Wedding vendor reviews are important for three reasons: First, it's the best way in the world to thank a good vendor. Second, it's a good way to show your dissatisfaction in a manner that will legitimately impact their business and help other couples, making decisions about whom to hire. Third, it's the best source of reliable, real client testimonials about the services various wedding vendors provide.
For brides and grooms researching vendors - reviews provide unique insight. They also introduce you to former clients whom you might want to contact directly for more detailed information, if you're considering whether to hire a particular vendor.
Good vendors worry about what the reviews will say, but bad vendors don't register their company on 'wedsites' that will destroy them. Some vendors even put a 'may not review' clause in their contracts so that clients cannot express dissatisfaction in a public forum: This is a big red flag, and you should walk away from any vendor whose contract prohibits you from reviewing their services in any manner.
WeddingWire is widely considered to be a reliable site for reviews by most of my clients. I prefer it to some of the others because as a vendor, they've been responsive when I've had problems. If you plan hundreds of weddings like I have, you will get good, bad, and crazy reviews over the years. While you cannot do anything about a negative review from a legitimate client, WeddingWire.com sorts out the crazies. For example, I once got a hateful rating from a bride I couldn't accommodate because I was already booked on her wedding date. She was not my client, and she may have been upset that she could not hire me - but not unhappy with my services. I disputed it and administrators took down her rating.
I used to agonize over my less-than-perfect scores from clients, until one of my brides told me she wouldn't have believed my company was real if it had been nothing but hundreds of flattering comments - interesting perspective.
In addition to WeddingWire.com, OneWed.com and TheKnot.com are popular review sites, as there are many others. Find the format you prefer when you're planning your wedding and then go back and post your reviews there after your big day.
If you're going to post a negative review, let yourself cool off before writing something that could get you into legal trouble. You can express your opinion thoughtfully without defaming a vendor.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.