Should I Write a Negative Wedding Vendor Review?


When vendors are good, they are very, very good. And when they are bad, it sucks.

Two Cents: Should I Write A Negative Wedding Vendor Review?

Q:So, the wedding has come and gone and now the time to avoid looking at receipts and reliving the horrible memories has begun. That said, it turns out weddings can be a shit-show of vendors from flowers to photos to DJs, chair covers, blah blah blah. My question is, do vendors really care what you think, once your wedding is over? Should you let them know that you loved their work, or alternatively that you were disappointed? Before posting a less than sparkly review should you first give the feedback directly to the vendor, or does the fact that they didn’t follow up and ask for feedback mean that they don’t really care?

I’m trying to figure out about posting reviews of all of those detail people, a number of which were not so awesome (flaccid flowers anyone?). So, I wanted to know what people think about those reviews. I mean, if I were in a business that was so focused on word of mouth I would always follow up during (as in, when dropping of the flowers or by showing a couple shots so far) as well as after the event, just to ensure that my client was happy (and if not, how I could maybe fix it). But other than the one vendor that we just so happened to LOVE, not a single other person emailed for feedback—so is it okay to go ahead and post recommendations and reviews?

OKay APW, Did you have any vendors who let you down? What do you do? Anyone Ever get into a sticky situation with a vendor over a review? And wedding vendors: what method of feedback you prefer? Do reviews actually matter?

If you want the APW community’s two cents, send it to QUESTIONS AT APRACTICALWEDDING DOT COM, and we’ll do our best to crowdsource you some answers!

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  • Sarah (one of many, apparently

    I will need this information in a few weeks! One vendor (my wedding dress tailor) has already requested that I leave reviews basically wherever I can find to leave reviews. I found almost all of my vendors through review systems like WeddingWire and Yelp, so I think they’d probably want it to happen.

  • Amanda

    My advice is first to contact the non-stellar vendors directly to let them know that you were less than impressed with their services. That way, they’re not blindsided by an unfavorable review and maybe they’ll apologize, explain, or try to make it better somehow. After that, you should post your reviews so that other engaged people looking for vendors have a head’s up about these specific vendors. I know that I certainly wouldn’t want to knowingly hire someone who didn’t do a good job at someone else’s wedding.

    • pajamafishadventures

      It also gives you the chance to leave a review discussing their communication and costumer service (and if you were thinking about leaving a bad review but were able to resolve it by talking to the vendor you should still leave a review noting that they were willing to work with you to fix problems, even after the fact!)

  • Anon

    Super interested to read replies on this one. Our event was a month ago so we need to close out thank-yous/reviews to our vendors. A follow-on question: what if the vendor provided great day-of service, but was super irritating during the planning process? (Not responding to inquiries or providing details within what I would call a timely manner). Not sure why it feels so hard to just make a note of that in an otherwise positive review. I guess I’m not sure if this is a common thing with wedding vendors and I should have been more patient during planning.

    • PC

      I had a similar situation with my makeup artist. She was AMAZING in person – really talented, easy to talk to, didn’t try to bully us into getting lashes/airbrushing/other crap everyone else said you “have to have” for a wedding. But she was so, so flaky when I initially contacted her to ask questions and make arrangements (as in, weeks would go by without a response). I ended up giving her a 5 star review on weddingwire because ultimately her work was fantastic, but I did include something in the review to the effect of “I will say that when I initially contacted C via her website I had a hard time getting ahold of her. If you don’t hear back from her at first, try again because she is absolutely worth it.”

    • kate

      we had that with one of our vendors and i mentioned it in the review. to me, responsiveness and ease of communication during the planning is just as much part of the services provided (and reviewed) as the actual day of.

      i understand the flip side of that is a lot of vendors are small businesses running on very limited resources, so we obviously can’t expect them to be at our beck and call or stepping outside their “scope”, but responding to questions or updates within a reasonable timeframe is absolutely part of their service too, so if it was truly unreasonably difficult, i think it’s worth mentioning – you could always leave it out of the review and just mention it to the vendor themselves if you feel better about that.

    • Greta

      I find this so important. Part of the service that you were paying for was communication. I value it highly. I looked at multiple vendors who overall had stellar reviews, but multiple people had written “X was great and did wonderful work, but was super hard to get a hold of, or would go weeks without responding to emails.” I didn’t choose to work with that person because of the details about not communicating. However, sometimes I don’t care about those details, so I’ll knowingly hire someone even if they have X issue. I’d say put it in, and let future people decide.

