Whether you are a fellow event partner (vendor), or a wedding/event client, the ethics and integrity with which your chosen professional wedding consultant approaches his/her work can make all the difference in the outcome of the wedding/event. We adhere to some standards that some may call “old-fashioned”, but in the end, we are referred by many of our fellow event partners and chosen over some planners because our commitment to integrity and ethics benefits them, as well as our clients. Here are top most commonly-violated ethics in the wedding industry and how we handle them:
- Accepting kick-backs or incentives. While some event partners offer kick-backs or monetary incentives to wedding coordinators who book their services, we refuse to accept them or offer them. Why? If we accepted personal gain from an event partner for referring them, our allegiance then shifts from our paying client (who is paying us to look out after their best interest) to the event partner providing the best incentive (or any incentive at all over another vendor who may not offer it). We promise our clients that we will provide them referrals to the event partners who are the best for them: this includes their spending plan, style, vision, and more. If we are accepting any kick-backs from event partners, our allegiance will then not be with our client who is paying us and will shift to the event partner we prefer to get the best kick-back from. “But everyone does it,” a Hotel GM told me one time. I still politely declined. One very prominent event partner in our area openly offers the choice of kick-backs to event planners or the choice of passing on the savings to their clients. I choose the latter and my clients love me for it. They are confident that I have their best interest at heart and then the bidding “game” truly becomes about the event partner seeking my client’s business and not my business.
Every event supplier working a wedding works incredibly hard, long hours. In fact, most of us have put in more than a full day’s worth of hard, physical (and mentally-challenging) work before the actual event event begins and guests arrive. Further, depending on the service you are providing, your “break” time may be at a different time than when it is suitable for the main vendor meal break. I respect everyone’s vibe and the right to a well-deserved break and nourishment to provide the energy to keep going and doing the stellar job that they need to do.
That said, a wedding is a production. It is about providing the client and their guests with the experience of a lifetime. In order to create this magic, no matter how casual the event, there are certain professional standards that any wedding and event professional “gets” as necessary to create that backdrop of magic for the event experience, and those include: professional attire (sorry, Birkenstocks may be comfortable for you, but don’t really set the tone even for the most “casual” of weddings, particularly when you are being paid to provide a service on one of the most important days of someone’s life); not smoking in front of guests; not taking personal calls in front of guests; not taking a break in guest view when possible; not drinking from the bar (or at all) – not even on a break; not eating your meal (or any food for that matter) in guest view when possible.
But the worst offender of all of these? The event partner who demands that their vendor meal be given at a distinct time completely at odds with the rest of the event and perhaps even before guests have eaten. And if it is a buffet, asking to go through the buffet line before it’s open to guests is the height of poor taste and lack of professionalism. If you don’t know these basics, you won’t be working with me. And if I’ve “inherited” your service from the client (that is, they chose to hire you and not through me), and you do this, I will make sure you are not referred again and will let others know of your unprofessionalism.Read More >>
At a recent wedding, the couple thought they would save money and ask a friend to “man” their iPod for ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner /dancing. Let me save you time from reading the entire article below and fast forward to the summary right here: a professional special event DJ is not only worth their weight in gold, you are actually maximizing your investment if on a limited spending plan. For one service provider, you have peace of mind from ceremony through the end of the evening and they are almost always more cost-effective than a band if you have super limited funds.
However, if you are the type of person who needs actual, real examples of “why” because you think wedding service providers are out to take advantage of you financially, below is a real-life example from a recent wedding where they insisted on using an iPod and having “friends” man it for the wedding.
I am continually asked by clients who are watching their spending plan if moving chairs from the ceremony to the reception is a good way to save money. Before we talk about the actual money part, let me give it to you from another (almost more important) angle: it is never a good idea to move chairs from the ceremony site to the reception site and here’s why: people and logistics. From the bridal party needing the ceremony site for post-ceremony photos, to guests still lingering at the ceremony site, there is nothing more awkward, less-gracious and classless than staff having to tear down chairs and make their way around guests, asking them to move, running into them, and more.Read More >>
Cheers to you, Mr. /Ms. “Take Over the Wedding” Guest! We see you at every one of the 1,000 weddings we have produced for almost 20 years. You have been the inspiration for this post, celebrating the next “casting call” for the next wedding we produce.
All candidates are invited to audition this September; however, it is helpful if we know in advance who is taking on which role, but if you wish to just show up for more of an inprov performance, as we are used to, we welcome that, too. In fact, we will be looking for you.
Know It All Bridal Party Member
Trying to show off in front of others and convey that he/she is a true friend, Know It All is really just struggling for attention and feels inadequate in power in life in general. Still, she decides the wedding planner and all the professionals doing their job who have spent a year working together to plan the couple’s wishes do not know as well as she does and asks each one constantly, “Should we be doing it this way?” on the actual day of the wedding, and then proceeds with her own idea and making sure that all the hard work planned by the bride/groom and professionals is thrown out the window because her way is better. Perhaps secretly she always wanted to be a wedding planner; perhaps she wants to look like a hero to the couple, but whatever the reason, her way is always better and she lets everyone know.Read More >>
When I first started out as a wedding planner, I saw it all the time and to this day, I understand why it is done, but I do not understand why, with all the options available to manage a budget, couples want to aggravate guests, create a clumsy flow and above all: not actually save that much money in the long run (read on). We are talking about the use of the same chairs for the ceremony as the reception. There are other ways to maximize your spending plan (budget) than re-using your ceremony chairs for your reception. I never, ever recommend this be done, and here are my top reasons why:Read More >>
With cell phone camera and selfie stick use at an all time high, often taking away from life’s moments, it is no wonder there is such a huge trend for “unplugged” weddings. If you are new to this term, “unplugged wedding” refers to those weddings where guests are asked to refrain from any cell phone use – including taking photos of any kind during the ceremony. Before I express my thoughts on this entire topic, let me say first and foremost: I am completely in favor of any bride and groom who wants an unplugged wedding. But recently, I have seen a new trend going to an extreme: where wedding couples are asking their guests to give up their cell phones entirely when they arrive and they are not “allowed” to have them back until they leave the wedding reception that night. I was also recently asked to go up and “grab” the cell phone from any guest who started to use it during the ceremony. And no, I will not do that. For many, many reasons. No matter how much you pay me (please read on).
First of all, let’s look at all the great reasons to have an unplugged wedding ceremony:Read More >>
I admit it. I have had some of the world’s best service training and have integrated many of these practices into my business and brand. And yet, I still always consider the nature of the event, the circumstance and have a keen appreciation for humanity in all its facets, styles, and also fully acknowledge everyone has a different style of “getting it done” at the end of the day. And yet. And yet…..Read More >>
At Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events, we have a required “Full Service Caterer” list from which our clients must hire. These professionals already adhere to service basics in producing weddings and events. They know that the caterer’s job is more than just to provide good food. They are the backbone of a successful event: from coordinating rentals to set up, breakdown, proper clean-up, timing, and so much more. Plus, they provide one of the most essential elements of any good caterer, and that is the element of pre – event day planning and communication with a dedicated representative that will be with you in the planning stages of your event. The latter is not always reflected on a catering proposal, and not paying attention to this can cost one dearly “day of”, or in unexpected charges from the sub-standard caterer (or other service providers who have to do extra work to accommodate what the caterer should have been doing to begin with).Read More >>