One of the awesome things about my job is that I get to meet wedding industry professionals from all over ... ones who are just starting out, ones who have been at it for YEARS, and the ones who fall somewhere in the middle. And one thing they do with me?
I am all for venting one out ... in fact, nothing gets my juices pumping to kick ass again like a good ole vent-fest. Am I right??
Lately I have been hearing a lot about wedding planners / coordinators / designers who do this:
PROMISE THEIR CLIENTS UNHEARD OF LOW RATES AND THEN EXPECT THE PROFESSIONAL THEY ARE BRINGING BUSINESS TO WORK WITHIN THE BUDGET
What the f*ck is that all about??? I imagine the conversation goes something like this:
Client: I want the moon, the sun, and the stars!! I want it all for way less than usual. You're a killer wedding planner so I know you can make that happen!
Wedding Planner: Why yes! That's my job! Get you a killer wedding for way under budget! I know other vendors who totally do this for me and I'll hook you up!
Client: Thanks, fabulous wedding planner! I can't wait to get the BEST of the BEST for super super cheap!
WHY IS THAT EVEN A CONVERSATION YOU THINK WILL GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
Here is how the answer REALLY should be if the coordinator is doing their job:
Hey, client. Yes, I love those details too and I can see why you would want them included in your wedding! I'd love to make that happen and I know amazing pros who can create exactly what you're envisioning. The price points you should expect are between $ and $$ (<< actually give them REALISTIC expectations of price here) so if that is important to you we can adjust the budget in other areas to make it happen!
I don't understand why any coordinator would think that making their clients wedding as cheap as possible is going to help them in the long run.
A: You have just seriously annoyed and pissed off one of the vendors you work with by poorly educating clients on what things actually cost.
B: You have a person out there in the world using words to describe your business that include: cheap, low budget, and saved a lot of money.
So, what kind of clients do you think those 'word of mouth' people will get you more of!!? Think about it ...
When you set up poor expectations of cost for your clients you are doing more damage than good. You are creating a 'dreamland' in which everyone who lives in it is either pissed at you or blind. Other professionals are going to start NOT WANTING to work with you because they will feel undervalued and if your goal is to raise your prices and get higher end weddings ... well, what do you think will create that momentum!!?? Certainly not all your 'cheap' clients talking about you.
If you insist on cutting costs here and there when necessary the way to go about it is with full disclosure!! If you have a client who LOVES calligraphy, but can't afford it and you have a friend in the industry who you want to beg a favor from, then TELL YOUR CLIENT!! Let your client know: Look, this typically costs $$$ and I know how much you dreamed of having calligraphy. I have asked an industry friend for a favor, so if you ever talk about how awesome your calligrapher was, then please be mindful of the actual cost, not the one I have secured for you.
^^ while I still don't *love* the idea of asking other business owners to lower their pricing, at least there it's known .... and the calligrapher isn't loaded up to have a bunch of 'word of mouth' potential clients come at them with a fake price in their heads.
When a wedding is created it takes a TEAM. As the planner who will most likely be referring your clients to their vendors it's your NUMBER ONE job to protect everyone. Good planners act as the 'go between' to make everyone feel they are being taken care of. And that definitely includes protecting other professionals.