Wedding Pro Wednesday is a weekly blog post series by our friends at The Wedding Hacker, aimed at featuring amazing creatives, creators and industry experts. These wedding pros share a little about their business and passion for their craft, and some professional guidance for those planning on a slim budget. We’ve included their most recent post featuring our founder, Melissa, here!
We know very well that planning a wedding can be stressful, especially in this day and age with the internet and social media; there are a plethora of businesses and vendors to choose from for your special day and it can feel overwhelming. Facing loads of options can be daunting, but what if we told you there is an easier way to sift through vendors? And ones that offer exactly what you’re looking for and fit right with your budget?
Founder and CEO, Melissa Wilmot, found a solution to that problem and created WedBrilliant. WedBrilliant is an online marketplace for engaged couples and wedding professionals alike. This site allows couples to post their wedding needs and receive bids from a list of vendors across the nation, then couples can select the vendors that are a best match. After, clients leave wedding vendor reviews to help future engaged couples make educated decisions as they plan for their wedding.
What is your background? How did you get started with the wedding industry?
Prior to this I was actually in public relations, so I had no background in the wedding industry. WedBrilliant came out of a need that my husband I had. We were living in Portland and got married in my parents backyard in San Diego. It was so hard to find vendors in all the different categories when we were two states away. I was having my mom meet with photographers, and florists. We weren’t there to narrow down a number of vendors to meet with; it was a shot in the dark with our online research and was a lot of work. I ended up having to fly out a number of times to meet with countless people.
After that process, I saw that there was a need in the marketplace. It took years ultimately of talking to other couples and trying to figure out the best solution. Finally, I thought of an easier way to select vendors: for them to bid on parts of a wedding.
How did you come up with the name WedBrilliant?
I jotted down so many concepts about what this business would do. And after sharing my idea with others, so many people responded that this was a “brilliant idea!” So that was pretty much how the company got its name. Also, it was a fun play on words with the idea of wedding rings and their brilliance.
How did you find these vendors?
At first, it was a word of mouth effort. We had a handful sign up shortly after we launched the company. In Portland, where we’re based, there are tons of vendors and each have their own network that they would share WedBrilliant with. That’s how we started picking up some steam. We’ve also done some outreach to vendors through Pinterest ads and Facebook ads, but overall it’s been organic growth. We hope to start a huge outreach campaign in the future.
How many and what kinds of vendors do you have at WedBrilliant?
We have more than 4,000 vendors across the country! We have vendors including wedding planners, photographers, DJs, catering companies, bakers, tux rental shops, wedding dress designers, as well as hair and makeup artists. We even offer couples access to wedding officiants and premarital counseling, and food trucks. We cover all the bases!
Can you describe the process of setting up an account with WedBrilliant as a vendor or a customer looking to hire vendors?
You can create a quick profile for free. You’ll add the key details such as location and how many guests you’re expecting. Once couples do that, you can immediately start posting requests. Couples can propose their estimated budget and post their specific needs and wants. Once they hit “submit,” it goes out and our vendors in those categories get an alert. And none of it is hidden, they can go call the vendor separately and set up a time to meet, and drill down the details
The process for vendors is similar to the sign up process for couples. When they create their account they will note the region they live in, their professional background, as well their work experience/portfolio. They can upload photos and reviews, and they can choose to be a member for $5 a month or $50 for the entire year. If they’re not ready to commit to paying a monthly/yearly fee, they can host a free profile page, so it’s a very low cost of way of advertising.
What are the general price ranges of these vendors? Would you say that their prices fit for all budgets?
There are vendors to suit a range of budgets. For sure!
We’ve had couples come in with a total budget of $50,000 who are more hands-off with the planning and lean on a planner to find the right vendors. We also have vendors meeting price points that range from $1000-$4000 for photography for instance, so couples can choose to go with the lowest cost option, if they want.
There is definitely a range, from the higher-end boutique vendors down to people who are starting off in their careers, and are going to offer their work for a lower price. WedBrilliant generally skews to couples who are on a budget, so I think this is a great way for people to help stay on a budget.
A common problem I hear from many couples in the process of wedding planning is that they end up interviewing so many vendors that they have trouble deciding, do you have any tips on how to narrow down your decision and finding the right vendor for you?
Deciding on the right vendor can be overwhelming. Everyone has their own social media page to explore and you can really get lost. By the very nature of what WedBrilliant does, it can help simplify this process. It is a great tool for narrowing down your options to a smaller group of vendors who meet the specific criteria that a couple is looking for.
Can you share some of your best wedding tips and tricks for couples aiming to stay within their budget?
Yes, I have a few tips and tricks that I’d love to share:
- I think the power of using your network is huge, so I’d say don’t hesitate to tap into the network you already have and just ask. Couples that tap into friends or family to source vendors can find great deals, and reduce hassles.
- When looking at venues, be open to having your wedding on non-weekend days or at least non-Saturdays.
- When it comes to florals, choose the flowers that are in season.
- Lastly, when it comes to alcohol for a wedding, serve the nicer wines earlier on. Serve the cheaper wine later on because there’s a good possibility that the guests won’t even notice a difference as the rest of the night goes on!