The Wedding Singer: No Disrespect, but…
You ever notice how some folks start a sentiment with “No disrespect, but….” and then completely disrespect you? Honestly, if you’re hurt by what I have to say there’s a chance you’re probably guilty of it.
So, no disrespect, but one of the groups of vendors I have had the most difficulty with is wedding coordinators. I kept that to myself for a while. I went to a forum a few weeks ago with a panel of wedding vendors who were each asked beforehand to answer the same questions. One of those questions was “who do you have the most trouble with?” and by the third vendor’s answer I sensed a theme.
Is it irony that the whole event was put together BY a wedding planner? Or is it ironic to misuse “irony”? Anyway….
I was polite enough to stifle my laughter each time it was brought up. I’m a lady. But I thought of each time I’d had a nearly perfect day – with the exception of……the wedding coordinator.
A couple I was really looking forward to working with this past fall lost me because of their wedding coordinator. The couple and I met over Zoom, and I adored them immediately. I adored them so much that when they told me their price threshold, I agreed to it even though it was much less than normal because I really wanted them to have the day they dreamed of. One day I got a message from them saying they were overwhelmed and so they hired a wedding coordinator, and she would be reaching out to me. And boy did she.
First, she told me the contract I sent the couple was unacceptable. My contract was written BY my lawyer and has been used when I played events FOR lawyers, for the record. She started insisting on so many ridiculous terms that needed to be changed. She wanted me to be very explicit about certain things that I intentionally keep vague for the sake of the client.
For example: we offer a three-hour reception. A hard stop is always agreed on because things never really start on time. We have to insist on a stop time because people take advantage otherwise. If things run four hours late, we’re not gonna play three hours after that. I usually tell couples that if things get pushed so far back that we have around two hours left, then the band will play straight through without a break. We’ve done it. It’s awesome. It’s a power-packed set and we never lose momentum and the dance floor stays packed. NOW, if you INSIST that I write a timeline with our breaks and your 8-11 reception doesn’t start til 9 but our break is 9:15, then your first set is three whole songs.
This coordinator said the couple would NOT sign this. I reached out to the couple directly and said that these terms might be an issue and they agreed. They apologized for her and agreed she was being too rigid. She messaged me again a few hours later, quite unpleasantly, and asked for one adjustment on the contract that I changed within minutes and sent for signing.
Days went by. Weeks went by. Nothing. I followed up. Nothing. I followed up again. Still nothing. Another couple reached out about that date and since I still hadn’t received a contract or a deposit, I told the first couple that I would have to move on. I gave them one more day. Nothing. I booked with the other couple and about a week after that, this coordinator sent back the contract and asked me where to send the deposit. I told her that it was too late. I felt really bad for that couple. I did. But I did everything I possibly could.
I have had other experiences where I get to the event and the coordinator has all the confidence in the world and none of the skill to back it up. That’s when confidence becomes something else. They tend to overcompensate and teeter on the dangerous line of bossing me around. As you can imagine, I don’t vibe well with that.
I worked with one wedding coordinator who looked like she was gonna have a simultaneous stroke/nervous breakdown. I asked her multiple times if she was ok. She was not. It wasn’t a good look.
The most recent experience I had was very interesting. I had been working very closely with this couple. They had each reached out to me separately with surprise song requests for one another. Sometimes you just get to chatting with these people and they become more than just clients. That was this couple.
The last time I met with them was the Monday before. I usually meet my couples the week of their wedding to do a final ‘walk-through’. I had everything I needed. The following day I get a questionnaire from a wedding coordinator. It was like four pages long and honestly most of the questions, in my mind, weren’t things she needed to know. Like titles of the first dances. I wasn’t trying to be difficult; I just didn’t know why I needed to fill this out. I asked the couple if she had info for that day and they told me she had everything she needed. There were also questions that weren’t really for me to answer! I asked the coordinator if this was standard or specific to this couple. She said it was standard. I said (again not trying to be difficult, but) if she needed any specific info to just ask but I wouldn’t be filling this out. I didn’t have time. The couple told me not to bother. They were clearly already very frustrated with the person they had hired to make their day easier.
I got to the venue that day and there was more chaos than joy. The wedding coordinator had overbooked herself, so she sent a couple of friends or I think even a family member in her stead. One admitted it was her very first wedding.
Suffice it to say, I stepped up. I did way more than a band leader should do. I’ve spoken to the bride since and she said I did more for her than those two coordinators combined that day. At one point I actually told one to stand down because they were making things worse.
“I got this.” I said.
I will never look at someone and say “that is not my job” when it comes to weddings. And now I’m becoming a wedding coordinator. There seems to be a need. I seem to be good at it. A lot of times I tend to do it anyway so the only thing that’s going to change is I’ll finally be getting paid for it. Best business plan ever.
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