You have a great email back and forth with a wedding couple - things are looking good! You send your pricing sheet - and they're in shock. They question your worth, try to strip down your services, whatever they can do to save a buck. How do you explain why you're worth it? This week's episode has three effective ways to market your value and close the sale. Music by Michael Holowatch of the Replicas.
Ever feel like you're a professional arbitrator or MFT? When what you thought you were doing was planning a wedding? When family drama gets too much and we planners are in the middle of it, it can make our job exhausting and stressful. Here's how to get everyone to behave and treat you not like a member of the family, but like the professional you are. Tips start at 4.57. Music is "She's So High" by Michael Holowatch of the Replicas. They provide outstanding live music for any event and are simply amazing. Many thanks to Michael for letting me use this track.
Questions? Stories? Just want to talk? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The transition to podcasts has officially begun! This first official episode of the Aisle Survive: Tales of a Former Wedding Planner podcast is up. This episode is about Bad Decisions - the client who wants their cousin to do the lighting, their aunt to take the photos - you get the gist. How to maintain integrity of the wedding, and thus your role, at the event? I'll explain all. Any questions, input, comments, or war stories? Email me at email@example.com.
The music is "She's So High" by Michael Holowatch of the Replicas, one of the best bands EVER. If you need a killer band for your clients' wedding or event in Los Angeles and beyond, look no further!
How many family members involved in wedding planning is...too many? Listen, I've worked with 5 different family members and it's been fine; I've also had to deal with just 1 maid of honor who almost ruined everything. It's all HOW you do it, not WHO does it. For example, I am happy to work with parents, but I don't sign contracts with them - just the couple. That draws a line, as if to say, "You may be paying for it, but it's the bride and groom's wedding!"
Here are a few wedding planning - slash - family therapy (???) tips for success.
If there's already drama, don't Collaborate.
If you already have a history with family that want to be involved - and it's not GOOD history - back away. Get a second job, elope, do whatever you can to pay for the wedding yourself and keep them from hosting. When a family member hosts, they can sometimes unfairly leverage that to control the event to the -inth degree. There was one wedding in particular that I planned, where the parents of one of the couple hosted, and whenever I spoke with them it was as if the bride and groom weren't even involved. The mom dictated the wedding colors, I had to remind them to invite the bride and groom to a table mockup - it was bizarre. On top of that, I had multiple people deciding on different things in several different emails - not an orderly 'decide by committee' way. If a family member wants to get involved and is hosting, make sure they know it's not THEIR wedding!
Divide and conquer.
"Sis, you work on the ceremony music and flowers. Mom, negotiate the venue and oversee rentals. We'll choose the officiant and DJ. Communicate directly with the planner or vendor and don't loop in all of us on every single email." That's called delegating - and it works! Back-channel chats about taste and style among all parties works for decision making, then the person in charge of that one element emails the vendor or planner directly with the final call. Done!
Tell your peeps: It's not a contest.
It makes me groan when I meet a friend or relative who tries to out-plan the planner. They're not a wedding planner, but they've done some parties and are really creative, and they go on Pinterest all the time, and now they try to take over at a walk-through or design meeting with a bride and groom. A good wedding planner has no ego and loves input, but not when it's bossy and it's a non-pro trying to throw their weight around. I had one maid of honor take over at a flower mock up and try to tell me and the florist she could "get that mercury vase at Michaels." We were like, "Yes, and we can get it and a dozen others like them at wholesale cost through our suppliers." I don't know why some people get threatened by wedding professionals - it's really weird, but it's like trying to take over negotiations on a house purchase from a Realtor. Why go through all the trouble? Let the pros do their job!
I started noticing that clients from time to time would become nearly catatonic with indecision about their wedding design. They'd freak out about making the best choice, whether it was using a white flower or an ivory flower - that kind of thing. The first time it happened, I wanted to shake the bride or groom and go "it's just a flower!! It will be okay!" And I provide florals and design for clients, so it wasn't me blowing off the design, it was me knowing when to stop, when to settle on something that would look beautiful and on-theme. And I can tell some clients were almost up at night about it! Here are a few brutally honest tips for making sure design doesn't destroy you.
1. You are not going to win a medal for having the best wedding design ever.
No one from Brides magazine is going to come out and judge it. if you want to be published, and you do want to use it as an occasion to show off your aesthetics, then tell your planner and/or florist and they'll guide you to a distinctive design that may have a shot at it. (That said, the first priority i would think is having a thoughtful, spiritual and/or meaningful union with your true love surrounded by friends and family, but hey! To each his/her own.) Reason why I say that is often time brides and grooms get excited about decor that has already been around the circuit for awhile and event vendors can actually guide your design to be a little more cutting edge, modern, i.e. not look like the dozens of other weddings that website/blog editors are getting every day. So trust them. They know best.
2. The less you debate about design, the more likely you are to make a focused decision.
If you completely doubt yourself or are so nervous about picking the right look that you start to panic and go back and forth endlessly about the 'right' design, you're not going to make good decisions.
3. So, decide what you like in general - not in weddings, but in your life.
What's your apartment like? What recurring theme do you see in your home/garden themed Pinterest boards? A certain color theme? White and glass decor? As sappy as this sounds, the right guidance lies within you - not in looking at OTHER'S wedding design. So go with your gut.
4. And again...you are not going to win a medal for best wedding design.
After it's all over the flowers get tossed (eventually), the favors are left rolling around on the floor or discarded, and someone else is in the same space perhaps 24 hours later getting married. And what do you want to remember? You impressed your friends with a killer design,? Or the look of your fiance's face when you walked down the aisle? Priorities, kids...priorities.
I have to say, when I started the business, I had no idea what I was getting into. Time after time, vendors and clients mention how "calm" I am. But there have been many moments, the first year or two of the business, where I felt overtaken by anger or frustration (let's remember event planning is considered one of the top 10 most stressful jobs). So I've worked hard to separate my emotions from the job at hand. You can use these tips to stay calm when a family member provokes you, a vendor is driving you crazy, or you're just overall cranky from the stress of planning.
1. Think, "is this really the worst thing to happen to me right now?" Remember how much of a 'first world problem' it is to be planning your wedding.
2. Isolate the actual problem. Is your dad totally taking over the decisions? Or is it that you're tired from work and all he did was suggest a silly song for your father/daughter dance? Focus on the exact problem, and treat just that issue.
3. When handling an issue, stay calm and promise yourself you can vent later. If you need to discuss a sensitive matter with someone, and you act belligerent while talking, it'll raise their hackles. If you stay calm, they will start to back down. Firmly, even with a smile, insist you need things done a certain way and you're sorry that it doesn't suit them, but you hear them and understand, and respect, their opinion. After, call your best friend and vent, have a glass of wine. go for a jog. Do what you can to stay as absolutely calm as you can and you will be grateful you did.