  • Emma

    Can’t wait to see what everyone says! My wedding was like 6 weeks ago. I’ve left reviews for all of the vendors that feel finalized (ie flowers, hair and makeup, band, venue) but am waiting for photographer and videographer as I still haven’t received them yet.

    I guess my general advice would be to be as detailed as possible in reviews. Explain exactly what you liked and didn’t like (ie follow up time for emails) because for some people that might not be a deal-breaker. I guess hypothetically, you should contact the vendors directly, but I am wondering exactly what that accomplishes. If they then follow up with some excuse, does that mean you would then leave them a more favorable review? Also, if they didn’t care enough to follow up with you after the event to solicit your feedback, do they deserve the heads up now?

    • Megan

      In some cases, the response from the vendor can be validating (they admit that yes they screwed up) and they sometimes will give you a discount or comp some part of their services to make up for the negative experience. This doesn’t happen in lots of cases but I know when it happens to me it usually bumps up the positivity in my review a little bit. I never leave a fully positive review without a fully positive experience but clarfiying on what went wrong and how the vendor dealt with it afterwards is good information for future customers.

      • Jess

        I love seeing how vendors deal with issues! Even if it’s like, “Hey this stuff wasn’t here, but she totally managed it by…” or “The cake melted, but he made more frosting and fixed it on the spot in time for pictures”

        • Emma

          Oh definitely! In reviewing, I think that’s totally necessary to say because it’s likely that something will go wrong and knowing you have a vendor who can think on their feet and make adjustments is necessary. I meant more like, weeks later, is it helpful to reach out to a vendor prior to writing a review to say I didn’t like how this was done? At that point, they can’t retake the pictures or un-announce people you didn’t want to have announced…

          • But they can be more careful about it in the future! So it may not help to remedy your situation, but you might help out the next couple down the line.

          • MDBethann

            I would say yes. While it wouldn’t fix things for your event, it might identify an issue for them to address so it doesn’t cause problems for future events they do for other people. Look at it as “paying it forward.”

    • Greta

      Yes, I agree to your details point. I try to read between the lines with reviews – I’ve read some negative reviews of vendors where it sounds like they did one thing that was a negative to that person, but wouldn’t have been a dealbreaker for me. Communication is super important to me, so if I see 5 different people give “meh” or “good” reviews to the same vendor, but they all say that communication was an issue, then I’m not going to hire that person.

      It frustrates me to no end when people leave vague “meh” or negative reviews because I feel that overall that’s really not helpful.

  • Susan

    I’m really curious about other’s thoughts on this topic! Our wedding was about 5 months ago now and I didn’t really do any reviews of any of our vendors partially because I didn’t want to write a negative review of one of our vendors who I think it was just more of a personality/style conflict than her not doing a good job although there was a major thing I was promised in our last pre-wedding conversation that was not delivered. I’ve struggled with whether to give her my negative feedback (privately, not on a public review site) or not in several of my moments of serious stress and sadness about my disappointment in her performance, but my husband has encouraged me not to on the rationale that there’s nothing she can do for me now to fix it since neither of us have a time machine handy.

    • Amy March

      I think after 5 months the ship has sailed. No one wants to hear “you did a bad job” whether its public or private for something they did nearly half a year ago and probably figured was fine, since they didn’t hear anything about it at the time.

      • Susan

        That’s a fair point — though this vendor does keep finding a way to sneak back into my life and upset me including something she did last week regarding my wedding that I totally disagree with!

        • CMT

          If this vendor is *continuing* to do things you’re unhappy with, I think it would be totally reasonable to let her know!

  • AGCourtney

    I’m interested in seeing the responses to this as well – for us, it was the photographer. She takes lovely photos but was seriously lacking in professionalism. We still have one more factor to consider, though, and that’s the photos of the wedding. We’ll decide what to do when we get those.

    But to contribute to the conversation, I think one of the central conflicts that makes vendor reviews so difficult is that while reviews are ostensibly for future clients, they are also seen by the vendors that you have interacted with. For me, personally, I’d rather the next bride to come along knows that a vendor is flighty about communication or that perhaps they should double check that the baker has the right flavors for the tiers but other than that they were excellent, then to have each person be independently stressed about those kinds of things.

