The well-known Rom-Com, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” features an adorable Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) who is a columnist for a magazine and has the assignment to write about all the things you can possibly do wrong in the beginning of a relationship to make a man go running the other way. Little does Andie know that the subject of her experiment, the philandering Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConoughey) has wagered a bet with his coworkers that he can stay in a relationship for more than ten days. Andie’s list of no-no’s that are meant to drive Ben away include being needy and possessive, baby talk, and taking over his personal space, to name a few. In real life, having one of these traits probably wouldn’t cause a guy to end a relationship. But all of them together would send him running for the hills.
I’ve decided to compile a list of some difficulties with clients that, if combined into one person, would send the wedding planner (or any other vendor) packing. I should start by saying that Plan It Perfect is so appreciative of any business we’ve been hired to conduct over the past 15 years, and we generally really love our clients! So far, no one has embodied all of these traits, and this list is purely for fun.
Don’t be willing to make decisions.
Let’s not mistake being laid back with not caring. Laid back brides and grooms are wonderful in many ways, but those who are unwilling to make decisions because they simply don’t care or because they have ideas that are all over the place make the whole process more difficult. A good planner can help you weed through the options and settle on what’s best for you. Can’t decide on a color scheme? Let your planner design some inspirational vision boards for you, and see which scheme speaks to you. Having trouble choosing between a DJ or a band? Your planner can give you some real insight into the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how those might fit into your preferences.
Once you have all the information in front of you, make your decision and stick to it. Don’t overthink things, and don’t second-guess your choices. I always say you should treat every decision like the moment you found your spouse-to-be: Once you found them, you stopped considering other options. Every other color scheme, dress, band, caterer, venue, and florist is off the table once you settle on the right people to add to your team.
Don’t be honest with your vendors.
If your vendors don’t know what they’re really working with, they can’t effectively help you. Are you beating around the bush with your budget? That doesn’t help your vendors meet or improve upon any budgetary constraints you might have. Are you unhappy with the way something is going? Don’t feel badly about telling your vendors so. Maybe you aren’t completely thrilled with the way a dish was prepared or presented at your tasting. Let your caterer know! The chef is more than happy to modify the dish for you. Perhaps you think your hair is too poofy during your trial with the stylist, or your eyeliner is too heavy when your makeup artist does a dry run. Let them know! Otherwise, you won’t have it done to you liking on your wedding day either.
Insult the value of the work that is being done for you.
I’ve already written the blog about negotiating with vendors, and how offensive it can be to request that your planner or any other vendor drops their price down below market value. That whole thing plays into this one, for sure. But it’s not just the price that impacts the value of the work and skills that are being utilized for you. I once had a conversation with a mother of the bride (just one conversation – I did not allow it to go any farther than that) who said she would only be able to meet with me on Saturdays in May. I’ll get to the weekend meeting thing in a moment, but in MAY? Are you kidding me? I told her that Saturdays in May were going to be pretty tough for me, as it was peak wedding season, and I was fully booked that month. I also don’t like meeting with clients on event days, even when I don’t need to report to my client until later in the day, because I want to be fully focused on my client for the entire day. The mom’s response was, “Well I can’t meet with you on a weekday, because I work.” Yes, that was a verbally-italicized “work,” as in “what you’re doing isn’t real work, and isn’t worthy of me trying to make something happen that works for both of us.” Yes, wedding planning is a real job.
Don’t trust your vendors.
Another way our value can be demeaned is by not taking our expert advice and going in another direction. Hiring vendors we warn against, making decisions that are out of budget, insisting on going outside of the planned timeline… these are just a few of the things that can make the planning process and the event itself so much more difficult. A planner helps you avoid these issues, if you listen to them. Occasionally, a client has gone against my advice, and I’ve thought, “Why did you even hire me?!?” And guest what… it ends up being a problem in the end. They are frustrated with the vendor I warned against. They are upset about being overbudget because they spent money in an ill-advised way. They don’t have enough time for dancing because they asked a few extra people at the last minute to make speeches, after dinner had already concluded. Listen to your planner. The good ones know what we’re talking about.
Have unrealistic expectations…
… about what can be done within a certain amount of time or within a particular budget.
Pinterest can be the bane of a planner’s existence. It’s great for inspiration, but it’s awful for a realistic concept of how long things take to procure or set up, or how much it will cost. If you’re using the same space for the ceremony and reception, you might not be able to have the incredibly elaborate ceremony set-up that takes three hours to convert to the reception space… unless you are okay with a three-hour cocktail hour. If your favorite flower is the Phalaenopsis Orchid (woot woot! That’s my fave!) but you have a $3k budget for flowers at a 200-person wedding, you probably are going to need to say goodbye to, or drastically cut back on those tropical beauties. Sometimes the expectations are off the wall just because you don’t know. Please don’t be upset when you planner gives it to you straight and says something can’t be done unless something else has some give.
Require weeknight and weekend meetings.
