Unless you just got engaged or are in the very early stages of planning your wedding, chances are, you already have a clear understanding of the fact that planning such a large and extensive event requires a lot of moving pieces. This is something you’re likely even more aware of if you have taken on the bulk of your planning yourselves.
Weddings involve so many different pieces that all have to come together and fit pretty perfectly—like a puzzle—in order for everything to work out as beautifully as you hope. This challenge has become even more unsurmountable in the wake of the pandemic and the wedding boom that followed. With so many couples getting married in such a short period of time, wedding vendors are being spread so thin and having to do twice the work in half the amount of time they would normally have to do it.
“It's not an exaggeration to say that wedding vendors are juggling two years' worth of weddings in a six-month period right now,” says Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City and author of The Wedding Rollercoaster. “We've got postponements from 2020 and early 2021 on top of a normal workload for 2022 and businesses are still understaffed and supply chains are delayed which is making it hard for a lot of us to do our jobs at the level we want to be doing them.”
Given this surge in weddings, wedding vendors are in super high demand in every category, everywhere, which, in turn, affects the couple’s experience in ways it didn’t necessarily before. Still, even though you know that each wedding vendor you hire has multiple clients and you’re not their only, you still want to feel that you’re being heard and taken care of—as you should be. When you’re not, it’s normal to feel frustrated, annoyed and disappointed especially if the initial conversations and consultation went really well, notes Jamie Chang, owner and destination wedding planner at Mango Muse Events in Los Altos, California.
“Unfortunately, less-than-desirable customer service is happening a lot across the board, so it’s important to know that it’s not just you or your particular vendors,” she says. “The wedding boom is making it difficult for wedding vendors to keep up with everything they have to do and that’s resulting in a lack of customer service.”
While it’s nice to know you’re far from alone in feeling that you might not be getting 110 percent from your vendors, it is the most important day of your life that you’re planning for. To make sure expectations are fairly met ahead of one's wedding day, here are some expert-approved tips for what to do if you feel dissatisfied with a wedding vendor.
Set expectations clearly prior to working together.
One way Chang recommends preventing dissatisfaction with a wedding vendor altogether is by talking through what the process will be like and what you can expect before you even hire a vendor. “Knowing what to expect and creating an understanding of what the process will be like means that you won’t be surprised after you’ve hired your vendors,” she says. “Setting expectations makes the process easier for both you and your vendor—and, if you end up in the unfortunate situation where they don’t hold up to their side of the agreement, then you also have clear grounds for being upset and explaining that to them will be much easier.”
Communicate your feelings, stat.
If you are dissatisfied with a wedding vendor's performance and are still in the planning process (i.e., pre-wedding), it’s vital that you put your feelings into words. “We are not mind readers, and so it's entirely possible that we don't know that anything is wrong or that you're unhappy,” says Weinberg. “It could honestly be a situation where our work styles or communication styles simply don't match yours, so unless we know how you like to work and how you like to communicate, we can't be on the same page in that regard.”
If, when you communicate your feelings, boundaries are drawn in return, Weinberg urges couples to respect them. “Unless responding to emails within 24 hours is something your vendor promised in a contract, you have to be open to the fact that they may take 48 to 72 hours to get back to you,” she says. “If once that expectation is set and then they drop the ball, you have the right to be unhappy.”
Try your best to stay positive.
When communicating any dissatisfaction pre-wedding, Weinberg emphasizes the importance of doing so in a positive and constructive way. “It's not in anyone's best interest to make a wedding vendor feel less-than leading up to a wedding, so, instead of emailing a vendor that you’re tired of them ignoring you and not getting back to you in a timely manner, take a more positive approach,” she says. She recommends trying something like this: “I know how busy things are for you with this wedding boom right now, but my partner and I are feeling [a little behind in the planning process] [like things are slipping through the cracks] [like we're lacking some guidance] [fill in the blank]. We were hoping that you could commit to responding to our emails within 48 hours going forward (except of course, during your events and on weekends). Or if that's not possible for you right now, please let us know what is feasible so we can set our expectations accordingly going forward.” “I guarantee you the response you'll get from that second approach is going to be far different than if you send that first message,” she says.
Be upfront with what a vendor can do to remedy the situation.
“Often, when a client relays a wedding day experience with a vendor to me post-wedding, I ask them for clarity on what it is that they want. Do they just want to be heard? Do they want to yell at someone? Do they want an ‘I'm sorry?’ Do they want some type of compensation?” says Weinberg. “Just throwing out feedback to a vendor without any specific mention of what the person is trying to achieve or get in return will often be met without resolution.” She recommends having a calm, constructive conversation with a vendor and reaching a resolution before bashing them online.
Make leaving a negative review your last resort.
If you’re unable to get a hold of a vendor despite extensive efforts or they’re mistreating you in some major way and you can’t resolve the situation between yourselves, then Chang says that a negative review is warranted. “Wedding businesses are all small businesses and with the current situation given COVID and the wedding boom, some understanding and flexibility is needed,” she says. “So, you want to take all steps you can to discuss, resolve and rectify the situation before going public with your grievances.”