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  • Gosh! I’m a vendor (photographer) and it never occurred to me clients would assume I “don’t care” about their feedback (or doing a good job!) if I don’t ask for it. I never want to *bother* my clients, so I’ve rarely asked for feedback/reviews. But they are *absolutely critical* to business. If your vendors did something that bothered you, I would urge you to tell them. If they’re even remotely business-oriented, they will thank you profusely for the opportunity to do better at their next event.
    I’ve always been very grateful when clients feel moved to post reviews (Yelp has been best for my business, but others use Wedding Wire). But when they don’t respond to my “your photos are ready” email, it is kind of a bummer… hopefully they liked the photos. No news is good news? Just a quick email letting everyone know you were pleased (or how you were not) will be appreciated by everyone who worked at your wedding, I’m sure.

    • Disappointed Anon

      Would you want to know if your client didn’t like the portrait locations chosen and didn’t feel like you followed the timeline agreed to in advance? These were my big issues with my photographer and led to a lot of tears after the fact.

      • As a photographer, I would definitely want to know if these were my fault. I usually chat about potential portrait locations with my couples — at the very least I make it known that we’ll shoot around the venue if that’s all we can do — but a lot of the time, my couples pick where we shoot. Did you say you didn’t like the locations while shooting? If you didn’t speak up while it was happening, and you guys didn’t agree on locations before the event, I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to blame the photographer. As for the timeline — why wasn’t it followed? I always, always remind my couples that weddings tend to go on their own timeline, and also feel like sticking the to timeline is something a planner or coordinator makes sure happens — not the photographer. If your photographer intentionally disregarded the planner/coordinator, or really messed up the order of events, I would say something, but I’d make sure first that it’s really the fault of the photographer and not someone/something else.

        • Disappointed Anon

          Thanks for sharing your perspective, Stephanie. I wish our photographer employed your approach of letting me pick the portrait locations — this would have probably negated a number of the other negatives. I hated our first look location and think it looks terrible in photos but, at the time, I assumed there was some good but unknown to me reason for why it was chosen (like good lighting) and also was too stressed to say anything since confrontation is a big anxiety-trigger for me. Regarding the timeline, we just were not on the same page about what she would be doing with the hours we purchased. Basically, I think she spent 2+ hours in the morning photographing details (that I really don’t even care about and have barely even looked at those photos) which felt, to me, like she completely disappeared (to the extent that I spent about 15-20 minutes looking for her and even sent bridesmaids and others to find them and no one could) when I was getting ready and would much rather have had her (or her second shooter) there with me and my bridal party. This sort of set me off on a bad foot with her for the entire day and I didn’t confront her because I knew bringing it into outright conflict would really taint the day for me so I just suppressed everything and have a lot of residual feelings about it since. I know it was on me to say something at the time of when it could actually be fixed so that’s also why I’ve held back on giving the feedback since I know we are both to blame in some ways. I also really like her as a person and don’t want to offer feedback if the only productive thing is going to be to hurt her feelings.

          • Amy March

            I think it would be hard to offer useful feedback in this situation. It sounds like the location was a matter of taste, and she can’t be expected to read your mind if you don’t speak up. Ditto the getting ready photos- lots of people really like those detail shots and again, if you didn’t say anything to her she had no way of knowing. Honestly, I don’t actually see her having done anything blame worthy here at all. Just a really unfortunate situation where you two were on different pages and she didn’t even know there was a problem.

          • Eenie

            It seems like there was a pretty big mismatch in communication here (no way to know who’s fault as a third party). I know with the getting ready photos, most people don’t want them photographed until the “final touches” stage, so your photographer could have thought she was using the time wisely to capture things that were already set up. I’m not really sure how helpful this feedback would be to the photographer.

            If you feel strongly like you should/need to provide feedback, have your partner do it since you have a lot of emotions still tied up with the issues. Based on what you’ve written, I’d suggest: “We wanted to provide some feedback but we realize we didn’t speak up on the day and there’s not much you can do for us now – but perhaps it could help you with future clients. We would have liked some input in the portrait locations or provided some options to choose from. We failed to communicate the importance of our getting ready photos to you vs the detail shots. Once again, we apologize for not speaking up on the day so you could fix the issues at the appropriate time. For these reasons we decided not to write any public reviews.”

          • I just have to echo everyone else — this sounds like a failure to communicate. I know I have my own way of shooting, and if I don’t receive direction from my couple, I’ll just do what I usually do. Generally that seems to work, and that could have been all that happened here. I don’t think it would hurt to email her because it could be helpful feedback, but I don’t know that this warrants a negative review.

          • Ya, photographers aren’t mind readers. Our photographer was super chill and just seemed to fly by the seat of her pants. However, I took it upon myself to fill in the questionnaire that Maddie posted somewhere on this site that she used to send to her clients pre-wedding, and I sent that to our photographer. It included a list of details that I wanted photographed, shots of me and my husband that I wanted, family shots/combos that I wanted etc. as well as the timeline so that she knew more or less what was going on. After the ceremony, she yelled the names of all family members on that list and made them stick around and told everyone else to go to the cocktail. We didn’t miss a single shot that I asked for.

