One of my favorite sayings is, “You can’t please everyone.” So true. And yet, as wedding planners, we want to so badly. Or, we are tired of having these expectations thrust upon us but wearily try to do so anyways; regardless, what needs to be done in these situations is to manage expectations. And that means from the very beginning.
Have a rock solid contract to help manage expectations from the start
I know it’s pricey to hire a lawyer to write your contract, but DO IT! Not only does it manage expectations, it can save you from negative reviews and even foolhardy attempts at litigation. And compare notes with other planners and wedding vendors, too! Be sure you know what pitfalls you need to pre-empt, what verbiage is appropriate, and what lingo is required in your state. (And while I’ll give some contractual advice here in the blog, always run everything past a legal expert first!)
In your proposal, enumerate EXACTLY what you do. For example, a moderately priced full wedding planner should not be going to every single wedding dress shopping trip – that could take days! I noted on my proposal that I attended one FITTING to learn how to bustle the dress. Be as crisp as possible, and discuss with your prospective clients so you can get off on the right foot from before they even book you.
Don’t let Pinterest highjack your work
In your contract and in person, discuss with clients how fantastical and ornate design vignettes they see on Pinterest can take hours to setup. In your contract, you’ll have verbiage that states you handle standard set up only – and list them: “escort cards, ceremony programs, and guest book” – finite, crisp, clear. Do they have a few family photos they want set out? Fine. What about menus at each table setting? Maybe – possibly the caterer can do it, one way or another, you can figure that out. But set up multiple levels, platters, and 5 different desserts? Nope! In your contract (I’ve done this – but again, check with your lawyer), you can alert the couple that you reserve the right to elect to bring on board another assistant or designer to implement their setup if you decide it’s beyond your contracted duties.
Remember, you’re not all things to all people…You’re providing ONE service and can’t stretch like Elastigirl to do the jobs of many! Having crisp paperwork to set the tone will easily manage expectations.
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