buttercuppie Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 3:05pm
post #1 of

I did some searching through the forums and found a piece here and there about this but was looking for anyone who had any more recent advice.

I was contacted by a wedding planner who eventually set up a tasting for the bride and groom. In the 3rd email she alerts me to the fact that they do a slight upcharge on vendor pricing...okay fine. She has already given me a budget and that's MY budget...whatever the REAL budget is I don't know.

I get an email from her yesterday asking me not to discuss pricing with the bride...okay way to tie up my hands. Half of the consultation revolves around price...price dictates design...DUH!

Now I haven't written back yet but I'm planning to tell her, that she's essentially giving me no leeway during the tasting. What am I suppose to do if the bride starts all this planning about what she wants and it's over her budget. It's a waste of EVERYONES time...

I wanted to find out if anyone else had any similar expierences and what possible advice they can provide.

Thanks!

38 replies
jillmakescakes Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 3:42pm
post #2 of

RUN FROM THIS PLANNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A good planner does not upcharge her vendors. The bride pays the planner separately for their services. This planner is basically "double-dipping"

Now, I have planners that I work with that I might offer a slight discount, or a little something extra because of the business they bring my way, but that is totally my discretion and NOT something the planner tells the bride to expect.

At this point, politely explain that this is not a practice that you will partake in as it is unethical to the bride to not know the price of items she is paying for (sorry for the poor grammar! icon_redface.gif ). Then thank your lucky stars when she goes elsewhere.

brincess_b Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 4:06pm
post #3 of

Does sound a bit suspect to me! I know some work on a percentage - so if they spend 20,000 on wedding, planner gets say 2000 (no clue if that realistic or not!), and some (most? In the uk anyway) work for a flat fee. Not heard of any who add on to the price - although that maybe works the same way as the percentage fee, the fact she told you no money talk is just suspicious!

Id simply reply that you can not hold a consult or create a design without discussing the price with the couple, so perhaps she should book else where.
Or if you don't mind totally burning your bridge, say sure whatever, and make the first question you ask 'so what's the budget?'!
xx

VanillaCoke Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 4:32pm
post #4 of

Remember when you were a kid...."Liar, liar, pants on fire!" I think that applies here icon_smile.gif perhaps you should discreetly warn the bride?

catlharper Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 4:51pm
post #5 of

I've been a planner for 18 years now and...NO we do not upcharge clients! We secure the best products and services we can within the limits of their budgets and are paid a percentage of the budget or a fee from the bride,not the vendors! Do not do business with this planner. Now the damage it can do you is that if the bride loves your wedding cake and wants an anniversary cake, or a baby shower cake, or a baby's 1st b'day cake, etc. she may think you are out of her price range because of the planner upcharging! I get TONS of extra business from my brides (whther I'm their planner or just their cake lady) after they are married for other events. YOu want your brides to recommend and reuse your services, not be scared away by the planner!

Cat

KSMill Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 5:05pm
post #6 of

Agree wholeheartedly with jillmakescakes...RUN from this planner. If she's getting a percentage or fee for every service she organizes, the bride should be told that up front, not a hidden charge. That would make me wonder what else she's hiding. I would let her know that you can't work with her because pricing is always a topic of conversation because of design, etc. and you don't want to be put in a position of trying to come up with a reason why you can't accommodate a bride's design when the real reason is cost.

Melvira Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 5:14pm
post #7 of

Ridiculous. I would warn the bride if there is any way to without ruining your rep in your area. Brides should know where their money is going. I wonder if this is the same planner that writes those wonderful articles about how you can have a cheap wedding by screwing over the cake maker. Looks like she's already doing that FOR the bride.

CindiM Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 5:34pm
post #8 of

It is your business. Do not let other people dictate your prices, designs, etc.

Do not work with people that try to control or restrict you. They need you, but you don't need them!

Annabakescakes Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 6:08pm
post #9 of

I would so totally narc out that planner! I would just ask them what the planner said the cake would cost, and then tell them your actual price. That is very unethical. I wonder how many cakes and flowers and such she "up-charged" and how much money she has pocketed?

sugarlover Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 6:26pm

I wouldn't waste my time. Tell that planner to go find another cake decorator to play games with. She can't tell you what to charge. She has lost her mind!

tryingcake Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 7:54pm

I don't have a lot to add. I offer finder's fees to planners who use me or discounts to the bride, if that's what the planner wants me to do (the latter is typically what happens). The bride always pays the vendors separately.

Now, I do have an all-in-one service. The bride gets all services thru me, I pay all vendors. The bride writes one check to me. But everything is still above board. I am working with 2 brides like that right now. One has a budget of $4,000 to buy the flowers, cake and DJ. She doesn't want to deal with interviewing vendors - she just wants to show up and get married. She showed me flower pics of what she wants, I showed them to my favorite florist, asked her how much - it fit in the budget and I hired her. I hired a very good DJ, I am obviously making the cake (she did a have a cake tasting). It all fit in the $4,000 I had to spend. I have my normal cake profit and a teeny tiny bit left over for the referrals of others... not even 10%. I really don't care about those commissions. I do very little work - send an email, make a phone call.

