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Ask Sasha Anything - Wedding Professional Advice

advice for wedding planners event design advice wedding planner advice wedding planning advice Jul 20, 2017

Ask Sasha Anything - Wedding Professional Advice

I received dozens of questions to answer and I will get through them, but my first question is from Fausto Pifferrer, Vice President of Blue Elephant Catering in Saco, Maine.

 It's a great one and something that I really struggled with early in my career:

Q:  "This is weighing heavy...... Why do all vendors jockey for position, I've noticed this explosion in the last five years that everyone has become an expert particularly in my region.  How do you deal with all the know it all's? And how do you get everyone to play nice in the sandbox!"

A:  This is a really difficult question but I'm going to try my best to gather up what I think is the most efficient route for you to go when dealing with difficult people in the industry:  

One thing I know for sure... the less time you are in the industry, the more you want to control all aspects of the weddings.  This is true for wedding planners, event designers, caterers, DJ's and photographers especially.  We have all owned this at one point in our careers but if you couple time in business (and inexperience) with lack of communication during the planning you're in for a really stressful time for the vendors and even possibly for the bride.  Those of us who plan weddings are especially guity of trying to keep control of "my client" and "my bride" -  until you realize that... it's all our bride and all the vendors want to do the right thing for the client. There's enough room for all of us to look like rockstars.  I was never happy when I felt like I had to control everything and neither were the vendors.

How do you deal with the know-it-alls?  If they are on one of your events, you let them know it all.  Do what you're hired to do to the best of your ability.  If I have a know-it-all DJ, I do my best to get them to come around to my ideas without stomping on theirs.  It's a fine art and one that I have to work on regularly.   In fact, I burned a lot of bridges early on with diva like behavior.  It's hard to cross a bridge you've already burned.  

How do you get everybody to play nice?  The best thing you can do is to ask them what you can do to help them.  It may feel cringe-worthy but at least you're establishing what the expectation is of the vendor - whether it be a planner or designer, DJ or photographer.  

My 2 Cents:  In my opinion, wedding planners and caterers could really benefit from taking a step back and relaxing a little.  Communication is the key to happiness with all the vendors.  I always tell planners that I hire vendors and I trust them to do their jobs and I give them a wide berth for creativity UNTIL they give me a reason to doubt them. But once I doubt them, they're done.  

But, what that means is that all event professionals need to be allowed to do their jobs, not micro-manage.  I think that as vendors working with wedding planners and vice versa, it's smart to set the ground rules early - who is doing what so that each does not try to walk on top of the other's work.  I know that I was always afraid that the caterer was trying to control the design.  If I already had a meeting with the client about the timeline and the design, and then we went to a food tasting, it felt like the caterer was trying to undo all the work I had already done and then was making more work for me.  Knowing who is doing what will alleviate all of that but there is give and take on both sides.   By establishing with the planner, designer, florist, etc, who is responsible for which aspect of the event you will be able to work together much more smoothly.  

I hope I've answered your question, Fausto! 

You can follow Fausto & Blue Elephant Catering on Facebook & Instagram

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