The role of a wedding planner is often misunderstood. It is their job to work closely with the bride and groom, making sure that their dream wedding becomes a reality. That means sourcing venues and suppliers, managing vendors, meticulously planning schedules and getting the best service and value for money for their clients. It’s a wonderful job, but ask any planner in the wedding industry – it’s not always plain sailing!
Here’s a contentious issue: wedding venues can, on occasion, make the planner’s job of coordinating the overall wedding that bit harder.
Working with a wedding planner? Here’s what to strenuously avoid.
Sometimes wedding suppliers can get quite hostile because they think that a wedding planner is invading their turf and trying to teach them how to do their jobs, when the truth is, a good planner has no intention of interfering with what you, as a venue, already do so well. They simply want to work with you to ensure the client is 100% happy. My career in wedding coordination began in hotels, so I’ve been on both sides of the fence here. I totally get it, this is your workspace – and we can all appreciate you probably don’t relish having outsider give you advice on how to where to position the cake, but bear in mind, the planner was there at the original meeting with the cake maker and might have more insight into the client’s desires around it than you. Either way, a venue’s hostile relationship with a wedding planner can make everyone’s job more difficult, which can impact negatively on the big day.
As the venue, support the planner’s work and don’t act as a ‘blocker’: always facilitate promptly and be responsive to suppliers’ needs and requests. Remember that the wedding planner has worked with the couple closely throughout the planning process. They’ve meticulously detailed every single element of the wedding and conceptualised its design. It can be stressful- and trust me – they will be the first in the firing line if any aspect of the wedding goes wrong! It’s a planner’s responsibility to make sure events run seamlessly – so try not to take it personally if they are not as diplomatic in their approach as they should be – especially when time is tight. Put any little niggles aside about how you might feel you’re being ‘managed’ and focus on the big picture: making sure that you’re providing faultless service and incredible hospitality that guests will remember.
Undercutting the wedding planner
Here’s a fact: we all know that some venues don’t like to work with wedding planners, and, you know what? That’s fine!
Some venues aren’t being honest about it from the outset…
I hear about this happening all too often – venues will schmooze wedding planners and invite them to events with every intention of getting planners to promote them in the future. Then, as soon as a wedding planner’s clients arrive for a viewing, the venue representatives try to convince them that they don’t need to hire a planner at all – they will do it all for them, at a lower price.
If your venue doesn’t like working with wedding planners – say so. Be transparent. Don’t go about trying to get free publicity for your venue via wedding planners if you’ve no intention of returning the favour. If you do genuinely want to develop positive working relationships with wedding planners, experience working together on at least a couple of celebrations. Once you’ve seen how well you work together, consider adding your tried and trusted favourites to your venue’s preferred supplier list. This approach fosters loyalty, commonly secures both parties more business and builds a relationship built on trust from the outset.
Hitting their clients with hidden charges
Many venues charge an automatic gratuity or tip on top of the food and drinks bill at a wedding. This should be discretionary so its automatic inclusion can lead to an awkward conversation at the end of a wonderful day. Oh, and who has to manage that fall-out?! Yep, you’ve guessed it…
You know what they say? If you’re happy with a service you’ll tell one person, but if you’re unhappy you’ll probably tell five. As a venue, that’s got to be your ‘client experience’ mantra! Transparency has to be key with all your dealings with couples getting married. Anything to do with wedding finances must be explained in full and absolutely agreed in advance – not simply inserted into the small print of T&C’s. This approach ensures that there will be no misunderstandings or unexpected fees, which can leave clients feeling negative about their experiences.
Not sharing the credit
Most venues rely on word of mouth and client recommendations to secure future business. They also commonly use images of weddings on websites or in magazines, to show the world the sort of celebrations that can host. That’s not a problem, but it’s always disappointing when venues don’t credit the work of the wedding planner – every wedding is a team effort, and it’s more than likely that the wedding planner’s eye for design has pulled the whole thing together.
If a venue is featuring images of real weddings, all the suppliers involved should be credited in any marketing material or web imagery. It’s so important to consistently share the credit. If you don’t play it fair? Well, it’s a way to alienate allies in the wedding industry. Plus, in the future, your venue could be missing out on all the free promotion it would probably have received in return…