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.
When one interviews potential wedding and event supply partners, checks out their credentials, referrals and work and finally “clicks” with them and is ready to hire them, there is one final gauntlet I suggest the interviewee complete. I suggest that you have a conversation about the event supplier’s belief structure in professional conduct the day of the wedding or event. This includes the individual you are hiring as well as their volunteers and staff. These particular items are rarely – if ever – included in service contracts and yet, they are paramount to being at the core center of the caliber of service you are contracting and should expect. Here are some items for discussion, followed by our own Code of Conduct to all Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events clientele:
- What will you and your staff be wearing the day of my event?
- How many breaks do you take and when?
- Where do you take your breaks and meals?
- What is your philosophy on vendors taking their meals – should they go before guests or after?
- Where do you or your staff smoke?
- What do you do if you see another event service provider dining or smoking in front of guests?
- How do you handle conflict with guests , should drama arise?
- Do you or your staff feel it is alright to partake in the bar or alcohol while working – or on breaks during your contracted time?
- How do you communicate with your fellow staff members during an event? (example: do you use two way radios, text, ear piece two way radios, etc.)