I received emails from two friends this week, asking what I thought about an interesting article from The New York Times: “Start-Ups Hope Couples Say ‘I Do’ to Online Wedding Planning” by Danielle Beurteaux (January 4, 2017) http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/business/smallbusiness/start-ups-hope-couples-say-i-do-to-online-wedding-planning.html?src=me&_r=0
This article discusses how technology is useful for wedding planning. There are several websites/apps that provide information, and the article notes, Ms. Khalil has been able to build a database of 65,000 vendors, who are linked via a “relationship map” to venues. One of the company’s virtual wedding planners assembles a list of vendors based on a couple’s criteria, and the couples receive it within 48 hours of purchasing a service. Couples are charged from $10 to $399, and vendors $10 per client lead.
My friends wondered what I thought, so here goes: Here’s the issue for me… This site (and others) require the vendors to pay. So you have no real knowledge about a company/wedding professional except that they have chosen to spend their advertising dollars here.
And yes, the couples can find lists of wedding professionals. And they can see reviews. But there is nothing like the personal experience of a wedding planner, of word of mouth for getting the recommendations from people you know, or from the vendors about other vendors. When I make a recommendation to couples, it is based on knowing the couples a bit and knowing the vendors well, and I can make a PERSONAL match, not just a list of names that have paid to be on that list. I typically provide three to five professionals in each category to the couples, and they know that they have a well-thought-out list just for them, not a large list of those in the field.
The one thing that a wedding planner does that a website/app never will is to actually network with wedding professionals and to be in the room when everyone is working. I get to KNOW the professionals, see them in action, and try to discern if they will be a good fit for a particular couple. I don’t have one “list” that I use for everyone. My recommendations are very personal, and no website can do that.
And I can have a dialogue with the couples during the months leading up to the wedding. Ours is a dynamic relationship, and I can help reduce stress along the way from my experience as a Philadelphia wedding planner for over a decade. That’s something that technology just can’t do.