Wedding/event Planners?

Business By EvMarie Updated 5 May 2010 , 2:03am by sweetlayers

EvMarie Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 12:42am
post #1 of 26

Anyone ever work with planners?

I realize their job is to manage the event. But, after that, I'm not really sure how much control they have.

I'm selling favors & specialty cookies. So, how would this theoretically go?.....Say a planner likes my goods, she reccomends me to her client. They all consult with me? Just the planner? Just the clients? When discussing price & confirmation/committment of order, I will need the actual clients' signature/confirmation. Right?

When designing a custom favor, I should consult directly with the client? It's their event...Or, is the planner a sort of "collector of topics" to be reported back/presented to the client.

Here's my fear: I had a planner approach me & I think she wanted to "pad" my favor prices and collect for herself. Then, charge her client the increased price with out me being involved enough to notice. With out being all dolled up, I look fairly young. And sometimes young = stupid, to some people.

On the other side, planners are supposed to handle these things to a certain extent. But, to what extent? Where is the line?

Thanks for any experiences you can share.

25 replies
indydebi Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 12:50am
post #2 of 26

I have a friend who is taking a wedding planner course and she told me she is being "taught" to upcharge the vendors pricing; that's how she will make money.

I have another friend who is an outstanding planner, who has been doing this for years, and she is APPALLED that a planner would upcharge any vendors' pricing. A planner's job is to get her client the best product for the best price. The planner makes their money by the fee paid to them by the bride, not by upcharging.

Now there is a time when upcharging is appropriate (planner goes out and buys 100 candles at $0.25 each .... charges $0.50 each to cover her time and gas expense).

I loved working with planners. I always work directly with the bride/groom and the planner is welcome to attend all of the meetings. I corresponded with the bride/groom and happily copied the planner so she would be in the loop.

Kitagrl Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 12:55am
post #3 of 26

I think the best planners have the bride/groom contact me directly (like Indy said). The only planners that have bugged me (and actually it somehow never works out) are the ones who feel like they are the ones who have to be the main contact in ordering the cake.

Wedding planners shouldn't be actually DOING the wedding...they should be assisting the couple in lining up the best vendors for their taste and theme, and helping them remember and line up the details that are easily forgotten.

One of the most prominent planners in our area refuses to even take vendor bribes or benefits because he wants to do the best for his clients and have nothing to do with what HE gets out of it, other than, of course, his fees. Which I'm sure are quite high since he's one of the best. icon_smile.gif

cakegrandma Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 1:22am
post #4 of 26

The planners I have worked with have only made arrangements for their clients to meet with me and some have also sat in the meetings. That being said they have not negotiated any designs, flavors or pricing on their clients behalf and I honestly do not think I would be comfortable working with a planner that did so. I would want to be assured what was ordered was indeed the wishes of the client and not the planners design. As stated, they should not be marking up your pricing as they are being paid for their services in their fees.
evelyn

EvMarie Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 3:58am
post #5 of 26

Thanks everyone for your information! I appreciate it.

I tend to either be too trusting or paranoid. Learning from those with more experience will help me "balance" myself as I move forward. More to the point - - - I don't want to look like a total boob...

I heard about those who offer incentives for booking "gigs". I considered that since I am getting my name out. But.....then the flip side was the possible perception of being shady. I'm NOT interested in that at all. So, I'm going to rely on original ideas for the favors and of course taste. You can't argue with that.

Thanks again!

leah_s Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 10:53am
post #6 of 26

From my personal experience - and this is my personal experience only, wedding planners are, generally speaking, the spawn of satan. I can't tell you how difficult they are to work with, how overbearing, how many shady things they come up with. Maybe it's just the ones around here, but I've worked with nearly all of them in my area.

EvMarie Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 12:49pm
post #7 of 26

Leah_S....

I'm a little jaded when it comes to people being ridiculously ignorant to me. So, anymore, I'm on guard. I could see how easy it is for a planner to take advantage of both their client and the vendor relationship. I just thought I was nuts when I had that experience with the local planner.... I'm glad to see my radar isn't completely off.

I decided to set "my" rules and ways of doing things. If a planner wants to use me, great. If not, that's fine too. After all, my long term goal is to be online with standardized cookie designs for favors & cookie gifts. Customizable only by switching out colors, which will be confirmed by a swatch.

I just was looking to spread the word and pick up some dollars locally. With the idea always in the back of mind, to stear everyone to the website.

Thanks for responding. I love getting all this info, letting it settle, then bounce it off of what's in my brain. It's like my own little brainstorming staff. Fabulous!

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 1 May 2010 , 9:21am
post #8 of 26

I think it would kinda depend on the bride and groom as well. Most of the time you would want to consult with them and work with them to get them the best possible cake, but there are those few couples out there that don't care about the cake. It's just cake to them. In that case, if they don't care about a tasting or a consultation, then why not just have the planner call me on the phone and order for them? Then the bride and groom just stops in to sign the contract, pay the deposit/final balance and be done with it.

costumeczar Posted 1 May 2010 , 5:08pm
post #9 of 26

A good wedding planner is great to work with, but there are plenty of bad ones. I NEVER pay a kickback to a planner, and any of the reputable ones in my area would never expect to be able to upcharge my cakes. My contract is with the bride, not the planner, and the only benefit the planner gets from me is that I'll try to work a client into my schedule if the planner is someone I've worked with a lot.

anasazi17 Posted 1 May 2010 , 7:25pm
post #10 of 26

I have worked with a few (literally 2) good planners. They were honest and upfront. The ones I have serious problem with are the "wannabes" that have no clue how to have a vendor relationship, they act like they are on a show or in a movie..RUDE! These tend to be those individuals who planned their own weddings and think it is easy and their life calling. They are the ones that create a bad name for the industry of planners...and they make my life crazy, crazy, crazy!!!

EvMarie Posted 1 May 2010 , 9:22pm
post #11 of 26

Wellllllll, I can see it's either hit or miss with planners. But, definitely there are those who will try to be shady. That was my main concern. To not know about how things work is the most uncomfortable part of it for me.

After thinking it about it more, I think the best way to handle it is truly set my own rules and stick to them. As long as they aren't ridiculous, then I should be fine.

I can avoid any shady-ness by requiring one meeting, how ever is most convenient for the client, with regard to confirmation of design, payment, and of course a committment in writing. If I have that, then I shouldn't have to worry about a planner if they are "padding" my cost or communicating unclearly for me. Just make it short and simple - so my tiny part of their day is secured and done in their minds.

From your input - I now can approach planners with a general respect & appropriate flexibility but also present myself with firm logical boundaries. I think I get it... And, I'll for sure be on the look out for those who display "spawn" type tendencies!!!

Thanks a billion everyone!

costumeczar Posted 1 May 2010 , 11:17pm
post #12 of 26

If you just insist on dealing directly with the client when contracts and paymetns are involved, you'll be fine! The only time I've ever had trouble with planners was when the planner tried to act as an intermediary and pay me from her account after the bride paid her. That just doesn't work...

EvMarie Posted 2 May 2010 , 2:22pm
post #13 of 26

Ahhhhhh - costumeczar....I wondered if that ever happened. In my own paranoid mind, it's just another way to "filter" or cover up if you're doing something shady. I CAN see the upside from the planners' perspective. I guess payments could be tracked more easily if they have control. But, I'm not sure it's super necessary.

I think that's the best way. And, aside from the payment. I'd like to touch base at least once with the client. I mean, my personality and customer service is hopefully an asset that may help bring repeat business. I can't get that across if the client never sees or talks to me. I think just one chat with the client would give me a chance to review the final design, the price point, and total price, delivery date/time, and of course payment.

Great info everyone! Thanks a bunch!

costumeczar Posted 2 May 2010 , 5:59pm
post #14 of 26

I had two situations where the planner was the one paying vendors out of her account, and in both something weird happened. In one, the check was "lost in the mail," and she was telling me that it would come, but I told her that until it did her client wasn't booked, so she went ahead and paid me again. The other time the bride fired the planner, but still wanted to use me, so I had to refund the deposit to the planner and have the bride send me another check. It was unnecessarily complicated, so I don't accept payment from planners' personal accounts anymore. I've also heard of planners just not paying vendors, but since I don't shop for ingredients before I'm paid in full, that wouldn't affect me!

EvMarie Posted 3 May 2010 , 12:52am
post #15 of 26

Holy Sha-moly. That sounds horrible. I guess better safe than sorry. And, when tempted to bend the rules....just don't. It's really not about being offended personally - it's about business. I would hope most people understand that.

Thanks for sharing your change in policy regarding not taking payment from planners period. I guess once you get burned it's easy to stand your ground...

catlharper Posted 3 May 2010 , 1:04am
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

From my personal experience - and this is my personal experience only, wedding planners are, generally speaking, the spawn of satan. I can't tell you how difficult they are to work with, how overbearing, how many shady things they come up with. Maybe it's just the ones around here, but I've worked with nearly all of them in my area.




LEAH!!! Tar and Feather hon...really! (vent warning...not aimed at you....)

I've been an event planner for 15 years now and have NEVER ever tried to get over on a vendor or a client and would NEVER dream of upcharging or tricking anyone. My job has always been to interview vendors, get an idea of what they do, what they charge and see if they can help us with our vision of the event. At that time I can set up a meeting between the vendor and the client and then they decide if they want to go further with that vendor or continue having us locate other options. Whatever the cost is between the client and vendor is simply reported to me so I can keep the bride on budget. I also make sure the vendor is paid on time and that all follow up calls are attended to for the client. So, yes, the vendor does end up talking to me quite a bit but I'd never dream of telling a client "the cake is 400.00" when I know for a fact it's only $300. A good wedding planner can save enough money from the bride's budget to cover her fee so that the bride never "feels" the planners fee. Bascially if the budget is 25,000 then my fee is 2500...so that makes my job to make her dreams come true and save her 2500 for our fee. No need to overcharge or upcharge or trick anyone about anything. In fact, we present every single reciept and do a financial breakdown so that the bride (or her family) can see where every single dime came from and was spent on and that includes our fee. Not once have I spent the entire budget...always we were able to hand a check back with a balance to the client. Something, obviously, I pride myself and my company on.

As with any profession, there are unethical people who will try to make as much money as they can at every turn and have no issues with that but for every one that is like that there are ten of us who work very hard for our clients and are honest and ethical in the process.

Just my two cents

Cat

indydebi Posted 3 May 2010 , 1:21am
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by catlharper

Not once have I spent the entire budget...always we were able to hand a check back with a balance to the client. Something, obviously, I pride myself and my company on.


That is awesome and something DEFINITELY to brag about! thumbs_up.gif

buttercuppie Posted 3 May 2010 , 1:52am
post #18 of 26

Not trying to start anything but I do have a question. For those that work with planners...essentially my opinion is that they are saving you a bit of time and leg work by bringing you clients...do you then charge a slight percentage less and cut them in on your profit? (So the client still gets your standard gross cost and isn't upcharged).

Honestly, just curious...thanks!

indydebi Posted 3 May 2010 , 2:05am
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by buttercuppie

Not trying to start anything but I do have a question. For those that work with planners...essentially my opinion is that they are saving you a bit of time and leg work by bringing you clients...do you then charge a slight percentage less and cut them in on your profit? (So the client still gets your standard gross cost and isn't upcharged).

Honestly, just curious...thanks!



No, I didn't. However that's a good question and something that could be done. I would consider it if a planner brought me all of her clients. I gave such a discount to couples who booked with a couple of venues that I really liked working at and they were close to me. But the venue never got a "cut". Their benefit was being able to tell their client, "I can save you some money if you call Debi."

catlharper Posted 3 May 2010 , 4:01am
post #20 of 26

As a planner what I hope to attain from a vendor is good word of mouth as a planner. In other words, I'll bring my clients to you and if the chance should arise you can recommend me to someone who comes to see you then it would be a wonderful exchange. I don't want discounts to me but if you can help out my bride (or other client) then that would be wonderful! And by saving them money you are saving their budget and thus helping me look good to my client..always a good reason to keep coming back to you with my clients! But mainly what I'm looking for is good service, quality work, dependability and, hopefully, a little bit of recommendation for my business.

Thank you for asking!

Cat

EvMarie Posted 3 May 2010 , 6:42pm
post #21 of 26

Cat - thanks for weighing in from the planner perspective. I think I just had a bad experience. And, not knowing how things are supposed to work, it made me shy away from inlcuding planners in my "sample" deliveries.

I am set to deliver cookie sampler boxes and 2 full size favor ideas to businesses who would be in line to send clients my way. I wanted to include planners, but wasn't sure what I was getting into. Now, I feel super comfortable moving forward.

I would have to say cookies & favors are sort of an after thought. I'm not offering wedding cake. So, I think the transaction should be quick and to the point. And, of course, stylish and delicious. I'll just make sure I have my policies in place & review price and design with the client. I should be good to go no matter if I get a good planner or a not so nice planner.

icon_smile.gif

catlharper Posted 3 May 2010 , 7:32pm
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvMarie


I would have to say cookies & favors are sort of an after thought. I'm not offering wedding cake. So, I think the transaction should be quick and to the point. And, of course, stylish and delicious. I'll just make sure I have my policies in place & review price and design with the client. I should be good to go no matter if I get a good planner or a not so nice planner.

icon_smile.gif




Look for planners who don't just do weddings. Yes, cookies are used as favors for weddings but not half as much as baby showers, bridal showers and birthdays. In fact, they seem to be the gift du jour for baby showers right now. Do you do mail order? I'd love to be a contact if you do! Please PM me and let me know, kay?

good luck!

Cat

EvMarie Posted 4 May 2010 , 12:05am
post #23 of 26

I'm glad to hear that people are in fact using cookies as favors. Especially outside the wedding arena. I'll need to add some general looks for birthdays & do some baby shower designs for sure.

It's a regional thing I think with cookies for weddings. Locally, people have been known to have a cake, a fruit table, and an 8 foot table or two....covered with nothing but cookies for their wedding reception. It's a definite food fest!!!

Oh - I just pm'd you Cat!

Thanks again for all the info everyone!!!

Chef_Stef Posted 4 May 2010 , 4:46pm
post #24 of 26

I have worked with two of the best planners in my area, and I enjoy every wedding we've done. They are both very professional and organized and wonderful, and they do beautiful events. They both do things differently, and I'm fine with both. Both have met with me with the bride/groom, sent just the bride/groom, or come alone to a consult with the bride's wishes/pictures/colors/etc, and we plan from there. One pays me direct from her biz account, the other has the bride pay me direct. Some brides I've never met or even talked to, and everything still works out fine. My pricing is very clear on the website, so unless a bride was illiterate, she couldn't get marked up on pricing, and the contract, sketch, and invoice are all cc'd to both parties, so everything's shared. It's been very simple, and they get to do all the emailing/calling etc back and forth when brides change their minds, designs, colors, etc., which also saves me time.

I personally love the weddings I do with them; they make my job easy because they take care of the details and leg work for both the bride and me. And everyone knows, if the cake's not paid 2 wks ahead, thou shalt have no cake. Period. That's my story...

EvMarie Posted 4 May 2010 , 6:45pm
post #25 of 26

Thanks Chef_Stef, I like your comment regarding clear pricing on the website. I am trying to set myself up as cookie gifts and custom favors. Which would imply a price, at least for the favors, would be established per design. Buttttttt, I think it may be a good idea to offer standard designs with interchangeable elements to match an event. That way the pricing would be crystal clear. That would be another way to keep things simple.

I'm glad you've had pleasant experiences with planners. I just won't let that one bad experience make me uneasy. And, of course, keep things simple and straight forward. That will make it easy to have fuss free transactions.

Thanks!

sweetlayers Posted 5 May 2010 , 2:03am
post #26 of 26

I have had wedding directors sit in on consultations and while I do include them in the conversation, I direct all my money questions and design ideas towards the bride. I have been lucky that the bride/planner combinations I have worked with have been nice and not too crazy.

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