’t yours?!”).

    I will never badmouth a client or a potential client publicly because apart from bad business practices, it’s just not a nice way to live. But I would encourage all clients to remember that jerkish behaviour is not cool on either side.

  9. I’m a vendor, and I hate those vendors. Don’t blame us all :).

    I think the why can vary. Some vendors are having a hard time finding clients and they blame what they see as “cheapskate” couples. Some vendors probably think they can “shame” couples into buying services. For the traditional types, more offbeat weddings are akin to a violation of their beliefs.

    Stay away from those vendors. Don’t feed the trolls. Don’t pay them, either. Support the good ones and you’ll see the rude vendors slowly disappear…

  10. I have a photographer friend who vents on Facebook sometime, usually in relation to clients no calling no showing, or some other indication. I can see how some of that frustration would bleed over into other conversations, especially in scenarios where you might not be thinking of people as clients but instead as peers.

  11. This whole thread really strikes a chord for me, as at the moment I am both a vendor and an offbeat groom. I’ve been a wedding photographer for over 15 years, and I thought I knew the industry up til the moment I started planning our wedding. Wow, what a wake up call!
    Some of the vendors I’ve approached about being involved in our wedding have been really terrifyingly rude, I’ve had photographers list their past celebrity clients in a bid to get me to pay four times my budget for them to show up, I’ve had a venue very coldly inform me that they “don’t cater to that sort of wedding” (meaning weddings without an unlimited budget).
    I, of course, understand that being a wedding vendor is a business. They’ve got bills to pay, bottom lines to worry about, equipment to buy and keep working, but I genuinely think that the most valuable resource your business has is your reputation.
    Personally, in my business, I’ve dealt with some problematic clients over the years. I’ve had very demanding clients, I’ve had a few clients who have been abusive towards me and I had to fire them, I’ve had many clients who think they are negotiating but are actually just demanding that I drop my prices but still do the same amount of work and deliver the same value at the end. I spend more of my time than I’d like responding to “enquiries” that come in which simply read, “photos how much” (not even kidding, no info, no punctuation, I get two or three of these a week!)
    That said,move also had some amazing clients, couples who were a dream to work with. I’ve shot a couple of weddings where I’ve made a loss but I really wanted to help the couple out, I’ve shot weddings with weird and wonderful people who I still, to this day, chat with and keep in contact.
    I love weddings, I decided a few years back that I would only shoot 10 a year, because I want to know each of those couples like an old friend when I’m with them for nearly all of their wedding day. I want them to know me, to feel comfortable around me, and for me to genuinely be captivated by their romance.
    I think the problem truly lies in a simple assumption that most people make; that all weddings are just weddings, all brides are made equal, and any vendor will do. When brides/grooms get a lot more picky about finding the right vendor (not based solely on budget, but on style/personality/quality) and vendors stop chasing every possible client & focus on the ones they really resonate with, then the wedding world will lose a lot of snark and we will all find true love! 🙂

    • Andi, this is very well said and I particularly agree with the last paragraph. Overall, traditional or not, there is more pressure and stress that goes into planning a wedding, as it’s so personal, thus couples and vendors alike feel the effects of that.

      I think the thing that everyone can lose sight of is that no two weddings, couples, budget, etc. are the same which can be frustrating at times. But the thing to keep in mind no matter what those factors are, everyone wants the same end result – a day they’ll remember and love.

      The bottom line is everyone should be respected.

    • Your last paragraph there strikes to heart for me – we’re looking for a photographer/videographer now, and trying to strike that balance between budget and finding one that meshes with us (and more so me, since the SO seemingly can get along and like just about everyone lol) has been very difficult. It’s a balance that is so, so important, yet is seemingly overlooked – a lot.

  12. I wonder if some of it is simply the problem of people thinking that having a skill = having a business. You can be an amazing portrait photographer, but you can’t be an amazing wedding photographer until you have the right people skills. You can be amazing on the decks*, but you’re not a wedding DJ until you can listen as well as you can spin. There’s a reason successful businesses are rarely one man shows – very few people have all the skills required to make a living from their passion. A lot of wedding vendors are very small businesses, which means they’re juggling accountancy and marketing and customer service and their actual own talent at once, and when people are prioritising which skills to grow and improve, it’s easy to assume that customer service is lower priority than understanding the latest tax forms.

