I have a newsflash for everyone: your time is not any more important than anyone else’s. You’re busy? Guess what? I’m busy. So is my studio-mate Jim. So is my Moms and even my eight year old niece. You feel like you are juggling a thousand things and doing it all with a lack of sleep? This does not make you unique. This appears to be the new norm. I have been working in the wedding industry since 2003. At that time I started my business and became a full-time working photographer. My clients have alway praised me for my great customer service. I have always shrugged it off to them being much too kind. This was mostly because I felt that I do just what is right. You send me an email or leave a voicemail? Of course, I will answer you within twenty-four hours. That is normal, right? Apparently not.
When you first get engaged, everyone around you congratulates you and it’s so lovely. You do not really realise how many people you have in your life that you love until something like an engagement occurs. When you get engaged, those around you also offer to help. They lay it out and say things such as, “Let me know what I can do to help.” Both Josh and I are pretty independent people. I like to do things myself mostly because I do not want to inflict any of my needs onto others. I also feel weird about it because I run my own business so I understand how valuable the time and skills of others is. I have always felt strange asking those around me when I am in need but with this wedding planning thing, I am realising that it is okay to ask for help, especially when it is offered. The thing that I am also realising is that sometimes that offer for help is sometimes more of a generic line that we say to others without really meaning it. Just like when we tell someone that we are doing great when really we are experiencing a total shit of a day.
After securing our venue, photographer(s), officiant, DJs, chefs and bartenders, our next step in the wedding planning process was: wedding planner. Our wedding is not going to have the usual regular layout of a wedding reception so I was adamant that we needed to hire a planner to help coordinate things on the day of the wedding. Our reception is going to be cocktail-style with multiple food stations so there are going to be a lot of hands (and dishes!) involved. Since I have been to well over two hundred weddings thus far in my life, I have a good sense of how things will go and I know that when things go wrong at a wedding, it’s usually because the logistics of the day are not planned out properly. We have friends lined up to help with the set-up so really we just needed to hire a professional to help with the food stuff.
Our first step was to reach out to an acquaintance who was one of the first people to congratulate us on our engagement and to offer help. We tried to meet up but with the summer being so busy for her, it didn’t happen. We sent an email detailing what we would need in a planner for that day so that we could at least start things by getting a quote and we patiently waited to get a response, for weeks. While waiting, we approached another planner who a friend had recommend as well as a planner who I know and have worked with in the past. We received a quote from planner #1 exactly one month after we had sent an outline for what we were looking for. We heard back from planner #2 within a day of our email and she had a list of questions for us before she could provide a quote. I responded to her answers and we never heard back. Planner #3 responded, very excitedly, to our email within a couple of hours and said that she would send us a quote that evening when she got home. She did, we followed up, she followed up and yesterday, twenty-two days after our initial contact, we met with her and signed a contract. Yippee! Wedding planner? Check!
Our experience with terrible communication has not only been with planners. We have also experienced it with our venue (they take at least five days to respond to messages!) and other vendors. In July I emailed a couple of doughnut shops to get quotes. (I secretly love doughnuts!) The one is a shop that is local to our home which I love. The other is a shop who did doughnuts at a wedding that I photographed which I also love. It was like pulling teeth to get quotes from both shops. After not hearing a peep from shop #2 for a week but seeing that they were active on Twitter, I tweeted at them asking if they had received my inquiry. I received a reply to my email within an hour. Twitter FTW!
I would think, as I am sure most of you would think, that if one wants to give you money for your goods or services, that you would like that. That you would want to encourage them to spend their hard-earned bucks with you. I mean, you are running your business to make a living and pay the rent and all of the other necessary life things, no? How about you answer those client emails a little more timely? I know that if I ran my business in the way that everyone mentioned here (minus Planner #3) apparently does, I would not be in business. Weddings are serious. Brides and grooms are investing an incredible amount of money on this one day. As a vendor, we need to learn to respect and honour that a little more. It’s not just an ordinary day for the bride and groom. It’s their one chance to throw the best party of their life and that is pretty darn important.
So who have we hired to help with the planning for our wedding? Crystal of Distinct Occasions. She was prompt and professional when responding to our emails, even though we have known each other since our University days at Ryerson. She treated us with respect and was enthusiastic about our ideas for the big day. I love that I already have a relationship with her not only personally but also as a fellow wedding vendor. I feel so good knowing that we will be in her hands that day.
P.S. What’s up next? The wedding dress. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. Who took the photo in this blog post? You bet it was the magical Fer Juaristi!