by Danielle Andrews, President & Co-founder of The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Inc.
The Wedding Industry is full of creative, talented individuals and with creativity comes big personalities and often big egos. Every wedding professional at an event has the same goal, to provide the couple with an amazing event to celebrate this monumental step in their lives. Unfortunately with so much passion and creativity floating around, sometimes wedding professionals can clash or bump heads.
Of course the client experience is our top priority, but we must keep in mind that you will probably never work with that couple again. You may need to work with that wedding professional again, so that relationship needs care and attention too.
The Wedding Industry is one of referrals. Yes, advertising is important, but most wedding professionals are hired through referrals from past couples and other wedding professionals. Other Wedding Professionals can be a huge source of business, so it is important to play nice and work well with others before, during, and after a wedding.
Be a Team
Wedding Professionals hired for a wedding are co-workers. We are all on the same team with the same goal, and we all need to keep that as our focus. The Wedding Planner is the Team Leader, the couple, our clients (bosses), have dictated that and hired them for that specific role. A wedding planner is not trying to take over the wedding or tell you how to do your job. They are fulfilling the role that the couple has assigned to them.
Likewise, the wedding planner must realize that they are not anyone else’s boss or employer. They are a team leader, but they are also a part of that team, and no position is more important than another. We all have the responsibility to give this couple their best possible start in marriage.
Every wedding professional has a different role and expertise that they were hired to fulfill. No one person can do it all, and every facet of a wedding is difficult and takes a certain skill set. Show respect to each of the other Wedding Professionals. Let them know that you appreciate and admire their skill. Authentic acknowledgement, respect and appreciation go a long way in creating a great working relationship.
Flexibility is a must when a team is working together to fulfill a goal. A staunch minute by minute timetable is a great guide, but that is all it is, a guide. Things happen, delays happen and everyone needs to be flexible and respect each other’s expertise and knowledge of their particular area of weddings.
Communication is one of, if not the most important, aspect of working together in a team. Everyone needs to know what is going on, and if a change or diversion to the planned schedule needs to happen, EVERYONE involved needs to know about that change.
Before the wedding, Wedding Professionals should connect and be sharing their proposed timelines with the Wedding Planner, so that the wedding planner can incorporate those in to the Master Schedule to make sure that everything will flow. Once the Wedding Planner has created the Master Schedule, which incorporates every other Wedding Pro’s schedule, that is the only timeline to work off of. If something needs to change in the moment, it is the responsibility of each team member to communicate with any other team member effected.
You must remember that you are a professional at all times. The couple hired you because they believe in your ability to make their day everything they ever dreamed of (and hopefully more!) Tantrums, hissy-fits, egos and sour attitudes have zero place at a wedding. You need to be the duck on water, floating serenely above surface with a calm demeanor even if you are scrambling like crazy below the surface (see past blog.) If a problem arises, you can address hurt feelings later, in the moment you need to work with the other wedding professionals to make this couple’s dream happen!
Never Throw Someone Under the Bus
No one wins in the Blame Game. Keep drama away from the wedding, it does not belong there, remember you are a professional. If something happens as a result of the actions of another vendor (or you think it does) simply say, “I was not aware this was happening, let’s see how we can rectify this,” rather than, “So-and-so did this not me!” We never want the couple to have any bad memories associated with their wedding, so always look for solutions rather than worrying about who did what.
Follow Up (or Post mortem)
As mentioned before, Wedding Professional or Vendor Relations, are very important. Odds are you are going to encounter a particular Wedding Professional again whether it is through other weddings, during network events, or at wedding shows. If bad feelings arose at a wedding, it is best to talk about it right away and see how the two of you can rectify the situation. Reach out after the wedding and ask if the two of you can have a phone call or even meet for a coffee to discuss what happened at the wedding and where things went wrong, how it could go better next time. Now that it is no longer in the heat of the moment, hopefully calmer heads will prevail and the two of you can talk it out and figure out the best way to work together going forward.
Never Bad-Mouth Another Wedding Professional
Even if things did not go well at the wedding and you were never able to rectify the situation with the other Wedding Professional, never bad-mouth them to a client or other wedding professional, it only hurts you. If you are seen as someone who speaks poorly behind someone’s back, the person you are speaking to will see you as unprofessional (because you are being unprofessional) and they assume that you will speak poorly behind their back too. Hold your head high and know that you have done everything that was in your power to make the relationship work, but you can’t control anyone but yourself.
Not all relationships will be salvageable but the way you conduct yourself both in the moment and after, will speak volumes about you as a Wedding Professional. Always be respectful, professional, keep communication open and remember the goal is to give couples their best possible start in marriage.