Welcome to our latest installment of "Ask the Experts," where our contributor team of wedding planners solves readers' most pressing wedding-planning dilemmas! This week, Lindsey Nickel from Lovely Day Events and Lisa Gorjestani from Details Event Planning offer helpful pointers on how to negotiate with vendors. Do you have a question that you'd like to submit? Email [email protected] and we'll do our best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.
Q. "I recently had my wedding planned by the most horrid, negative, rude and inflexible wedding planner. While I do want to post a negative review stating the truth, I would love some guidance on how to manage carefully. I don't want any future bride to have the same experience that I did." —BG reader Anna
Photo Credit: Tonya Beaver Photography
"Hi Anna. I'm sorry to hear about your negative experience with your wedding planner.
I suggest you send a letter (yes snail mail) to her outlining your concerns and give examples of where the experience was negative. A letter is better because an email can start back-and-forth threads, which can make the situation even more heated. State why you felt the services were not up to par and then she can either take the time to respond or not. Most likely, your planner will be reading the letter at her desk rather than on her phone on the go and have more time to process your concerns.
Online reviews are trusted sources because the reviewer has 'been there and done that' firsthand. There is an emotional connection when you read about someone's personal experience that can't be replicated through advertising. The reader can relate to the reviewer since they have the shared experience of wedding planning. Never write anything (negative or positive) in a review that you wouldn't feel comfortable saying by picking up the phone.
Excellent vendors who love what they do and work hard will have tons of positive reviews reflecting that. Sub-par vendors will only have a few positive reviews and will eventually fade away. If a bride-to-be wants to be thorough when researching a vendor, ask that vendor for a referral from the last year that can be contacted directly.
Ultimately, planners come and go. If your planner is treating all the other clients and vendors poorly, she will eventually be out of business. Hopefully, she will take your feedback into consideration and provide a better experience for future clients. Good luck!"
"Well, first off, I want to say that I am sorry about what you and your fiancé have experienced. It's terrible to have something so negative surround your most important day.
That said, I would try to distance yourself emotionally from this and write from a business perspective. I think if you were to take this into account and even preface the post with that, it might help readers to take you seriously and not chalk it down to a 'rant.' My best advice is to be precise. Point out three of the big problems and edit it down to no more than three or four sentences on each point. Discuss what was agreed upon and what ultimately took place.
I would warn readers to do their due diligence and perhaps go the extra mile and check references with other vendors that the wedding planner works with before hiring them. The internet provides a wealth of information but, unfortunately, much of it goes unchecked and is often exaggerated or worse, totally fabricated."
Lindsey Nickel is the founder and wedding planner at Lovely Day Events, which serves Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Napa and Sonoma, California and destination weddings. Lovely Day Events specializes in essential, day-of and partial planning. When Lindsey is not working on weddings she enjoys traveling and hiking.
In 1997, Lisa Gorjestani hung out the shingle for Details Event Planning — and the rest is history. In the years since that first Malibu wedding, Lisa’s jaw-dropping get-togethers have been featured in such publications as Grace Ormonde, LA Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, Elegant Bride and In Style Weddings. Lisa’s myriad accomplishments include numerous corporate and celebrity conferences, weddings, get-togethers, and charity fundraisers (for the likes of Halle Berry, Dustin Hoffman and Max Brooks).