Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.
Communication is a challenge no matter what industry you’re in, but in the wedding industry, it can be an absolute whirlwind. As wedding planners, we work with clients who are experiencing a big time in their lives. As you already know, planning a wedding is a huge undertaking. Your brides and grooms are understandably stressed and confused at times throughout this process, and it’s your job to keep lines of communication open.
The same goes when talking to wedding vendors. Ultimately, planning a large event is a collaborative process. Yes, you’re the professional in charge, but it’s not a one-man or one-woman show.
You need to know how to effectively communicate what is and isn’t part of your work so you can guide your vendors and couples in the right direction. Positive, clear communication will lead to fewer mistakes, happier clients, and positive reviews. Here’s how to effectively communicate your work to both couples and vendors.
1. Know Your Role
First, you need to know and understand your role and limitations as a wedding planner. You don’t have to do everything. In fact, there are many tasks and decisions that will be up to couples as well as vendors, and you should feel comfortable stepping away from those. Your roles as a wedding planner are entirely up to you. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start work with a new client:
- When and how will couples or vendors contact you?
- Will you manage finances?
- Will you vet vendors?
- Will you manage guests?
- How will you mediate family problems?
By understanding how you feel about these questions above, you can set your own boundaries. Remember, you’re the business owner. You get to control what work you will or won’t do.
2. Be Direct
Being direct is the best way to ensure there are no communication problems. If you are prone to passive communication, this can lead to mistakes and misinformation. Instead, just get down to business. Speak kindly but with purpose.
Start your new business relationship with vendors and clients by being direct. Spell out your role in clear terms and let them ask questions to ensure there’s full understanding on both sides. From there, ensure all of these limitations are outlined in your contract.
I3. Provide Direction
Even if you’re clear and direct with your communication from the start, that doesn’t mean your clients and vendors don’t need directions. For many people, they don’t have extensive (or any) experience planning events. What comes naturally to you might be a mystery to them.
Give clear directions for what you expect from your clients. Don’t be afraid to set deadlines for them. For instance, if you need a guest list by next month in order to mail out the invitations on time, don’t be afraid to word it as “homework.”
You’re not the only one planning this wedding, so encourage your clients to take action. You can’t be there for every step, and you shouldn’t have to be. Start with clear deadlines and a calendar for getting important things done on time like wedding dress shopping, invites, and hiring vendors.
4. Multiple Lines of Communication
Finally, ensure you keep multiple lines of communication open. You’ll quickly recognize that different clients prefer different ways of getting in touch with you. You might need to be available via email, phone, and even texting depending on your level of involvement.
However, don’t think that means you need to be available 24/7. On the contrary, you should set clear communication guidelines. For instance, you might only be available between a set number of hours on weekdays. You might always take weekends off. These are normal requisitions, and clients should respect your boundaries as a professional.
Nobody wants to have hard talks with clients. It just comes with running your own business. As long as you set clear expectations and review your role in the beginning, you should run into fewer snags along the way. Confrontation with your client doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply explain your role in a clear and direct way without being unkind.
Your couples simply want the best day possible. In order to make that a reality, you have to help them along the way. The more you and your clients understand your role, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the big day.