One thing we hear a lot from brides is “We’ve never done this before, so we don’t know what to expect”. An awesome vendor will explain their work process so that you know how they operate. You’ll find that the wedding industry, just like wedding planning, is very different from any experience you’ve encountered. If you approach it in an us vs. them mentality, you could very well lose out on the best vendors for you.
Here’s how you’ll talk yourself out of a good wedding vendor:
- You make/demand your own terms. More likely than not, your wedding professional has had several industry leaders and legal teams review or write their contract. Negotiating is one thing. Rewriting a vendor’s contract is extremely rude and sets a tone for your relationship that can be hard to overcome. It’s like you are saying that you don’t trust the vendor or their professionalism. The same can be said about not wanting to adhere to the vendor’s payment terms. For example, most wedding professionals will require a non-refundable retainer to hold your event date on their calendar. If you cancel, they have likely turned down other couples to work with you. That retainer helps them recoup that loss, as well as get started on your event. Additionally, most wedding professionals will require your final payment two to four weeks prior to your event. This allows them to prepare to assign staff, buy food, order flowers, etc. Believe it or not, there are some shady brides out there who will attempt to pay a vendor the week of the wedding or even the day of the wedding and put a stop payment on the check or dispute the charge with their credit card on the sly.
- You try to make them into someone they’re not. We know you want to do some comparative shopping in order to find the best vendor for you. However, do not send Vendor A a copy of Vendor B’s proposal or service offering and ask them to match it or give it to you at their rate. If you like Vendor B’s service, then hire Vendor B. It’s the equivalent of going into Burger King with a recipe for the Big Mac and asking them to make it. The industry is extremely close; we know who offers what, at what rate and how they offer it. Playing us off each other or trying to make us do someone else’s work will get you left without Vendor A or B.
- Do NOT ask for a discount. I know a lot of brides learn from magazines that it doesn’t hurt to ask. Remember when your parents would chide you for immediately asking grandma “Where’s my gift?!” or “What did you bring me!?”? This may seem odd, but discounts are like personal gifts. It is up to the discretion of the vendor to extend this courtesy to you. Your vendor may have other ways of enhancing their service to you by providing a few freebies, but to outright expect it can be extremely annoying. While you are asking for the 5 star service at a 3 star price, you are also asking that vendor to come up short on their mortgage, paying their staff or their little girl’s dance lessons. You’re telling the vendor right off the bat that I value price more than your service. It wouldn’t matter how well they do their job, because you think they shouldn’t be paid the full price for it, but you expect the full benefits. It puts a sour taste in a vendor’s mouth. If you have a specific budget that you need to stay in, by all means, tell your vendor. They will help you find creative ways to get what you need, not just want you want, while keeping you within your financial comfort zone.
- You try to play “good cop”/”bad cop” or act like WE owe you something. Weddings are fun, festive occasions. To be in the industry, you really have to love what you do, have talent, work well under pressure and have the ability to work well with many different personalities. If you play nice, but get your mom or fiancé to play enforcer or the bad guy, you are giving us what we believe to be a window into the planning process or wedding day. If you act this way over coffee, when the weather changes on your wedding day or 5 additional people who didn’t RSVP show up, we do not want to be in your warpath. I sat down for one consultation where a groom came in late while his fiancée and I chatted over desserts and as he nonchalantly greeted me, he asked “Several of our vendors are giving us discounts. What are you going to do for us?” I had another tell me he didn’t need a crucial part of a service collection that was virtually essential to the success of their wedding day and would prefer that I add some other duties that were clearly out of the scope of my service. I politely referred them to other planners, with the understanding that I was not the planner for them.
- You have way too many DIY projects or “friendors”. Don’t get me wrong, here– I have seen some amazing DIY projects that have completely transformed a wedding more than anything we could have bought. I’ve worked with friends of the couple who have mind-blowing talents to share for the wedding. This isn’t speaking to those instances. This is speaking to those occurrences where couples insist on doing 50% or more of their wedding themselves: making/providing linens, doing their own flowers, an aunt who will make the cake, a friend of a friend who will DJ the wedding reception, etc. Red flags instantly go up because we worry about how much you are taking on and how much will actually be done efficiently. The same can be said with friends who donate services or volunteer to help. When a vendor has to rely on a bride or her friends to get things done, there is concern about if these things will ultimately get done in a timely and correct manner, especially when it affects their ability to provide their services. While it’s understood that while DIY projects personalize your wedding and also a way to to save money. In some instances, though, you end up paying more with your time or out of your pocket to pay a professional to correct any mistakes or implement your ideas. Be up front with your vendor and they can help you come up with some contingency plans to ensure a beautiful wedding.