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Wedding Coordinator Etiquette

April 29, 2010

Isaiah and I have been talking with over a dozen coordinators about the specifics of their venues. When you are working on a budget, the number one rule is communication. Telling them point blank what works and what doesn’t is the only way to prevent getting snowballed into paying for a wedding that wasn’t exactly what you pictured.

People have not been as excited as I am about the $10,000 budget. Forgive me, but if I can’t have my dream wedding for $10k, something has gone horribly awry in the wedding industry. Or business is booming, depending on which side you play for. Some have sent a second condescending e-mail, “Oh, I hadn’t noticed your budget, here’s our lunch menu.” Others have been extremely willing to work with us and be sure we choose their venue.

I have had one excellent experience and one terrible experience so far.

Worst is First

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to receive the following e-mail from one of my favorite outdoor venues.

“Elizabeth, Everything we would send you is on our website. www .carraigegreens.com”

No signature. No “Congratulations!” No information. If all of the information was on your website that I needed, I wouldn’t have e-mailed you in the first place. The link to their website was disconnected and misspelled. Hey, thanks for taking the time to make sure your employer’s website was spelled correctly.

Quest for the Best

Gruen Galleries is a lovely space in Chicago. They boast dark, rich hardwood floors, exposed beams and brick. The gallery is stunning. There were no photographs of weddings on their website, however. So I sent the e-mail. I received a call back, not even 10 minutes later. Normally, I am frustrated when I mark, “Preferred communication: E-mail” and receive a phone call. However, she had good reasons.

They recently renovated the gallery, and there were no photographs of the new space. “And by the way, congratulations!” I had a great talk with her for over 30 minutes about what I expected out of a wedding, and how they could provide just that. It’s a family owned gallery and she loves event planning, it was clear.

So what?

Gruen Galleries, truthfully, is a little over our designated price range. She assured me it could be done in under $10k, but the wedding we can afford there is much less extraordinary than the wedding we can afford somewhere else.

Carriage Greens happens to be well within our price range. But how far does wedding coordinator etiquette go? I’ll be damned if I’ll reward some snarky event planner because she has the lowest prices around.

Whoever that coordinator is, whatever personality traits you hate about them, will be along for the ride for the entirety of the wedding planning process, all the way up to your big day. Why stress yourself out and go with someone impatient and curt?

That’s my two cents at least.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2010 6:36 pm

    We had an experience similar to your “didn’t see your budget, here’s our lunch menu” deal. Except when we told this venue owner our budget, he literally laughed in our face. Laughed. In our face. He was a total deck.

    He’s a highly recommended coordinator for his attention to detail and his beautiful space, but the man lacked serious social grace so we bounced.

    Hope you two find a nice spot!

  2. April 29, 2010 11:54 pm

    As a wedding planner and special events coordinator, I am appalled to hear you were treated this way. This is unacceptable. Having a wedding coordinator that you trust and having a good, trusting relationship with them is the way to go. You will want to focus on yourself on your big day and not have to worry about your coordinator stressing you out. Her job is to do the COMPLETE opposite. Since price is a large part of your wedding, I would consider setting up a meeting with Carriage Greens to talk to them in person. But, my rule is service and hospitality always come before price. Good luck hun! I hope it works out for you.

    • May 5, 2010 10:52 pm

      I fully appreciate your post, Leigh. I tried to communicate further with her over e-mail and got similar responses back, it’s just not worth the headache. I know I can put together a fab wedding for $10k and we have two venues that we LOVE with coordinators to match. I am loving the planning process, and I’m not willing to settle on some bitchy coordinator who doesn’t have time to send me a welcoming e-mail. How much time will she have for us if we choose Carriage Greens?

      Sorry for getting worked up again, haha. I’m lucky no one has laughed at us. We have had some “Ohh…Let me see what I can do”….’s

      The majority of my experiences aren’t with rude coordinators, but people who I explain “We have a $10k budget for the WHOLE wedding” and they send us a proposal for $10k just for food and the space. What about the dress, invitations & save the dates, photography, music…..

      It’s fine though, I appreciate everyone’s comments so much, it is certainly going to be a journey. Thanks for your good luck Leigh!

  3. May 11, 2010 11:04 pm

    I have a post knocking around somewhere about my ideal vendors but it pretty much can just be summed up by 1, put a lot of info on your website (and if you expose the general price range you’re in, all the better! why waste all our times by needing me to contact you for just a base quote?), and 2, be able and willing to communicate promptly over email. Not reading my email that I took time to write to you = fail.

    Speaking of presenting budgets to not very receptive vendors, the one potential caterer I talked to who raised eyebrows at our plan not to serve a seated dinner never even got back to me with a final quote. So there goes his professionalism in not even bothering to follow up with a ‘thanks for your interest in our services but we don’t think we would be able to cater your wedding’ message. Harrumph.

  4. May 11, 2010 11:38 pm

    @KWu: TOTALLY ridiculous sometimes. The wedding coordinators out there who think they have control over the situation are wrong. Not in 2010, they don’t. Not when we have just about every wedding venue’s contact information at our finger tips. The coordinator of my favorite place is really great, and the coordinator of my second favorite place is a little lofty, but friendly….she also offers a price range of about half the first’s…with just as cool of a venue.

    How much do you think it’s worth to deal with a flighty, rude or inconsiderate coordinator?

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