            I know that this advice doesn’t help you because it’s already done, but for future brides….download Maddie’s questionnaire and send it to your photographer. Only a complete moron with no regard for brides’ feelings would ignore a list that you laid out for him/her.

          • Amanda Myers

            Hey, I’m pretty new around here, where would I find this questionnaire? I tried to just search for it but found nothing.

          • Steph
      • Yes. I read all the below, and I think you should have a discussion with your photographer about it, even if it’s just to make you feel better and release some of the resentment. And maybe your photographer thinks he/she adequately communicated to you when, obviously, that did not happen. (There is a disconnect in values here – stuff vs. moments, etc. – and *that* is a big problem and something the photographer should work on and needs to hear about.)

    • CMT

      Maybe you could include a link to a short survey or something when you send the “your photos are ready” email?

      • Agreed! I totally tried this my first few years and even though 95% of the feedback was positive (sometimes even glowing), it caused me so much anxiety that someone might say something negative that I actually scrapped the whole project. I wouldn’t want that to deter any of you from bringing up potential issues with your vendors – it’s always better to know, even if some of us realize we’re too fragile to outright ask for it.

    • Another Meg

      It would never occur to me to send more than a perfunctory, thanks, the pictures look great! email.

      I agree with CMT- a link to a survey or asking directly for feedback in the email would be helpful.

      • Yeah the “these look good, thanks!” or even “we got them!” would be good. I have definitely delivered galleries and never heard a word back. I check on gallery view counts to make sure they have indeed received the email, but sometimes folks just… don’t say anything. I get that people are busy and stuff, but I do put a little heart and soul into the work I do so I’d at least like to have receipt of product acknowledged (with hopefully a note of approval, or if something’s wrong, a note of concern). Almost everyone does this. Just sometimes they don’t.

        • Another Meg

          Oh wow. Yeah, at the very least, a quick, thanks, got it, would be in order. That sucks.

          If it’s important, which clearly it is, you could end the email with a request that they reply once they’ve viewed it and let you know what their first impressions are. Maybe that would help the stragglers?

          Edited to add- sorry, I do contextual inquiries and project management stuff at work and I went into that mode. Now I’m thinking about what social influence tools you could employ to get people to respond when they normally wouldn’t…

      • I love the survey idea! It is amazing how many couples never say anything after you send their gallery though.

        • Amy March

          This would totally be me! It wouldn’t even occur to me to reply. Like, why? I thanked you by paying you!

          Just, ya know, no need to decide no news is bad news.

      • Lauren from NH

        Yeah I think initially, I treated it like any other email. Thank you emails for business things clog inboxes. And since I had already written a personal thank you card for our photographer at the wedding, it felt like my thanks had already been expressed. But after really sitting down with the pictures, I knew our guys deserved some extra kudos. He made us look GOOD!

  • Lizzie

    All our vendors asked us to post reviews, sometimes to specific sites (depending on where they get most of their business), and we were happy to do so since we had great experiences with all of them. I got the impression that they did in fact care deeply about whether we were satisfied with their services.

    One vendor snafu I never figured out: what do you do/say if your hired bartender over-served someone? A friend at our wedding got so drunk that she could barely stagger out the door (to a cab someone else had to hail for her). At the time I thought, well that’s where all the booze went, but later I realized this friend should have been cut off. Anyone dealt with this situation in a productive way? It’s too long in the past for us to remedy this, but maybe advice on it can help others in the future.

    • Amy March

      This wouldn’t even occur to me as something to blame the bartender for. Yes, they are absolutely supposed to cut people off. Yet, drunk people figure out ways around that (by seeming sober at the bar, other people bringing them drinks, not eating when the should etc) so well, and so frequently, that I really wouldn’t consider this a fault of the bartender at all. it;s a tough judgment call and beyond being up front that you want them to be very aggressive on cutting people off, I don’t think you can ensure perfection on this.

      • Jess

        Drunk people are SO GOOD at figuring out how to act just sober enough to be served.

      • Eenie

        Be upfront about cutting people off or if you know who may be the “problem adult”, have someone point them out to the bartender ahead of time.

        On a related note sometimes it’s easier to get a drink as an underage person at weddings (not always) so if you don’t want this to be the case, it should also be communicated to your bartender/staff.

