There’s something about a wedding disaster where you can’t look away. As we read the most recent wedding catastrophe article, “Wedding pictures become nightmare for bride,” we couldn’t help but think about how many brides out there have a wedding vendor horror story.
Don’t worry, if you haven’t had a chance to read the article, we’ll sum it up (however, please do read). A bride books a wedding vendor (because it was cheap) that turns into a total nightmare. The message of this article was clear and simple-you get what you paid for and if you think it’s too good to be true...it probably is! While that all seems like a simple message and one that we’ve heard many times before, we tend to overlook the obvious when we’re excited or just not knowledgeable. And if you’ve never planned a wedding before, it’s easy to get confused or overwhelmed.
But how can these wedding vendor tragedies be avoided? After 17 years in the wedding industry, we’ve learned a thing or two here at CinemaCake, so here are some of our insider knowledge tips on 5 important things to know when booking your wedding vendors.
1. Look for Client Reviews
Client reviews are the easiest way to tell if a vendor is all they are cracked up to be. One thing we know, is that no bride is recommending a vendor that ended up disappointing her on her wedding day. In fact, she will go out of her way to make sure other brides don’t go through the same experience that they did. Log into Facebook and search their business page to check the reviews written by real clients or better yet, simply Google them. Type in the name of the vendor and put the word ‘review’ after it. You will find out all kinds of information, both good..and bad. We love to use WeddingWire as a way for clients to document their reviews. With WeddingWire, our brides and grooms can sing their praises and share their CinemaCake experience for all future couples to see, However, you have no control of what people write, so you can see the good, the bad and the downright ugly as these are written by the client, not the vendor. Try searching your vendor on WeddingWire to see what their reviews say.
2. Ask to See Their Previous Work
Bottom line, if a vendor is reputable, they will be happy to show you their work. It’s important to see their previous work, so you can get a sense of what you will receive on your wedding day. Some photographers/videographers may direct you to their image/video gallery, while wedding planners/designers may show you Recap films created just for them. At CinemaCake, we’re happy to send couples our previous works, like our Coming Soon Trailers as well as a fully completed film, that will relate best to their wedding day. Whether it’s films shot at a specific venue, or with a certain vendor, there’s a film we can show you that you can relate to. But be sure to ask for a complete production and work that is recent, not just what is posted on their website or Facebook Page.
3. Communicate With Your Vendors
We can’t stress enough the importance of being clear to your vendors as to what you are looking for in your final product. Whether it be your florist, your photographer, or your decorator, make sure there is always a clear line of communication. It’s important they understand your wedding day vision, and be able to meet your requirements. If your vendor is a reputable one, they will have no problem guiding you along, and will be prepared to answer all your questions and concerns. Here at CinemaCake, you can contact us through our Contact Page where we ask you a few starter questions. Then, we ask our couples to fill out a more detailed questionnaire in advance, so we can get to know you as a couple even more and to be sure we are the right fit. We also meet all of our clients in person, whenever possible, to build upon that relationship and further ensure that the wedding day will run smoothly. Having a wedding planner is a great way to keep in contact with all of your vendors, without the stress of doing it yourself. A wedding planner is there to protect you and guide you and ensure that the whole process goes smoothly from the planning process to the wedding day.
4. See Who Vendors Recommend
It’s a good sign when both a florist and a decorator refer you to the same vendor. Your wedding planner may suggest which vendors are right for you as well. Take the time to ask each vendor which companies they tend to work with and whom they trust.
5. Steer Clear of the Everything-in-one Vendors
If you’re being offered a venue, entertainment, photography, cinematography, decor, transportation, catering, and a wedding dress, all in one, in our humble opinion, is probably too good to be true. It’s best to hire a company that has a niche or only works within a couple select fields. You may feel like you’re saving yourself money or the hassle of booking multiple vendors this way, but in our experience, this is not the best approach. Work with vendors who are passionate in their field and who are masters at what they do. The extra work on your part will be worth it!
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It's a chilly Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia and I am heading out of one of the city's premiere wedding venues. I just spent my morning meeting dozens of newly-engaged couples at a showcase and talking with them all about their wedding day. I love attending events like this one because it gives me the chance to meet couples at the very beginning of the planning process and offer some advice that I have picked-up from working in this industry. It also gives me the chance to dispel any rumors and correct the misinformation I still hear about wedding films.
Over the past few years, I have definitely seen a shift in the wedding industry where more couples are becoming educated and aware of the necessity of having their day filmed. They get that it's the best way to relive their wedding because they can see and hear all the amazing moments and value the need to have their day captured professionally. But even with all this new knowledge out there, I still have some couples coming up to me at wedding showcases and asking me if a film is really necessary. Since I probably won't be able to meet all of you at a showcase, I'm doing the next best thing and sharing my answers to some of your biggest questions about wedding films.
1. I don't really need a wedding film, right?
You may not believe it now, but your wedding day will come and go before you know it. All the months of hard work and planning will play out over several hours and then it's done! Once the last piece of cake has been eaten and the last floral arrangement has wilted, all there is to look back on the day are the film and photos. Of course the photos are a great way to remember special moments, but nothing compares to being able to hear the toasts being given in your honor and see all your guests enjoying themselves on the dance floor.
I have found that in spite of all of my knowledge on the topic, the couples we work with truly say it best. Here was a review we received from Chris and Sarah after they watched their CinemaCake film for the first time:
"Unsurprisingly, we are blown away by what CinemaCake has created for us. They managed to capture not just the major events of our wedding day, but the feeling, emotion, and atmosphere of the celebration as well. To say that we are impressed would be an understatement and we truly cannot thank them enough. The whole team was fabulous to work with from the start and they not only went above and beyond, but did so in an entirely unobtrusive way, capturing moments without us even realizing they were there. In our opinion, that's the mark of a phenomenal videographer and one we would recommend to anyone who asked. Thank you for all of your hard work and for creating something that will be invaluable to not only us, but our families (and Ella!) as well for years to come."
