Dear Preston: My Planner Let Me Down
July 24, 2012
I read your blog religiously and would love your advice. Three weeks ago, I married a wonderful man in front of just shy of 100 guests. I paid a wedding coordinator to assist me for a month. Though she was excellent some ways, her organizational skills left much to be desired. My guests all say it was ‘the best wedding ever” –and I feel blessed to have had the beautiful wedding I did– but I also paid a large fee to ensure that my cakes would be the ones I asked for, there would not be vehicles parked in lots I was promised would be empty and there would be someone who would make sure that my requests were addressed in a timely manner (my planner went missing for 2 hours the morning of the wedding). She didn’t even make sure the tips were given!
Since my wedding, I have had to chase my planner and vendors (paying tips along the way). I am very disappointed that she has not reached out to discuss the mishaps. Am I expecting too much? On the one hand, I am blessed to have had a beautiful wedding but on the other, I paid very good money and spent a lot of time planning my wedding. My expectations were not met and I am feeling a little torn. Can you help?
Dear Mrs AR:
First, I would like to thank you so much for reading my blog. Secondly, I appreciate the fact that you took the time to write to me and share your grievances. Clearly, there are more than just a few issues that you felt were not addressed properly and I am glad you were able to use this forum to get them off of your chest.
Being in the service industry, I have also had my fair share of unhappy brides. I can assure you, it’s always very upsetting on both sides. The bride feels her expectations were not met and the planner feels he or she failed their client, either by way of planning and design or in simply not managing expectations properly. I suspect that your planner is hesitant in calling you because she knows that you are not happy. I confess that there have been times when I, myself, could not find the courage to pick up the phone to call an unhappy client until months later.
That said, here are my suggestions for dealing with the situation:
I. Take some time to write a clear and respectful email to your planner in which you share the things you liked and did not like about her services. Make sure to be clear as possible and let her know how you feel. Hopefully, she will have the courage to apologize for not meeting your expectations.
II. Without knowing all of the details, it’s hard to say where things went wrong, so to speak. Did the planner have at least two additional people on staff? I ask because it seems there were a lot of details which is often a challenge for one person to handle. One of the biggest mistakes planners make is not hiring and charging for additional staff the day of the event. They forget that they cannot be in more than one place at a time.
III. Now, this one is the most important. After you write or talk to the planner, I want you to move on and remember your wedding day as your guests did. From what you have told me, they claim it was “the best wedding ever” and you deserve that memory, too. Yes, you paid for services and feel that your expectations were not met, and that’s important to address, but you also married someone you want to spend the rest of your life with in front of your closest family and friends and that is what I want you to remember.
What do you advise this unhappy bride to do? Should she reach out to the planner or wait for the planner to call?
As a planner, do you always make sure that you have enough help for you to execute a job properly? Do you charge for that additional help?
(Photo Courtesy of The Vintage Glassies)