DEAR PRESTON: MY BRIDES ARE IN BUDGET DENIAL! WHAT CAN I DO?
August 30, 2011
I’m a planner and almost all of my clients are brides. I understand that it’s my job to find vendors who will fit the budgets of my brides. But, Preston, my brides are in denial about money! They come to me with their budgets, and I tell them exactly what they can get for them. And then they get mad at me! What can I do?
Dear VERY Frustrated,
Put yourself in your brides’ shoes. Every bride wants an unforgettable wedding. This is their big moment! They’ve been imagining their perfect wedding almost their entire lives; it’s hard to put aside the wedding fantasies and wake up to the reality of what they can afford. You’ve planned countless weddings, but, remember, most of your brides have never done this before. So, they have absolutely no idea what things actually cost. When they come to you, they really believe their budgets are large enough for a dream wedding. Their disappointment is understandable.
However, having to be the bearer of bad news is never pleasant. And talking money with clients in any industry is almost always a challenge. The trick is to give your brides choices. On the one hand, you’re telling them, no, I can’t do everything you want with this budget. On the other hand, you’re telling them what you can do. Turn it around. Make them feel like they still have lots of options. You should be opening doors, not closing them. The hardest part of being a good planner is being honest with your clients, even if that makes you the bad guy.
Dear Readers, as planners, do you tell brides what their budgets will get them even before you’ve been officially hired? Do you ever find yourself re-designing a wedding in order to accommodate a bride? Please share!