Of course, this is something that needs to happen occasionally. Lots of people who host events don’t have the ability to meet during their work hours, and it’s hard to take time off for personal matters. But please be respectful of the people you’re working with. We love our jobs, but we don’t want to do them all the time. I’ve had clients request meetings and phone calls at 10pm on a weeknight, or 2pm on a Saturday in peak wedding season. No thank you. We’ll always do what we can to accommodate reasonable constraints, but we appreciate when the same flexibility is offered by our clients. Can this next meeting be a Zoom call on your lunch break? It probably can. Let’s make that happen.
Contact your vendors via Text or Messenger.
Communication that is spread out all over the place is a disaster! For me, there are two main reasons. First, I need to be able to find that correspondence later. If our conversations are all over multiple platforms, I might not be able to easily find where you casually let me know what song you wanted to use for your Father/Daughter dance. Please don’t make me dig through texts, Facebook Messenger, and emails to find the answer. Second, texts and instant messages are off my radar after I read them. Emails, however, are comfortably awaiting my action in my inbox when I return to my desk and I’m dedicated to doing work. If you call or text me while I’m out at a baseball game or dropping my son off at school, I will have to take a screen shot of that and email it to myself so I can get to it when I’m actually working. Please find out the best way to communicate with your vendors, whether it’s a portal or good old-fashioned email, and stick with that. I happen to mention in my contract how to best communicate with me. If your vendors don’t specify up front, it’s a great question to ask them when you begin working together, if not before.
Don’t read what your vendors send you.
This must be my top pet peeve. If we sent you something, reading it is to your event’s benefit. Draft itineraries, floor plans, payment notices, contract terms, etc. The same goes for vendor-to-vendor correspondence. As a coordinator, it’s my job to communicate the plan for the event day to all the vendors. It is so aggravating when we are in the busiest part of a wedding day and a vendor asks me a question that was already clearly answered on the itinerary. What’s worse is when they ask the CLIENT something that I already put on the itinerary that they were supposed to have read. Now my client thinks I didn’t do my job. Bottom line is we have systems in place, and there’s a certain level of accountability that needs to come from our clients. In order to make sure we are all on the same page… we all need to read the same page.
Be a self-entitled Brat!
This one may seem unbelievable, but it’s a true story. I’ve changed the names for the sake of this blog, and the best way to explain what happened with this client is to script it out like a play:
Scene: a high-end bridal gown shop. The first round of alterations have been done on the bride’s dress, and she is having her next fitting. We’ll call the bride “Lisa” and we’ll call the dress shop owner “Betty.” I was there with her, so I’ll use my real name.
Lisa: (stands on pedestal with dress on.) Rachel, can you go get me some Gummy Bears? … Only red ones!
(Rachel retrieves red gummy bears from the complimentary candy buffet.)
Lisa: This dress looks wrong! These alterations are horrible! Get me a new dress!
Betty: We can fix it. Nothing has been cut yet, it’s just taken in on the sides, so we can let it out and redo it. We are happy to make the changes to get this right.
Lisa: This is ridiculous! It’s completely crooked!
Seamstress: It looks like perhaps your shoulders are uneven. That may be causing the dress to be crooked when we take it in on both sides.
Lisa: Yes, I was in a car accident several years ago. I go to the chiropractor regularly to get adjusted. So what?!?
Betty: That would have been very helpful to know before we made the alterations. We’ll keep that in mind moving forward and be sure to tailor it perfectly for your body.
Lisa: I’m not okay with this. Get me a new dress!! NOW! I’m pretty sure you got the wrong size. There’s no way I’m a size 10. You got me the wrong dress and that’s why this is happening.
Betty: This is a 10, just like the sample you tried on. Your dress comes from China, and your wedding is only 6 weeks away. We won’t be able to make and ship a dress from China by then.
Lisa: (Stares Betty down) Well then fly your ass to China and bring me a new dress! I don’t care if you have to stand on your head and spit nickels. You need to make this happen.
Betty: Well that’s not possible. We will make this dress work for you. I remember the sample of the dress fitting you perfectly when you tried it on. Let’s put that on again and you’ll see that this is exactly the same.
(Lisa tries on the same sample she tried on when she selected the dress. It is the same size as the one that was ordered for her, and both fit perfectly.)
Lisa: Yes, this fits perfectly. Order me one exactly like this.
Betty: We did order you one exactly like that. Same size. The sample might just be a bit loose because a few brides have tried it on.
Lisa: I need one exactly like this. This is perfect.
Betty: Why don’t you just take this one? It’s in perfect condition and it fits you beautifully. We just need to hem it up for you.
Lisa: (Gasp!) I refuse to walk down my bridal aisle wearing a dress that other women have tried on! That’s disgusting!
And there you have it – Your complete guide to being the worst client ever!
In the end of the “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” Andie realized that she was risking losing the love of her life by doing everything wrong in the relationship. But during the process, she knew exactly what she needed to do in order to push Ben away. With this guide to losing a wedding planner, you’ll know just what NOT to do with your wedding planner in order to make your planning experience thoroughly enjoyable.