Category Archives: Difficult Clients and Vendors

Setting Boundaries with Wedding Clients

By | Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Difficult Clients and Vendors, Event Planner, Event Planning Business Advice, Event Planning Education, Event Planning Workshops, Malibu Rocky Oaks Wedding | No Comments

An unexpected thing happened when I started wedding planning:  People lower their guard with wedding planners, and suddenly you’re treated like a therapist – or punching bag.  Some of the sharply worded, irritable, or just plain mean treatment totally blew me away, or highly reactive behavior – like the bride who called me at 11pm on a Saturday night to tell me the photo of the prototype of her bouquet made her cry (after she tried to tell the florist the exact recipe to use, which of course wouldn’t look right because the bride wasn’t a florist!).  Clearly, I needed to set boundaries with some brides, grooms, and family members and friends. Here’s how I did it.

Smogshoppe Wedding Boundaries clients

Photo by Marble Rye Photography

Set Boundaries from the Beginning

The best way to do this is to set expectations and boundaries from the beginning – I mean from before the clients even hire you.  You must set a sense of authority and expertise, and be clear that there are ground rules for communication, including office hours and a general good attitude when talking.  I was a bride and I know how stressful it can be – but we’re not saving lives here: There’s no need to have an anxiety attack over whether or not the quartet can learn the exact arrangement of the pop song you want playing as you walk down the aisle.

Peony Boutonnierre Peony Boutonierre  Boundaries wedding clients Mulberry Row florist Malibu Rocky Oaks wedding peonies

Photo by Iris and Light

Pick the Right Clients.

If potential clients don’t like your no-nonsense (but kind) attitude, they aren’t a good fit. You’re not a non-stop ‘yes man,’ you’re a voice of reason. If they want an enabler, they can go somewhere else.

Make it Legal!

Then, be sure your contract supports your boundaries, and lays in place parameters for how you communicate.

Once you start establishing your authority, your life will change, and your work will be more joyous, and your clients will be grateful for your support.  To learn more about boundaries, email me at  Happy planning!

Business Builders: Dealing with Negative Energy

By | Aspiring Event Planners, Aspiring Wedding Planners, Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Difficult Clients and Vendors | No Comments

Conquering Negative Energy in your Daily Work

Working in weddings, I came to find out I was in receipt of negative energy, constantly. Whether it was a client realizing what they wanted cost far more than they expected, or a family member interfering, or a vendor mistaking what the client wanted and causing an issue.  Sometimes, a vendor may mishandle the client and that causes consternation, or a legal issue comes up. Regardless, the mix of emotions and all these fallible human beings involved means, stuff happens, and as the coordinator or event planner, you are right smack in the middle of it all. Here are three tips for dealing with the negative energy that you may face on a weekly basis.

 Turn it into a positive.

There is a solution for everything.  The flower mockup not what your client expected? Hop on the phone with them, clarify what they want, discuss compromises or ideas and then share with the florist. If the florist misread the situation, ask them to provide an additional mockup at no charge. How you handle the situation helps you prove your worth to the client, foster goodwill between the couple and the vendor, and make sure there is a satisfactory product for the client.

Visualizing an ocean view can also soothe your mind. Photo by Sam Lim Studios, florals by Flower Duet.

Visualizing an ocean view can also soothe your mind. Photo by Sam Lim Studios, florals by Flower Duet.

Make sure you are not pulled into situations where you don’t belong.

Are you serving as coordinator, handling solely logistics for the day of the wedding, but your couple is asking for cost-saving strategies and a budget analysis? Kindly point them back to your contract, and reiterate you are not responsible for budget concerns. Offer to provide these services for a reasonable additional cost – but remind them that you are not responsible for anything outside of the originally agreed-to scope of services.  Sometimes, we get pulled into stressful situations in which we do not belong; stand your ground.

Have a mantra for these kinds of situations.

I had the opportunity to speak at a luncheon for a nonprofit called Penny Lane, and was inspired by all the speakers, people who came a long way to achieve outstanding success.  One of the speakers, Pastor Phil Allen Jr., said something that really stuck to me.  He said when someone presents to him an attitude or energy that is negative, he does not ‘receive’ it.  So when I know I’m heading to a meeting where I may meet up with a negative or difficult personality, first, I’ll try to empathize with them.  Usually there is a good reason for them to be the way they are; not an excuse, mind you, but a reason.  Then, I’ll arm myself with the mantra, “I do not receive that.”  You simply don’t have to take in bad energy; deflect it with the mantra, work on your work, do your job.  It’s as simple as that, though it takes a lot of practice, but working on your ability to deal with difficult situations will make you a top notch professional in not just event planning, but in every career.