Photo by Courtney Laura Photography.
I think I want to break up with one of my wedding vendors – what should I do?
Ah, bum. If you’re here asking this question, we’re sorry to hear you’re in this situation.
We know it’s often hard enough to choose a vendor in the first place. To be in the position where you now want to end the relationship before the wedding day sucks. Let alone having to go through the process of finding a different vendor whose work you love and that’s available for your date.
While there’s a myriad of circumstances behind the reason for wanting to cancel a vendor, the advice we’d dish out is the same: pump the brakes. Can this be resolved? Let’s go through some mediation steps together.
Here are some common reasons a couple may decide they’d like to cancel a wedding vendor:
- Found another similar business and prefer their work
- Had a different expectation of what the vendor would bring to the table
- Realised their budget is stretched and don’t think they can afford
- Don’t feel comfortable or personally connected to the vendor
For all of the above, our suggestion is to get brave and have an open, honest conversation with your vendor. Because really, you have nothing to do lose. Well, actually you might – your wedding deposit if you cancel their services (depending on the terms and conditions outlined in your contract).
Ending any relationship – personal or professional – is never easy. Before making this tough call, we’ve addressed these reasons for cancelling and have some potential solutions for you to try first.
Found another similar business and prefer their work
Without directly asking your vendor “Hey, can you just copy your competitor’s style?”, you could share your vision for what you want via a Pinterest board or some inspo images. Your vendor will most likely be really grateful to receive this direction and if they’re awesome, can tailor their services to suit your taste (provided it’s not a total 180 degrees from their signature style).
Could it be that your vendor has done work similar to this other business that you’re just not aware of? Why not ask the question? There’s every chance they’ve been waiting for a couple like you to bring them the opportunity to expand their repertoire or portfolio too, so it’s worth sharing whatever X factor is drawing you to the work of this alternative vendor before cancelling your original partner.
Had a different expectation of what the vendor would bring to the table
Is it that you thought they’d be more involved in the planning process? Has there been a communication breakdown? Or was it just not clear from the outset what the agreed scope of work was?
If your wedding is still many months away, there’s a good chance that your vendor is heads-down bringing together another couple’s amazing day (particularly if it’s peak wedding season) and they may be a a little slow in coming back to you. Rest assured though, when it comes time for your wedding, they’ll be giving your day just as much attention and prioritising it over weddings that aren’t as time-sensitive. Even if it feels like you’re being a little neglected right now, it could be an indication of how dedicated your vendor is to the job at hand.
If you’re concerned that you’re not receiving the services that you thought you had agreed to, why not start by emailing your vendor with something open-ended like “Hey Vendor, you know we love and trust your work – we’re just feeling a little unsure of where we’re at with [insert concern]. When you get a chance, would you mind giving me a buzz or replying to give us an update? Thanks so much”.
This way, you give them the opportunity to reassure you that you’re on the same page. Better yet, just pick up the phone and have a conversation – they may think they’ve delivered everything that was promised so far and have no idea that you’re unhappy.
Realised their budget is stretched and don’t think they can afford
Talk to your vendor and just honestly explain where you’re at. If they’re a vendor with a flexible offering (e.g. florist, stylist, planner, caterer), there’s an excellent chance they’ll be able to adjust their service to suit what you can afford. If they’re a vendor with a fixed fee (e.g. celebrant, band, photographer), they might be able to jiggle things around to bring their price down – for example, your photographer might be able to shoot for less hours and provide a shorter edit of photos. Alternatively, they may be able to point you in the direction of other vendors that they recommend that are within budget.
Don’t feel embarrassed – more than 65% of couples miscalculate what they’ll spend on their wedding. We know we grossly underestimated what it was going to cost (erm, by like, half). The fact is most of us have never planned an event on this scale before so don’t beat yourself up if you’ve muffed this up. Know though, that your vendor will have already invested time, energy and emotion into your wedding that they won’t get back so they will most likely be keen to help you bring your day to life even if it means renegotiating on what the end service is.
Don’t feel comfortable or personally connected to the vendor
This is the hardest one to work around. Weddings are hugely personal days and if it’s a vendor that you’re going to be working closely with either in the lead up or on the day, then you want to be on friendly terms.
Ask yourself the question: if they do an incredible job, will it make up for the fact that we won’t ever be best mates? If the answer is yes, then see if you can delegate any communication you have with this vendor to one of your support team like a parent or someone in your wedding party. If it’s a flat no, then it makes sense to cease the partnership. Just be respectful and courteous, provide honest feedback and recognise that your vendor is just a person trying to get by too – they will likely be shattered. Be kind. And use the experience as a learning curve – what could you do differently in the future to make sure you surround yourself with the right person/people for the job?
If after all of this, you’re certain that it’s just not going to work, then let your vendor know as soon as you can. You don’t want this to sour the experience of planning your wedding, plus it’s courteous to your vendor as it allows them more opportunity to re-book the date. We always advocate for a person-to-person chat. If you only feel like you can email, remember to keep it professional, give constructive and helpful feedback and keep the feelings of your vendor top of mind – we’re all human after all.
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