Building Up the Wedding Industry
Behind the scenes photo of myself with Candice of Blush Bridal along with the bride and groom, photographed by Caroline Lima.
Today I’m speaking to all you amazing wedding professionals out there. You know who you are – the small business women and men who are hustling to create a successful, thriving business that begins the first day of a couple’s life together.
We have a big, important job, you know. Our job as wedding professionals is to make sure each and every couple has the very best first day of marriage EVER. The wedding is the stage that unites these two individuals and families into one. It can feel like a lot of pressure on us sometimes, as the chosen professionals to provide them with these services! No less than once a day do I have conversations with other wedding professionals (florists, stationers, venues, photographers, caterers, planners, stylists, you name it!), making sure we’re serving our clients in the best way possible. We want them to remember every tiny detail of their wedding day with fondness, right?
Well, I want to get real honest for a minute, friends. Over the past few months, I’ve chatted with wedding pros who have been made to feel inferior by their peer wedding pros. I’ve read posts of professionals putting restrictions in place, making it difficult for their peers to provide their contracted services in a timely manner. I’ve gotten text messages from upset friends in the industry because another professional belittled them or asked for steeply discounted services for their client (friends, this is how we feed and support our families!). I’ve personally experienced that pit in my stomach that comes from wedding professionals treating me poorly. I’ve had first-hand experience and chatted with others in the industry who have spent time painstakingly creating schedules and timelines to ensure the client has an amazing planning experience, only for them to be completely disregarded. I could go on, but you get my drift, right? This probably makes you feel a little icky inside – even worse, it might bring back bad memories of an experience you’ve had like this in recent months.
So let me just throw out one thing we can all agree on – we are on #teammarriage (and if you want a warm fuzzy feeling, you should go search that hashtag on Instagram this instant). We pour our hearts and souls into our work because we believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity of marriage.
I have no doubt this is also why we get stressed out and perhaps pin our stress on other wedding professionals.
So how can we, as an industry, build each other up? How can we be a pillar of light for our peers so that we continue to provide amazing service for our clients, while also building friendships, eliminating stress, and feeling really great about the gifts we, collectively, are providing for each couple? How can we put an end to this streak of professionals feeling inferior to others in the industry?
Because I enjoy bulleted lists, I’ve broken my ideas down into just that. I welcome any and all additions you have to this list, as well as continued discussion on how to make sure our industry thrives.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. I think we’re all pretty aware that communication is the key to all healthy relationships. Peer-to-peer relationships are no different, friends! If your services align with other professionals, keep them in the loop! Do you have a vacation planned at the same time your peer plans to send out a design proposal for a wedding you’re involved in? Share that information with your team! Are you a florist who needs a final headcount for centerpieces by a certain date? If you’re working with a planner or venue coordinator, make sure this information is clearly communicated. For aligning services, it’s so important to clearly communicate specific details with other professionals whose services hinge on those details.
Don’t take your stress out on your peers. I think it’s natural for wedding pros (and humanity in general) to take their stress out on their peers. We often go into fight-or-flight mode when we’re approaching deadlines, when there’s a tight timeline to work with, and/or when it seems a timeline date has been missed. Instead of us, as wedding pros, verbally taking our stress out on our peers, let’s ask for help! Let’s realize we are all in this together to make the day the best it can possibly be for the couple. Let’s also realize we ALL want it to be a beautiful, stress-free experience and day for the couple – we don’t ever go into it thinking otherwise.
We are this couple’s chosen team. How amazing that this couple chose each of us because they knew we were the best fit to be a part of their wedding team! They trusted our expertise, our skills, and our experience to put together one of the most important days of their lives. Let’s encourage that teamwork for each and every wedding. Not sure how to support your “team”? Think about how your services coincide with another professional’s services. What can you do to work together and make the experience even more amazing than the couple could have dreamed? How can you take a peer’s schedule and services into consideration to ensure you both provide the best service possible to the couple? I make these statements broadly, because there are so many incredible ways we can create a top-notch team for each and every wedding by working together as a team and uplifting one another.
Trust one another. Although we are all a part of the same overarching industry, we each specialize in particular aspects. A stationer is an expert in the etiquette of when to send out save the dates and invitations while a florist is well-versed in what florals will be in season. Trust the professionals this couple has chosen to be their wedding team instead of pushing back or insisting on something that simply may not work. Listen to this couple’s chosen professionals when they have a different idea or a suggestion, because there is likely a reason and it will likely make for a much better wedding day experience for the couple!
Understand that processes are put in a place for a reason. It’s heartbreaking to hear of wedding professionals who have spent hours and hours (adding up to years, y’all) fine-tuning their process to ensure their couple has an amazing experience only to hear of other vendors completely disregarding these processes. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you probably think. Consider these hypothetical scenarios:
A stationer creates a schedule only for a planner to not even look at it. A planner schedules appointments with venues only for venues to schedule multiple meetings they are bouncing between. A florist requests linen colors/swatches from rental companies and is completely ignored.
In every single one of these scenarios (which are all scenarios I've heard or seen happen!), the professional is trying to do their job well, but is met with resistance or a roadblock. This ends up helping no one and hurting everyone! If there is an issue amongst peers with regard to timelines, schedules, or requests, it’s important for us to communicate (see first tip above). And please, whatever you do, if another professional sends you a schedule, timeline, or request – read it! It’s heartbreaking to see a professional dedicate their time and energy to their craft and process to be met with such disregard.
So, I’m on #teammarriage, what about you? Will you make a concerted effort to lift up individuals in the industry, create a team environment, and work together to create a gorgeous day for each couple? How else can we build one another up?