4 Huge Mistakes Brides should Avoid when Selecting Vendors on Social Media
Thanks to sources likeInstagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, finding and booking your wedding vendors should be easier and more convenient than ever right?! False. Brides and wedding professionals alike are finding that there are many pitfalls and downsides to searching out vendors on social media and through hashtag searches. An informal poll of local leading Utah wedding vendors revealed the 4 main mistakes every bride is making when researching vendors online.
1. Obsessing over Feed Aesthetics
The #1 comment I hear from a bride is, “I’m obsessed with her work!” Brides looking for vendors simply hop on Instagram and search hashtags like #utahweddingflorist or #utahweddingflowers. They’re instantly bombarded with thousands of gorgeous images from vendors all across the state! Soon they start to notice that they keep liking images from the same 10 accounts, and they’re sucked down the rabbit hole of beautiful imagery, marketing, and pinning and emerge truly obsessed with that person’s work. They come to believe that they HAVE to have it or their wedding will be nothing.
Unfortunately, one good image doesn’t guarantee a gorgeous wedding. Feeds are “Best of” highlight reels, and too many brides make massive assumptions about the quality and professionalism of their wedding vendors because they have a feed full of eye candy. It’s not a bad thing to love someone’s feed, but once you find a vendor you think may be a good fit, you need to do more than obsess over their best. You need to head to their websites or blogs and research full galleries from real weddings. You’ll want to look and see if they have the experience and tools to work around your wedding parameters. Do their images still look incredible in harsh or low light? Can that florist also bust out 20 centerpieces and a ceremony installation, or is she just good at creating a bouquet? Social media hasn’t taken away the need to research and find someone that will be 100% from start to finish.
We also see this problem in reverse. Many talented, experienced vendors don’t need to invest the time and effort necessary to create the perfect social media feed. They’ve built a solid clientele and market through other avenues. They may post an occasional cell-phone shot of a bouquet, but it’s hardly editorial quality. These incredible designers get passed over because brides AREN’T obsessing over their feeds. Instead, they’re judging based on the lack of aesthetics in a vendor’s feed and passing over real talent. It’s more important to go to their websites, dig in, and do your research.
2. Size of Following Assumptions
Ever heard a phrase like ‘bandwagon’ or ‘mob mentality’? Even if you don’t consciously acknowledge it, high amounts of followers, likes, reposts, or chatter about a certain person’s Instagram feed is impressive. You’ve been mesmerized and sold on a person’s branding and often make wild assumptions because of it.
The biggest complaint from wedding vendors is that too many brides make pricing and skill level assumptions based on the size of a vendor’s following, but a following is not always an accurate way to judge price, experience, or professionalism. If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “Oh I love his/her work but he/she is so popular I could never afford them.” then you have fallen victim to these same assumptions. There are many, many factors that go into size of following, and none of them include pricing. Big name Instagram accounts often bemoan that brides think they are now somehow unattainable.
Or vice versa, someone like me with a more modest following is often judged as a discount wedding vendor. I’m frequently approached by brides who will “allow me to do their wedding for free in exchange for exposure”. Yes. You read that right. Because I don’t have a 10k+ following on Instagram, I shouldn’t be paid for my work, despite 14 years of education and experience in designing wedding flowers.
We all know logically that social media makes it effortless for everyone to create false assumptions about a person or business, but don’t let those assumptions keep you from creating your dream wedding. Go to a vendor’s website and request pricing info, ask how long they’ve been in the industry, or get referrals from friends who have actually gone through the design process with them so that you know what to expect.
3. Shortcuts with Mass DM’s
Another common complaint from brides is that social media introduces them to so many vendors that they are overwhelmed and can’t choose. Wedding planning already requires a million decisions, and the internet has just opened up another can of worms. Instead of just going to your local main street florist, you’ve now found 100 other florists to choose from. How will a bride decide?!
I can tell you that the most common method of sending mass DM’s to 15 florists at a time and asking them to quote you a price from a Pinterest picture you love is not the way to go about it. Most vendors need and/or require a sit-down consultation to design your wedding before getting you an accurate price. You may not realize your image is way out of your budget...circle arches anyone?! They respond with a quote based off of the image you sent and it's higher than you wanted, so you cross them off your list. but you’re not giving them the chance to have a face-to-face design consultation where they show you how to sub, what to prioritize, and where to cut in order to get the look and style you want in the price range you need. Being able to e-mail or message someone does not replace the need to meet in person and pound out all the details, but it is a great way to just check really fast and see if they even have your date available before you start the design process with them!
4. Not Knowing the Difference between a Styled Shoot and a Real Wedding
Welcome to the age of the internet where everything you see on there is real :) Oh wait. Sorry. That’s a lie, and one that confuses brides pretty quickly. Instagram and Pinterest set ridiculously unrealistic expectations because much of the wedding inspiration out there is staged. It’s totally faked my friends. It’s called a “Styled Shoot” and it’s where wedding vendors get together and create faux wedding inspiration for publication, to trial-run an idea before the big day, to create content during the slow season, network with other industry professionals (it’s like book club only 1,000 times more fun!) or just to stretch themselves artistically.
I absolutely adore these shoots, but lately I’ve noticed a little problem. My brides can’t tell the difference between the magic of a styled shoot on a small scale in a controlled environment and a real wedding. They put those same over-the-top staged expectations on themselves and their wedding without realizing how much it would cost in reality, or that the vendor they selected may not have the experience or tools necessary to re-create that look.
Ask the vendors you’re researching to see examples of real weddings, not just small scale style shoots where they can create the perfect setting in a controlled environment. It may rain on your wedding day, so ask you photographer for images in inclement weather, or insist on seeing before and after shots of real women from your hair and makeup artist, etc.
Above all, remember that the convenience of finding possible wedding vendors does not replace researching them. You may feel stressed and overwhelmed vetting vendors for your wedding, but if you don’t have the time to research them, will you have the time to deal with the issues that blow up in your face on the biggest day of your life? Time spent really researching your wedding vendors is a worth-while investment into your peace of mind and enjoyment on your wedding day.
Photo by Ella
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