As a wedding blogger/editor and an avid social(media)ite, I can’t tell you how many times I hear that brides aren’t working with, listening to, or most importantly, trusting their vendors. Time and time again I hear that brides are asking too many questions, that they want too many of the same details as the bride before them, that they want to negotiate a fee or a service, that they come right out and demand things of their vendors. It breaks my heart to hear that these things happen. On the flip side however, I also hear that vendors aren’t working with or listening to their brides, that they show up late to meetings and run-throughs and in some cases the wedding(!!!), that brides and other vendors have a hard time getting in touch with them, that they’re irresponsible and not worth what they were paid. Again, my heart breaks. Each and every single time.
Katie of Dreamlove Wedding Photography stopping traffic to get the shot.
“STOP! In the name of love…“
There was some upheaval a few weeks back – an article resurfaced that suggested brides practice their negotiating skills at flea markets to be better able to negotiate with their wedding vendors – I won’t say who or where this article came from (those who know know), but oh my gahhh was it the start of something. Many wrote posts on how horrendous they thought this was and how insulted they as a vendor were. But nobody really broke down the here, now and why. That’s what I want to do today.
As a wedding blogger/editor, I have seen both ends of the spectrum and heard both sides of the same story. As a person in the in-between, I am writing this post today as a message to both brides and vendors on how to make the process of planning a wedding better. Please note that this entire post is my opinion, each may form and share their own.
Asking Questions -
- Brides: There is NOTHING wrong with asking questions of your vendors. Let me repeat that in case you missed it the first time: there is NOTHING wrong with asking questions of your vendors. In fact, I’d be worried if you didn’t ask questions, because you should be throughout the planning process. Questions are a good thing. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
- Vendors: There are NO stupid questions. Please remember that not all brides are going to be well-versed in the world of weddings. They don’t know it all. Please refrain from getting frustrated with them and complaining about it on social media. It’s a mega turn off to ALL. I know you have probably heard the question a hundred and one times, but remember, that this is their first and hopefully only time. Please remember that you too asked a lot of questions when you got started.
- Brides: You pick up the latest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings and see a real wedding featured that has signature cocktails in mason jars, chalkboard signs with catchy phrases, a candy buffet in apothecary jars, and a photobooth with fun props (i.e. giant lips, mustaches and funky glasses). Way cool! You love mason jars! And you could think of some catchy phrases to write on chalkboards! And those apothecary jars would come cheap at places like Home Goods and Pier 1. And, oh! Wouldn’t a photobooth be great fun?! It’s YOUR day. If these are the details YOU want, get them, book them, do it up! I would hope and pray that you’re choosing these things because you love them, that they represent your love story in some way, not because you think it’s trendy and will get your wedding published.
- Vendors: There are NO overdone details. Please remember that not all brides are going to be well-versed in the world of weddings. They don’t fully realize just how many weddings we’ve seen with hay bales and bunting and mason jars and crazy photobooth props galore. Please refrain from getting frustrated with them and complaining about it on social media. It’s a mega turn off to ALL. I know you’ve heard the bride’s vision for bunting and mason jars a hundred and one times before, but this is their first and hopefully only time. Remember that. And remember also, that you too once thought mason jars were fabulous.
- Brides: You should be asking questions of the vendors you are interested in working with on their packages/services and fees – especially if this information is not readily available on their website. Please also be honest with these vendors. Let them know of any budgetary, scheduling or other limitations and/or concerns. Explain where you are in the planning process and that you may still be shopping around. They will appreciate it. I promise.
- Vendors: As a blogger and a hopeful, someday bride, it is incredibly frustrating for me to not find your packaging and pricing information on your sites. I get that you don’t want to “spill the beans” to other like vendors, you have fancy material that explains and details everything that you like to send to potentially interested brides. I get it. I’m not saying you have to “bare it all” on your site, but a general idea or a ballpark would be super helpful. How many times have you gotten an inquiry that asks how much you charge in one sentence and the next tells you they have a budget limitation? A lot of these could be circumvented if the information was easily accessible to brides. And while we’re on the subject of what-information-you-should-have-on-your-website, please put your phone number and EMAIL on your contact page, not just your contact form. If you haven’t done so already… Go. Do it now. Thank you :)
- Vendors: On this same note, answer your emails!!! If I as an editor (or another vendor) can’t get a hold of you, how are your brides?!?! It concerns me greatly when I hear that brides and vendors alike go weeks without hearing (back) from their vendors. These people (who are your most important advocates when it comes to referrals) will lose confidence that you have their best interest at heart. So answer those emails, timely and effectively. Please and thank you kindly, once again :)
- The bottom line is this, asking questions is a GOOD thing. Brides should be asking them. Vendors should be expecting them and thus, answering them completely and effectively. Period.