2. Ok, I get it! I definitely need a film! But I can just have my friends film it on their iPhones right?
The old adage, "you get what you pay for" definitely rings true in this scenario. Sure, having footage just for posterity's sake is good, but you'll probably end up with clips that are blurry or audio you just can't hear. Having a professional crew, like the teams CinemaCake sends out, ensures that you will have amazing footage from multiple angles and crisp, clear audio from all of the important moments of your day. Now, you'll truly be able to experience the important moments of your day all over again!
Surprisingly, a recent survey of more than 750 newlyweds found that 35% of the couples wish they had spent more on their film! Budgeting for your wedding film is just as important as budgeting for photography and a good rule of thumb is to budget the same amount for both services if you want the same service and quality. Of course, you want to have beautiful photos of your day, but those images won't let you hear your vows or see your first dance again. Only a film will let you fully experience your day again and again.
Can't find the space for your dream cinematographer in your budget? Why not include a film on your registry! Zola.com gives couples the ability to create cash funds for your wedding film or any other elements of your day. You can let your guests gift whatever amount they like or set fixed amounts so multiple guests can split the cost of your item. Instead of getting more kitchen knick-knacks you'll probably never use, ask your guests for a meaningful gift that you will treasure for the rest of your lives.
3. Alright, I'm hiring a professional! How do I find the best company for me?
One of the biggest mistakes couples can make when they are planning their wedding is not doing the research. It can be hard to figure out who you want to work with or who you can trust to provide the quality and service you are looking for and it's important to educate yourself before you sign any contracts. First, it's good to talk to other vendors you are already working with and see who they recommend. Most vendors take recommendations very seriously and will point you in the direction of someone whose work and personality they trust.
Once you have some names, you will want to start looking online to see what other couples have to say about working with these companies. By simply Googling "Name of Company" and "Reviews", you can find several websites where clients have shared first-hand accounts of what is was like to work with the company on their wedding day and what the delivery process was like once they got to see their work. I always recommend couples check out the review site as well and make sure that reviews can't be removed by the company. It can seem like a lot of work, but it will definitely be worth it when you're working with the perfect team on your wedding day!
Planning your wedding can seem difficult, but it doesn't have to be. If you prioritize the important elements of your day, budget for them or include them in registry, and do the necessary research, you will be able to put together an amazing team. Your team is going to be with you throughout the biggest day of your life and they will work to make sure you have the best wedding day possible!
Best of luck with planning and make sure to come visit me at a wedding showcase soon!
To the newly engaged couple:
Picture your ten year wedding anniversary. Maybe you and your partner are living in a new home across the world or maybe you are both sitting on the same couch as you are right now. Maybe you are surrounded by family or a couple of kids of your own or maybe you two are just enjoying each other's company as you reminisce on the day you said "I Do." You are fondly talking about your wedding day, but the details are a little hazy. What exactly did your maid of honor say in the toast? What was that hilarious thing that your flower girl did during photo session? Did you even see the decor you toiled over for weeks in the cocktail space? Then you press play on your film and are immediately transported back to the day...
Like we discussed last week, your wedding day will breeze by and as the months and years go on, it will be hard to remember all the small details. Having a film of your wedding day will bring you right back to the moment and will give you the chance to hear your vows again and see your guest's reaction to your first dance. By keeping the film a manageable length, usually around 20 minutes, our couples can go back and relive their day over and over again. This also makes the film easy to share with others and something that your guests and people who enter your life in the future will want to enjoy! Lauren and Philip totally understood the importance of having their film documented in this way and we were so thrilled to receive this review from they happy couple.
"Prior to our wedding, the single comment most mentioned was how quickly our wedding day will pass. Given so many events and details happening around us that day, it was important to us that CinemaCake capture our wedding day in a way that not only Philip and I, but anyone who views the film, would be able to experience as though they were actually there. When Philip and I viewed the film, we were brought to tears. You have not only documented in film each moment that Philip and I personally experienced, but you somehow were able to bring to life the entire day and events as were experienced through the eyes of our family and friends. From the beautiful ceremony and speeches through the wonderful reception and every special moment in between, CinemaCake perfectly captured our wedding day. Philip and I are so grateful to have this film and the opportunity to forever relive our wedding day and to share with our family and friends.”
Your wedding film will become important not only to you and those closest to you, but to future generations as well! If you have your own children or nieces and nephews in the future, they will be interested and excited to relive these important moments with you. It will be great to show them what they're family was like before they we're alive and allow them to share these incredibly important memories with you. Jamie Apody and her husband Paul just celebrated their 6th anniversary and the sportscaster shared this sweet, personal post on her Facebook page to highlight the day.
"Because I'm sentimental today...6 years ago was a pretty special night. We showed our wedding video to the boys this week. Tanner is still upset and keeps asking why he wasn't there! I told him he was there in our hearts"
As you experience more anniversaries and get further away from your wedding, your film will become an even more treasured heirloom. It will start to hold new meaning for you as older relatives pass on, but are forever captured dancing and laughing in your film. Years after we filmed the wedding of Michael McKenna's daughter he reached out with a story so powerful, we had to have him tell it again on camera. Have a tissue ready for his incredible testimonial.
Your wedding day is going to be incredible and one of the most important days of your entire life. Be sure that you always have a way to look back and see just how amazing it was. We wish you all the best with planning and hope to hear from you soon.