If you are new to the wedding industry and find yourself combing the Book More Brides website for tips and advice, you have probably come across some articles discussing firing clients or turning away prospects.
If you are like me, you read that advice, thought to yourself, “That’s smart! I’m going to do that,” and then the next time a red flag presented itself you thought, “To hell with it…I don’t want to give her deposit back.”
After making this mistake repeatedly, I finally started to appreciate that some people REALLY did need to be given the pink slip (not just in my mind but in actuality).
#1 – The Problem Bride
Call her “high maintenance.” Call her “bridezilla.” Call her “difficult.”
In my case, the problem bride was i-n-d-e-c-i-s-i-v-e.
It took her 3 months to decide whether she wanted to hire me or not. Once she finally nervously signed the dotted line, she would send me these long emails with lists of questions and concerns. One day things were black. The next day white.
When she started telling me her mom wanted this and her brother wanted that, I KNEW it was time to run (everyone else was making decisions but her)…but I kept on as I didn’t want to “dump” her a few months before her wedding. I can only imagine the nervous breakdown that would have caused.
Her wedding was a complete disaster behind the scenes. Suddenly a spine grew and she wants the buffet moved right here right now. She wanted someone to play the piano but she had barricaded the stage off with draping. Her guests kept coming up to me throughout the night and apologizing for me having to work with her—yikes!
In the end I refunded a large portion of her money because I got a lengthy email full of complaints from her.
Listening to my gut instinct and dumping her would have prevented me from putting in all that laborious hand-holding with her, which I ultimately ended up doing for peanuts.
#2 – Mismatched Logistics
A very awesome couple approached me about DJing their wedding with 600 guests. I don’t have 600-guests-worth of sound equipment.
The groom said I could just plug into the venue’s sound system. This always makes me very nervous because I’ve yet to see venue-maintained sound equipment that wasn’t cheap, dirty, broken, or uncared for. But I wanted to book the date.
At the walk through, I inspected the venue’s equipment. On the day of the wedding, I came with every possible adapter Guitar Center had so I could wirelessly connect the venue speakers to mine using a wireless lapel mic. I arrived twice as early as I normally would and brought a Sound Engineering student to assist me.
Of course, the venue equipment wasn’t cooperating and several people in a certain area of the venue complained that they couldn’t hear the toasts. There was nothing I could do about it.
In trying to save the client money (by not renting outside equipment to bolster my own) and in wanting to get that date booked, I once again ended up refunding some very hard-earned money. Sigh!
#3 – A Wedding I Simply Didn’t Want to Be At
A wedding at a dusty camp ground…that’s the story in a nutshell.
I enjoy camping so I didn’t give it much thought, but when I arrived I realized I had sandals on (so my feet were muddy with all the loose dirt getting in), I had no bug spray (mosquitoes love me), that my cart could not be used because the loose dirt/sand was too thick for the wheels to roll (so everything had to be hand-carried, and it was a long walk to the ceremony site), etc.
If I had put more thought into the campground concept instead of being blinded by my desire to book the date, I could have avoided a really awkward, uncomfortable night where everything seemed like an uphill battle. (Did I mention the campground bathroom stalls had no doors on them?)
I think my personal highlight was when their generator died during dancing and I had 150 people looking at me as if I had screwed up.
In closing, start to think of the weddings you work the way a model thinks about photo shoots…you only want to do shoots that will later look sparkling in your portfolio.
Each wedding you choose to work is a part of your resume. Be sure to choose wisely and avoid having to refund money!
What’s your “I wish I fired that client” story?