This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking at The Wedding Symposium in Santa Clara, California.
The wonderful wedding and event planner Sasha Souza also participated, and she treated me to the most amazing dinner. And then I got to sit in on her great presentation. Love her. I got to see Bryan Rafanelli, who is the CEO of Rafanelli Events, speak as well. Bryan always impresses me; he is a true business genius and talent. Nikki Khan, who founded Exquisite Events and is the very picture of elegance and grace, gave a fabulous speech, too. I also got to work with Philippe Lee, who founded Jade Studio Productions with his wife, Soojin Lee, and is truly a photo artist.
It was a fantastic weekend in no small part because of our incredible hostess, Renee Monroe, who produced The Wedding Symposium, which was part of The Wedding Faire she founded. Thank you, Renee, for your graciousness and utmost professionalism. (That’s all of us above with the fabulous Renee in the center!)
I also have to mention the very special Crystal Lequang, who owns and runs Amazae Special Events. Crystal went so far above and beyond to ensure that I had an amazing weekend. Thank you, Crystal, for everything. You blew me away with your consideration, your tremendous talent and your warmth. What a treat!
Here’s a snapshot of Crystal and me:
Another really special moment for me was when I met Laura Auyeung, who owns the charming Poppy’s Petalworks, a floral design studio in San Francisco. Laura wanted to recreate one of my designs that she had found particularly inspiring. So, to my surprise and great delight, she presented me with her gorgeous peacock. Isn’t it stunning?
So many great, great people and moments this weekend!
But I also got an important email just before I gave my speech. It was sent by a lovely woman who was going to be in the audience, and she wanted to make sure I got her question:
First of all, I must tell you how excited I am to hear you speak this weekend! I’ve followed your blog for what seems like ages, and you were the first inspirational industry professional I discovered when I started in the wedding industry. Here is something I’ve thought a lot about: I know you talk a lot about being transparent about pricing and not accepting commissions or kickbacks from vendors. I feel the same way and do not accept any from my vendors — with the exception of the standard trade commission offered to planners from rental companies. In your opinion, do these fall in the same category, and, if not, how do you differentiate/disclose them to your clients? Thanks in advance for addressing this. I wish you a year of wild success and newfound levels of peace.
And here is what I wrote back:
Good morning! As far as I know, there is no such thing as a “standard trade commission.” If a rental company wants to pay a planner for bringing them new business, that is their choice. As long as they do not increase the cost of their rentals to compensate for this cost, I see no problem with it.
However, in my humble experience, such rental costs often are inflated. And, one way or another, the unsuspecting client ends up paying the price. That’s where the lack of transparency comes in and that’s what I think is wrong. Personally, I think planners should tell their clients that part of what they charge is a small percentage of the rental, and then they should make sure that the rental company gives them the best price possible.
I hope that answers your question.
Lots of love,
Dear Readers, what do you think about this issue? What has been your experience? Please chime in.