Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear wedding professionals..

To say that I know everything about planning a wedding is such a major overstatement because there are a TON of things I don't know and still have yet to learn. The wedding industry never ceases to humble me. This is why I always approach wedding professionals with a humble attitude because I don’t know EVERYTHING about this industry, and I expect the same consideration when they approach me as well (with mutual understanding and respect). It is really not about whom the “power player” is or who has more experience. It's all about the teamwork and working together with the same goal of blessing the couple with our services.

However, a few wedding professionals actually come off as a bit arrogant, haughty and dare I say it with an “I’m all that” attitude. Whenever I run into these particular vendors, I’m instantly turned off. Even if I’m working with a vendor who is fairly new to the industry, I always make sure to give my respect and encourage them because I know how hard it is to switch careers and explore the unknown waters. Plus, it’s because of their fresh and unique ideas that inspire and motivate me too!

But what turns me off even more is when a few wedding professionals somehow give off a vibe that wedding planners are nothing more than brides' emergency kits; fixing the bride’s dress, pinning a groom’s boutonniere, making sure things fall into play or when they think our main job is to give referrals to our clients. If you think that… Oh Boy! You are so WRONG! Or you have underestimated what we do. Some of our job includes but not limited to coming with a list of specific detail shots for the photographer to capture, after all, we would like to see all our DIYs in photos, attending 2-3 florist meetings before finalizing any details, providing a list of wedding items that need to be handed off to us. If a location does not provide a floor plan, we draft our own with detailed notes to include the table size, linen color and size, how many guests per table, where to place the food, and etc. (more here, here and here).

I'm seeing that more and more wedding professionals are selling themselves in so many different facets in order to bring more 'value' to the table. A DJ may include 'wedding coordination services' in their proposal, because they also create a timeline for the reception. A photographer may bring in an extra assistant who just happens to know how to operate a video camera, and thus, 'videography services' can now be included in the proposal.

Let me put things in perspective for you, bluntly.

I love to stalk photographer’s blogs, and I have a digital camera but I don’t call myself a photographer. I know how to arrange flowers and have put together centerpieces for many events, but I’m certainly not a florist. I can capture my son crawling around everywhere on a video camera but that doesn’t make me a videographer. I have some FAB assistant coordinators who love to decorate, but I don't call them event designers. You see what I’m getting at?

If you only take a bit of time to try to understand and respect other professionals' scope of work, you will quickly realize that it's not easy to proclaim certain titles. By trying to fool your clients into thinking that you can do things which you have no training on will only come back to bite you in the long run.

I'm also writing this post in behalf of all the wonderful and hard working planners out there. Yes! We're serious about our job. Serious enough to quit our old jobs and pursue a more creative career path that would utilize our artistic side. I want you to know that we didn't switch our career path just so we can better pin the boutonniere or escort the guests to their seats. Nonetheless, those little things here and there make up our job descriptions and we'll do it joyfully!!

But know this..

1) It turns us off when you think you're the most important vendor in town and over promise your clients that a 'dream' wedding will come true. Over-anything is not good unless it's overachieving.

2) It turns us off when you show off your work; your character & personality should out shine your work.

3) It turns us off when you talk too much about how great your services are. Don't just talk big, deliver!

With that said, let's be kind, humble & respect each other's services so we can create beautiful teamwork. And let's encourage brides and grooms to hire the right person for the right job.

4 comments:

nancy {So Happi Together} said...

bravo! ;) Thanks for another insightful post. I am also wary of vendors who try to spread themselves too thin and be a one-stop wedding shop. I love the idea of a community of vendors who support and encourage each other. yay!

Rosanna said...

Bravo bravo bravo! I find the wedding industry to be sooo much about overblown claims. Granted, their definitely are serious and conscientious professionals BUT oftentimes people misrepresent themselves. I've tried to hire a wedding planner 4 times, and I gave up. Why? I really needed one! But the point is, each and everyone of them either a. misrepresented their vendor list as bigger or more differentiated, b. misrepresented themselves as being able to do more things than they actually were c. flat out refuse to hunt down custom items (not THAT hard to find, mind you, it's just that they weren't what is "usually done") d. did not listen to my doubts, requests, or needs for clarifications and e. asked about my budget before having a clear picture of what I wanted done.
It's a pet peeve of mine, but I don't think that knowing my budget is ANY of their business. No doctor, lawyer, CPA, cook, restaurant or web designer EVER asked me for a budget right after hearing my name! I have tried (hard!) to find a professional who would try to understand and clarify what I wanted and then propose an expenditure with an outline of where it is possible to cut corners and why. They all assume you want favors, and a bride on a budget to them means ugly favors. To me it means no favors or DIY favors. At the same time, just because a bride can easily afford to blow $50,000 it doesn't mean or imply that the WP *has* to spend it all. But especially, what so many WPs got backwards is *quality*. If I decide to blow $10 on a favor, it has to be worth that price, in materials, labor and set-up fees. Similarly, just because all I want to spend is $3 dollars per favor, it doesn't mean I'm willing to settle for something whose net value (in materials, labor and set-up fee) is $1 but somehow pay it $3 just because it's my budget. Most brides nowadays work... we want to pay something for what it really cost plus service, we have no interest in receiving cr@ppy items, services, or products!

wingaling said...

Dear Esther,

I'm a late comer, just found and started reading your blog yesterday! But I am so happy to have found it. I love your spirit and your attitude - learning as you grow, family first, giving it your best and yet staying humble, teamwork!

I am an aspiring wedding planner, and have worked with a wedding planning company. After that internship I started to see a lot of things that I needed to learn, even if it wasn't to become a professional photographer or florist, it has made me appreciate their art and skills so much more!

I have the same dislike of de-thorning roses... hehehehe...

I just wanted to let you know that there's another person in this world who thinks you are doing a great job, and also I think that God would be proud of you, even if you have moments of weakness, at least you turn to him.

God bless you and your family!

wingaling said...

Dear Esther,

I'm a late comer, just found and started reading your blog yesterday! But I am so happy to have found it. I love your spirit and your attitude - learning as you grow, family first, giving it your best and yet staying humble, teamwork!

I am an aspiring wedding planner, and have worked with a wedding planning company. After that internship I started to see a lot of things that I needed to learn, even if it wasn't to become a professional photographer or florist, it has made me appreciate their art and skills so much more!

I have the same dislike of de-thorning roses... hehehehe...

I just wanted to let you know that there's another person in this world who thinks you are doing a great job, and also I think that God would be proud of you, even if you have moments of weakness, at least you turn to him.

God bless you and your family!