Tell the Truth– the Whole Truth and Nothing But!
I really wish the glossies would do an article on how to effectively hold an initial communication or consult with wedding vendors. Especially those wedding vendors that reside here on Planet Earth. Firstly, the questions they encourage couples to ask vendors are completely out of left field, and really have nothing to do with your wedding. So much so, that a lot of my wedding planner friends have generated an autoresponder or pre-formatted information sheets with answers to these questions (Is this your full time job, what were you before you became a wedding planner, what is your sign, do you like dogs and other such nonsense).
One thing that needs to be firmly addressed is the subject of budgets in the first consult. Most couples think if they say “Oh, we don’t have a budget!” that we will jump at the chance of doing your wedding because it is Platinum Wedding status.
Instead, it sends up red flags and causes us to give our “Thanks, but no thanks” for that Bridge to Wedding Nowhere concession speech. It actually sends the opposite message. Even though couples are thrown into a new world wrapped in satin, buttercream and french lace, there are enough resources that will allow you to estimate pricing for your wants vs your needs. Most couples think if they give us a certain budget, and it’s too “small”, we won’t work with you or we will think lowly of you. That could not be further from the truth.
When you lie or embellish about your budget it only wastes time for all of us. Your planner will spend time researching and showing you options that you know you can’t afford and have no intentions of buying. But the problem is that you knew from the very beginning that there is an amount you wish not to go over.
I give this example to my clients:
Let’s say we are going shopping (ooh, goodie!). Today, we decide that we will shop for a pair of boots for an upcoming party. You already know that you don’t want to spend over $200 for your complete outfit– dress, boots, accessories, makeup, etc. The problem is that you don’t tell the sales woman that. So, she steadily brings out pair after pair of gorgeous leather footwear that cost more than your entire budget. Thirty minutes into your shopping experience, you’re frustrated and you’re nowhere, as you’ve seen every boot in the store. The entire store was out of your budget. Rewind this back a little– say you had walked into the store and asked to see all the boots between $50 and $100 in a specific color. The sales person could tell you they don’t have anything in your budget and direct you to a store that does, or they could show you something in that price range.
So, before approaching any vendors, set a concrete budget. Allow yourself some wiggle room on either side. As in the example above, it will help your vendors assist you in a more helpful and efficient manner. If they cannot personally help you, they can direct you to another vendor that can.