Thursday, February 2, 2012

Do the job you were contracted for..

Dana here bringing you your weekly business lesson. This is one that we have learned recently and has honestly caused us some heartburn!


We need to start from the beginning. Last summer we got an inquiry from a bride wanting help with her backyard wedding. I met them over coffee and we chatted about their vision and what they wanted to contract us for. The couple was super nice and we hit it off right away. A little bit into the conversation I learn that they want a wedding in her parent's backyard for 150 guests. Okay, not unusual. Then the question of budget came up. What was their budget? The groom looked at me as serious as can be and told me that wanted to do this for $3000. I immediately asked if they wanted to feed their guests something other than cheese and crackers? Yes. Did they plan on serving alcohol? Yes. Did they want a tent, tables, and chairs? Yes. After getting the preliminary questions answered I told them that was impossible unless someone wanted to donate these items to help their cause. They were mostly looking for a day of package and I told them that our fee is a little less than 1/3 of their budget and it would not be wise to spend the little amount of money they had on us - or really any coordinator. I was honest with them. I did not want to spin this beautiful picture of how we could make this work for $3000, get hired, and then have to tell them it was all a farce. That is not how we do business- we are an eyes wide open kind of company.


This baby just makes me laugh! (His eyes are wide open!)

I called Courtney on the way out and told her we did not get that job. Well- 2 days later we get an e-mail and they want to hire us. Not only for day of, but for some planning help as well. Oh- and they increased the budget to $9000. Okay, this is more doable. From day one, this was a wedding that was difficult. Not the people involved, but just trying to make it work in their budget. We pulled every string, every discount, dug deep in our vendor list to get the best deals and negotiated everything down to a number they could deal with. We provided quotes after quotes trying to price compare. Honestly, I was exhausted from this wedding - mind you I was also a few months preggo and sick as a dog - but that is what they have Zofran for, right?  They did not want to pay for servers to stay on after dinner - we knew this before the day. We told them that if that was the case, we would be bussing tables, cutting the cake, getting the rentals back in order to be picked up, basically doing the caterers job. They did not seem to mind (it would save them close to $500), and really, at that moment, we didn't either. We really wanted to help them out - to do them a solid. Bad idea.

The day comes and it is perfect. Seriously not a single snag in that day. The ceremony went off perfectly, the cocktail hour was perfect, dinner was served, and the guests started to party. We made sure everything was running smoothly all the while running around like crazy people picking up wine glasses, plates, forks, napkins, etc and putting them back into the rental bins. We had to scrape plates and empty the trash all the while their dogs (who are the size of a middle schooler) kept knocking over the bins and trash trying to get the food. So we would have to start all over with stacking the plates. It is time for cake and we all watch and clap as they cut their first piece and then we start cutting the cake. The cake (orange mimosa) was made by a family friend and she was hovering over me as I am trying to cut slices telling me to cut them smaller - there are a lot of people you know. I graciously smile and continue on my way. Courtney was cutting the second cake and it had red velvet on top and carrot on the bottom. Anyone knows that to get to the bottom layer, you have to cut the top. It was like a school of piranhas around us. "When is the carrot cake coming?" "Have you cut the carrot cake yet?" "The kids can't have the mimosa cake - it has alcohol in it, can you just cut a small piece of the carrot cake?" We finally got all the cake cut and continued with the clean up. It was exhausting, but at the end of the night the parents are so grateful they didn't have to clean up and everything went off perfectly. We were satisfied with a job well done and headed home to nurse our sore feet.




Fast forward 4 months. We decided to send a link out to a few of our Fall brides so they can write a review of us for a site we are on. We chatted about the brides we would ask, and this one came up. Sure, why not? So I send the e-mail. 1 hour later an e-mail pops up that we have a new review. Yay! I go look at it and it is from this bride - but it is not a good review. Well it wasn't terrible, but we have never gotten anything less than 5 stars - it was a blow to the chest. I frantically read it trying to figure out what in the world was going on. Here are some highlights..

They didn't seem to be putting much effort into planning our wedding - I beg to differ! 


We'd ask for quotes for food and get 1 quote back - I gave them three and even personally met with two companies to negotiate pricing


On the flip side, they did find several good vendors that we would recommend to others - what were you complaining about again? 


The day of the wedding we didn't see much of them - that is because we were doing the job of someone that you did not want to hire and your dang dogs kept making more work!

The planner we worked with the most had a nice personality, but the other one didn't have one at all! - now they are saying Courtney has no personality. Seriously? FYI - she is the blog writer - I just pipe in every now and again, does she seem personalityless to you? 


 I would recommend them to friends - now I am just confused. 


we didn't feel like we really got what we paid for - What did you pay for again? Because you actually got 2 coordinators, 2 servers, and 2 janitors for 10 hours for the ridiculously low price of $800. 


This is what I wanted to say to her, in an e-mail immediately after reading the review. But, I did not. I diplomatically wrote one that apologized for her being unsatisfied and we would work on communication. Nothing. I got nothing back. Which is fine. But it brings me to the point of this post - only do the job you are contracted for, nothing more, nothing less. It will only lead to heartache in the end. I would love to say that we will follow this new found advice (which actually came from my husband as I was reeling to him about this crazy situation) but we will more than likely still go above and beyond the call of duty in the future. It is a sickness, we just can't help it.

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