When I first entered the wedding industry friends and family could not understand why I was so insistent on making connections with fellow wedding suppliers. And if they didn’t understand that, they most definitely thought I was bonkers for training wedding planners and mentoring business owners! But for me I saw the bigger picture, as cliche as it sounds I knew together we were stronger. Of course over the last 21 years there are many that still disagree with collaboration, but I see far more understanding the power of working together.
- A planner has an overall vision for the day, they can see the bigger picture.
- A photographer will know the best poses, lighting, location to capture the best shots
- The venue understands what works best logistically for the service and set up
- A stylist will recommend all those little touches to elevate the design
You get the picture. So why the egos? Why not listen and respect the talent around you? I’ve seen instances of suppliers backstabbing other vendors this years primarily to make themselves look good. Its not a competition. You all have the same goal in mind ensuring the couple have the very best wedding ever.
Understand that your role is just a small part of a bigger picture and any disagreements or fractions will impact negatively on the day.
Now of course, there are situations where you will need to step in, especially if the supplier is out of their depth. But genuinely this should be done in a supportive way.
You’ve probably already heard about the ‘community over competition’ movement, it’s all over social media and even has its own hashtag. Search #communityovercompetition on Instagram and you’ll find over 5 million posts from accounts offering guidance, support, and friendship to their followers.
But what does it mean? And can community over competition actually help you in business?
Put simply, it’s about connecting people. Community over competition means building genuine, supportive relationships with others and putting people above commercial gain.
So how is it you can build positive relationships in the wedding industry? Read on for my top advice on collaboration in the wedding industry. Or if you prefer you can click below to watch my YouTube video. ⬇️
1. Bring harmony on the wedding day
Is there anything worse than working at a wedding when there is friction? With wedding suppliers or planners operating with an egotistical manner reminiscent of a Disney villain? You cannot hide such chaos from the couple nor the guests, so how does they look on you?
When I was a wedding planner many of my suppliers had been working with me for years, the result was a well oiled machine on the day. We all respected each others roles. We listened to each other. We helped way outside our job remit when needed. And most importantly we trusted each persons role within the wedding. You cannot expect longevity in the wedding industry if you do not build up strong connections with your peers. My suppliers / vendors had my back and I had theirs. Now don’t get me wrong our prime focus was ensuring the wedding was perfect but we worked in harmony together. So what can you do to begin to build up similar trust in each other to ensure harmony on the wedding day?
Planners – ask suppliers is there anything they need from you on the day to help them perform at their best? Send them the final itinerary, contact list, directions and any unloading information. Have you checked about any equipment they need on the day to be provided? What about electrical points? Are they entitled to a meal? If so any dietary requirements? I know this all sounds pretty standard but it’s amazing how many planners forget to ask the basic questions.
Suppliers -if there is a planner don’t be scared to ask more about the day, invariably they know more than their clients. The times I was in meetings with clients + venues or suppliers where they would direct questions to my clients. Who would shrug their shoulders and say “I don’t know, ask Bernadette”. Don’t be offended if you have limited contact with the couple, remember couples that hire planners especially for full planning do so because they don’t want to be bogged down with the planning and admin. The truth is emailing the clients may result in the client being frustrated with you. So email the planner but copy in the client so they know it is in hand. If however there is not a planner, ask who the key suppliers are especially if they impact the service you provide. Just touch base, let them know you’ll see them at the wedding and provide any information you think might be helpful/useful.
2. Being a cheerleader – AND meaning it
Being a cheerleader for others, whether that’s liking and commenting on Instagram posts, offering useful advice, not keeping industry ‘secrets’ to yourself or being on hand to help when someone needs support, being kind is an essential part of any community.
It also means learning to celebrate the success of others when they book a new client, win their biggest project or get a shoot published, being part of a community means you are genuinely happy for them, inspired to create your own success, as well as knowing there’s a group of people waiting to celebrate your success too.
But this doesn’t mean you pass on all your knowledge for free. You invested your time and money to get to the level you are at, giving that knowledge away for free disrespects the hard work you have put into your business.
The wedding industry is a great place to learn about working together, whether it’s a team of suppliers helping each other out at a real wedding, coming together to create an inspirational styled shoot or teaming up to launch a new project.
Collaborating with others in your industry isn’t just a great way to create something new, but an opportunity to meet new people, learn from others and grow your own knowledge and experience as a result.
It’s also important to say here that collaboration doesn’t always mean working for free. At the UKAWP our members are able to freelance for each other at set rates, giving them the opportunity to shadow and assist more experienced planners at real weddings and events, because we recognise that all our members add value and should be compensated fairly.
⬇️ PIN IT FOR LATER ⬇️
When more fully booked businesses pass on work to up and coming wedding businesses they do more than share a client, but also give them a chance to gain more knowledge and experience, elevate their client base and get enquiries they may not have otherwise have received.
It’s also about recognising you are not the right fit for a client, or don’t have the appropriate skills, perhaps your business has elevated so no longer have a service at their price point? You never know how this might benefit you in the future. I honestly believe karma pays out in full.
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