As I’m sitting in a lunch presentation today, barely able to hear the presenter due to 3 guys in the room talking at FULL FUCKING VOLUME, it occurs to me that this industry has a serious problem with too much talking – and not enough listening! Or at least that was the problem with the two ass hats in the room with me today.
To totally generalize – We seem to have a whole bunch of vendors talking AT brides, but very few actually listening to brides. And unfortunately this was not the first time lately that I’ve had this thought. We’ve been working with a new bride the past couple of weeks and have experienced some down right frustrating behavior by some of our vendors. I’m truly hoping that this is a new issue, as this is the first time that I’ve really noticed it. If not, shame on me – as I’ve been just as much of an ass as my dear friends from earlier today.
Our bride, Brittany (yes, that’s her real name), wanted upscale barbecue for her wedding dinner, with some fun Texas appetizers – like chicken & waffle bites and crisp pork belly skewers. All of her family is from out of the area and she wanted to treat them to some Texas style food. You know, because Texas is AWESOME, of course! And, as her planner, I went about with my little planner duties, and reached out to our various vendors to start working on getting proposals, setting up meetings and tastings, and all of the other parts that come with planning a wedding.
First stop – the caterer. My favorite actually, so I knew the food was going to rock the house! Though the food was solid as usual, the caterer decided to try to convince our bride to go with Italian instead. And continued to push this throughout the entire tasting. Did the bride ask for Italian?? No! She, in fact, specifically requested not to have Italian food for her catering, as her in laws to be are ACTUAL ITALIANS FROM ITALY. And seriously, who the hell can compete with that! The caterer lost this bid and our bride went elsewhere – but not without difficulty. We literally had no less than 3 other caterers try to sell her something other than what she was asking for! I had one caterer simply refuse to put a menu together for her until she selected from their “stock” menus, which were all menus that she did not want. It would have been so easy to win this bid as our bride was not difficult to work with at all. In fact, the first caterer to simply LISTEN to our bride won the bid!
And it didn’t stop there. Brittany wanted a cookie cake for her bride’s cake, in addition to a small wedding cake. She simply wanted chocolate chip cookie layers, stacked one on top of the other, with no icing – like a naked cake, if you’re familiar with what that is. Three different bakers tried to sell her something else, even though she repeatedly described – in detail and with pictures – what she wanted! It wasn’t a difficult task. We’re talking about some damn chocolate chip cookies with dowel rods through them! It was simply seen as “not normal” and they kept trying to steer her away from it. The one that listened to her got the bid!
I found myself apologizing over and over for all of these vendors and their baffling behavior! So embarrassing for me as well, since I was the one that recommended them all.
This bride has been so sweet to work with and has been made to feel like she is being difficult – but she’s not. We’ve seen our fair share of difficult brides and she is no where close! She just has a very specific want and she is looking for someone to fill that want without difficulty.
I truly hope this is a new phenomenon in our industry but as I am more acutely aware of how vendors interact with our brides, I’m feeling like it’s becoming the new norm – Just tell the bride what she wants, and she can choose one of your “packages”. With more and more of our brides being millennials, this is no longer going to cut it! They don’t want to be sold a package of goods. They want what they want! And they want it to be customized to them and their specific desires. And if you can’t adjust in this new economy you’re going to be left behind because you’re going to lose that bid every time – to the vendor that will listen to them.
Are you listening to your brides? You had better be!