I think the answer to “does it affect your decision” is in most cases yes. In today’s world of wanting everything quick and with little effort we are all using the internet to shop for everything from jobs to reception sites. We look online for phone numbers, ideas, references, even answers to our wedding questions. We expect a vendor’s site to be beautiful, up to date, and easy to navigate. If a site takes to long to load, is too hard to search or doesn’t look professional we move quickly on to the next one.
Is this a good idea? Not always. I love a beautiful site as much as the next person. Hopefully mine is one, but I also use some wonderful vendors that have no website at all, some have one but it is not the most beautiful or most modern out there. I also know some vendors that have remarkably beautiful sites, but are NOT remarkably good vendors.
Websites are a funny thing; if you spend a little money (ok, a lot of money) you can have a really beautiful one made up. The pictures can be beautiful, but and this is a big but, some vendors have been known to use pictures of places or things that in reality they have nothing to do with producing. Anyone can buy beautiful “stock” pictures to fill their sites. If the pictures look just too beautiful or there are just a few pictures be careful.
Remember just because the site has a few gorgeous pictures does not mean that particular vendor did the work. Also, just because the site is beautiful does not mean this is an easy vendor to work with, or for that matter an ethical vendor.
So what should you base your decision to visit a vendor on? First a good recommendation from either your planner (no one is in a better position to know the good from the bad) or friends that have used the vendor. Other vendors are also a good place to ask. If you have a vendor you trust, ask them who they recommend and why? Get references and check them. Don’t let a “pretty face” distract you from making an informed, intelligent decision.