My husband and I had a very beautiful, quaint country wedding with our closest family and friends. Almost everything about our day was perfect. Everything, that is, except for one of the vendors we were working with. While I won't go into specifics here, I will simply say that we were left disappointed and upset by the way we were treated by said vendor.
While I had been generally frustrated by some of the actions of the vendor throughout the day-of, we found out about many of the problems through family and friends post-wedding day. We were quite irritated, but the fact was that since we know about these problems and didn't bring them up the day of the wedding, there wasn't much we could do.
…Or was there?
A few weeks after the wedding, I began writing reviews on Wedding Wire (which has about a thousand sister sites that it shares its posts with by the way — It's like the ten-headed industrial wedding complex monster). Some vendor reviews were great — like our DJs who were rock stars — and some reviews were less great — like for the bakery that never came through, leaving a friend to bake our cakes the day before the wedding. The most negative was reserved for the vendor that was, in our opinion, the absolute worst. I'll admit when I wrote this review, I was running high on rage, fueled by unbridled opinions of several family members and friends. It was a truly negative review, and, admittedly, somewhat uncouth. The review posted, and a few days later the vendor posted their own reply, which was equally uncouth and honestly a bit damning and damaging to the business that posted it.
Satisfied with the result, I forgot about the review and went about my life. Until my parents got the certified letter in the mail. Apparently, I had gotten such a rise out of the vendor that they had decided to sue me. Yes, it's true. By law, in my state at least, some of the statements that I wrote were considered defamatory and therefore against the law. Which meant I could be sued for a total up to $350,000. Basically a very nice house for the price of my opinion on the interwebs.
I was floored. I had heard about lawsuits for postings on the internet before, but I never thought it could happen to me. A few short, hateful sentences translated into a potential lawsuit that could break our new family before we even had a chance to get started.
In the end, the matter was settled by removing the review. Which is way easier said than done! Wedding review websites are hard enough to navigate, and to remove a post entirely often requires contacting them directly, which requires a shady submission form and a lot of hope that some human somewhere will read it and remove your post.
I can't describe the relief that I feel now that the trouble is finally behind us. Trouble that made me realize that in our crazy world, the things you choose to say or blog about can really hurt you, as silly as they may seem. So before you go posting that crazy-mad review, follow these tips:
- Think long and hard.
- Be sensible.
- Be aware of your wording — saying that they "stole" from you is a defamatory statement. If this is true, chances are you've already notified the authorities.
- If they broke the contract, make sure you have proof and are already seeking legal assistance.
- Most importantly, don't air your dirty laundry on a blog.
If you want to warn other potential clients about a vendor, do so with style and grace. Be careful of accusatory statements — posting that you were displeased with the services rendered is one thing; whereas posting that they stole your dress or car or grandma's walker is a serious accusation and you should really be following up with the police, not a wedding blog. If a vendor is serious about pursuing legal action, they will do so. We were given an out — others may not give you that chance.
An event like this can really sour that "new marriage" bliss. Luckily, my husband and I were able to approach the matter sensibly. We talked about it and made the decision to remove the post together. He supported me through the stressful process of contacting the site to remove the review and waiting for the answer from the vendor's attorney. He easily could have been enraged with my foolishness in posting something so brash, but instead he was calm and supportive.
While everything worked out in the end, I realized that it was not worth the anxiety and sleepless nights. That single thoughtless act caused entirely too much drama and angst in the few days that it took to resolve the problem. It made me realize that life is way too short to fuss over something so petty.