A confession: I’m crazy about getting good customer service. It always has a strong influence on my buying decisions.

I stopped by a Mazda dealership a while back while I was out and about, ’cause I’m a Miata guy and the new one is outstanding. I made a point of checking what time I started looking at the cars out on the lot, taking bets with myself on how long it would take a salesperson to come out and talk with me. You know what? Nobody ever came out. That impressed me – in a good way – so I decided to go inside and see the Miata in the showroom. The closest salesperson, Ralph, and I started a conversation after a couple of minutes. He was easy, helpful, and enthusiastic. While it was clearly Ralph’s business to sell cars, there was absolutely no pressure, and no BS.

That’s exactly the kind of customer service I like. If I buy a new car, you can be sure that I’m going back to see Ralph.

The wedding world has lots of people in it who are just like Ralph, and lots who aren’t.

Ralph listened to me. He heard what was important to me. We communicated well and easily. He told me about his son’s Miata, a year older than mine, and pulled out his phone to show me pictures of the car when I expressed interest in the source and quality of the car’s new paint job. He knew and could speak the language of the trade. I felt comfortable in his presence.

Whether you’re buying a car or a wedding, that last part –  feeling comfortable –  is how you want to leave that first meeting, along with the sense that the professional is technically competent, and respects and values the client-professional relationship.

If you asked me how Ralph was dressed, I couldn’t tell you, but I remember that it was appropriate to the situation. He was clean, neat, and presented well.

How wedding professionals dress for meeting with you and for working at your wedding is important. Most of the time you’re looking for neat and professional. During your wedding, you want most of them blending into the background. For that, wedding pros tend to favor black.

But all of the enthusiasm and listening and sartorial splendor doesn’t mean a thing if they don’t have the technical skills to do the job. I like to see them in their work environment and see the tools of the trade, either in person or in photographs of them in action. How does their space and their equipment look? Clean and well kept? Professional? While that doesn’t tell the whole story, it tells a lot.

I also like to know how many years the company and the individual have been in the business. How well are they grounded in the business? Do they have experience and relationships that will serve you?

I had the sense that Ralph knew his business. While our conversation didn’t take us deep into his professional competence, I’d be really surprised if he failed on that point.

By the way, every provider in the wedding industry –  venues, caterers, DJs, bands, photographers, and cake bakers, to name a few – should have liability insurance. That’s the kind of insurance that protects you and your guests should someone be injured or if something is broken or damaged.

Consider the lack of liability insurance to be a deal killer. If they’re not serious about protecting you, their guests, and themselves, walk away.

You’re getting by now that I liked Ralph, and would have confidence working with him on buying a new car.

The best wedding professionals are just like Ralph. They’ll listen to you, understand what you do and don’t want, and give you good, informed, professional guidance.

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David Egan
David Egan
David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a wedding and event venue in downtown Baltimore. Visit Chasecourt.com, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook.