I have a wedding planner who sent me an email inquiring about my cakes for a client. She wants to know my prices and said she would be doing all the planning. How do you work with a wedding planner? My feeling is that I still need to talk to the bride and groom to discuss what they want, sign the contract, etc. Am I right to want to personally be in contact with the bride and groom? I usually work very closely with the bride and groom and pride myself on doing exactly what they want in terms of design, flavoring, price, etc. I don't really want to feel this way but I have the feeling the planner will inflate my prices to the bride and groom and take a cut....I'm sure that's how they make their money, right???
I've never worked with a planner before, but it's my understanding that they get paid a percentage of the overall wedding BY the bride and groom. (Example, the WHOLE wedding cost $10k, they get 10% paid= $1k). Planners are NOT supposed to mark up the cake and such items. That only occurs when the you have a vendor-vendor package deal. (The rental hall includes one of your cakes as a package deal, but you have a contract WAY ahead of time with the rental hall).
SEcond, it is absolutely not unreasonable for you to want to deal with the couple directly. In fact, I would think that that's how it's done. That the wedding planner is just there to do all of the bride 'grunt work' or 'research'.
I've never worked with a wedding planner either but on TV they always show the bridal couple picking out their own cake and the planner is present.
I worked directly with a planner once .... ONCE!!!! Never, ever, ever, EVER again will that happen.
There is a loss of communication. The bride has questions that the planner can't answer; or (in my case) the planner wanted me there to talk to the bride, but when the bride asked me pricing questions, I couldn't really answer them because I was billing the planner and I didn't know what SHE was charging them.
If they mark it up or not ... I could care less. As long as I get my money. But the frustration of working blind by not talking directly to the client is the worst!!!
And no matter what happens, you have a she-said/she-said situation and if something isnt' right, you know dang well it's going to be YOUR fault.
I am happy to have planners attend the samplings/tastings. I am happy to copy the planner on all emails, to keep her in the loop. But I WILL communicate directly with the bride, or they can buy a production cake at the grocery store.
I've worked with wedding planners during the time i worked in a tuxedo rental shop, and I would expect it to be the same with one of my cake clients: the wedding planner is welcome to be there for the consultation and put in her ideas, etc., but my consult and contract is with the bride and groom and what they decide, goes!
hmmm, as always indydebi's offers great firsthand experience/advice!
I didn't think it worked that way. I guess I was wrong. shhh....don't tell anyone!
one couple i have is using a wedding planner. but she wasn't even at the tasting. i met directly with the couple and we made all the decisions. the planner then sent me a letter just formally introducing herself, and letting me know to contact her if i need anything. which i won't.
another couple i met with had their planner with them at the tasting. it was the planner who scheduled the appointment and she was the one i spoke iwth most, but i did meet directly with the couple. they however did not book with me, so i don't have the experience of actually putting a wedding together with that particular planner.
I have a good friend who is a wedding planner, and I think different ones work different ways. My friend charges the couple a flat fee depending on how involved they want her to be. She will recommend vendors, set up appointments, and go with them on vendor visits, but in no way does she ever come beween the seller and the bride and groom. And she makes it clear that all payments to everyone come directly from the couple. I have heard of others who charge a flat percentage of the total wedding budget, but I would be very scared of any who say they are planning everything on behalf of the couple.
I also thought that the planners got a percentage of the overall wedding cost... that it the way that I have seen it with all the planners here in Alberta.
Regarding contact with the bride and groom - there are some people that want nothing to do with planning. They hand over the money to a planner and just show up. If they want you to deal strictly with the wedding planner then you could write up a little release form for them to sign giving total control to the planner for decisions. Then you are dealing strictly with the planner as 'the client'.
But what bride and groom wouldn't want to do the cake tasting?? They should be there for that! The planner IMHO is there to keep the B&G on budget and keep track of the details - payments, deadlines etc etc
I have a great wedding planner I work with, and so far I love her. She does gorgeous weddings, and she tries to send her big ones to me. Heck, she sells my cakes better than *I* do, as far as convincing them that I make cakes "to die for" . Her brides aren't required to use me, but she highly recommends it.
What we do is this: She calls me to set a consult/tasting date for all of us to meet, whenever it's convenient for the bride, usually when the bride has a day of appointments with the caterer, the florist, the photog etc., and they get it all done in one day. It goes the same as my usual consult, except the planner is there, and she's great about offering just the right amount of expert advice (from the planner point of view, and she's had a lot of great tips), without getting in the middle of everything. We sometimes meet with me, her, the florist, and the bride, and we have tea and cake and a visit, and it's very fun and productive.
My cake contract is between me and the bride, nothing to do with the planner. I don't know how (or if) the planner could profit from it, other than to have a reliable source for cakes, but she's been great to work with so far! I don't see how she'd profit from my part of the deal, because the prices are laid out when we meet, and the bride writes me a check for the cake.
It couldn't hurt to look into it...
I would absolutely INSIST on consulting with the bride, even if it's just long enough for her to say "Miss Planner will be handling EVERYTHING and I release you from all liability if I hate the cake she picks for me." And get that in writing. Because if the planner picks out her dream cake and the bride hates it, she'll tell everyone that it was the best day of her life except for that atrocious cake that so-and-so made!
Different planners work different ways.
- Paid hourly by bride
- Paid package deal by bride
- Paid percentage of budget by bride
- Paid by vendor (kickbacks / commission / whatever)
- Buying products/services "wholesale" from vendors, marking up (to regular or more sometimes) and selling to bride.
Any of these are usually ok...it's when planners get greedy and use more than one method that you have to watch out!