Brides, grooms, planners, and anyone else planning an event are those burdened with the task of creating a fun, memorable event while still staying within a budget. Just watch TLC's “Say Yes To The Dress"--you'll quickly see how brides prioritize certain things in their budget over others. They have a budget of $2,300 for their wedding dress, but fall in love with a $5,000 Pnina Tornai — a dress that is over twice their budget! So they begin to move the budget around in their head. They go from dinner table service to a simpler buffet style. The bride remembers the great deal she got for that one really nice Brazilian restaurant downtown from Groupon. Maybe they have a deal for DJs and photo booths too! And guess what? They do! Or so it seems…
Before I start going into why you shouldn't use Groupon to hire wedding vendors, let me start by saying that it's absolutely fantastic for restaurants! Planning a date night? Check Groupon for great deals that can lower the cost by half! You can have a nice dinner without putting a dent in your wallet. But, as I mentioned before, it's not a good idea to hire your event vendors from this site.
Pay Cheap, Get Cheap.
You will get what you pay for with Groupon vendors. Using photo booths as the general example: if you pay for a cheap photo booth, you're going to get a cheap photo booth. The photos will oftentimes be grainy and out of focus, looking like they were taken with a disposable camera. Plus the set up will most likely be the equivalent of a McDonald's Big Mac — looks good on the ad, but turns out to be garbage in real life, leaving you understandably unsatisfied.
This is the average photo quality for a Groupon photo booth.
This is the average quality for a SnapBar photo. Remember what I said about getting what you pay for?
Many times these deals include black out dates, only allowing you to access this deal if your event is on a certain day — generally mid-week. If you do get lucky enough to find a deal that will work for the day of your event, there's no guarantee that they will even show up. Oftentimes Groupon vendors will cancel your event last-minute or simply not show up at all because “they forgot." Unfortunately, we have seen this too many times at events or from clients telling us about their previous experiences. Along with this comes awful customer service. Your booth will either be self service (and you're stuck dealing with any technical difficulties on your own), or it will have a photo booth attendant who knows little to nothing about customer service. Expect a minimum-wage-paid teenager who will likely be disengaged with guests and/or on their phone the whole time.
Are You REALLY Getting A Deal?
If that isn't enough, you will soon find that the price advertised isn't that impressive. These Groupon prices are often marked up so that even with a 50% discount, you still end up paying the price they want. On top of this are hidden fees that will jack up the price exponentially. You think you'll be getting a great deal for a fun photo booth set up. But then you choose your backdrop, print template, and props and suddenly the price has gone from $200 to $1,000! That's the same price as a high quality photo booth! Essentially, you end up paying an unbelievable price for awful quality, awful customer service, and all that without a guarantee that they will show up. For the same price, you could hire a high quality photo booth who will provide great quality photos, outstanding customer service, and a guarantee to be at your event. You can go from just having a photo booth at your event to having a full photo booth experience! And a good one at that!
So move your budget around to get that dress or hire that entertainer! But don't cheap out on your vendors. You WILL get what you pay for, so save yourself the headache and pay for quality and a great experience that you and your guests will enjoy.