    *I feel so incredibly “middle class trying to sound cool” right now. I looked up how to spell ‘decks’.

  13. Sometimes, people are more outspoken, or rude online than they are face-to-face because they feel that they have a security blanket of anonymity. It does not excuse their behavior at all, though, and sometimes people can just be rude.

  14. In our initial search for a venue, we went to one that we loved and would have booked had it not been for the woman who showed us around. She seemed less than thrilled that we were there, forgot our names, and generally was disinterested in answering our questions and concerns. Sucks for that business because they would have gotten our hard-earned money if their employee had just cared a bit more.

    • I hear this! The first time I called to ask for information about our venue the woman I spoke to was SO RUDE! Before I could ask my first questions she said she had questions for me and asked how many people (then told me that was too many even though it wasn’t), sit down meal or buffet (then told me buffets were cheap and people preferred sit down meals), and also told me that October 31st was too late in the season because it “would be cold” She also told me in detail about all three of her children’s weddings that had been held there and how what they’d done was so much better than what I was planning.
      We did end up using the venue because the price was too good to pass up. We got it for a full three days for the price of 5 hours at other venues in our area. Thankfully, the horrid woman was replaced in the spring by a wonderful woman who was excellent to work with. When we spoke to the new woman about our experience she said said many people had been passing on the venue and it had been losing money … explains why she’s in charge now!

    • That kinda sounds like the problem I had with a certain florist I almost went with. She seemed very disinterested and gave me very vague answers to my questions. For example: I asked her for an estimate on how tall an altar arrangement was going to be (I wasn’t looking for an exact quote, only an educated guess) and her answer was “Oh, they will be tall”. How the frick tall is “tall”? As tall as my kneecap? As tall as a giraffe’s rump? After a few other questions, I kindly declined her services and did my own flowers; which ended up being lotsa fun!

    • I know this feeling! We had a similar (actually, worse) experience with a venue while searching. They scheduled our tour smack dab in the middle of another couple’s cocktail hour! My fiance and I kept saying how uncomfortable we were and that we didn’t want to intrude, but the woman giving the tour would not listen to anything we said and actually pushed us into the ballroom as wedding guests were taking their seats! We couldn’t hear a word she was saying over the DJ. Oh, and to top it all off, made a comment to us about how “the parents love this cost saving technique!”. Our parents were not in attendance, we are paying for everything ourselves, and that’s a sore spot for us because our parents want to pay but can’t due to his mom having breast cancer recently and my dad suffering from nerve damage and the medical bills stacked up for both sets of parents. Obviously she didn’t know that last part, but it was frustrating that she just assumed that our parents would be paying and that we weren’t her potential customers. Maybe had we been treated better we would have booked that venue.

      • Did you end up telling that venue why you didn’t go with them, AdkRCLove?

  15. I’m a wedding officiant in New Hampshire and I specialise in offbeat. Handfastings are my main stock in trade and I LOVE weddings with wings, horns, fairies etc. I offer World of Warcraft in game weddings as a free bonus to my gamer clients and I’m up for anything. I cannot understand the mentality of vendors who are not willing to create something special for their clients. I enjoy the differences between people and the day of your wedding should showcase who YOU are, not what I want. Anytime you hit that wall with your vendor, walk away. /rant. LOL

  16. Fortunately, I have not dealt with this firsthand. My experience with this is mostly through websites that have articles with headlines like “5 Wedding Trends Planners Say Are ‘Out’ in 2015!” And it’s like, well . . . yeah. Of course you’re tired of seeing Mason jars. You live, breathe, and eat weddings, and your clients are seeking your help because they (probably) don’t. Every profession has a trend they’re tired of seeing. My doctor friends hate WebMD with a passion and as an editor I twitch when people write “I could care less” about something on social media. Granted, it’s disappointing when you’re dealing with a client who seems to ONLY care about trends, whether they’re traditional or offbeat trends, but taking your professional frustration out on your clients is unfair. I was excited to use books as centerpieces in my wedding–I had seen the idea on Pinterest in 2012, an article had written that it was “out” in 2013, and I got married in 2015, BUT my florist said she had never seen the idea put into action in her 15 years in the wedding industry and my guests LOVED it and thought it was very novel (haha, pun). Offer up your professional opinion if you don’t agree with someone, certainly–goodness knows I’ve butted heads with author egos–but ultimately you’re there for their needs.

