Today, we’re celebrating our 150th review on WeddingWire, another 5.0 – this one from Christiana and Nick, whose wedding I did on August 28th in Columbia, MD.  They were great to work with, and Christiana has her own blog, as well as being a featured bride blogger as Miss D’orsay on WeddingBee.  Nick is from the UK, and their wedding was a beautiful and fun blend of both cultures with some very creative twists. 

The impact that WeddingWire has had on our business, and our industry, really struck me this morning.  We've been listed on WeddingWire since April of 2007, but we didn't officially sign up for an account until that August.  I was initially resistant to the idea of online reviews of -- it sounds crazy now to even say that.  My first thought was that it would become a space for random internet users to gripe about wedding vendors, fairly or unfairly, whether they even used their services or not.  Even though we do a great job at all of our weddings and have great customer service, I thought that no online review could give an accurate picture of the type of quality work we do.  I couldn't have been more wrong. 

Since vendors can't change or remove reviews on WeddingWire (unless they're fake or fraudulent in some way), brides and grooms can actually trust what they're reading.  This has had a huge impact on our business in an incredibly important way -- it's shown our potential clients that we actually back up our claims of consistency and excellence with great results.  When a couple comes to us through WeddingWire, we know that they've seen our reviews and know that we do an excellent job at every single wedding.  That's invaluable.

So, on the occasion of our 150th review, I offer this:

A Love Letter to WeddingWire

Dear WeddingWire,

I know we've only been together for a little over two years, but I feel so strongly about you that I can't hold it in any longer...  This may seem a little awkward since, you know, you're a website and all...  I just want you to know -- I love you.  Seriously.  You've done so much for us, and it only seems right that I take the time to say "thank you."  

Thank you for being free.  Yes, we happily pay for an upgraded listing, but thank you for offering a free account to start with.  Nobody does that anymore, and it shows you're confident in your product. 

Thank you for listing companies who don't even sign up for an account.  I love the fact that a couple can review any wedding vendor, whether they are listed already on your site or not.

Thank you for having rules, and for sticking to those rules even when vendors complain.  I know you probably get a lot of angry emails and phone calls telling you to take down someone's bad review, and I'm so glad you don't.  Doing so would damage your credibility as an "honest broker" and a place to find real, objective reviews. 

Thank you for being smart.  You've managed to grow your network through partnerships with companies like Martha Stewart Weddings, but haven't turned around and significantly raised your advertising rates.  That shows that you're building for long-term growth, and not just trying to siphon money out of your advertisers as quickly as possible.

Thank you for being a good listener.  I know I'm a tough customer.  I complain a lot.  If there's something I like or don't like, you're going to hear about it.  Thanks for always listening to what I have to say, and for understanding that I complain so much because I want you to be the best wedding website on earth.  It would probably be easier to write me off as a thorn in your side, so thanks for recognizing that I'm actually a customer evangelist.

Thank you for exposing bad companies for poor results.  In the wedding business, the proof is in the pudding.  So many companies have a beautiful website, slick salespeople, and amazing marketing materials -- and then fail when it comes to consistenly delivering quality results.  You give couples a way to perform a true "background check" on any vendor they're considering, and to see if they are totally fabulous or a total fraud.

Finally, thank you for letting us shine.  Thank you for letting us show brides and grooms, in a way we could never explain to them ourselves, that we have an amazing company and we deliver on our promises.  No amount of awards or press recognition we receive could ever show this more than real, unfiltered reviews from our previous customers

I was wrong about you when we first met.  I was confused and a little afraid, and I didn't think your idea would work.  Thanks for proving me wrong.