  • justme

    If a vendor did a bad job, then leave a bad review. Contacting the vendor at this point will not change anything. The review isn’t to change the past or for “revenge,” it is to help future brides and grooms to avoid the troubles you had. If you don’t pass along your information, then some other poor couple will have the same bad experience. Of course leave details so those reading the reviews can weigh how much they care about the mess ups.

    • justme

      Editing to say, I hope you did address it with the vendor at the point it happened and gave them a chance to fix it and aren’t just blindsiding them with dissappointment. Like if they didn’t deliver the chairs you ordered and you want to review that, but you never even mentioned that the chairs were missing, it would be a little mean to leave a negative review about a mistake you never addressed.

    • Sydney

      I think there is a benefit in contacting the vendor first, before posting a review. Mistakes happen, and I think how a vendor chooses to respond to those mistakes says a lot about the vendor – especially for future brides. If the chairs you ordered didn’t show up maybe it’s because the company screwed up – but maybe there was an issue with delivery that they couldn’t control. But how they respond and offer to correct that issue could influence future brides. I always like giving someone the chance to respond first, before assuming it was intentional and/or negligence.

      • Eenie

        Yes I agree. Or if a vendor is unresponsive and perhaps there is a logical reasoning (business partner on leave, sick family, death in the family) that they didn’t feel like getting into as an excuse at the time but makes sense, I’d feel better saying that the unresponsiveness was due to X and let future potential customers decide for themselves.

  • Kate

    I wondered the same thing. One of our vendors in particular wasn’t *bad* but I would not necessarily recommend this particular vendor to anyone. We found the vendor through APW actually, so after the wedding I was wondering if there was a way to provide a rating to APW, but not necessarily to the vendor. Thinking that if a particular vendor got a lot of meh’s from the community, they might not be listed in the guide anymore.

    • Annon

      I totally completely agree. I also used an APW vendor, found it lacking in a couple areas, and wished that there was a way to warn others who may have that same issue…

  • I’m a HUGE review person – I read them religiously & I try to leave them as often as I can. Most people only leave reviews when they’ve had a bad experience. I leave a review whether my experience was good or bad – I want people to have as much info as possible and varied view points. So with that said, I say, leave reviews for all your vendors & be honest in your assessments. Share the good AND the bad – other brides will thank you. If your vendors are smaller, they will thank you as well, even if you negative things to say.

    • Meg

      Yeah I actually really like leaving good reviews for places I like. I left a bad review for a pretty bad hotel I stayed in recently and they REPLIED and I feel so guilty :(

      • Eenie

        You don’t know what you don’t know. Hopefully the hotel can change/fix the issue and future reviews will overshadow yours.

      • Me too! I’m the type of person who will tell everyone when I love a product/service/company. I hate when I have to share a bad experience.

    • Jess

      I mean, we choose most of our vendors based on reviews and then on meeting them, right? So reviews are super important to the people coming next.

      • Exactly! I declined a couple of vendors specifically because of their reviews, so I totally get it. And that’s why I felt I had a duty to share my feedback for those vendors for other brides.

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  • kate

    i’ve been getting hounded to post reviews by nearly all our vendors (interestingly the few we haven’t heard from asking for reviews are the ones we had some negative feelings on). and we went ahead and left balanced and reasoned, but honest feedback on those we were less than happy with. we tried to think through if there were mitigating factors and not just post from emotion, but if someone truly did not live up to what they promised or didn’t fulfill expectations, i would absolutely want to know that as a potential customer OR as the vendor in question, so my opinion is to post away.

    the ones we were SUPER happy with, we even went so far as to send them thank yous (in addition to online reviews) and have gotten back a couple of really pleased/flattered responses from those, so i think on the flip side, those thank yous to the ones we really loved were really appreciated too.

  • All of the vendors for our wedding were fabulous with the exception of one: our caterer. We hired a BBQ place to serve the dinner at our reception, and while the food was delicious and served on time, the customer-service side of things was terrible. The owner of the restaurant, who I communicated with all throughout the planning process, was very nonchalant about everything and didn’t seem concerned about the details of our event. But on the day of the wedding when he and his staff arrived at the venue, he threw a huge fit because the area of space we had set aside for serving wasn’t big enough and in the right location. He was incredibly rude and unhelpful, and friends/family ended up having to move tables around to suit his needs less than an hour before the reception. In the end it all worked out and our guests weren’t the wiser, but it was not something I wanted to deal with 10 minutes before going down the isle. I ended up writing a review on Google, making sure to note that the food was wonderful…just to be aware of his less-than-stellar communication skills. All of our other vendors received a thank you note full of praise which they totally deserved!

