Monday, September 28, 2009

Does your wedding planner have a back up?

We all agree hiring a wedding planner can ease a lot of stress, especially the weekend of you wedding. What happens when something happens to your wedding planner? There have been instances where colleagues have had a sudden death in the family, a major accident or come down with a major illness. Does the vendor's contract cover such instances?

I've personally not been able to attend to two of my weddings. Once in 2005, I had a death in my family, so sudden and shocking, it was painful, but I would have been able to work; however, the funeral for my young family member was on Saturday. At the time, I had a very large team and we no had problem staffing. More importantly, they were fully aware of how I run an event and did so in a manner that the bride expressed she did not even notice my absence.

My second wedding ever missed was this year. I had the joy of planning the wedding of two sisters. These were large extravagant events. In 2009, we are considered a "boutique" planning firm (translation - it's just me and we take very few weddings). I've enjoyed the change in my business practice to do less events and leave the wedding planning world domination to others. It suits my personal lifestyle and allows me to give even more attention to my full service clients. So when my personal dilemma prevented me from attending the second wedding of the Patel family, I was worried. I was worried, wondering if my colleagues who were helping me would deliver in the manner I do: I am all over the place, I don't freak out - at all, I am cool as a cucumber and nothing bothers me. Large events for 600 people are not stress free nor are they snafu free. My son had surgery the Wednesday before the big wedding and I really thought I would leave the hospital and just check on everyone, as set up began in the ball room on Thursday, then again Saturday. It was a big deal and I didn't leave the hospital for days until he was discharged. My friends plus their staff did a stellar job. The family was very happy. They even came to the hospital to express it in person. I was so touched.

So how is it I was successful the second time around without large in house staffing? Bottom line: I've made nice with my competitors. Of course not all of them, as you work in the industry, you learn of certain business practices; some just don't want to like you, any number of reasons to be friends or not to be friends. Some years ago, a few of us cordial planners agreed to be each other's back up in the event of an emergency. We also agreed to a certain rate so as not to break the bank. In this instance I had to activate the wedding planner phone tree and use everyone available.

So, does your wedding vendor play nice with others to call upon them in an event of an emergency?

If you are a wedding professional interested in discussing a back up plan further, please join me as I moderate a WEDCHAT on Tuesday, September 29th at 8pm E.S.T.

1 comment:

Michelle Loretta said...

This is a reeallllly great post! I doubt many wedding professionals (of all types) think of this. And, I'm pretty certain it isn't built into their business model. What a GREAT reminder to not only planners, but also photographers, florists, bakers, caterers, etc. (I know that as an invite designer the thought did pass my mind during my pregnancy... but I have a little more cushion than "day of" vendors.) Thank you for this post!