Every wedding planner has had a hard time communicating with a vendor at one point or another, and many brides have as well. Whether it's a flaky florist who can't remember how many bouquets you need, a caterer who won't return your calls, or a musician who keeps ignoring your emails, a communication breakdown between the couple and a vendor is more common than you'd think. Here are some of our best ways to approach managing a wedding pro who isn't quite delivering the level of service you're expecting.
Get as much information in writing as possible.
Many wedding vendors do the majority of their communicating with clients over email so there's always a paper trail for them to reference. During in-person meetings and phone calls, your vendors should be taking notes of the details that apply to them. If you've picked up on multiple errors or communication mishaps, you might want to start logging important details in follow-up emails so nothing slips through the cracks.
When it comes to managing contracts, orders, menus, and floorplans, it's your responsibility to go through everything with a fine-tooth comb. Even if it's the eleventh hour, you should be able to bring errors to your vendor's attention and have your needs met.
Recognize communication style differences.
In the planning world, "island time" is a very real thing. Internet access can be limited for days at a time in remote areas, and it's not always possible to get a venue representative on the phone immediately. The best thing you can do in this circumstance is plan your communications ahead of time. Make a list of questions for the next time you chat, and be sure to follow up in writing about the answers you received. If you're a person who likes to be able to pick up the phone at any time to call a vendor/venue, planning a destination wedding could prove to be a real challenge for you, so you'll want to choose a location that's not so remote as to be potentially incommunicado.
It's not expected that you'll get along swimmingly with every employee you hire at work, and the same can be said for the vendors you hire to work on your wedding. But not getting along well and feeling like you're not being heard are two completely different things. If you're a few months into the wedding planning and still haven't figured out a good groove for communicating with any one of your vendors, speak up. These people are professionals and may be used to working in a way that works for them but isn't working for you. Bring it up and see if there's a way you can continue to work together that meets both of your needs.
When all else fails, check the contract terms.
It's your absolute right to fire any of the vendors you've hired at any point during the wedding planning process. Before severing ties, you'll want to revisit the original contract terms and do a cost-benefit analysis to see if firing your vendor will make things better or worse. Consider the timing, any non-refundable deposits you've paid, alternative vendor options, and all potential losses on both your side and your vendor's.
While your vendor may not be living up to your expectations, they've set aside a busy weekend to be part of your wedding and it will be a loss for their business to lose you as a client. It's equally important to do a self-check to ensure you've done all you could to make the relationship work and that you've given the vendor ample opportunity to change their work style. If all signs still point to needing to end the working relationship, it's time for a frank conversation followed up with a written email outlining the terms of the dissolution of your contract.