  • Sydney

    We listed reviews for all of our vendors. While we had already sent our AWESOME vendors Thank You cards, many of them called or emailed after we posted positive reviews to express how much they appreciated it!

    We had one vendor that was particularly bad. Before we posted any negative reviews we reached out to them directly to give them an opportunity to explain. When their response was hostile we then chose to leave a negative review. If they had apologized or sympathized we may have opted to leave no review, but we felt that the negative response warranted a warning to others.

  • jubeee

    My husband (yes I got married this weekend!!!) wants to write a negative review of our caterer. We hired a food truck, with good food and a classy look as far as food trucks go. In the weeks before it was nearly impossible to get in touch with them, when they arrived they arrived in a DIFFERENT truck, one with graffiti called “Dump and Roll” and the food was late coming out and it ran out. I am fully supportive of this, we spent the most money on food by far (50% of our budget) and were totally unimpressed.

    • Amy

      That is ABSOLUTELY something I would want to know as anyone who was looking to hire that caterer, so please, do write that review!

      More importantly… congratulations!!

      • jubeee

        Ugh now I am even more annoyed. They claimed that their truck got hit and was in the shop. BUT they posted a photo 2 days before where they were in Philly because of the Pope. My guess is they wanted to make more money that day and gave me the ugly truck that I didn’t hire.

        • Amy

          Well, as a Philly lady myself, now I kind of want to know who the vendor is so I can avoid them if we’re in the city. Ugh, that’s the worst.

          I agree with Amy below — if there’s anything in your contract about the truck, arrival time, the attire, the amount of food, etc., I’d definitely be looking into more serious action. Not that this is something you and your hubby need to deal with now, but you clearly did not get what you paid (a lot of money) for.

          • jubeee

            I don’t mind saying Local 215 who another commentor on APW had recommended initially.

    • Amy March

      Honestly I’d be considering small claims court, depending on the contract you signed. Completely unacceptable to just show up with a different truck.

      • Eenie

        This is the reason why I’ve been so picky with the wording in my contracts. Although I don’t want to have a legal battle, I want our expectations clearly lined out to vendors and signed.

    • I hope you didn’t pay all funds upfront. Because I would not pay the final invoice until a new arrangement (price) was worked out as a result of that.

      • jubeee

        yes, we paid the day before

  • As someone who works with brides regularly I love hearing feedback, both via review systems and personal notes. If I client was ever unhappy with any aspect of the service I provided for her makeup and hair I would want to know. I would rather be contacted directly if there was an issue about something that could otherwise be a conversation, it gives me the opportunity to talk with them about the situation and understand the expectations or what went wrong (and of course correct it if possible). But public reviews should be truthful, positive or not, and as small independent businesses positive reviews are really appreciated. A few short and sweet words can go a long way. I sometimes ask my clients to leave reviews but never expect it. – Fox & Doll

  • Spot

    I seem to remember a post on here about a vendor threatening legal action against someone who left a negative review?

    Anyway, I appreciate having access to reviews–good and bad, and I can take both with a grain of salt when scoping out a potential vendor. I want to know if an otherwise stellar florist switched out peonies for spray roses and didn’t adjust their price, or if a high-end caterer has shown up an hour late with ice-cold food more than once. It’s safe to assume that every business ever has left some customers with bad experiences, but the balance of review content is important to pay attention to when you consider that many people without complaints won’t necessarily leave feedback.

    • a

      I remember maybe news story about something like that, maybe talked about here? IIRC, it was something along the lines of a review saying something like “[Vendor] robbed me!” and the reviewer getting [successfully?] sued for libel, since robbery didn’t occur. Might be an urban legend. Not sure. But basically, be very careful and VERY factual about what you write in negative vendor reviews.

  • pajamafishadventures

    I support leaving honest reviews, both good and bad, of all your vendors.

    • jubeee

      what about just “meh” reviews?

      • pajamafishadventures

        Yup!

      • Kate

        YES! Meh. I also think star systems are a problem, I feel guilty giving anything other than 4 or 5 stars because I think 3 = bad. But 3 should be fine! And more than that should be for great or outstanding service.

        • pajamafishadventures

          This applies to book-rating systems and not vendor/business rating systems but I’ve been forcing myself to give books I felt “meh” about 3 stars on good reads. It’s still positive, it’s just not effusive! I’m hoping that will train me out of my star-prejudice.

  • As a photographer, I would always ask that someone email me first if they had a problem with the photos they received or anything related to my business — there might be something I can still do to fix the issue, or something I can offer. Negative reviews can really do a lot of damage, especially if they’re about something that could be resolved. If it’s an issue that couldn’t be resolved, or was resolved poorly, I think a negative review is justified.

