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Learn To Balance The Personal and Professional Balance With Your Wedding Clients

wedding planning

client communication

"A planner should be a couple's best friend"—is that always true?

Words by 

Sophia Angel Lou Quiachon

Published on 

April 10, 2024

Wedding client management, Personal-professional balance, Client relationship management, Wedding planner professionalism tips, Navigating personal boundaries with wedding clients, wedding client interactions, Establishing trust, wedding planner, wedding planning business

A wedding is highly emotional milestone for every couple. Couples entrust their wedding planner with almost everything—budget constraints, family dynamics, and personal preferences. Thus as a wedding planner, you need to reach a level of intimacy to establish trust.

But because wedding client interactions can get very personal, this can blur the line between what you can and cannot do. Clients may unknowingly overstep their boundaries. Especially if you do not set clear expectations early in.

Three wedding planner professionalism tips to navigate personal boundaries with wedding clients:

  • Establish your boundaries. From the outset, clearly define your non-negotiables throughout the wedding planning process. This could be anything from keeping discussions strictly within office hours to limiting the number of consultations you can accommodate per week.
  • Keep it professional. Whatever you say will reflect on your wedding planning business. So keep conversations focused on wedding-related matters and avoid sharing personal details unless appropriate and necessary. When conflict arises, focus on finding solutions that satisfy both parties and avoid letting personal emotions dictate your responses.
  • Know when to step back. If you sense that a client is becoming too emotionally dependent or if personal dynamics are interfering with the professional relationship, it may be necessary to reassess and establish firmer boundaries.

To better understand the importance of balancing privacy and professionalism, we talked to experts in the wedding industry who shared valuable tips on effective wedding client management...

Susan Cordogan

Susan Cordogan, owner of Big City Bride.

Wedding planners have various roles. At times we are the best friend and at other times we act as the coach, secretary, confidant, or mediator depending on the situation.

As wedding planners, business is personal—intimate and/or difficult. Conversations are part of the planning process.  We talk about everything from wedding financials, family dynamics, or anything that could be a sticky situation. We work closely with couples so we have experience in dealing with a wide variety of unique challenges and, whilst some topics are heavy, it’s important to have these discussions so we can present solutions and make plans to avoid wedding day landmines.

Advice from Susan Cordogan, owner of Big City Bride and recipient of  The Knot 2024 Best of Weddings award.

Cassie LaMere

Cassie LaMere, owner of Cassie LaMere Events.

Part of our role is to help couples navigate each part of the planning process, which includes the more personal dynamics of relationships, difficult conversations, emotions that accompany the journey, and managing expectations. These are all part of the experience and given how closely we work together, it's only natural that we are included in those moments. We are happy to help guide and advise as a trusted resource; it's an authentic part of the experience and we want our couples to feel supported every step of the way.

Similar to how a manager and employee retain a professional working relationship, I think the same is true for planner and couple. We, of course, will always handle the relationship with the utmost care and will be our client's biggest cheerleaders. While we often become very close with our couples throughout the process, our role is to be behind the scenes making their dreams a reality, so they can focus on enjoying the journey with their friends and family. At the end of the day, our job is to be of service to the client and their happiness is our top priority.

With our responsibility to manage expectations and protect what's in the best interest of our client and the event, it's important that we maintain a relationship where we can approach sensitive subjects that need to be addressed and provide alternative perspectives to consider. The couple has entrusted us with their wedding and with that, we want them to have confidence in knowing that we are not going to shy away from having honest conversations, regardless of whether it's the popular opinion or if we occasionally have to deliver news that is not ideal. We are fortunate to have the trust and candor of our couples through a close working relationship, which allows us best to serve them as a confidant and seasoned wedding professional.

Advice from Cassie LaMere, owner of Cassie LaMere Events.

Jamie Wolfer

Jamie Wolfer, owner of Wolfer & Co.

Navigating the relationship with clients is all about balance. You've got to keep it professional, yet personal enough so they trust you with one of the most important days of their lives. It's a unique dynamic, not gonna lie.

From my experience, setting clear boundaries from the get-go is crucial, lay out what you can and cannot do. This means setting specific hours for communication. It's like, "Hey, I'm here for you, but let's not text each other at 2 AM about table linens, okay?". Being upfront about what they can expect from you and what you expect from them sets a solid foundation for a healthy working relationship. And let's not forget about the importance of being a clear communicator. You've got to be able to handle confrontation without losing your cool because, believe me, weddings can bring out all sorts of emotions in people.

From my experience, setting clear boundaries from the get-go is crucial, lay out what you can and cannot do. This means setting specific hours for communication. It's like, "Hey, I'm here for you, but let's not text each other at 2 AM about table linens, okay?". Being upfront about what they can expect from you and what you expect from them sets a solid foundation for a healthy working relationship. And let's not forget about the importance of being a clear communicator. You've got to be able to handle confrontation without losing your cool because, believe me, weddings can bring out all sorts of emotions in people.

Next up, get everything in writing. Whether it's your scope of work, your availability, or how changes to plans are handled, if it's not written down, it doesn't exist. This isn't just for legalities; it's a clear reference point for both you and your clients when memories get fuzzy. Think of it as the rulebook for your wedding planning game.

Here's where it gets a bit spicy. Learn the art of saying no, but make it fashion. Sometimes, you'll get requests that are outside your scope or frankly, just not possible given the laws of physics or the budget. It's crucial to be firm yet empathetic. A simple "I understand how important this is to you, but here's what we can do instead..." goes a long way.

Remember, you're the expert. Clients come to you for your knowledge, your skills, and your ability to turn their vision into reality. Part of that expertise is knowing what's best for their wedding, even if it means steering them away from their original idea. It's a delicate dance between their dreams and the reality of wedding planning.

Involve them in the process, but keep the reins firmly in your hands. It's their day, but you're the orchestrator. Make them feel included and heard, but remind them why they hired you. You're there to shoulder the stress so they can focus on the joy of getting married.

But here's the kicker—while you're keeping it professional, you're also diving deep into their personal lives. You're talking about their hopes, their dreams, their family dynamics. It's intimate work, and sometimes, you end up playing the role of a counsellor, helping them navigate through not just wedding planning, but the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it.

Honestly, it's about loving the process and the people. If you're passionate about making their day as perfect as it can be, that shines through, and it helps in building a relationship that's both professional and personally rewarding.

Advice from Jamie Wolfer, owner of Wolfer & Co.

Wedding planners don't always have to be a couple's best friend

As a wedding planner, you have to reach a certain level of intimacy with clients to successfully understand the client's vision and goals. However, that doesn't mean you should let anyone overstep your boundaries.

Wedding experts emphasise that in order to create the ideal wedding planning experience, you need a a delicate balance between personal connection and professional service. Setting clear boundaries is a must for every wedding business. It involves declaring personal non-negotiables, keeping conversations professional, and knowing when to step back.

TLDR: 5 tips to establish healthy professional boundaries with your wedding clients:

  • Get everything in writing
  • Know how and when to say no
  • Assert your expertise
  • Communicate professionally
  • Always be supportive

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