So this week, I was speaking at a workshop in Florida while Kyle held down the fort here at WeddingIQ. I enjoyed both her posts this week, especially her post on maintaining a positive attitude even as your business becomes overwhelming.
While pondering a post topic for this week's Friday Five series, I decided to go back to the anonymous rants we've been receiving recently. (For anyone who doesn't already know, we accept completely anonymous submissions from readers on hot button issues in our industry: vendor behaviors that piss you off, business practices that irk you, whatever. You can send us yours by clicking the button on the sidebar.)
Lately, we've been getting lots of submissions that indicate many wedding professionals are struggling with staying positive, as Kyle wrote about on Wednesday. Instead, they seem to feel isolated, judged, or excluded altogether by their colleagues and peers. They're troubled by the cliques that form within our industry, and, in some instances, with popularity seeming to eclipse professional merit.They're discouraged by the lack of notice from publications and blogs that can provide a much-needed career boost.
Let me be the first to say, I can relate. I'm not shy, but I am introverted, and I know the feeling of working my tail off only to see credit being given elsewhere. I know the feeling of having my particular service category perceived as less important than some other parts of the wedding. I know the feeling of getting the cold shoulder from so-called professionals who at least were polite the last time I saw them. I know the feeling of being on the outside of a seemingly impenetrable social stratum, even after almost two decades in this industry.
That said, I believe in the idea that our attitude shapes our experience, and I try pretty damn hard to keep mine positive. I feel lucky to have found "my people" within this business - colleagues, collaborators and clients alike. I feel pretty good about my business, my reputation, and my place within this industry. But it hasn't always been easy.
For this week's Friday Five, I'm sharing some other anonymous wedding pros' words (minimally edited, with only a couple of specific names/identifiers redacted) about what they're experiencing. I'm sharing these as food for thought for all of us. As you read them, I'd encourage you to consider: which of these submissions resonate with you? Which have you experienced firsthand? On the flip side, how have you possibly contributed to the professional and social culture these people are describing? What can you as an individual, and all of us collectively as an industry, do to address the problem?
Without further ado...
"Why is it that, when a coordinator is up-and-coming, they are so grateful to work with you. They bring your their piddly clients, and you do your best to work with them. The minute they have a well-heeled couple though, off they are to the 'big boys.' And I literally mean big boys because the companies I am thinking of that they now bring their couples to are largely run by men. But lo and behold! You hear from them again only if they have some client with no money again. You know what? I can do great things when clients have money, too. I just am not so arrogant to draw an arbitrary line. But you know what's even worse than that? Not hearing from a planner for a year or more; they have clearly moved on. No problem. Everyone grows and has their favorites, people they work well with, etc. But no, you hear from them again when they want something free. Something they are too embarrassed to ask the 'big boys' for. It is thoroughly obscene. You can't ask for a favor if you don't also give them."
"Hey venues, how about instead of just wining and dining planners (have you actually done the math on that? I think you'd be surprised...), you actually included all vendors. You know, like the ones who have to know where your loading dock in is, etc?"
"Can we acknowledge how ridiculous it is that planners get endless perks, gifts, invitations to special luncheons, spa days, and other "exclusives" for bringing a relatively small amount of business to large hotels and other venues? Meanwhile every venue in the world wants photographs of their space for free, never pays anyone for the images, and often can barely be bothered to feed photographers on the wedding day. They don't bother to acknowledge florists or decorators or lighting companies either, who make their space look so amazing."
"Every year [magazine name redacted] publishes a list of those who "know weddings" in the DC area. We all look forward to being on the list and are always grateful to find ourselves listed. But why is it - given that large pool of talent identified by the magazine - does it only feature the weddings of (and let me be a bit exaggerative and glib here) the same five vendors?!?!? It's like one spot has to go to [photographer #1 redacted], one to [photographer #2 redacted]. At least three of the weddings must use [florist redacted] for flowers... why are all the same vendors featured over and over? Do they not believe their own pool of talent? I would believe it was just submissions - some making more of an effort than others - but I hear the same complaints from photographers who are seemingly submitting. And other local-focused blogs are able to show more and different vendors."
"I don't know exactly what's happened but I feel like some where in the past 15 years, the industry has become a lot less collaborative and a lot more cliquey. I see it most at networking events, and to some degree I feel the mass profusion of networking events has encouraged it. It's like people who go to a very large college and only experience a very small element of it because it's otherwise too overwhelming. In that sense, I understand the cliqueing (is that a word? Lol). It's disappointing though because it really makes working a lot less pleasant."
Do any of these reflect your own experience? Do any of them raise your hackles as unjustified? We'd love to hear from you in the comments, or feel free to drop us your own anonymous rant!