But as we go along the bride gets a break down of what each vendor is charging and all vendor info - an honest breakdown. And she is free to go directly to the vendor if she wishes.

I don't get many brides like this, but they do exist. My favorite was the time I was handed $10,000, told which venue she picked out and had already paid and told to spend the rest and make a pretty wedding. That rocked! She was very happy on her wedding day and i made an honest living.

But the situation described by the OP just sounds plain funky.

catlharper Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:01pm

A reputible planner with provide the client with reciepts for each and every purchase at the end of the process. We present ours in a small plastic pocketed folder that has the items itemized on one spreadsheet and then on the other side is a packet with all the reciepts. This is as much for our own integrity as it is for the client. They know where all the money went as well as have all the contact information should they ever wish to refer or contact that vendor again.

Cat

kansaslaura Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:25pm

I don't have much to add here, with the exception to say when I read the part of "don't discuss your pricing with the bride" I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up and felt like yelling at her myself. EXXXXCUSE me??

We're a business here, no one comes into my business and tells me what I can and cannot discuss with a potential client! I would most definatly be telling the bride my fees at the tasting, what this planner does not want is to be busted for padding the bill!

indydebi Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:13pm

I've actually been in that situation. worse Life Lesson of my LIFE!!!!! icon_evil.gif It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to talk to a bride about design and menu and NOT talk about pricing with her. Double-Ditto to everthing jill said. GOOD planners do not operate this way. icon_evil.gif

I have had a conversation with one planner who upcharged but she was very upfront with her client about it. She covered, with the client, the fees she's charged for everything she touched and handled. The client knew the cake was $400 and that planner added a $50 fee for coordinating the whole thing with the baker on behalf of the bride. I have less of a problem with this kind of honesty than with the kind of planner discussed here.

Dayti Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:30pm

I bet the bride doesn't even know this person is upcharging. The planner doesn't want you to mention the price of the cake so that her cover is not blown. She will just tell the bride the cake is X amount and keep the change. Very unethical indeed.

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by catlharper

A reputible planner with provide the client with reciepts for each and every purchase at the end of the process. We present ours in a small plastic pocketed folder that has the items itemized on one spreadsheet and then on the other side is a packet with all the reciepts. This is as much for our own integrity as it is for the client. They know where all the money went as well as have all the contact information should they ever wish to refer or contact that vendor again.

Cat




Agreed. None of the REPUTABLE planners I work with would ever think of adding fees on, especially without telling the bride. That's just flat-out dishonest.

jenmat Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:59pm

No no no no no. I've just dealt with a planner from the underworld, and I'm sorry, I don't know why these people think that because they put "wedding planner" in their title they are allowed to do whatever they want to their vendors AND their customers. Not every planner is like this, I totally understand, but those that are get my undies in a big wad.

If she wants to do business that way, then I guess she's entitled to try and make a living, but if it ever got out that she does that, the living would be reduced to nothing in short order.

Not only that, but if that bride ever found out that YOU knew about these shenanigans, your name would be on the line as being in cahoots with this planner, and being part of a shady deal.

indydebi Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:10pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

Not only that, but if that bride ever found out that YOU knew about these shenanigans, your name would be on the line as being in cahoots with this planner, and being part of a shady deal.


Amen! The bride involved in my Life Lesson from Hell wanted to pay the planner via AmerExpr. Planner said, "I'd prefer a check because of the fees that AmEx charges me."

The NEXT DAY!! I get a call from AmEx wanting to know why I refused to take a client's AmEx card which is against the AmEx rules, if you are a merchant with them! They told me they could pull my merchant privilages if I refused to take a valid card!!

I had no idea what she was talking about! Later in the day, I realized that this bride must have thought *I* was a partner or something with this ding dong planner and since she had MY biz card, she turned ME in!!! I called AmEx back and explained the whole story .... that it was NOT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was right after this that I began severing all ties with this ding bat!

cownsj Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:30pm

If you have the time to do so, I think I would meet with the bride and handle the process just like you do any other tasting. Discussing price and all. If the bride loves you, you may up with the order anyway and the planner will just have to eat (yes, pun intended) that upsale. And maybe, if this planner goes crazy in front of her client, you can out her nonchalantely. If the bride should call you on her own, you can give her a wake up call. But you could get the order out of it, and do a good deed at the same time.