  17. I didn’t encounter any rude vendors thankfully, although I did have a DJ pass my email address onto one of his mates as he couldn’t do my date. I was literally just making an initial enquiry about his costs so I thought it was very presumptive of him, especially as they were hardly similar in style.

    I did get very annoyed with venues and cake makers in my wedding planning though as many of them were unresponsive. My dream venue never happened as they never responded to my requests for cost information. Another venue dismissed me so quickly I’m not even sure they had the right year (again, just wanted cost information at that stage). I got the impression many of them though that if you had to ask about prices, you clearly couldn’t afford it, so why should they bother to respond?

    As for cake makers, the cake maker I had in mind answered two of my emails and then ignored me after that… I still follow her Facebook page to see what she makes and wonder why she didn’t want my business. I think she just didn’t want to do it as I was asking for a variation of a cake she’d done before. Another never replied, and I got an email a year later from someone doing her admin advising me she was on long-term maternity leave (fair enough, but a message on her website stating this would have been nice)!

  18. I think many people don’t know how to ‘vent’ their frustrations and opinions appropriately, whether they are vendors or clients, face-to-face or online. The answer to all this snarkiness lies somewhere between clients thinking they are always right, and vendors believing the end product justifies the means. Neither attitude is right. There will always be those kind of people, and tempers are more likely to flare in expensive high pressure situations such as wedding planning. The whole process of choosing wedding vendors reminded me of online dating – there were numerous outright ‘no-goes’, a lot that were ‘sort of ok’, and few that got your heart racing but the other party didn’t feel that way about you. And then you find a date where both parties see the sparks fly, and they create something beautiful together with your ideas no matter what your budget is.

  19. I am on another wedding forum where people are merciless to those who don’t have a complete open bar, or choose a honeymoon funding registry instead of a traditional one. The whole thing reeks of classism. It’s especially off-putting when you see one of the more snarky comments coming from a vendor.

    • I suspect I might know which board you’re on, but yes – it is surprising how snarky some people can get around how wedding should (or shouldn’t.) be run. :/

    • This is why I’m so sad that the forums here closed just as I started planning my wedding, it’s too stressful and anxiety-inducing being on any of the others. We can’t afford much and aren’t traditional at all so it’s very easy to feel bad about everything on the other forums.

    • Oh my god. I have an account on WW and was absolutely stunned to see the way people treat each other on the forums. I’m so glad I found Offbeat Bride where people are sane (or at least courteous).

  20. I think some vendors are rude because they don’t want your particular business, if we’re talking about offbeat weddings. They won’t put you in their portfolio since you don’t fit their aesthetic, so why bother being nice? You know how sometimes in business there are clients you’re better off not having-they look at you as that type of client.

    And if you have a low budget, they definitely feel it’s not worth their time, and feel it’s a waste of their expertise.

    • I understand what youre saying but it still seems like bad business. Even if I don’t have the money what if a vendor is rude to me and then I dont refer them to a friend who does have money? It just seems like it’s short sighted business to be rude to someone who could refer a potential client in the future

    • If they don’t want the business or the clients, why comment on the post?

      • Because some people are just catty and snarky all the time? It doesn’t stop just because they are running business….

    • The thing about that, though, is it doesn’t make any practical or business sense to be nasty – on the business side of things, you are losing clients – I may not be able to afford that business, but I may have a friend that can and would pay that price. Why would I refer them if that business bad talks me or our interests?

      From a practical standpoint, it also is a waste – they take the effort to be nasty, which gains them literally nothing. The few minutes they take to compose nasty comments on the internet are a few minutes they could have spent wooing one of their clients or making a sandwich, after all.

  21. I think all the stuff about bad vendors is covered so I’ll answer what I think we as people getting/gotten married should be doing!

    A super useful thing for me in OBB was realizing that I’m one in a million. What is unique and special for me is another client for the vendor. That doesn’t mean people should treat me as a jerk! But realizing that florists have a LOT of 1 hour meetings and only 1 out of 4 end up being clients (I think I read that somewhere here?) made me way less panicked and mad about my florist who didn’t respond promptly to my e-mail. I realized that she was probably like “oh here’s another possible client that will probably fall through” and then I approached her with kindness. Ultimately she was my FAAAAAAVORITE vendor so I’m glad that OBB helped me calm down and realize just how many people a vendor is dealing with.

