According to The Wedding Report, wedding spending has declined significantly since 2007 - almost by 30% (averaged) overall. The vast majority of wedding vendors can attest to the a downsizing of wedding budgets, as well as a drop off in bookings (new clients). Consultants and Coordinators in particular have seen postponements and cancellations spike in recent months.
Everyone is feeling the pinch; while engaged couples are trying to save, Photographers, DJs, Consultants and Venues are trying to survive. Competition for new bookings is fierce, thus creating a buyer's market which gives couples shopping for wedding vendors and services more purhcasing power. But how can you spot a "true bargain"? I'd like to offer a few tips to help you make a sound investment:
1. Perform a Status Check - Do your homework to determine if the vendor's company is healthy. A healthy company is "current", meaning they have an up-to-date presence, including a website featuring pictures of current staff, projects and client testimonails. A company that is healthy is typically involved in Professional Associations, and may be known as a leader in their industry. Healthy companies are growing (even now) and are gearing up for a great 2009-2010 wedding season. Look for current blog posts, quick responses to emails and phone calls, and positive recommendations from others (friends, vendors, etc.). Look for evidence of a well established business with a proven track ecord.
2. Beware of the high pressure sales pitch: The best vendors are eager for your business but not desperate.
3. Beware of Part-Timers: A part-timer (sometimes known as a 'moonlighter' or 'weekend warrior') may be able to offer a very competitive price, but do they have the equipment and experience to deliver the quality of product or service you are looking for? What is their stake in the success of your event and are they driven to ensure your complete satisfaction? Does the Vendor's Contract protect both parties?
4. Beware of Start-Ups: The poor economy has spawned a huge number of start-up businesses; people who have lost jobs or need extra income are becoming entrepreneurs. On one hand, it's beneficial to the market to have more affordable options, but who is the person behind the start-up? Do they have any experience with weddings? Will they grow tired of this new business venture in 6 or 9 months and leave you in the lurch? Is it worth the risk to hire someone with no track record?
5. Beware of "Free": "Free" is a hook; it's a term that often denotes an extra added value. Conversely, free also has no refund value, so like it or not, you're stuck with it. (ex: "That free album you gave me was poor quality." "The free candle centerpices only lasted halfway through the reception." ...Get the picture?)
For additional pointers on what to look for when hiring a professional wedding planner and coordinator, please visit our Website