by Jeff Hellenbrand
“I worked with a bride who seriously pushed me to the limit. She haggled me down to the bone before she even signed the contract. She was needy, demanding and even unreasonable. I bent over backwards for her, even though I got the chills every time her number popped up on caller ID. At her wedding, we delivered a flawless service. Unbelievably, she found a way to be disappointed. She even had the gall to ask for money back!” I hear stories like this all of the time. It’s the woeful tale of the vampire bride.
Vampire brides suck. They zap our energy, steal our time and do their best to make sure we don’t make a dime. They aren’t (usually) evil, but they can make our lives miserable. Why do we put up with bad clients? I think it’s because we feel like we have to and, unfortunately, most of us don’t realize just how much vampire brides really cost.
You don’t have to work with vampire brides.
The customer is most certainly NOT always right. Being right is overrated anyway. Most wedding vendors want to be liked (we’re people pleasers) and they want to give couples really great service. It’s good for business. But some brides simply can’t be pleased. The sooner you recognize them and ditch them, the sooner you can get back to taking better care of your favorite clients.
The REAL cost of vampire brides
Too many wedding pros think they have to put up with vampire brides because they need the money or they’re worried about getting a bad review. The reality is that a vampire bride will take up way more of your time, completely drain your energy and even make you hate your job (at least a little). As if that weren’t bad enough, she’ll often find a way to screw you out of your hard-earned money, too. Even a refund won’t stop her from writing a nasty, untrue Yelp review. Not exactly “worth it,” huh?
There is a better way.
Brides who are needy, stressful and draining don’t have to stay that way (or stay your client, for that matter). Take responsibility for your part in things, be honest, respectful and compassionate (after all, it’s her first time planning a wedding and she’s stressed out) and tell her the truth. One of my clients, a florist, simply explained to a needy bride how she was asking for too much. The bride had no idea she had crossed the line- she apologized and begged to keep working together. She turned into one of my client’s favorite brides overnight.
I see it all the time. When you stand up for yourself, without being a dick about it, you can command the respect you deserve. If you’ve got a vampire bride on your hands, set some boundaries, do your best to convert her into an awesome client and if all else fails drop her like a bad habit. You don’t have the time, energy or money to waste on the wrong clients. The next time you have an almost-impossible-to-please bride about to sign on the dotted line, I hope you consider the full cost before you seal the deal.
The icing on the cake
When I started getting “picky” about who I chose to work with, I immediately started booking more of my favorite brides. They could tell I was being genuine and that it was truly a good fit. They knew that I wasn’t the type to cozy up to just anyone who walked through the door.
Jeff Hellenbrand is the founder of Cake Coaching. He’s obsessed with helping over-generous entrepreneurs explode their wedding businesses by sticking up for themselves, being more authentic and having way more fun. Register for his free, two-part teleclass, “Stop Struggling & Start Killing It, at cakecoaching.com/killit.