bride and wedding designer

(Image via h.koppdelaney)

I’ve never had a client who came in and said “Preston, you’re the wedding designer. Do whatever you want for my wedding.” Sometimes, clients aren’t positive what they want, but, in these cases, I know the right questions to ask, and pretty quickly I have a good sense of what they envision for their wedding decor. Most of my clients, however, know exactly what they want, and, sometimes, they even know too much. Every once and awhile, I encounter clients who are extremely detail orientated — even borderline controlling.

Typically, this isn’t a problem; after all, this event is a very special day, and they just want to make sure everything is done right. I understand that. However, there does come a point when a client needs to let go and allow you to do your job as the wedding designer.

Here are my best practices for dealing with a controlling bride:

1. You need to inform your clients of every single detail and cost every step of the way. Sometimes, this is easier said than done. It can be incredibly time consuming, but you need to do it.

2. Make a point to call or email your client at least twice a day. Most of these lovely brides just need to feel as though they are part of the process.

3. If you’re doing flower arrangements and wedding centerpieces, make sure you show her exactly what she is getting before the wedding! Also, it’s a very good idea to take a picture of the “sample” flower designs you show her, and let her keep a copy. On the day of the event, you don’t want to hear those dreaded words, “That is not what I had in mind.”

4. Sometimes, a client will want to meet with you for the simplest reasons. Make the time. She just wants some reassurance.

5. You need to gain your client’s trust. Be her friend. Do whatever you need to do to make her understand that you’re here for her.

6. If for some reason there’s a last minute change, no matter how minuscule, notify your client ASAP.  She might not be happy, but it’s better to tell her sooner rather than later.

7. At times, you may need to be firm yet gentle with your client. Whatever you do, make sure you give it to her straight, even though at times she may not want your advice. Don’t be a push over.

I cannot stand the TV show, Bridezilla. In my 31 years in the business, I’ve never had a client who’s anything like the crazy and spoiled brides on that show. However, I’ve done more than one wedding where the bride was very uptight and was always waiting for something to go wrong. Guess what? Most of the time, something does go wrong. Always remind your bride that this is her day, and she should have a great time. Tell her to let you worry about everything. That’s your job, after all.

Now, a few questions for you:

Do you think every bride is right for you as a client? Has a bride ever treated you badly? I find that those of us in the industry actually make the worst clients: If you’re married, were you a controlling bride or groom? (Be honest!)