September 8th, 2014
When I was a member of the Weddings at Work Yahoogroup, fellow brides discussed their fears openly – anything from a supplier not showing up to rain on one’s wedding day. While it is not really advisable to dwell on fears and negativity, it’s also good to know the flipside of the coin, i.e. what suppliers fear. This isn’t a “be-all-and-end-all” list. However, the items stated below were culled from an informal survey among suppliers. Thus, the responses aren’t from me, although I tend to agree with majority of the items stated below.
While suppliers would rather not lose revenue for the day, they would much rather avoid having negative feedback printed about them online. This takes into consideration that the reason for cancelling stems from a negative experience of a particular couple with the said supplier, or the backlash of negative feedback given about a supplier.
Points to Ponder:
1) Take negative feedback with a grain of salt, i.e. ask the supplier about his/her side as well.
2) If something negative transpired between you and the supplier, please hold judgement till after the supplier has given his/her side and made amends.
3) If cancellation is really in order, then advise the supplier in writing, i.e. via email, and let him or her know the real reason (instead of using the oft repeated “somebody gave me a gift” line). This will help the supplier improve as well.
*Bouncing cheques/running out of cash on the day
Definitely, after rendering their services, suppliers would prefer to get paid on the day according to contract stipulations.
Some clients probably wonder why suppliers do not agree with being paid via cheques. Below are the common reasons:
a) Some have to pay their staff on the day; thus, the need for ready cash, especially if the event is out of town.
b) Some have experienced depositing cheques only to be told that there are no funds in the account.
But what if you’d rather not carry cash on the day? Get suppliers you can trust so you can deposit the full payment in advance. (Do not forget to email a copy of the deposit slip and to carry said deposit slip on the day of your wedding.)
*Co-suppliers who ask for referral fees
Most suppliers create their pricing schemes based on actual expenses they will incurr and conservative profit margins. So most do not really have a lot of extra bucks to give other suppliers who ask for referral fees. After all, one should refer because one believes in the said supplier, not because of possible amounts to be earned.
Advice to Couples:
Hire reputable suppliers. Avoid those who seem to promise so many services at very little cost. They might be earning through other means, i.e. pressuring your suppliers to give them extra money or padding said suppliers’ fees.
*Friends/Relatives who offer services and goods
They mean well, but they aren’t part of the industry, so they may not know exactly what they are getting into. In other words, they may offer their services (as coord, emcee, musicians, or photographer) or their goods (projector, cake, sound system) a lot faster than they can analyze if they can do what’s needed.
Some might end up disappointing you by being no-shows on the day or by admitting that they actually “bit off more than what they can chew” so they will have to either backout of the deal or push through with it but end up embarrassing themselves or causing problems for the other suppliers and eventually, the two people they most wanted to please, the bride and groom.
Advice to Couples:
If you have the budget for it anyway, get a professional. Let your guests enjoy the day. You will save yourselves the stress and the after-wedding resentment.
*Late or handwritten guest list (or submitted on time, but with so many revisions on the day)
The guest list is crucial. Emotions can run high when people’s names are not there even if they consider themselves close to the couple or the family members. Of course, the coordinator will bear the brunt of their anger and frustration, and later on, these guests might even give you the cold shoulder for “forgetting” them, even if, in truth, they didn’t RSVP. (Woe to you if they did RSVP but you crammed your guest list and forgot a lot of people.)
1) make your guest list 6 months before your wedding (when you still have time to think and encode using excel)
2) really do RSVP calls and send messages to all the people in the list 2 to 3 weeks before your big day – if you called and they never responded, you have an excuse for not encoding their names
3) sit down together and plot how you will table people a week before (not the wee hours before you walk down the aisle)
4) sort surnames alphabetically and by table then double check if you didn’t forget anyone and if you didn’t assign two groups to one table
*Couples who are detailed and OC, but are also fickle
These are the couples who have pegs for everything concerning their wedding. But these pegs happen to change often, too. Thus, when the big day draws near, suppliers are confused as to which peg will be followed. In the end, details don’t come together and look hodge podge. Worse, suppliers might end up getting too confused to carry out all plans to the letter. (Mind you, the bride and groom might be confused, too, as to which file got named FINAL, FINAL – FINAL, OR FINAL-FINAL-FINAL.)
