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Truth vs Fiction: In Wedding Planning

I was speaking with one of my favorite wedding planner friends the other day. She was telling me how they have about 10 weddings coming up within the next few months. I told her, “Wow, obviously I am in the wrong market.” (typical knee-jerk response when you hear another professional doing well in her respective area).

“Well, ” she replies, “you know they aren’t all GREAT weddings. In fact, one of them I really wanted to turn down, because I felt she wasn’t going to be the best fit.” My very experienced, planner friend then loudly sighed. “But my husband and I went over finances for the next quarter and when she called to hire us, I took it! Sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do.”

I THANKED her for her honesty. That’s what really is going on in the REAL world.

This doesn’t mean I am suggesting that you grab up every client that comes to you, we all know it is important to acquire a client that will not only appreciate your services but reflect your company’s brand. (That was my one obligatory branding message that must accompany all blog posts like this.) But we know that bills come in every month and you can’t respond to your electric bill, “Sorry, my target client didn’t hire me this month.”

So what’s a small business, fighting the poor economy and rising expenses suppose to do? {GET REAL} Sales suggestions:

  1. First, BE sure you aren’t lowering your “brand” standards so much that you are putting yourself and your business in jeopardy.
  2. Do not work for free. Do not work for free. Do not work for free.
  3. Set clear boundaries and limitations so that you will not be taken advantage of and still make a profit.
  4. Know that you aren’t alone. Not every wedding is dripping with Phalaenopsis orchids and crystals from the ceiling. But that is okay.

What are your thoughts?

Happy Selling!


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12 Responses to “Truth vs Fiction: In Wedding Planning”

  1. Kate Bentley says:

    I totally agree. I do enjoy my perfect bride. But I do make room for the non-perfect bride and that is ok. My business is all destination business so I do most of my talking via phone so its hard at times. But I do my best and if you have great communication skills, you should be already. Communication is the KEY to a successful planning process and wedding day.

    Thanks.

    Kate Bentley

  2. It’s amazing to me how many wedding professionals I speak with who feel that they are alone and struggling. It’s a shame that people can’t be more honest.

    I think that Social Media (FB, Twitter, etc.) compounds the problem because others are always posting all about client interviews and events they’re working on. For all you know they could be talking about their sister’s wedding. I always advise my friends to take these things with a grain of salt – everything is not always what it appears, and some people are great storytellers.

    Plus, I doubt most people would admit that they are taking clients, projects & events they would have turned down without a second thought in the past.

  3. Brittany Allen says:

    Well said!

  4. Bernadette says:

    Veru good post. I’m always telling planners not to believe the hyper from other planners who say they are booked solid, I’m sure some planners ‘bend the truth’ a little. I also think its important to remember it is a business not a hobby so sometimes you have to take that booking even if you know you wont be showing it in your portfolio. After all no point working if you are not making money!

  5. Sasha Souza says:

    No matter where you are in this industry we all have exactly the same problems. Whether it be over-saturation of event planners or lowered budgets and high expectations. What gets me are the people who continue to say “I’m fully booked for the year” – that’s dripping in BS. If you are booked for your “maximum” number of events that’s one thing but don’t pull my leg and tell me you’re fully booked for the year and not taking on new clients…we’re always taking on new clients. And seriously, nobody on twitter needs to know how many clients you’ve booked. unless asked, keep it to yourself so you aren’t #bragging and having @regalaffair on your tushie. LOL.

    • saundra says:

      Sasha, I almost spit out my drink laughing at the @regalaffair comment!

      Thank you everyone for your honest feedback!!! Loving the comments!

  6. I think we are all inately worried that “everyone” is doing better than us. That we feel we HAVE TO portray we are doing better, or booking more, or being offered more.

    This isn’t fair to our markets. Not all photographers have 2010 fully booked, not all wedding planners are completely booked for this year or our seasons.

    We also need to remember that our seasons are different in each market, in Florida our season doesn’t end… we don’t have to battle with snow storms, so although we work through December and into January… we aren’t as busy in the Summer, it’s 3000 degrees and 296% Humidity, who wants to get married that!

    It’s hard for some of us to hear how good NY or IN planners are doing in July and August when we are dead…. just as it’s hard for NY or IN planners to hear how busy we are in January and February…

    Just my 2 cents..

    PS Whoever the planner you were talking to, is an absolute brillant genius, just sayin.

  7. Erica says:

    Thank you for this! As a “newbie” I appreciate this honesty from planners who have been in the industry for a while! And I totally agree that FB/Twitter feed into the “need” to appear booked/busy/swamped for fear that someone will think less of those of us who are not constantly drowning in vendor meetings, emails, & consults.

    I needed this today- so thanks 🙂 So excited to meet everyone at Eventology!

    Cheers!
    E

  8. So good to hear this!
    In fact yesterday I tweeted about having to turn down a prospective wedding couple. In addition to being a wedding twit (addict) I run a venue and coordinate all the weddings on site.
    In this particular case it became apparent early on that our beliefs & styles were going to clash. One thing after another they wanted changed or moved (including a carved fish on the wall that the bride was concerned that everyone would be looking at instead of her for her entrance).
    After a few days of pondering I decided it was best to turn the wedding down. It is important to me that the clients be as happy as I can make them while sticking to the rules and standards of the venue I represent.
    I know they will find what they are looking for,…this time it just wasn’t us.

  9. What gets me is that there is so much power in collaboration and we’re wasting it. Why isn’t there more common information available about the industry, in general, and financial, specifically, that everyone can benefit from?

    It troubles me that we’ve got a pyramid of ‘celebrity planners’ at the top, pulling down the big bucks (well-deserved I’m sure) and a mountain of wedding pros under that who just doing ok or actually struggling. Instead of pretending, wouldn’t it be uplifting if we could talk more openly about what it takes to run a success business. The greatest marketing campaign isn’t gonna help if you can’t figure out how to sell which packages at what price or deal with the inevitable people challenges.

    That’s why I think Saundra’s work(sales), Michelle Loretta’s work (business plans/organization), and frankly mine (specialized education on communication/leadership) is so important. These are essential skills no matter what business you’re in.

    Oh my, sorry for the rant, I get so fired up about this empowerment stuff. Stepping down from the soapbox now…

    Thanks for opening this conversation!
    Dina

  10. Nice to read all the comments. I think last year alot of weddings were postponed for many reasons. One of my regular venue’s had 6 weddings rescheduled from last year to this year mainly because they wanted to save more money maybe? or their own finances were insecure? We are all struggleing to keep up moral, pay the bills & advertising is a important as the other bills.
    Personally, I work from home on a mobile basis & have noticed local competitiors ‘fold’ due to crippling overheads. I havn’t got rent ect to worry about but I do not have a shop front either for footflow & passing trade. I know I will still be here is 10 years but it’s so hard to get noticed. Keep going everyone & good luck for 2010, I wish you all the best x

  11. uberVU - social comments says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by saundrahadley: sales coach: Truth vs Fiction: In Wedding Planning http://goo.gl/fb/pyhO


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