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Posts Tagged ‘bridal behavior’

So, a new client is referred to you several months ago. It comes from a reputable source, and you’re feeling flattered.

You arrange a time to meet, but new client cancels at the last minute.

OK.

You sweep it under the rug, as she was referred by a former client whom you love.

First meeting eventually transpires after a few weeks.

She arrives late, clothing & hair appear disheveled, and her demeanor is bit out of sorts. To put it bluntly, she’s not really present.

She’s fussing with her blackberry, fidgeting in her seat, and unable to keep any level of eye contact.

No big deal, right? We all have off days, and she’s probably just really overwhelmed with all of the details & decisions that go into creating a wonderful wedding day.

Just keep on lying to yourself.

With no real focus on her part, the task at hand becomes BIG.

So, aren’t you dying to know what ends up happening?

Major Wasted Time. {surprise}

You spend so much mental energy talking this client down from odd-ball elements that make no sense, that you feel like charging the ‘referral source’ for the counseling sessions you’ve lined up for weeks.

In the end, the wedding is a total hodge podge.

Exactly as she wants it. And, she seems really happy about it all. Which in the end is all that matters.

Though, there’s still very little eye contact.

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It seems certain brides truly believe that their opinion is GOSPEL .

Especially when it comes to sharing their personal interactions with a specific vendor.

Like – who to avoid, who’s way overpriced, who you can bully, who doesn’t walk their talk, who’s a diva.

You get the idea.

These free-flowing testimonials seem to be most apparent on certain message boards – where brides can remain anonymous, interact, share experiences, and spread the slag.

Of course, we all know their messages are based solely on personal opinion, and truly have no bearing on our business ideals or practices.

Yet, it’s difficult to ignore, especially when you know it’s going on.

One day you’re viewed as the Miracle Worker, an Angel among {wo}men, up for Sainthood.

And the next?  Well, you didn’t kiss someone’s ass enough, you didn’t provide enough of a discount, or you didn’t provide the same exact perks. This free press is really a double-edged sword.

So, what’s a Wedding Vendor Extraordinaire to do?

Seriously, how dare some nameless bride-to-be on a vengeance try to take your reputation down with her?

Your gut reaction may be to create a fake online profile. It’s anonymous, right?

You could become part of the gang, ask brainless questions, comment on other’s catastrophes in the making, and slyly throw in a few little bites of PR magic {focused on your business, of course}.

Revenge is sweet, no?

In all seriousness, this would never work. Who has the time, energy, or interest?

Don’t sink to their level.

Keep Your Message Consistent.

Watch what you promote on your site, in your marketing materials, on your twitter account, etc.

Sometimes the smallest thing can slip through the cracks, even on the most careful watch. 

Offering custom pricing or ranges seems to work best {for most vendors}.

Your costs, expenses, niche, and staffing needs could change very, very quickly depending on the client, event size, and season.

You need to be flexible enough to meet the changes your growing company will inevitably go through.

And you can rest easy, knowing that you are providing a service based on your own integrity, not just public opinion.

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OK, we just can’t take it anymore.

Whoever coined the term ‘Day of Coordination’ needs to shaken, not stirred.

It creates a false illusion of what is truly required to pull off a smoothly transitioned Wedding Day celebration.

Let’s think about this.

A wedding typically takes how long to plan? Let’s say 6 – 12 months.

But then the Bride wants to pay someone as little as possible {usually} to have them come in, Just for the Day, to pull it all together, and make it perfect?

Get Real.

Wedding Vendors are all about the relationships they build, with clients, staff, and amongst themselves.

We can’t absorb all the impressions, innuendos and details that you’re looking for – nor will we really get to know your personality, quirks or pet peeves – with one introductory phone call, a few emails, and a drive-by decor drop off date.

Rome wasn’t build in a day, and neither was your wedding.

Be Realistic. Hire a Professional. It’s one decision you’ll never regret.

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Do you often daydream about having an Open Letter to the Bride posted in your storefront window?

A form letter of sorts, to share expectations, protocol, tips and advice.

