pointing fingers

Question: Couples take my free advice and then book someone else. What am I doing wrong?

Hi There You Two Superstars,

You really are amazingly smart marketers.

I have a question that has been bothering me for such a long time and I have not been able to find a solution. I have run into this again just recently, and do not know how to handle it. Can you help with a suggestion?

I get a telephone inquiry and we go through all the preliminaries regarding what I do and how I do it and our unique niche and confirm that we’re a fit. The client and I go through the services they want. Such a good accord that we have.

They want a full estimate and the site is a major important issue for them and want to ensure I can get the perfect site. And want this resolved before they sign on in the dotted line. This is normally part of the deeper planning that we get into once I’m booked.

I give a detailed estimate which means that I’m going through all the services in detail and doing all the vendors’ calls and site research and in essence doing what I do after we are officially booked. And in the meanwhile I’ve put in about 4-5 hours at this point.

Their language and correspondences state that they are working with me and so happy about it but they have not signed the reservation form and made it official. Then at their end suddenly something shifts and I’m out of the picture and their reason why makes no sense (in this case) or else is so bizarre.

Question: How do I confirm the client sticking to my rule of offering so much prior to being reserved including seeing that we are working well together and that we are fit, and keep the deeper planning for when I am officially working with them?

I can feel in my guts when I cross the line and I just have not found the language or the way to step in and handle this. Any suggestion?

I have thought of doing a very ballpark quote with a quick scan of the services and eyeballed estimate with the time also involved in putting it all together. Have not been able to do it.

Another wedding company tells the client that in order to do a full estimate it’s going to take them 2-3 hours and they charge them for it saying it would be refunded once they book.

I can’t do that. Sounds so tacky to me.

Any suggestion you can make here would be so appreciated. This has happened to me so many times over the years. It’s insane that it is still unresolved.


With Warmest Aloha



Answer: Change what you’re worth and stick to it!

Hi, Libby!

Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m thrilled that you’ve learned so much from us.

Here’s the hard truth:

You’re allowing these couples to take advantage of your generosity and time because you don’t place enough value on what you do.

The only reason these couples can take the information you give them and then book the cheaper competition is because you let them.

Your time is money! This is what you do for a living and you deserve to be valued and paid for what you do.

The good news: you’re in complete control here which means you can solve this problem, too.

Here are three strategies for dealing with this issue:

1) Pick one SMALL aspect of planning to provide couples up front to give them an experience of what it’s like working with you.

Rather than helping them put together a complete estimate for a location, can you simply identify 3 potential venues and make a recommendation?

Give this planning service a valuable name. For example, tell couples that you include the “Perfect Wedding Matchmaker” consultation for free, in which you’ll provide 3 potential venue matches. Then if they want to go further with the planning, they need to hire you.

2) Charge for the initial venue consultation and offer a moneyback guarantee.

Tell them, “I’m going to prepare the perfect package for your wedding for this fee. If you’re not satisfied, just let me know and I’ll refund you 100%. And if you love what I do, we’ll apply the fee towards the cost of the full package.”

This way, you get paid for your services up front without being so “tacky,” as you put it.

Few people will ask for a refund when you deliver a service like this, especially when the rapport is so good. And you’re certainly not worse off than you are right now when you’re giving this service away!

The couples who take advantage of your help and don’t hire you are NOT your ideal clients, and you’re just wasting your time.

3) Join a group on Linked In like this one and ask other planners what works for them; then you can model it.

Whatever you choose to do, you need to choose a policy that works for you and commit to it. No one is going to believe you are worth your price until you do.

What do you think?

Got a wedding business question you want answered? Email Stephanie & Jeff and you could be the next Question of the Week! All personal details about your identity will be removed unless you specify otherwise.

photo credit: Drew Coffman via photopin cc

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted By

Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

View all posts by

Leave a Facebook Comment

2 thoughts on “How to Stop Getting Taken Advantage Of By Cheap Brides”

  1. Melanie says:

    I create custom bridal gowns and have recently changed what I offer before any part payment is received too. Previously I spent up to 2 hours consulting with them about the perfect design for them, then more hours spent sourcing the right fabrics, putting together a detailed quote as well as a design sketch. I was finding a number of brides had no intention of ever booking me and realised they could get all of that valuable information for free and take it to someone dirt cheap to throw together. Sure it’s backfired for some because you do get what you pay for, but it didnt stop me giving away my time for nothing. It’s a hard thing to do though as so many brides want that firm price and and exact details of what you can offer before they put money down, but the money back guarantee for a detailed consultation is a fantastic idea!!!

  2. Adrian says:

    This is so unfortunate. I hear this quite a bit from wedding planners (& indeed other contract-based entrepreneurs) who see their time and revenue dwindling because of situations and people like this. Don’t give too much information so they may run with it . It also helps to take a small “wedding outline” consulting fee – if they have to show even a small fee for the preliminary quote – this will indicate their truest intent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *