I’m going to preface this by saying that there are some really, really great vendors out there that have awards from both The Knot.com and WeddingWire.com.
They’re great people, hard working, and awesome wedding vendors.
But there’s also a bunch of cheap, dishonest, really horrible, no good, very bad people out there that love making money off of clients that don’t know what they’re getting into until it’s too late that have them as well.
And forgive me if I’m bursting anyone’s fantasy that the wedding industry as a whole is this unicorn-humping, rainbow-sharting, fairytale lovegasm of Pinterest-induced warm fuzzies.
It’s not. I promise.
It can be a really scary place, actually. You can get screwed and left wondering what happened faster than you can say Kardashian (see what I did there) and you won’t know it until it’s too late to change it.
Hi. I’m Brett. And I’m kind of fiercely protective of your wedding day.
During your search for vendors, you’re going to see a lot of WeddingWire “Bride’s Choice” awards, and a lot of “Best of Weddings” awards from The Knot.
Do not, under any circumstances, base your final decision on these reviews or awards. At all. These awards are kind of like a suspicious rash you get after that fling with that person you don’t remember from that dating website you cancelled your subscription to shortly thereafter.
A lot of people have it, you can get it fairly easily, and it’s something you probably don’t want.
The trouble is that really great vendors have these awards. And really horrible vendors have these awards. And WeddingWire and The Knot couldn’t give a flying rip about who gets the awards, so long as their logo is posted on vendor’s websites and traffic is directed back to them. The idea itself is pure marketing genius; take an award-hungry industry, shower them with “awards” for little to no effort, give them a badge they can post on their website saying how cool they are, and make that badge lead traffic back to your site.
Holy ingenious marketing, Batman.
The issue I have with The Knot is that vendors that I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to, both locally and nationally, have repeatedly won their ” Best of Weddings” awards for several years in a row. Case in point, a local photography company in town sent me 5 weddings last year, not because they were kind and just love me that much, but because the couples had such a horrific experience during their engagement session, they fired this company and came to me. That company has won awards from The Knot for 4 years running. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence in their award system.
I saved my favorite for last though. I need a drumroll. Anyone?
This all started with an email I got from WeddingWire a couple of days ago. They were sweet enough to let me know I’d won the Couple’s Choice Awards for 2014. This from having a WeddingWire account that was started years ago that I never did anything with, and clients started finding it and leaving me really kind reviews after their weddings. I figured that couldn’t be such a horrible thing, so I left it up. When you would search for “Birdsong Photography reviews”, all of the reviews I’d been left on WeddingWire showed up.
Hey. That’s kind of handy. Sweet.
All of that was fine and dandy until I read the last sentence.
“The Couples’ Choice Awards recognize your business as amongst the top 5% of wedding professionals nationwide.”
Dear WeddingWire, that is an outrageous and blatant lie. I sincerely doubt with all of my heart that any of your employees could even name the top 5% of wedding vendors in this country, and I absolutely promise you that while I am busy as heck and thankfully so, I am not remotely near the top 5% of wedding photographers. But thanks for the ego rub.
So finally, to confirm my suspicions on just how easy it was for anyone with a pulse to get these awards, I created a fake WeddingWire account.
Behold. John Doe Photography.
John Doe Photography had zero wedding photos posted in his gallery, was in business for all of 3 hours total, and ended up with 15 reviews in a matter of minutes. Note that he was even WeddingWire Rated.
With the help of some wedding vendors and past and current brides, reviews started pouring for John Doe. Even I was able to review John Doe 4 separate times anonymously.
Now, while this was all in great fun and at WeddingWire’s complete and total expense, it confirmed several things; anyone with a pulse can make a WeddingWire account and get reviews, and absolutely anyone can leave reviews for someone on WeddingWire. This is great when it’s clients talking about how great a vendor was. This is really bad when shady vendors leave themselves reviews and have friends/family/stoner friends leave reviews for them to make them look more trustworthy than they are.
So. All that to say. The awards from The Knot and WeddingWire, until they put more effort into knowing who they’re flinging awards at and not just silently laughing at all the schmucks marketing for them, unfortunately mean jack squat.
Which can all boil down to my mantra I’m going to tattoo on every new client I talk to……research your vendors.
Research. Your. Vendors.
And don’t hire John Doe.