Beware the Wedding Factory factor…

If you read anything about me on this website, you hopefully will gather that I love being a part of people’s special moments.  Generally, I am a happy person with very few pet peeves or negative things to say about other people or businesses.  But this past month I have been witness to an unnerving trend that preys on innocent brides & grooms and their unknowing families.  I call them Wedding Factories.

I am mainly referring to venues that host wedding ceremonies and/or receptions (sometimes in large numbers) and treat their clients as if they are in line picking up a fast-food order.  “Wedding number 37 – your order is up!

Usually by the time someone finds me, they have already booked a venue for their wedding activities.  Of course, experiences can vary wildly depending on the staff, venue, etc., but what I am referring to is a wedding facility that exhibits the behavior of poor customer service by exploiting the inexperience of young brides and grooms.

Specific things to look out for are the following:

  • Is your sales person the same as your day-of coordinator?
  • Are they asking you lots of questions about your vision for the day?
  • Are they somewhat flexible on times?
  • Do they have lots of fees for extras (cake cutting, outside catering, etc.)?
  • Do they interrupt you while you are talking?
  • Do they host more than four weddings (Fri – Sun) in the same room?
  • Do you get the feeling that they actually care about your special day?

The key to getting what you want in the wedding industry is to ask a lot of questions and make sure you are satisfied with the answers.  Sometimes this means that you need to get specifics in writing.  There is a high degree of turn-over in the service industry, so sales people are not always going to be your day-of coordinator, but that can also lead to confusion on your big day.

When you are planning your event months in advance, there may be a need to tweak the event times as your day approaches.  A major shift would be anything more than an hour on either end.  So some flexibility can be a good thing.

Also, many facilities have substantial upcharges for using off-the-list caterers, bakers, and even disc jockeys.  Make sure that you read and understand the fine print when you are planning your event at each facility.  Some facilities require licenses and insurance for specific vendors too (this is not always a bad sign).

It is my feeling that a wedding is different than any other special event.  Facilities should give you the feeling that they care about your event and want it to be the best that it can.  Of course, we are all in business to make money but in the wedding business, customer service is king!