Tricia Bachewich, WPICC of Tricia Bachewich Events
My name is Tricia Bachewich and I am the lead planner and owner at Tricia Bachewich Events. We are a full-service planning & design company located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I have been in the wedding industry for nearly 2 decades and today I am going to talk about building relationships with wedding pros.
I firmly believe that it “takes a village”. As a wedding planner, you need to rely on the vendors around you to help you pull a vision together, or increase a guest list on short notice with your caterer. It’s so important to build honest, reliable relationships with your fellow pros in your industry. Here are a few of my tips for doing this!
Just don’t. I know it’s so easy during a wedding setup to get caught up in chatting about something that happened to you last weekend, but it’s not worth it. You never know who you are talking to, who is listening to you, how that information could be misconstrued and the list goes on. Most importantly, it’s disrespectful and unnecessary.
If a fellow pro asks you to coffee, don’t just go for the sake of going. Go because you genuinely want to learn about their business. Ask them questions about their business and offer information about yours. But again, don’t gossip. It will get you nowhere, fast. Build relationships with a strong foundation of trust and honesty and you will go far in your local market. We all look at each other’s blog posts, social media posts and promos. It’s human nature to check out what your competitors are doing. If you see a spelling or grammar error on a website, kindly let them know. Speak to others (including competitors) as you would like to be spoken to.
Don’t use empty promises
If someone approaches you to do something that you just can’t do, be honest with them. Don’t agree to a styled shoot on a whim and never follow through. A simple “no, I just can’t take that on right now”, is way better than “yes, let’s do it (although I will totally ignore all of your phone calls in the future)”. It is also equally important to say yes when you mean it. If you aren’t passionate about something, it’s going to show, and it’s going to leave a poor taste in that vendor’s mouth for any future interactions with you.
Give more than you take
When you are working on a wedding day, it’s all hands on deck. Every vendor on site will be working their butts off to pull the wedding together. There will be days when your workload is lighter than others. There will be days when you are stretched thin and you might need an extra set of hands. If you finish your tasks a bit early, and you have a bit of time to spare, help out! Here are a few of the random odd jobs that I have helped out with in the past year: folding napkins for the decorator, helping with chair cushions on the rental chairs, picking up glassware on a patio (when I was already walking by it), helping a photographer carry her camera bags in from the car and the list goes on. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, but help out if you can. I promise that this will come back to you ten-fold.
If you can build genuine relationships based on a mutual passion for your industry, honesty and integrity, you will go a long way in your career. Our industry is built very, very heavily on recommendations and word of mouth. If your most common service offering is a package that starts closer to their wedding day (ie- wedding management, month-of coordination, partial planning), chances are that most of your couples are booking other vendors before you. If they have already stopped by the linen company, the caterer, the venue and the florist, they may have already picked up your business card or heard your name through an industry referral. Your inquiries will become easier when your fellow vendors want to recommend you, and you will have more time to build honest relationships when you no longer need to put such a strong focus on marketing & trying to gain sales.
One thing that I have learnt in this industry is that nothing comes easy, you need to work (and earn) everything that you have. Putting the time and energy into building and maintaining relationships with fellow vendor pros will always be a solid investment.