I had a bride recently tell me - in tears nonetheless - about her pre-conceived notions about the wedding industry that were cemented by an experience she had at a bridal salon during her engagement. As a creative and an avid seamstress, she knew that she would be making her own dress (jumpsuit, actually, it was stunning!) but went to visit a salon to get an idea of what she wanted as many brides to be do! She described the experience as both uncomfortable and impersonal and said that she was basically told that she was SOL as her wedding date was quickly approaching. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard negative stories, comments, and notions about the wedding industry so I thought I’d chime in as someone on the inside of the mayhem!
Just like many other industries - the wedding industry in every state and across the world has its big names and reputations. I’ve only ever worked in Colorado, and even though it tends to be a state that is much more laid back both in terms of couples and vendors, we still have the issue of big egos, cliques, and expectations that can create an unfriendly environment. For brides and grooms to be and even other (often newer) vendors, vendor egos can get in the way of proper communication, collaboration, and customer service. No matter the size or age of the company, we should all share the same goal, which is to best serve our clients and keep our couples and guests smiling!
One of the ways in which ego can come into play is thinking projects or clients are a waste of time or “below” the company. When wedding vendors get inquiries from clients that don’t have the budget to afford their services or have a vision that doesn’t align well with theirs, it should never be an option to simply blow the couple off or make them feel as though they can’t afford you. Simply steering couples in the right direction, or even offering a bit of guidance so that they don’t waste their time with other ill fitting vendors, will leave the couple feeling much more at ease than if they are left hanging or turned away!
Another unrealistic expectation that may lead to the slightly tarnished reputation of the wedding industry is the assumption that couples should understand how the industry itself and the timing of a wedding works. My bride who had a horrible experience trying on dresses could have been walked through the issue of needing proper time for alterations, ordering the gowns in, and shown other options rather than being told she’s simply out of luck. If you’ve never been married - which MANY of us haven’t - or don’t have any experience with weddings and big events, how are you to know the time crunch for certain pieces and the standards that we all know within the industry? It is our duty to educate so that our clients, our fellow vendors, and ourselves end up feeling much more at ease at the end of each interaction.
While it is understandable that as our businesses grow, our time has to be allocated much more carefully and we may not have the hours to deal with new vendors, under-prepared clients, and pro-bono projects, keep in mind that we all have to start somewhere and a kind “no” or “try this instead” goes much further than an unanswered email or jilted attempt at networking! We are in this industry (hopefully) because we love love, so let’s start spreading a little more of it! <3