Here’s one such letter, written for Bridal Salon Owners everywhere.

Dear Bride to Be, 

We’re so excited to meet you!

This is such an amazing time in your life, and we understand all the worries, concerns, and insecurities that come with shopping for the dress.

Be ready to gush, cry, oooh and aaah over all the fabric choices, veils + accessories.

We do have one initial request of you + your bridal party.

Ditch the bad attitudes at the door.

Come with a smile on your face.

OK, two initial requests really.

This is not a Cinderella and Stepsister scenario. We’re not your maid, or cocktail waitress.

This is our livelihood, so please respect our staff, and the array of dresses to choose from.

We realize that you’re stressed, under the gun time-wise, may have some pressure in terms of price, and have other things to get ready for your big day.

Remember too, not every bride finds ‘ THE DRESS ’ on their first day of shopping.

So relax, enjoy the choices, and above all….. be kind.

Feel free to bring your closest friends, mom + confidantes.

But be advised, friends that will say YES to all of your whims, or those that are hypercritical, are not a wise choice. You need support, gently mixed with a shot of reality.

We have many other clients that will visit our bridal shop this season, and we treat each and every guest with the same level of respect, attention to detail and compassion.

We can only control our own attitudes, our inventory, and our staff.

Here’s a short list of items that we can’t control:

  • Your weight. We understand that you want to look perfect on your day, but we can’t get a size 20 into a sample dress. It’s just not going to happen.
  • Your appearance.  Want to have fun, and feel pretty?  Then put your best foot forward. Dress up, do your hair + make-up. Bring shoes if you have them, or something with a similar heel height.
  • Bad undies. Wear some great fitting undergarments. The closer you can get to the real fit, the happier and more confident you’ll feel.
  • Dress type fixation. Try not to dwell on a specific dress or designer before you start trying any on. You’ll be amazed, and extremely surprised to see what actually looks good on your body type.
  • Friends with ulterior motives. Bring those that are TRULY excited, and want the appointment to be all about you. Not someone who’s searching for their own dress, for the ‘ What If ’ wedding.

 

Above all, don’t forget your manners and self-respect on the day of the appointment.

We look forward to helping you find the dress of your dreams.

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Well, since you brought it up.

Yes. Yes, you are.

Those tantrums, unrealistic expectations, vent sessions seemed to be aimed at us – directly .

But what’s so interesting, is it’s no longer just a role exclusive to the Bride.

Some of the recent incarnations may be a bit surprising….

  • The Father of the Bride
  • The Mother-in-Law {who doesn’t understand boundaries, at all}
  • The Sister {who’s already married, and clearly knows how a wedding should go}
  • The BFF
  • And the personal favorite, The Onsite Venue Helper. She appears somewhat hung over, clearly disgruntled, and wants to make sure that her employer knows she’s miffed.  How will she get this message across?  By doing the least amount of work possible over the next 8 hours. Great.

So, if you can’t beat them – join them right? All kidding aside, walking on eggshells isn’t good for workmanship, morale or productivity. Letting people vent can be healthy for them, but they need to understand that they’re experiencing situational stress.

Talking about it BEFORE the wedding day is helpful.

You don’t need to walk around with a knife in your back.

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Let’s face it.

Brides are put into a role that has a very definitive end date, and many just aren’t naturally detailed-oriented, or organized.

Here’s a Top 5 list of the most overlooked, and recurrent, bridal mistakes.

We, as wedding vendors, need to remedy these before the week of the wedding. Otherwise, all hell WILL break loose.

1) Venue Access:   Be sure to check & re-check when vendors can ACTUALLY be on-site. Meaning, when they can get in the doors, drop off or set-up their items. There are NO vendors that want to wait around, twiddling their thumbs.  There’s more than just your wedding happening this day.

2) Elaborate Décor + Design:  Do us all a favor, don’t incorporate overly detailed and time consuming décor, and not provide adequate assistance. Assuming your planner or coordinator will have the time + manpower to complete these tasks in less than 2 hours is a recipe for disaster.