    • Anon

      Maybe you can give advice on this? Our photographer was decent on the day of the ceremony. Afterwards, she was super slow with sending photos- which was also partly my fault for never requiring a deadline to be in the contract. She promised me she would mail the photos many times- and they continued to now show up. One time she admitted to finding them in her apartment! To rectify it at one point, she promised to send them priority mail. It showed up a week later with the regular mail. I had issues with her sending both the engagement photos and the wedding photos (which unfortunately were taken too close together to back out of the wedding contract when I realized there may be some delays). I ended up getting the wedding photos when I sent her a super long email saying I was very unhappy with her lack of responding to emails/mailing the photos she said she would- and all I received back was an apology. I would assume if you knew a client was angry with you, you may want to find some way to try to make it up besides an email? She also didn’t get one of the shots I asked for (and there were less than 15 that I asked for) with no apology. So the question is- does this deserve a negative review? If I was getting married again, no way would I want to use her and I actually told some of my engaged friends to pass on her unless they wanted to put some deadlines in the contract.

      • Amy March

        Of course it does!

  • Fay

    We were hounded by our venue for a review after the wedding, which left a bad taste in our mouth to say the least. Nothing terrible happened, but there were a few things that did not go well (including a run in with the site event director and my amazing photographer that almost got very ugly) that made me hesitant to write a review. We actually haven’t returned to our venue even though its a local winery due to some of the issues we had and the review hounding. We haven’t not posted a review to this day.

    We did write thank you notes to our vendors and placed cash tips in them the day of the wedding and my “Bride’s Helper” made sure each vendor got their envelope before the evening was over. Additionally when I shared pictures on FB I tagged the vendors who were on FB in them and made sure to rave about them in the photo descriptions.

  • Nell

    When I write a negative review, I try to think hard about whether I’m writing something that will really harm someone’s very small business, and whether it’s something that they can do anything to fix in the future. I’m not going to nitpick in a public place, especially over something that is a matter of taste/style.

    That said, when it’s a big corporate entity. . . I have no trouble taking them to task.

  • I relied HEAVILY on reviews when planning my wedding. It was an hour away, on the other side of town, and though we live here we aren’t really established. I didn’t know anyone who could give recommendations/word-of-mouth. I worked the night shift regularly then, so did a lot of my planning online and by email since people weren’t generally awake when I was. Reviews– good, bad, and meh– were crucial for me in picking people. And I think I was generally led very well by the reviews I read as we were happy with nearly all our vendors.

    I would say contact them first, give them an opportunity to make amends in some way, and then write honest reviews about everyone on your site(s) of choice. Don’t exaggerate or get angry, just tell it like it is: good things, bad things, meh things. If they responded to your direct feedback, at least you can praise them for being accommodating/trying to make it right, but I still think you should describe the issue in your review so that others can be informed.

  • As an wedding vendor myself, yes, yes, yes please give feedback! If I did something that negatively impacted someone’s wedding experience, I would absolutely want to know so I could a) apologize/offer to possibly refund and b) not do it again to a different couple. Depending on the situation, they might be totally unaware that you are unsatisfied. If it is positive feedback, I really love hearing it! It makes my day when couples write to me to tell them that I made their wedding day better.

    That being said, I think if it is negative feedback it is nice to tell the vendor directly first before posting a public review online. Vendors live and die on their online reviews, so be thoughtful about whether or not a less-than-glowing online review is really warranted. Give them a chance to respond to your complaint/make it up to you before writing a negative online review.

    On the other hand, a glowing review for vendors you liked is the best possible thank you gift you can give them.

  • Lauren from NH

    Not the point, but this is motivating me to finally write my reviews. Two down, three to go!

  • meghanjessica

    As someone who is getting married 6,000 miles away — YES! — reviews of all kinds (and photos!) are SO SO SO helpful. I have to trust people who’ve used the vendors before. Also “real wedding” blog posts have helped me pick almost everything, including my venue and ceremony site.

    • Amanda

      I’m in the same boat! I live in Alaska, but getting married in California. I relied exclusively on reviews. I’ve still not seen our venue, and though the pictures are beyond gorgeous, the staff has been rude and impossible to work with. I would love to give some feedback right now, but I’m afraid of how they’ll resond. They will not be getting a favorable review.