1) sit down and talk before you start sending all your pegs to your suppliers – a lush and lavish peg should match your theme and your budget
2) when you have deciced on three pegs, have them priced
3) meet and negotiate but finalize as well
4) when you have a final document, avoid emailing the supplier on a weekly basis about things you want to change (final means final unless you want the supplier so confused on your wedding day that you won’t get exactly what you want)
5) don’t pick on your supplier and say he/she doesn’t respond if you yourself fail to respond to his/her questions – some are OC like that, expecting suppliers to answer right away but never respond to questions or requirements they need to fulfill
*Timelines adversely affected by people close to the bride and groom, or the bride and groom themselves
Timelines are created so you can move through the motions of the day stress-free. If there are people in your life who refuse to come on time for make-up or pictorials, never mind. Don’t include them. No need to stretch your limits just to accommodate each and every request. There’s a point when you have to say, “It’s my special day, not yours”.
1) Avoid getting entourage members who feel more special than you. You don’t need their emotional baggage on your big day. You don’t need to move your make-up schedule to accommodate them. And yes, you don’t need to run around the metro and deliver entourage gowns.
2) Run through the timeline with your parents – if they are like this one parent I encountered who feels she can arrive anytime she pleases, so be it. No need to include her in all photos. (She did arrive on time, by the way, she just didn’t like being given a schedule.)
3) Follow the timeline as well – you may be the bride and groom of the day but time won’t stop for you. If you’re supposed to wake up, bathe, and eat at a certain time, go and accomplish all the tasks. You will lose pictorial time if you won’t follow the timeline.
*Problematic Sound System and Projector
I once had a sound system supplier who provided more time for microphone feedback than actual band music. I’ve also encountered technicians who don’t want to listen, who listen but can’t absorb what’s needed, and who place the programme on the side thinking they can just play whatever. I’ve had projector suppliers whose machines are so problematic, people turn yellow or blue. Avatar peg?
Think about these:
1) The in-house supplier may be a logical and cheaper choice, but a few thousands may mean the big difference between a successful wedding program and one that annoys more than entertains.
2) If you paid big bucks for your photo and video teams, what’s an additional amount to ensure the showing of the SDE you’ve been dreaming of since before the groom proposed?
3) What’s the point of having a reliable emcee if he/she can’t be heard properly anyway?
*Rainy forecast but couple refuses to hire a tent supplier
While sometimes, the sun does come out. There are also times when the rain dampens one’s parade.
Think about these:
1) A tent will set you back a certain amount but you may not have paid as much as those who got airconditioned venues, so you’re technically not overspending.
2) Having waiters set up, take everything apart when it rains, then put things back when the rain stops is cruel – they will get sick working with wet clothes. They don’t really bring two sets of uniforms on the day so when they get wet, that’s it. They will have to work with wet clothes all throughout the night. Now imagine being wet and working for several hours while experiencing the chilly night air of Tagaytay.
*Couples who haggle to avoid paying for out of town fees/ who tell suppliers their venues are in nearby towns but are actually farther
Suppliers understand that you need to save. However, suppliers do need to get paid for the time they will travel to get to your venue, for the food they will have to eat, the gas they will consume, toll fees, and the like. The simple truth? Do not go for an out of town venue if you do not wish to pay out of town fees, or go for local suppliers.
Please do not…
1) attempt to fool them regarding the real location of your venue – they might underestimate and arrive late
2) make them resent you when they find out you fooled them regarding the real location of your venue
3) tell them you will provide a van then have this van ferry so many people and not just the suppliers – if it’s in exchange for the out of town fee, then it should be for the exclusive use of the supplier (not all relatives and friends) because they have movements they need to do without waiting for guests to board
Why did we write about supplier fears?
Because weddings are collaborations between couples and suppliers – they are never one-way streets. It helps to know both sides of the coin.
(W@Wie in 2009; married Emman and forayed into the world of weddings in 2010, and has since been blessed with two W@W Top 10 stints — first, as wedding planner in 2010 and second, as event host in 2013)