And please, don’t say how ‘easy it’s going to be’ to set-up 6 clusters of hanging paper lanterns from a 20 foot ceiling, creating an arch out of bamboo & orchids, and hanging silk curtains from a window sill.                                     Unless you have photographic proof that you’ve done a test run – – you have no idea how long it’s really gonna take.

3) No Master of Ceremonies:  Who do you expect to keep the reception flowing? Really. This is not a position that can be overlooked. Timelines are so important to have in place, but things will always get thrown off a bit. You need someone that can go with the flow, and read a crowd.

4) Lack of Signage:  Where to go may seem obvious to you, but think like a guest for a moment. Lack of direction is a common personality trait. Someone is going to get lost in the car, or not know what door to enter. Put up some signs. More the better.

5) Timelines:  Understand the importance. Have an overly detailed, tightly wound person write it, and pass it out ONLY to those that need to be ‘in the know.’  Nobody else. You want to keep your ‘Circle of Trust’ close at hand. Allow only the chosen few to help guests move along at a natural flow.

 

What do you see Brides often overlooking?

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Lesson #1 from the Wedding Industry Trenches

Now, we all know, this is an industry that’s based on relationships. It’s how you can grow your business, look for like-minded business owners, and create a great referral network. It’s based on mutual adoration and respect.

Unfortunately, there are clients that just don’t see it that way. There’s nothing ‘long term’ in their minds. They just want what they want, when they want it. Seeing someone else go down in flames doesn’t make them miss a beat.

Upon reflection, you’ll see there were Red Flags surrounding this ‘bad behavior’ client. It’s your job to really take notice, and keep the fire extinguisher close at hand.

Here’s a First-Hand Account from Planner Incognito:

“I had a client that was very sweet, flexible about meeting times, open to design suggestions, and had a great personality – initially. We got on well, and she hired me for full wedding planning. I started the process by providing her a list of selected vendors {3-5} for each category she requested.

She wanted to review the vendor’s websites, product line, prices & aesthetic.

She chose an invitation designer initially, and I made the appointment for a consult. Now, this invitation designer has also become a friend of mine. She’s talented, intuitive, and creates gorgeous graphically designed pieces. These are not amateur products by any means.

This is how the meeting went…

My client arrived late {20 minutes}, with no apology, or comment on the time. She slammed her purse down on the table, gave a slim smile to each of us, and proceeded to the coffee line.

The invitation designer & I just shared glances, and I covered it up by saying she was probably under pressure from work. You see, this client had told me {more than once}, that she had a VERY high pressure/important position, and just didn’t have the time to plan a wedding, and work. Completely understand that.

So, the meeting proceeded, with my client perusing the invitation designer’s book of past creations, while the designer talked about her process, and asked a few questions of the bride to be.

None of them were answered.

She just proceeded to look at the invitations in the book, slammed the book closed, and stated “These just aren’t the quality I’m looking for. They’re nice, but I feel like I’ve seen them so many times.”

That was it. I was dumbfounded. She was late, curt, and then insulted the vendor. The meeting lasted all of five minutes.

I was so embarrassed, and felt like I’d led the invitation designer {my friend} to slaughter.

I intervened with thanking the designer for her time, and sharing her gorgeous work with us.

I walked my client to her car {biting my tongue}, talked about the other options out there, and bid her a good day. She didn’t comment once on her attitude, tardiness, or lack of couth. Clearly, this was normal behavior for her.

I then ran back to the coffee shop. I was in full apology mode. My working & personal relationship with the invitation designer was in jeopardy, I felt.

We talked about the shock + awe of the whole meeting, and in the end, she was very glad to not have this bride as a client.  She knew that she’d be a continual headache.

All she said was, ‘You’ve got to pity the groom.’

That’s for damn sure.

Lesson Learned

  • Trust your gut. Not every client is going to be a good fit.
  • Don’t be desperate. Walk away if you need to. Self respect is never for sale.
  • Refer a client elsewhere. Be purposeful, and choose to work with the clients that respect your time, your connections, your professionalism, and other vendor’s creativity & product lines.

High School behavior is just not acceptable.

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