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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Where to Find Great Wedding Professionals

Written by  David Egan

No matter what kind of wedding professional you need, the most important consideration is this: How good are they at what they do? If they aren’t able to do the job at least as well as you expect, nothing else matters.

So where do you go to find them, and how can you tell good from bad?

A simple web search will bring up lots of possibilities. You’ll find tons of individual professionals and companies. There are also large and small wedding-focused websites that wedding professionals use, either free or for a fee, to promote their services. Two of the largest are Theknot.com and Weddingwire.com. Both have dozens of local listings in every category of service and product that you might need for your wedding. Many of these websites have reviews that will help you make good choices, and sometimes feature endorsements from other wedding industry professionals.

I’m a researcher when it comes to buying anything. I use Amazon.com for lots of my purchases, focusing in particular on their customer reviews. One of the key metrics I use is the percentage and sheer number of reviews at the four and five-star levels. Individual reviews mean much less to me than seeing 85% of 100 or more reviews at four and five stars. You can approach the reviews of wedding professionals in the same way. Look at the reviews from couples. Also consider the endorsement of other wedding professionals, who frequently experience the work of a given professional many times.

Looking offline, there are also lots of wedding shows to be found, from convention-center sized affairs down to much smaller shows and open houses held at wedding venues. For the former, the ability to pay the booth fee is often all that’s needed in order to participate. The venues usually draw exhibitors from their own lists of approved and recommended professionals.

As a wedding venue owner, I exercise great care in choosing which wedding professionals I recommend to my clients. Most other venue owners and managers take the same care, as do other wedding professionals who make recommendations to their clients. All of us want to work with people who do great work. I want my clients to be delighted with my own work and that of everyone I recommend.

So ask your venue and your caterer and every wedding professional that you hire and consider hiring who they recommend. Chances are that you’ll hear some names over and over. That’s a good sign! Take a look at those professionals.

Most wedding professionals worth considering have a web presence, whether it is a freestanding website, a Facebook page, Instagram, or all three. Give all of that a good look. See how it feels. Is there lots of information about what they do? Does it leave you feeling confident that they can do the job for you? If so, get in touch and see how your first contact goes.

While I like building relationships with a phone call and then an in-person meeting, everyone does it differently. The important thing is that they are responsive, competent, and that you’re comfortable working together.

Where shouldn’t you look? The brother-in-law of the person in your office is likely to not be a good choice. Relatives, friends, and colleagues, either themselves or once (or twice) removed who work as wedding professionals, get chosen for weddings because of the familial relationship much more often than on the merits of their work. Not only does this have the potential of making a hash of your wedding, your ability to relate to them as professionals before, during, and after your wedding is compromised because of the relationships involved.

Remember, what’s convenient or easy is not always what’s good. While a discount offer at a wedding show can be tempting, buying alone on price is often the road to ruin. Careful consideration of their work will serve you far better than saving what usually turns out to be a small fraction of your wedding budget.

Next time: Penny wise, pound foolish!

David Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a historic Baltimore wedding and event venue. Visit chasecourt.com, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook! Send your comments and questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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