Bride Guide: How to Tell a Wedding Vendor "You're Not Hired" | Kansas City Wedding Photographer Merry Ohler
If you are in the throes of planning a wedding, the odds are high that you have run into more than your fair share of wedding vendors. While having plenty of options can be great, that also means you must figure out a way narrow down the list. If you followed my advice on How to Interview Your Wedding Photographer, you asked good questions, thought seriously about the answers you were given and made the decision to hire whomever checks off the most boxes for you and your fiance.
As a wedding photographer in Kansas City, I meet with potential wedding couples all the time. I work hard to weed out those who are not my ideal clients before we even meet by really defining my brand and voice. I educate about my business model and weddings in general as much as possible in every contact leading up to a booking decision. That being said, in my early years I remember being on the receiving end of thoughtful, gracious declines as well as an abrupt lack of communication. Drawing from my personal experience, I want to share with you some key things to consider as you decide how to tell a wedding vendor "You're Not Hired."
1. First, understand and appreciate that they have invested both time and money into meeting with you.
By no means are you beholden to a wedding vendor for buying you a coffee, but if they are serious enough to meet with you and provide information and advice, they deserve a response from you. If you decided to book elsewhere, please be prepared to let them know... and the reason you went another direction, if you are comfortable doing so.
2. Make sure you know and understand why you decided not to hire them.
Was their personality the wrong fit for you? Did they come across as aggressive, distracted or perhaps bored by what they were doing? Was it their price point? If they were a photographer or videographer, did their work lack consistency? Were you confused about their viewpoint as an artist? Did another vendor give you a discounted rate or include more in your package? Did you feel that they did not have the experience required to trust them with your day? Really think about why you chose to go with that other vendor over them, then write that down in your own words.
3. Type or write out your response.
As you craft your response, consider the language you use and be aware of the tone. It can be tempting to avoid contact altogether or to send a quick, "We went in a different direction, thanks though," but if you want to respect their business and them as a person, consider being honest with them. Your honesty may provide the feedback they need to change or improve their process, if that is what caused you to book elsewhere.
When I think back to my early years as a wedding photographer in Kansas City, the times when a client chose to go a different direction and took the time to give me feedback were invaluable! Those learning experiences helped me to formulate my Timeline Planning Assistance method, the way that I follow up with my clients, the way I educate potential clients and more. The few times when a client went a different direction without giving me a heads up were much more confusing, because I didn't know why they went a different route or what (if anything) I could have done differently to sway their decision.
Did you decide not to do business with them because they were too pushy or overbearing? Consider saying something like, "We love your work and enjoyed meeting with you! We are looking for a wedding photographer whose style is more documentary in nature and who takes a more subtle, behind the scenes approach to our wedding day. Thanks again - we appreciate you and your time!"
Did you choose a different wedding planner because they offered you a better price? Rather than telling the vendor you're declining that, "You are too expensive for us," consider saying something like, "Thanks so much for meeting with us and sending us all the information. We love your work, and if we could afford it, we'd love to book you. However, our budget is non-negotiable, so we will be going a different direction this time."
Did you choose a different wedding photographer because they lacked much wedding experience? Consider saying, "We appreciate everything you have done for us and we enjoyed meeting with you to get to know you and your style! Knowing how many curve balls a wedding can throw at us, we are going with someone with more experience under their belt. Thank you so much, and best!"
4. Let it go.
Once you have your wording down, send the email or make the call. Don't put it off. As an industry expert, I can tell you there is nothing worse that radio silence. We sometimes wait to book vacations, plan family time, and a whole host of other things based on our booking calendar, so a definite answer one way or the other is always so appreciated.
Once your email is sent, let it go! You have done your part and have done the right thing, so there is no need to obsess or worry about it any longer. Continue searching for your right wedding professionals and leave the worrying for someone else.
Weddings are such a personal experience that it can be difficult to remain neutral and remember that this is a business relationship for the person or company you are (or are not) hiring. Try to remember that while you are having only one wedding, your wedding vendor is meeting with couples all the time. They do want to work with you and help you create the perfect day, but a poor fit is not good for anyone. By keeping those lines of communication open and letting them know if you have decided not to hire them, you are doing them - and yourself - a favor!