Almost every bride I’ve ever worked with has known what she wants. She has hired an event planner not to design her perfect day but to help achieve it. On the other hand, sometimes I’ll meet a bride who isn’t sure what she’d like and needs a bit of guidance.
But every now and then I’ll come across a bride who not only has an unambiguous plan in mind but also has very certain ideas about how to bring it to fruition. Sometimes this is great because it means that things are done efficiently. But sometimes it brings the planning process to a screeching halt as she inspects every element of her wedding.
Such a bride can be a wonder to behold in her persistence, but she can also cause more problems than she solves. Here are some tips for working with a picky bride so that she can get to the altar without sweating every detail.
Establish a Chain of Command
The first thing to do is make sure that everyone is on the same page. While the bride and groom are obviously in charge, you, as the planner, need to be authoritative in how you do your job. A friendly way to broach the subject is to make sure your clients see themselves as the idea people and you as the person who makes their ideas manifest.
Establishing these roles means that you don’t need to worry about any double booking because your bride took it upon herself to order flowers that you ordered two weeks ago. She can trust that you’ll understand what she wants and then do the legwork to bring it into being. Working as a team requires everyone to know their job, so make sure your picky bride understands that you need her trust to get things done.
An effective bride/ planner team is one that can communicate often and well. However, when a bride is insistent upon being involved in every step of the process, you might find your phone ringing off the hook. Most picky brides want to make sure that they’ve got everything in hand, including you, so she will want to be kept informed of what you’re doing when. This can be a positive thing because you will find yourself being better organized out of necessity.
But to cultivate a healthy partnership in which you can share ideas fluidly without dominating one another’s time, consider a cloud planner. What I mean is a wedding planner that you set up online through Google Docs or some other cloud sharing or online software program. Essentially, this will become a platform on which your bride can express her opinions and get feedback without needing to set up a meeting. By responding to her ideas, you will reassure her that you’re listening to her ideas. By offering up solutions to problems and giving alternatives to problematic propositions via a shared planner, you give her time to think about her options in advance before needing to make a decision on the spot. Most importantly, this ensures that you are both looking at exactly the same information at all times. Such a system can save a lot of time and hassle.
Of course, picky brides sometimes expect you to achieve feats that are simply not possible. You should keep the budget and schedule in mind to keep her from forming unrealistic ideas. It can cause unnecessary tensions when brides blame their planner for being unable to meet their expectations. Therefore, keep a timeline and budget calculator on your shared planner so that you can have a solid reminder that you’re operating within constraints that she set.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is to offer up a series of options that your bride can choose from. By presenting pre-approved options, you can ensure that you’re within budget while also giving the bride complete control over what ends up in the final event. She will exercise absolute control over her wedding while operating within the bounds of reality.
Assign Specific Tasks
Often, the best way to make sure your bride isn’t driving herself crazy with details is to give her a specific set of details to fret over. Set her to the task of determining the seating arrangement for the ceremony and the reception. Give her a list of things to consider, from relationships to distance to the exits, so she can put her detail-oriented mind to good use.
The general trick is to make sure that she’s focusing her energy onto things that can be changed at the drop of a hat. Turning her loose onto the table arrangement of the reception last minute will cause hiccups in your carefully thought out plans. Instead, ask her to assess how she would like the ribbon to be tied around her bouquet or which charms to tie to it. Tell her to spend some time assessing whether or not she’ll want to wear her glasses at the ceremony. Any changes she makes to such a detail will be simple to execute on short notice.
Encourage Personal Touches
Many brides who nitpick are simply stressed and unconfident. It can feel like your life is spinning out of your control when you’re dealing with so many people and so many expectations. Help her remember that the wedding is about love first by giving her opportunities to personalize her wedding. Set her to the task of deciding what to print on personalized gifts and favors such as personalized wedding pens and wedding welcome bags. Give her the task of designing the setup of the table where the marriage certificate will be signed.
Any occasion in which there’s an element of freehand design, ask her to try a rendering before handing it off to the professionals. She’ll get results that are much closer to what she wants while also concentrating her meticulousness into a controlled setting.
Putting thought and care into these meaningful details can soothe any anxiety that she’s lost sight of the wedding’s main objective: to join together two individuals who love each other.
A great wedding planner can strike the right balance between show-runner and second-in-command. You are the miracle worker that turns big dreams into reality, so don’t let your bride get in her own way by disregarding your expertise. Be confident in your abilities and in your job. You were hired for a purpose and most often that purpose is to keep a bride from worrying herself to death. Even when things are hectic, your job is to keep a level head and channel any nervous energy in a positive direction. Use these tips to help you on your way and keep a picky bride happy when things get hectic.
Today’s post is a guest post from Alice Jenkins. Alice is an event planner and designer who has dealt with her share of particularly picky clients. She currently writes and plans events for PensXpress.