ONE MAJOR WEDDING PLANNING TIP | BRITTNEY NESTLE PHOTO | MARYLAND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
It's happened. He got down on one knee. He professed his love and future to you. You feel a wave of emotions - joy, excited, surprise - and with happy tears streaming down your face you said "yes!". Or maybe you went out for burgers, he proposed, and you agreed with a solid high-five.
Either way, you're now engaged and in full-on wedding planning mode.
What's first on the list?
Reaching out to all those vendors that you need!
You need to make sure all the vendors you want are available for you. Most leads come in via email and once I hear from a couple, they have their date and venue, and tell me a little bit about them and what they're looking for in their wedding photography.
Not only am I honored to be contacted, but I'm starting to get invested in their journey hearing their proposal story or how they want to make their venue unique on their big day. The first thing I want to do is connect with you on a personal level and set up a time to get together face to face (like people!) over coffee. I've loved your details, researched your venue, and marked your date on temporary hold on my calendar.
Then, everything goes silent.
It's typically a 60/40 of couples who book and couples who don't. Of those couples who don't book, maybe 5% will actually respond back that they've went in another direction. That means that not replying and leaving a vendor basically "hanging" has become the rule, and not the exception.
I always take time to meet with my potential clients, to learn about them and their love story, before wedding payments and details ever get discussed. But I can't do that if I never hear back from you.
Here's the one major wedding planning tip --
Always respond to the vendors you've contacted.
Take the time to respond, whether yes or no, to a vendor you've reached out to.
This might not seem like a big deal. You might think "I'm just one bride, they have plenty of couples to work with" or "They'll get the hint, I'm not worried about it."
But I'm about to be real with you - it's crazy important.
You might feel bad to say "no" to working with them. They might not be within your price range and you don't want to talk budgets. Maybe you've just been crazy busy and haven't had a chance to sit down and respond. It's all good!
But what happens when you do have the time to move forward and that vendor is no longer available and has given your date to another couple?
You'll probably feel a little hurt, maybe not. But that lack of communication doesn't feel great. It feels like you weren't prioritized and that the vendor didn't care enough about your inquiry. Turn that around and that's exactly how vendors left waiting, and forced to awkwardly follow up multiple times, feel. On a daily basis. Seriously.
I'm not writing this blog post to make anyone feel guilty or bad, or like they are responsible for making a vendor feel appreciated. Vendors work for you - plain and simple. I wouldn't be a continuous wedding photographer each year if it wasn't for those amazing clients that do respond, do move forward, and do care.
But what I'm trying to do is just educate current and future brides about this little thing that greatly effects the wedding industry. I don't get upset if I've replied back quickly with all my information and a bride tells me she's decided on another photographer. That's still good news! That means that she and her beau found someone that fit perfectly for their wedding day and I can move on to whoever inquires about the same date going forward. The good vibes are still there! But there's no question about a deal or no deal. We're all on the same page.
A simple reply goes a long way.
This whole concept goes beyond email etiquette or politeness. That's awesome, but it's not the main point. And this doesn't even so much apply to only wedding planning. This is essential when looking for repair quotes, one-on-one classes, or day to day services you need. These business owners fully depend on handling leads right away, with top quality client care, to keep their business alive.
Just prioritize communication with vendors.
So how is this done?
You don't have to write a book to let a vendor know you've moved on, or you're still interested. Like I said, wedding planning can be crazy tough and take up a lot of your time, making you way busier than usual.
Replying back with a quick "Hey, thanks for the reply!. I'll get back to you by --date--." helps the vendor know they're still in the game while keeping you accountable to follow up when you have the time.
Maybe have both the bride + groom on the original email so that the vendor can "reply to all" and if the bride doesn't have time, maybe the groom does. Brides + Grooms are a team at the end of the day and this is a simple and easy way to get wedding to-do's done together!
You've got this.
I hope this blog post helped shed a little light on a major wedding planning tip that every couple should know. As a wedding photographer, I want to make moves to educate my current and future clients, as well as those working with other damn good vendors.
Leave me a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments. Cheers!