VENTING: THE JOYS AND NIGHTMARES WHEN EVENT DESIGNERS WORK WITH PLANNERS

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(Image via coyenator)

Disclaimer: Tomorrow I’ll address the nightmares when planners work with designers.

I think we can all agree that designing and planning are two very different businesses. One of my great joys is designing, and I’ve spent many years working with some extremely talented planners. However, some planners are just plain crazies.

Here’s my list of top five absolutely nightmare moments working with a few imprudent planners:

1. There is always a very fine line between guiding a client and bossing a client. I worked with one planner who intimidated our client by constantly reminding us that she, the planner, always knew best. Because this planner had brought the job to me, I didn’t feel that I could say anything. However, I was unsurprised when she was eventually fired.

2. I once did a destination wedding with a planner who lied about her level of experience. This is a cautionary tale for all of us: you do not become a planner simply by saying you are a planner. First and foremost, you must learn the mechanics of the job, and then you must learn by doing. There are no short cuts.

3. Planners, please remember that you were hired to plan – NOT TO DESIGN. It’s true that I have encountered many successful planners who are also designers – bravo to you! However, if your main focus is planning, don’t tell a designer how to do his or her job. Sure, as the event’s planner, you can have a design opinion, but you wouldn’t take kindly to a designer who told you how to plan, right? (Can you tell that this one really truly pisses me off?)

4. One of your jobs is to clearly explain to our client what things actually cost. Your job is NOT to convince the florist and other vendors to lower their prices just because our client wants to pay less.

5. If you’re charging a fee, DO NOT ACCEPT ANY ADDITIONAL COMMISSIONS UNLESS YOUR CLIENTS KNOW ABOUT IT. I am strongly against this practice. I used to work with a planner (you know who you are), who requested 15% commissions in cash, so as not to leave a paper trail.

As a business model, I offer both planning and designing. However, I have learned to be very cautious and to choose only the very best planners available. (Thank you again for all of your amazing suggestions last Friday!) I also use my good friend Marcy Blum, because we work beautifully together and because she is 100% committed to honest client relations. Of course, I work with other planners, too, but I’m always conscious of avoiding the dramatic ones who practice shady ethics!

Now, a question for you: As a planner or designer, is it better to get design guidance from planners or directly from your clients? Please share your opinion in the comments.

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