Wedding Etiquette: How to Break Up with a Vendor
One of the first things on the agenda of newly engaged couples is to attend a bridal show. Wedding shows are ideal ways to meet wedding professionals in a relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere, and Maryland wedding venues feature many such expos. Putting on the Ritz is a frequent exhibitor, presenting delicious hors d’oeuvres to attendees and answering questions posed by couples who are just starting the planning process.
It is after the event showcase that things start to feel less relaxed for the couples. Vendors have now started contacting them by email or phone, and the pressure to try to respond to them all can get a bit overwhelming. Often times, couples end up avoiding the phone calls and emails altogether in an attempt to find peace. And this leads me to the topic of this blog: what is the rule on responding to wedding vendors?
We event professionals lovingly refer to Baltimore as Smalltimore, in that we all know each other. Maryland caterers run into Maryland planners who run into Maryland florists who run into Maryland DJs (and so on) quite regularly, and the topic of mutual clients occasionally arises. Just this past weekend, at Historic Oakland’s Weddings and Events Showcase, I engaged in a conversation with photographer who had submitted a proposal to one of my brides. The bride had informed me a month ago that she had selected a different vendor, but apparently never informed the other two photographers. The photographer told me that, after having met with the bride in person and having several phone conversations, he had placed several follow-up calls with no response. Without knowing if a decision had been made, he was afraid to release the date he had placed on hold for the bride.
This photographer was not alone; I have heard similar stories from many other event professionals, and every Baltimore caterer has had their fair share of such experiences. Breaking up is, clearly, hard to do. Here is the thing, though: Just as much as we want couples to book us, we need to know if they will not be using our services. This way we can free up dates and book other potential clients. We can save time spent composing emails and leaving phone messages. Lost clients are just as much a part of our profession as are booked clients. We do not lose sleep over them, and we do not want to engage in a drawn-out drama to try and determine why they have selected someone else (although that feedback is always appreciated). Moreover, it frees couples from having to avoid calls and emails, making for less angst.
So if you interact with a wedding vendor who has spent time becoming familiar with your vision and has customized a proposal just for your wedding day, please extend them the courtesy of keeping them abreast of your decision. This can be done over the phone, via email, or even a hand-written letter. You will find, more often than not, that such a gesture is actually greatly appreciated, and the response will be a positive one.
Cate Buscher, POTR Event Specialist