    One thing I think people should be careful of is talking about exact prices without mentioning where you’re based. It’s true that people should not undervalue vendors – find a budget-option and a deal, totally, but think someone deserves a low amount is a bad idea. The photographer conversation I think was great for finding a budget but what is considered budget should be based on location. I don’t think it’s fair for websites and forums to say that it’s ridiculous to charge $2000 – in NYC $2000 is average (slash slightly low) for a wedding photographer. Consider how much rent is here! It was really hard for me as a client to try to find realistic prices for things because people on websites would say how much they paid without saying where they lived, or say that a certain price was “Super high!” without realizing that someone living in London probably charges a very different amount than someone in rural India. Every vendor is going to charge what they need to live in their city.

  22. My wedding is going to be pretty small, and I am doing almost everything but myself. While I love cooking and baking, my fiance and I decided that making dinner and a cake would be too much stress for me. We decided on take away Chinese food (since our first date involved Chinese food). So far that has been a great choice, as the owner of the restaurant has been helpful. The cake has been a major issue. I have contacted a few bakeries and have had simply an awful time with it. No fewer than three have said that they have no interest in making such a small cake, suggesting we just buy a ready made one. I thought I had found a bakery. I discussed what I wanted (carrot cake without any nuts or added fruits and ermine icing) as well as my price range. I explained that the wedding is extra small but that I would like there to be an extra piece of cake for everyone to take with them (so, less than 20 servings). We sat down and looked at cakes styles I had brought with me. We were not given the advertised samples, even though I specifically asked and had offered to pay a small fee to make sure we got it. Instead, my fiance and I were given a chocolate cupcake with whipped icing to share. (Am I the only one who thinks that cupcakes and cakes have a slightly different texture?) I was almost okay with it, since I had factored in the fact that they traditionally do much more expensive cakes which off set the samples they offer. Almost. That ended when I got the estimate. Two tiers–one 4″ the other 6″ –and a relatively simple piped design on the cake I wanted was almost $400. When I expressed my shock, the vendor said, “If your wedding is not that important to you then maybe you can get away with a cheaper cake.” I received the estimate a few weeks ago. I am still muttering, “If your wedding is not that important to you…” It was more than $20 a slice! (And would have cost almost as much as my wedding venue.) I can make that cake easily: I just do not want to.

    The good news is that my son works at one of the top restaurants in our area and is on good terms with the chef. Turns out that this chef also has extensive pastry training. My son mentioned my on going cake issue to him. The chef asked him to bring a picture of my favorite one, after laughing at the ridiculous cake estimate. After the holidays are past, he is going to make a practice cake for us to try. He promises that if we do have him make it, it will be a “tiny fraction” of what I was quoted.

    If anyone is wondering: I absolutely believe my wedding to be important. I am marrying my sweet, kind, loving, intelligent fiance. I am marrying him after having been married before to a man who eventually became abusive, causing me permanent physical disability and PTSD. This marriage expresses all my trust, faith, and love for someone when I did not think I could ever feel those things again. Even with those facts, we have a budget.

    “If your wedding is not that important to you…”

    • That is totally abhorrent and I hope you said all of this on her Yelp page. Ugh. Gross.

    • I am so sorry that baker was so rude to you! That is unbelievable! Our cake was $255. It was three tiers and fed 125 people with the top tier left over for us. We live in a fairly rural area and got our cake from the bakery of a Mom and Pop grocery store. It was beautiful and delicious. I cannot believe they wanted to charge you $400 and above that how dare they say your wedding wasn’t important to you!? Our wedding was super important to us but not important enough to go into debt over.

      I’m glad you seem to be on to a baker who is respectful of your budget and wishes! I bet it’ll be great!

    • Ugh! I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience, hon. I’m glad you found someone who will work with you though. Best of luck and good wishes on you guys’ wedding day as well as the rest of the wedding planning process.

  23. I’ve had some issues with vendors already, and we are still way far out with our wedding planning. Mostly the venue, which we had to switch because the event supervisor was being so incredibly rude to me that I wasn’t comfortable anymore.

    I’ve also seen a bit of that in the Lolita community, with some seamstresses and companies selling clothes being openly hostile on Facebook and blogs. I earnestly do not understand it.