  • Greta

    Not sure if anyone said this below, but if you are nervous about writing a negative review, write it up first without posting it, and then sit on it for a few days and come back to it. Re-read it with fresh eyes and see if you still feel the same way. Even give it a neutral 3rd party to read (co-worker, friend, sibling) and see what they think of the review. Was it fair? honest? I feel like a lot of negative reviews are written in the heat of the moment, and people get very passionate. I know I find myself feeling a lot differently about negative experience a few days later.

    • Aubry

      Agreed! I write any negative review, note, or email this way. Especially email. Sometimes I write 3 versions before sending it. Sometimes the act of writing all the bad feelings out can be helpful to make yourself feel better, and then you can get to the juice of what you are doing. Just an angry review is less helpful then details of what happened or suggestions for future people (If you use them, make sure to clarify shooting locations and timeline expectations etc).

  • Kara Davies

    You had a negative experience with a vendor, other brides and grooms need to hear about it in order to not make the same mistake.

  • Sharing your reviews would be very helpful to other couples with upcoming weddings. I think most girls check The Knot or Wedding Wire before committing to any vendors. As long as you are honest and provide constructive feedback, you shouldn’t feel bad about posting something negative. Also, the vendors you do like will appreciate your positive review

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  • Gail Heyward

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  • Fabulous Caroline

    I read all reviews before moving forward with a vendor, but if there’s a vendor in particular I’m interested in, and I read a couple of negative comments about them, I will ask. I want to hear their side of the story, but I also tend to contact the person who wrote the review. There are times when the vendor will respond to a negative review and sometimes they do not. To me, your reputation is everything, so take care to address anything negative immediately. Vendors should follow up after an event and use that on their website as positive feedback. For our wedding, I had to haul my flower vendor back to the venue. The flowers were wilted, the color was wrong, etc. When she walked in she asked, what’s the problem? I looked at her like she had two heads and said, do you not see that the petals are brown and the flowers are wilted? We had about an hour and a half before the wedding, and she had to sort through the flowers, bouquets, etc., and peel off the dead petals. No one knew or noticed the issues with the flowers, but I knew, and it made me angry that on a special day, I had to deal with something so ridiculous. When the vendors provided exceptional service, praise them. When they do not, say so, but without name calling or or coming off like a fish wife.

  • Tuppet

    Our photographer/videographer was terrible. The guy on the day (not one of the people i had spoken to in the lead up) spoke limited english and couldn’t follow instructions (as in hey, we have permission to go inside this museum after hours so yeah we want to go in not stand outside in the rain while you wait for your assistant to move bags around, and our priest literally stopped the ceremony to make them move after telling them before the ceremony where they could not stand in the aisle to block everyone’s view). It took 6 months to got the photos back and when we got the raw video on 3 discs the third disc half way through had someone elses wedding vows instead of my father in law’s speech. I wrote a poor review on a site and got calls instantly from the manager (who had previously been somehow incabable of returning a call or email) asking me to change the review because it might damage his reputation. I can only hope that review stopped someone else going with that vendor. I certainly wish someone else had left a similar review to save me the headaches.

  • CH

    I had a particularly terrible vendor experience with the DJ. We had requested a specific DJ from a company, and they confirmed that he was available, then assigned us a different DJ and said the first guy (the one we wanted) was no longer available.

    The DJ we got seemed great, though, so we didn’t complain much. He listened to our somewhat unusual requests when we met. He was funny and nice and I thought it would be fine.

    However, about a month before the wedding, he stopped responding to anything I sent him. I tried emailing at first, and as it got closer to the wedding, I tried calling as well. I called the company, who assured me that he would show up, but we had a few changes since our last meeting with him and I wanted to confirm that he got those. Fortunately, he showed up to the wedding, but that’s about all he did. My husband had to remind him about the music we requested, he called on people to give toasts who weren’t giving toasts, he never asked my husband to give a toast (and he had spent a bunch of time writing one). My dad had to remind to tell him every time we were doing something new that he was supposed to announce (he had a timeline with ACTUAL TIMES on it), he called our bridal party dance the ‘anniversary dance’ (leaving a bunch of excited, married couples very confused when the bridal party started line dancing). I’m not sure that the guests really noticed, but it was stressful to me and really frustrating. We were also about 90% sure he was hungover.

    We reviewed all of our vendors- and all of them got glowing reviews, except for this DJ. I didn’t want any other brides to go through this, and so I wanted them to know. When I submitted the review, the DJ contested it, and I had to PROVE that I actually used this company with receipts. I truly hope the review made a difference in the way this company behaved at future wedding, but I’m not sure if I did anything but made them angry. Regardless, hopefully this will prevent future brides from having the same experience!