There is a perceived notion that to be a wedding planner you need to be a Type A perfectionist with a good dose of OCD. This self imposed role leads one to operate in a constants state of anxiety. Wedding planners are often over cautious, over critical (of themselves of course) and they are afraid of making mistakes. Living in fear is common amongst the creative types and today I want to look at these fears and how they impact the financial well being of your company.
1. Fear of inadequacy: Wedding planning as a profession is fairy new and a lot is still unknown, many wedding planners feel that they need to constantly prove their worth and justify their existence. This leads them to overcommit to tasks that have nothing to do with their wedding planning role. This also leads to undercharging and even incurring of additional unnecessary expenses.
2. Fear of money: Aspiring and novice wedding planners are usually in the early 20s and often do not have an established relationship with money. They are afraid to ask for money and usually it is the last thing that gets done. Overtime, additional travel and communication hardly ever gets reinbursed and often because the planner did not submit these expenses to the client. There are planners who did not get paid for their services because they did not insist on payment prior to the function.
3. Fear of conflict: Many planners are so afraid of conflict (which is perfectly normal for most people) and they would rather go that extra mile (which soon become a 100 mile hike), or take a financial loss instead of confronting the client. They work 10 times harder to ensure that “everything is perfect”, and when something does go wrong they internalise the blame and feel guilty. They feel that the fault was due to their own inadequacy and thus they don’t deserve to get paid. Planners are so afraid of complaints and when complaint does happen it sends planner into a panic mode. In that mode, the planner is more likely to weaver additional charges, offer a refund and take a loss.
The problem being in this state of perpetual fear is that you have no control over what happens to you and you allow emotions to drive your financial decisions. Everything is attributed to the external factors. My advice today is simple – take charge and improve your bank balance.
1. Stop seeking constant validation and spend time refining your services and deliverables. The more undefined your business model, the more stress you will create for yourself. Tell your clients exactly what and how you will do for the wedding. You need to set the boundaries. For example, make it clear that you will be planning a wedding day not a engagement/kitchen tea/bachelorette and other actives leading up to the day of the wedding unless you charge separately for these occasions.
2. Have a clear money policy with your clients. When you create an invoice make sure it reflects what your clients are paying for. The biggest mistake planners make is charge for “Wedding Planning Services” only. Break it down for deliverables. This way, if the relationship ends prior to the wedding day you will be able to show that you delivered throughout the process and will not need to refund in full. You are providing professional services and you deserve to get paid. Do not get personal insecurities get in a way. You cannot take a loss if the couple breaks up, or changes their wedding date or moves their wedding to another city/country.
3. Stop seeking perfectionism. You cannot control how guests, suppliers and your couple will feel and behave on the wedding day, and frankly that has nothing to do with you. Your job is to execute a wedding day accruing to the wedding day document. Focus on creating systematic processes. Do not get emotional. Stay focused. If you get a complaint do not react on the money level. Insist on the complaint to be submitted in writing before meeting an unhappy client. Calm down and fight the urge to get emotional. Stick to the facts. If you have done your job according to the invoice, the wedding day document and the contract then you have nothing to worry about.