    I mean, I help run a primarily online-run business, and even though there are times when it is stressful we still do our best to keep our cool. I’ve been told to kill myself, publicly on our companies Facebook page, and we still had to try to be diplomatic.

    Gosh, sometimes while just browsing sites looking for reviews and you see a vendor responded to a negative one and you read their response and just *know* you don’t want to work with them. Defending yourself is one thing, I think, but I’ve seen vendors straight-out insult the person giving them a negative review. Like, you can explain why there were difficulties, and even explain that the bride was at fault, but I have seen legitimate insults made towards the brides weight, family, and choices, written in an erratic fashion, and that’s when I write that vendor off my list.

  24. Anyone else having the problem of some vendors just flat-out not answering your emails or returning your phone calls? We would contact vendors, and at best many of them would take up to three weeks to get back to us. We’ve left voicemails, follow-up emails, and nothing. When we do actually get through, some of them are extremely rude. It’s like they don’t want our business.

    The most maddening thing is that they’re super friendly when we initially meet in person, but after that, they just seem to fall off the face of the planet. I’m starting to get really stressed as our wedding is two months away and we still need to arrange a lot of details. Their lack of responses is not helping!

    Does anyone else have this problem? How should we deal with it? My partner and I really want to complain, but we are afraid that will affect the quality of their service to us.

    Context: traditional wedding in New Zealand. I’m from Canada, my partner’s a Kiwi. We’ve been planning our wedding for a full year, so it can’t be an issue of “not having enough time”

    • I’m a vendor (photographer in the US), and I absolutely think your vendors should be responsive any time you reach out, either before or after booking. When you’re looking for vendors, pay attention to how quickly they respond. If they are slow or don’t reply until you have emailed several times, that’s a sign that prompt communication isn’t important to them, and you’re probably better off hiring someone else.

      For the vendors you’ve already hired, definitely keep trying to reach them by email, phone, text, even snail mail if you have to. You hired them and are paying for their services, which includes planning ahead of the wedding date. They need to respond if they want to keep your business. I assume you’ve already paid a (non-refundable) deposit? I know that puts you in a tough position, but if you can afford to let that go and hire another vendor, threaten to dump them if they don’t respond and be prepared to follow through. Any vendor who would give you bad service at your wedding because you demanded that they do their job and help you plan is someone you don’t want around you on your wedding day anyway. I’ve had people hire me a month before their wedding because their photographer wasn’t holding up their end of the bargain. There’s always somebody who’ll be happy to step in at the last minute.

      Before you do any of this, though, check your junk email folder. I’ve had clients furious with me for not responding, when I had emailed them several times but my messages got labeled as junk mail. Put their address in your safe mail list, and definitely try calling and texting to cover all your bases. If they claim they never got your email, you’ll know that’s bullshit if you left voicemail and text messages too.

  25. There was a particular local vendor (of wedding stationery and venue dressing) who popped up in my Facebook feed quite a lot, as the proprietor was a friend of a friend and the mutual friend used to like and share a lot of her friend’s business posts. I noticed that while her work was lovely, her attitude in her posts was sometimes really unpleasant and gave me a bad feeling. I already knew from seeing the vendor’s personal posts crop up sometimes (again, thanks to our mutual friend) that she wasn’t really someone I liked, but assumed she’d be more professional in her business. The thing that really swung it for me was seeing a photo of this vendor’s work, a table plan, shared by a wedding page on Facebook, and noticed that there was a big, clear spelling mistake (the groom’s name spelled differently in the different sections.) Because it was a third party who’d shared it, I sent a message to our mutual friend to let the vendor know in case she wasn’t aware. It turned out that the vendor had known about the mistake before putting the picture out there and thought it was funny that I’d noticed and told her. That confirmed for me that if she cared so little about the work she actively advertised with, she probably wouldn’t put care into the work she did for others and I was right to avoid her. I was very glad I did because shortly afterwards the business page also put a very thinly-veiled snarky post on about another vendor, which I recognised as being about the stationer who was doing the table plan, menus etc that were included in our venue package. When we met with her it came up in conversation and she was visibly upset- it seems that the post I’d seen was the best of a bad bunch. She later changed her business to photography- I hope it was because enough customers were put off by her attitude, but I fear not because she seems to be doing very well now…

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