TUESDAY TIP || DALLAS WEDDING PLANNER || EVENT INSURANCE
Today, I felt compelled to share with you some wedding planning insight that I’ve developed over the years, and also one wedding mishap that happened to lead up to this tip. Now, I would be completely lying to you if I told you that every event was 100% sunshine and rainbows. In fact, most events always have at least one hiccup – sometimes small, and sometimes larger, but the goal of any good event planner is to minimize those risks ahead of time, and trouble shoot problems before they happen.
TIP: MAKE SURE THE VENDORS YOU HIRE HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
This is what I like to call “event insurance,” and I advise every single one of our clients, and now you, about this. I’m not talking about the kind of policy you can go buy to cover your event expenses and liabilities in case of bad weather or an emergency. That exists too, and sometimes I recommend purchasing a policy like that. Here, I’m talking about the kind of peace of mind you need from your creative partners to ensure you have a successful event – regardless of what the day, or world throws at them – and all of this is no extra cost to you. Here’s the story:
It’s fall of 2014 and I have a super cool chef/pharmacist couple who is getting married. Their story is an adorable one because they were actually middle school sweethearts, so you can imagine how epic the wedding photo montage was! It’s a warm Saturday in September and I’m in the process of setting up personal items at the reception when I get a call from the company owner that the DJ (Nate), this couple had in place was in the hospital. For a minute I think ok, no problem, “I have an iPod, we can do this!” and since my wedding pros are friends too, I naturally check in to make sure that everything is going to be ok with Nate.
For those of you thinking “I should carry an iPod,” that is not the moral of this story. I proceeded to talk to the company owner about what our options were for this client. He told me that he had a really great 2nd option available for us, and all of the planning information, first dance songs, special requests etc, were already in their online planning forms – ready to pass on to the next qualified guy. (Which as planner, I also had a copy of.) I immediately agreed to the solution and then knew I had to face the bride with this information.
Now, you could expect some sort of panic level from both myself and my bride, but Cici was gracious and caring and knew she was in great hands. She asked how Nate was doing, and said that as long as I was comfortable with our new DJ, then so was she. (Talk about awesome, right?). Our new guy – Michael – went on to rock the party and they had a fantastic celebration.
JD + Cici, married 9/6/2014 Photo | Jennifer Crenshaw Photography
At this time in 2014 – I wasn’t really thinking about “event insurance” for my clients in the same sense that I do today. Now, when we handle referrals and new client bookings, we make sure to take as many possible problems into account, and have solutions for them in advance. Sometimes, you can’t predict what those may be, but I think it’s important to ask your vendors: “What happens if you can’t be at my wedding? Do you have a backup plan?” I can assure you it is important for all wedding or event partners to have a back up plan in place for their clients. I can tell you Pop Parties does!
Fast forward to winter 2016, a classic, elegant affair is planned with the same DJ company: LeForce Entertainment– who I will brag on shortly. This DJ (Ed) has a son who has been admitted to the hospital, and can’t make it to the event as his son has been admitted ICU. Brides, let’s remember something, even your wedding vendors are human! For Kate and Michael, it was a no brainer, as their wedding weekend was a celebration of family and love, and they knew that Ed needed to be there for his family too. (Do I have the best clients or what?) Same song and dance, two years later, and the owner of the company says to me “Molly, you’re the only planner we’ve had this happen to!” (Now twice I remind you). At that moment I looked at him and said “This is why I hire your company for my events, you always have a back up plan in place, and it’s always as good, or sometimes better, than the original option.” Kate and Michael danced the night away, and there’s evidence to prove it.
Kate + Michael, married 2/20/2016 Photo | Once Like a Spark
Leforce Entertainment is a staple in my referral book, and now I will take that moment to highlight them. I want you to know that it’s because we’ve been through some errors that I can brag on Glenn and his company. They offer built in planning resources, several DJ options at various price points, and a great back up plan with DJs always on call should an emergency arise. Training programs are everything, or, if you’re a smaller company like me, maybe just a quick one page “how to” for that person who has to pick up the emergency binder and roll with it to ensure the client has a successful day.
CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS: I know it’s hard to digest, and some of you are thinking “I am a small business with no other employees, why are you only telling your clients to hire big companies? I have a great product/service too!” I agree with you, and a lot of you have a GREAT product/service to offer. I too am a small company with only myself as the lead planner, and don’t have the resources of a mega planning firm, but I do have emergency plans in place (see the red binder!) that can quickly problem solve and even replace me if something were to ever happen on event day. Look around to your industry peers, do you have good relationships with them? Do you feel comfortable handing over your client to that person in case of an emergency? Would they bail you out? Great customer service and an even better backup plan go a long way to give your clients peace of mind, in what is often a once in a lifetime, milestone event.
BRIDES/CLIENTS: Do your homework. Make sure that the vendors you hire are reputable, and that they have a back up plan in place you are comfortable with. This should go without saying, but hiring a planner, even if it’s just for “day of” is also a form of insurance. If your vendors don’t exactly have the perfect plan in place, a good planner will be able to call on their preferred and vetted contacts and resources to bail you out of a sticky situation quickly. If you don’t have a planner, you will be the one that could be getting that dreaded phone call on your big day. I want you to plan like a pro, and know that you’re in great hands regardless of the situation, because you can’t control what life throws at us. There are several talented DJs, photographers, florists, hair + makeup artists, planners, etc who are all small business owners, hire them! But vet them and make sure you make smart choices for your big day so that you can have the best possible outcome.
For a quick shout out, here are my go-to “red binder” girls, check them out, they are great planners too, and I would trust any one of them with my clients and events if something crazy happened to me. (knock on wood)
Meredith Commender – Significant Events of Texas
Jacqueline Hill – Jacqueline Events
Kristen Powell – Amazing Events
The entire Pop Parties team is the most organized, communicative, and on-it team I have encountered Their response time is unbelievable and made my entire wedding day stress-free. Not one detail was missed, and the wedding was the most beautiful and fun evening. They maintained professionalism, while also feeling like a close friend through the entire process. I could not recommend them enough.
- Claire, Bride
MARY AND RICH TEMPLETON