Planning a wedding can be a sensitive situation—there’s no way around it. Whether you are very frugal or you have a bit of a spending habit, it’s important to keep your personal mindset around money separate from your work with clients.
It can be easy to feel bad for a client that goes over their budget or to think a client should spend more on their event, but remember—money talk is very personal, so it’s important to allow your clients to make their own decisions and be the one who can help their vision come to fruition. In fact, there’s a stereotype that event planners want to spend as much money as possible, but honestly, most planners want their clients to spend what they’re comfortable with for the quality that meets their expectations.
Make the initial budget on what things actually cost—not on what will make the client happy. Even if their dream is to have a stunning floral wall on a budget of $20,000, letting them believe that is an option will raise their expectations. Base your estimated budget on previous events with similar features or on quotes, if you have them already.
Things can start to get sticky when too many people are involved in the budget, especially when it comes to weddings. Sometimes what the parents want to spend is completely different than what the couple has in mind. This age-old conflict is one reason a planner is important—it’s up to you to come in and listen to all sides of the argument and explain the situation so everyone is on the same page. At the end of the day, look to the primary funder of the event to make the final decisions.
Instead of giving your own opinions on how their money should be spent, present your clients with the different options available and any impartial feedback on each. Share any pros and cons of spending versus saving in each category—it’s up to you to ensure that your clients can make the most educated decision on their own.
Remember: Your client’s budget belongs to them! As a planner, you need to be comfortable with what they are spending. Just because you would not personally spend $15,000 on floral design doesn’t mean your individual values should reflect on someone else’s event.
Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners who are new to the industry and looking to grow and develop their skills.