So you’re engaged. Chances are, you’ll be meeting with a lot of different people who possess a wide range of specialties, and they’ll all be competing for your business. How do you talk to these people? Some of that might depend on the person. I’m pretty laid back, I think, but other vendors might present an incredibly professional demeanor (not to say that I’m UNprofessional, just not “coordinated pantsuit” professional). There are a few general guidelines that go both ways though, and these should hopefully help you communicate with everyone involved in your wedding.
1. Prompt Responses
I know you’re busy and all, but your vendors are likely busy as well. They also likely have files that they like to keep updated. If you’ve made up your mind about something they’ve offered, or have decided to go a different direction, give them a heads up so they can stay organized. This goes both ways: if you contact a vendor, you should expect to hear from that vendor within two days. If you don’t, you may decide to go with someone else, but again, just let them know not to worry about answering your questions. And if you’re at a point where a contract of some sort has been signed, make sure you read it through thoroughly so you know what you’re walking away from.
2. Follow Through
I recently had a not-very-satisfied client. This wasn’t because of the product, but because of an uncharacteristic stall in communication. I could tell you all about the things that have been going on in my life lately, or about where my head has been, but the bottom line is that it’s your wedding, and the quality of the care you receive shouldn’t depend on my personal issues. I’ve apologized profusely to this bride and we’ve worked out a deal regarding the budget, so it should all be smooth sailing from here, but the points she raised were completely valid. When you work with a vendor and they say that something will get done, and they give you a deadline, you should expect it to be done by the time they say it will be done. If there’s a roadblock that arises on their end, you should expect that they will contact you about it, rather than you needing to run around frantically emailing them wondering where your product is. This is good business communication (and a good lesson for those of us who need to work on organization, mental or otherwise).
3. Being Polite
This is one that definitely goes both ways. If you are polite when meeting with a vendor, the vendor will likely be polite to you. This is something a vendor should do ANYWAY, but if you approach it like they’d really be helping you out, rather than making them feel like they’re obligated to contribute to your super perfect wedding day, they’ll be a lot happier to oblige, and you might get a deal out of the experience. I worked with a client once (in a previous job, not in my personal business) who wasn’t all that organized. This was frustrating to the other employees working with her, mostly because every time she came in she talked to someone new, and changed her mind a lot. HOWEVER. One employee in particular seemed to read this as a go-ahead to be outrageously rude and unaccommodating to her. This employee, by the way, was the manager. This bride came in one time to discuss issues she had seen on a proof she had gotten. I sat down with her and wrote out every little issue she had and took it back to the manager (who was on lunch break) to put in her file or contact the vendor. No one knows what happened to that piece of paper, because the manager just rolled her eyes, said “oh well”, threw it on a pile of paperwork, and pretended not to remember anything about it later. Not ok. The thing is, this bride wasn’t rude, she wasn’t mean, she didn’t go out of her way to make our lives hell, she just could’ve used a little help getting organized and was stressed out about her wedding day. Who isn’t? Had the manager treated the customer with something resembling respect, her experience probably would’ve been a ton better, but she didn’t, and as a result, this woman will probably not be back.
What are you doing to facilitate good communication with your vendors?