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cownsj

If you have the time to do so, I think I would meet with the bride and handle the process just like you do any other tasting. Discussing price and all. If the bride loves you, you may up with the order anyway and the planner will just have to eat (yes, pun intended) that upsale. And maybe, if this planner goes crazy in front of her client, you can out her nonchalantely. If the bride should call you on her own, you can give her a wake up call. But you could get the order out of it, and do a good deed at the same time.




That's a good point...When I work with planners, I still send the contract to the bride, I don't get payments through the planner's account. The contract, bills, and payments all go through the bride, since she's the client, not the planner.

buttercuppie Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 3:51pm

So the planner tells me that she has no problem telling me their mark up (let\\'s not even go there b/c I\\'m HOT icon_mad.gif ). Anyways, she says that they work on a commission basis and basically whatever the price of the cake is to add their mark up and give that price to the bride.

Frankly, NO ONE is going to make me lie to someone...as someone said earlier, this is my business. So I\\'m going to tell her that professionally I cannot in good conscience lie to the client about the price and if she has to go elsewhere then best of luck.

Melvira Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 4:10pm

Good for you!

I agree with the person who said they do a small mark-up, but tell the bride exactly what it is... that is not dishonest, and if that\\'s what the bride agrees to, it\\'s great. But this sounds very fishy to tell you not to even bring up price. Sometimes it\\'s not about method... sometimes it\\'s just simple disclosure. Some people can even make something acceptable seem seedy, you know? Just in HOW they handle it.

indydebi Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 4:10pm

Everything I\\'ve read warns brides about dealing with commission based planners because the bride doesn\\'t know if the planner is recommending Debi for a cake because Debi\\'s cakes are the best choice for the bride .... or if it\\'s because the planner gets a commission (\\"kickback\\"?) from Debi. It becomes a question of \\"what\\'s the motivation?\\","2011-01-12 16:17:11

catlharper Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 4:55pm

I do work on a percentage but that\\'s a percentage of the BUDGET, not how much I can get her to spend. If they have a 20,000 budget then I get 2000. Now, from there MY job is to make sure that they never feel the cost of my pay. I make sure they get what they want for that budget if not more than they expected. In fact, in several of my weddings I actually handed reciepts for LESS than the budget. Now if their spending gets out of control, and I had this with one bride, then I do advise them that the extra money they just added to the budget raised the budget and thus my fee but they always know up front how much they are paying me. I don\\'t hide any of the figures and a good planner won\\'t ever have a problem discussing the money...whether it be how much they are spending or how much they are paid. I think it\\'s a horrible idea to add \\"commission\\" onto each service. If that\\'s the case then why not pick the 5K photographer over the 3k photographer just so you get a higher commission? UGH. Ethics are missing there. I\\'d rather help the bride stay within her budget and get the best she can get for that money and use my contacts to get her a better price, not make me more money. I\\'ll make more money when she recommends me to a friend or family member.

Cat

Melvira Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 5:08pm

Cat, sounds like you suffer from something called \\'business sense\\'. Darn. I hope you can work through that! icon_lol.gif There\\'s apparently a lot of money to be made if you don\\'t mind lying. icon_rolleyes.gif

catlharper Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 5:11pm

[quote=\\"Melvira\\"]Cat, sounds like you suffer from something called \\\\\\'business sense\\\\\\'. Darn. I hope you can work through that! icon_lol.gif There\\\\\\'s apparently a lot of money to be made if you don\\\\\\'t mind lying. icon_rolleyes.gif[/quote]

LOL..yeah, it\\'s been holding me back for years! Damn those morals and ethics! LOL!

buttercuppie Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 7:05pm

Okay...so all has been settled...received an email back from the planner...

"Ok, please quote (BRIDE) whatever you need to quote her. (BRIDE) really liked your website so she will still be attending the tasting. Please just let me know what you wind up quoting her so I can keep track of her budget.

Unfortunately this will prevent us from sending future clients to you. For now, thanks for all your help!"

Oh well... icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks to everyone for your help, I really appreciate it!

Annabakescakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 7:10pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by buttercuppie

Okay...so all has been settled...received an email back from the planner...

"Ok, please quote (BRIDE) whatever you need to quote her. (BRIDE) really liked your website so she will still be attending the tasting. Please just let me know what you wind up quoting her so I can keep track of her budget.

Unfortunately this will prevent us from sending future clients to you. For now, thanks for all your help!"

Oh well... icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks to everyone for your help, I really appreciate it!




What the hell? What a dope! I'd love to know how much she quoted the Bride for your services! And the "threatening" is just too juvenile! I don't need business from people like that!

jenmat Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 7:13pm

I'm thinking someone has a God complex.

I'm also thinking someone ELSE dodged a bullet!

catlharper Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 7:14pm

Take the Bride, do a wonderful service for her, she'll refer you highly to friends and family (not to mention those at the wedding who see your cake and taste it) and be glad you will have no further dealings with this planner!

Cat

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%