Today I want to address the issue of expectations and accountability. I recently had an experience with a photographer who prompted this post and perhaps sharing this experience may save you from making the same mistake. As a planner, one of my core responsibilities is to provide the client as well as our creative partners with a day of schedule of events. I usually do this months in advance depending on the complexity of the event. Planners should get in the habit of doing this early even when all the details have not been determined. These schedules provide our partners with a synopsis of what to expect on the day.
Back to my story. I provided the schedule of events to the photographer we hired for one of our weddings exactly three months prior to the wedding. The contract for the photographer was for 10-hour coverage; however, the schedule of events that I created indicated that he and his crew would have to shoot for more hours than contracted. There-in lies the error. I’m very cognitive and respectful when it comes to contracts established by our creative partners but I was so eager to please my client that this one escaped me. Truth be told, we are all accountable; if the photographer had reviewed the schedule in advance, he or someone from his team could have pointed out that he needed to be compensated for his additional hours. I would have communicated this to the client and it would have been resolved three months prior to the event. This doesn’t make it right but it does remind me of how important communication is.
We are all running a million miles an hour while trying to produce this thing that we call magic for our clients. The reality is that it takes months of preparation and a fabulous team of creatives and a lot of communication. Here are some tips that I find helpful when working with creative partners to maintain a professional and amicable partnership.
1. Always share your schedules with your creative partners a minimum of 30 days prior to your event, if not earlier.
2. Have one-on-one meetings with them to go over expectations.
3. Communicate changes in a timely manner (when possible).
4. Review their contracts and compare with what you have outlined.
5. Identify red flags and make them a point of discussion.
6. Establish a relationship not a dictatorship.
I’m truly fortunate to be able to partner with the best in the industry. Thankfully, most of our creative partners get it! They are as passionate as we are about exceeding expectations and they don’t mind working overtime. However, let’s make it a point to make communication a key so that everyone, especially our clients, are happy!
With a happy heart,
Kathy Romero is the Director of Event Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every Thursday.
(Photo Courtesy of Kismis Ink)