KimJMartin moving in for a closeup.
- Vendors: I hate to break it to you all but negotiating with others has been around for eons. It doesn’t just arise in the wedding industry but ALL industries, so don’t think you’re being singled out. In our instance, the reason negotiating came about is because one vendor negotiated with a bride over price or performance. Once it happened that one time, it created what’s known as the domino effect. It takes just once for word to get out that this was happening, that this was ok. Now, before you go picking up your pitchforks, we have no way of knowing who or when this occurred. But it did. It became the thing to do. Like a habit, it’s hard to stop.
- Vendors: Want to know where today’s brides are getting the idea that it’s ok to negotiate with you? Previous generations. Their moms, grandmothers, aunts, even great-grandmothers. It’s what they did 30, 40, even 50 years ago. They don’t realize that that is not how things are done anymore. They only remember what they did and are giving advice based off of their own previous experiences. They don’t realize that it’s insulting to the vendor. And it is OUR job as wedding PROFESSIONALS to teach them, show them a new and better way, and break them of that awful habit.
Sam Liang getting the bridal portraits in.
- Brides: Negotiating is not done anymore. You cannot expect to go to your cake tasting with a picture of an AMAZING cake with a Cadillac-like price tag and ask them to replicate it on your budget of $300. It’s just not possible and frankly, it’s rude. When it comes to the designing and making of your wedding cake, there are a lot of steps like designing, baking, assembling, frosting, decorating, storing, delivering. And this goes for other vendors too like your florist, your wedding planner, your photographer, and more.
- Brides: When you are looking for vendors to help make your day beautiful and all that it can be, remember that you get what you pay for. Hiring a photographer for $500 (or nothing at all – Uncle Charlie has a camera too, you know) is not going to get you a Jasmine Star or Katelyn James finished product. Chances are that photographer isn’t all that good and you will probably be very disappointed in the end result. Remember that when you shell out $4000 for your wedding photographer. You are paying them to have your back, for their craft and expertise, to ensure that the most precious moments of your day get captured. If that is not of importance to you, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But please don’t ask for them to lower their price. Doing so is like asking them to dumb down their talent. Believe me, you wouldn’t like it if it was done to you.
- Vendors: If you happen to be one of the “lucky” ones and have a bride show you a picture of a cake with a Cadillac-like price tag and only a budget of $300 to spend, it is also your job to provide that bride with options. So the Cadillac-like-cake isn’t on the menu. But what could you offer her (that will be on budget) instead?
- Brides: If your vendor isn’t upfront about providing you with options for what they can do for you on your budget, ask questions. If you’re still not getting anywhere, it’s time to shop for another vendor.
Bottom line? You want gorgeous florals, an amazing cake, over-the-top dress, incredible photography, somebody to plan your wedding perfectly? You are going to have to pay for it. Period. End of story. You will get what you pay for whether it’s from a high end vendor or not so high end vendor. It’s your choice. My advice: Choose who you want, what you want, how you want. Trust the vendors you choose. You don’t need to remind your wedding planner to be sure the flower girl and ring bearer know where to go after walking down the aisle or to check if your veil is on straight, trust me, she’s been there and done that. You are trusting your vendors with the most important day of your life. Allow them to have your back, to do their job. If they are good at what they do, they will come through.
- Brides: Hello, Bridezilla. This is just wrong on so many levels. Don’t do it. Ok? :)
- Vendors: Unfortunately, there are very demanding people in this world. If they do it to you, chances are they do it to everyone. Is it right? Absolutely not! But it happens. (In fact, television shows like Bridezilla encourages it! Ew.) You will have to be the bigger person in all of it. But by all means, please envision smashing cake into her face repeatedly, and in private.
Bottom line: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it all (or at least not out loud or on the internet).
Jillian McGrath flat on her back in the snow getting-r-done.
Welp! That was a BEAST of a post. Did you learn anything? Do you have a rebuttal? An addition? Another opinion? Please be kind. Remember that we are all entitled to our own opinions. I think I raised a few valid points. And would love to hear yours.
**Special thanks to the vendors who submitted photos of them doing what they do best, and to the others for letting me borrow them. Please note that their views are not expressed within this post. Just my own.**