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The MBA Bride | August 22, 2017

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3 Business-savvy ways to create healthy relationships with wedding vendors

Business-savvy brides focus on vendor relationships while wedding planning. After all, entering into contracts and ensuring professional and satisfactory experiences come second nature to female business professionals.

Many of the prior blog posts focus on vendor relationships, from ensuring an adequate vendor contract to effective negotiation. One of the most effective things a bride can do to understand her vendor is to put herself in the vendor’s shoes. The MBA Bride can help you do just that.

Ten days ago, I asked wedding vendors “What are some qualities of an easy-to-work-with, respectful bride?” Ten wedding vendors told me about the best qualities of clients that they love. Here are the vendors’ top three responses:

#1 Be respectful

More than half of the respondents alluded to showing respect for the vendor. The vendors defined respect differently but all made reference to the need for the bride to show respect for the vendor as a person and as an industry expert.

What does respect look like? Holly B., Director of Romance Destination Weddings & Honeymoons in D.C., said, “Treat me as I treat them. Be respectful of my time, you hired me as professional with expertise so please listen to the expertise I’m sharing.” More specifically, Rick H., a DJ in Milwaukee said, “I look for eye contact, smiles and a willingness to share ideas.” Estelle S, an invitation provider in Maryland, defined a specific behavior that shows disrespect when meeting with a vendor: “Idle chatter is rude when vendors have set aside specific time to deal with the bride and/or groom.”

So what can you learn from this comment, business-savvy brides-to-be? Show respect and professionalism when meeting with your vendors. Use the same patience and rationality that you have in a business meeting to show respect to your vendors.

#2 Adhere to a Schedule

Whether it’s sticking to a payment schedule or staying on time the day of your wedding, vendors want their brides to work with them timely. Nothing can be more unprofessional, unnerving, and un-lady like than forgetting to pay a vendor or them having to have them chase you down.

Derek, a UK based toastmaster, says, “we serve our paymasters to the very best of our abilities and give the service they expect for the pay given.” Fundamentally, brides hire vendors to focus on providing their expertise for the wedding day. Vendors aren’t paid to be collection agents, so brides shouldn’t turn them into one. Don’t delay payment.

It’s also important to stick to the pre-set schedule on the day of. Ana B in Miami said, “As a Makeup Artist, I can’t tell you how many times I’m delayed because the wedding party is not available at their scheduled time, the bride is on the phone, friends interrupting, etc, thereby infringing on the the time I’ve allotted for each client. Next thing [I know,] I have photographers upset with me because I cut into their time.”

It should be relatively easy for busy-bee brides to stick to the schedule they lay out – after all, its typically how we keep organized every day. So draft yourself the schedule and stay true to it. 

#3 Be Explicit

As much as they try to be, vendors are not mind readers. Jean N., an Ohio based Wedding Planner, suggests that brides “remember that we are not mind-readers, so keep us informed if you make any changes/additions with any of your other vendors.” Les A, a photographer in San Diego, took this concept one step further when he said brides should “be concise about their wishes.”

Steven F, a NYC Emcee, suggested that brides have everything “confirmed in writing.” Cindy C., a Florida musician, reinforces Steven’s point when she says, “We try to get as many details from the bridal party beforehand, so that we can do our work without interrupting the other vendor’s time with the bridal party. A very explicit contract helps with this.”

Don’t expect vendors to predict what is going on in the deep places of your mind. Instead, find ways to express what you envision. You can find your bridal identity by “pinning” items on the web, creating inspiration boards, or even tearing pictures from magazines that you like.

Bonus: Three more suggestions

Three other common suggestions provided by these vendors include (1) Defining who is in charge, (2) Listening to the expertise vendors have to share, and (3) Be willing to compromise and make trade-offs.

Follow the tips these 10 vendors provided to establish yourself as a professional, easy-to-work-with bride. The benefits are summed up well by Wayne G, owner of a LA based events business, summed this up well when he said, “When a couple has an open mind, I can explain to them their options and how to work within their budget and vision. When they respect me as a professional, I am encouraged to share tips and ideas with them regardless of if they end up hiring me. Also, when we establish a good personal connection, my staff and I are genuinely excited about working with the client.”

Have a vendor story to share? Provide your thoughts in the comments.

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