It’s unfortunately true that disputes can erupt in any business, including that of wedding planning.
One of the commonest causes of discord between a professional wedding planner and their clients is the “this isn’t what I asked for” syndrome, arising when the couple concerned believe that their expressed requirements have not been met.
Here is a quick overview of how that can come to pass and more importantly, what can be done in order to avoid it.
Memory and communication
There have been extensive psychological studies on the phenomenon sometimes known as “Chinese Whispers.”
This is the tendency for a message to become increasingly distorted as it is communicated verbally from one person to another along the chain. In fact, the final result at the end of the communication chain is often unrecognizable from the message as it started out.
Now while it is true that typically the relationship between Wedding Planners and their clients is direct with no intermediaries involved, even so, confusion and misunderstandings can easily arise.
It’s worth remembering that as a Wedding Planner, you may be extremely busy and attempting to manage several weddings at the same time. However disciplined you are in your note-taking, it’s perfectly possible to confuse in your own mind what one of your clients said to you with what another stated.
On the other side of the coin, there is a very good chance that the Bride and Groom tobe are also very busy with their own professional lives and they may also have all the added stresses, strains and tensions of being involved in arranging their wedding.
As any psychologist will tell you, the two things together offer excellent scope for misunderstanding and confusion between the parties involved.
To take a trivial example, if the Bride is expecting to see white floral decorations in the church to match her own flowers but arrives to see red instead, then it is highly likely that a post-service dispute is going to arise.
Specifying, planning and signing off
There is only one way to avoid traumas such as those mentioned above.
The Wedding Planner needs to be exceptionally disciplined in terms of documenting every design element that the couple have decided upon. That needs to be formally signed-off by them before anything is done in terms of ordering materials or arranging for external service providers to do anything.
It also is imperative that a full plan for the wedding is drawn up by the Wedding Planner and that plan needs to list the responsibilities over time of all parties together with a date alongside each activity showing when it needs to be completed by. That may well include the allocation of responsibilities to the Bride or Groom to do certain things themselves.
That plan should avoid errors of the “I thought you were doing that” type creeping in.
The primary objective of having a design and plan sign-off is to ensure that the scope for misunderstandings has been virtually eliminated. This will also be its main purpose as stressed in many wedding planner courses.
The emphasis here is very much based upon the idea that prevention is better than cure. Even so, it has to be acknowledged that if you are on the receiving end of an accusation from your clients that you have delivered something other than what they wanted, the audit trail of signed-off paperwork may be critical in helping you to defend your professional reputation.
So, don’t see this as bureaucracy but instead a critically important step in planning a wedding.