Kate Moss for Vogue, April 2012
I fucked up (to put it mildly!) and I need your help… advice… anything. I’m an aspiring wedding planner. I’m just out of university and when a friend asked me to help her plan her wedding I was thrilled, honoured and terrified all at the same time. I’ve always wanted to go into events and even though I’ve never planned anything as big as a wedding (and I told my friend this) I was super excited to be involved.
I worked my arse off in the run up and on the day, and I feel like I did a pretty good job considering it was my first go. BUT there were some things that didn’t go perfectly and now my friend is pissed and blaming me. For example the flowers were delivered late, the cake started to sag before it was cut and she hated the hair and make up artist I booked (even though she agreed to her, and had a trial, beforehand).
I appreciate her feedback on how I could have done things differently. After all this was my first wedding and I know I have a LOT to learn. But I can’t help but be massively crushed. Not only is my friendship effectively ruined but I feel like I never want to try and plan another wedding again!
I don’t know if you can help me or if you can say anything to really help me feel better, but do you happen to have any advice on how to deal with this? We all have to start somewhere, right?
Aww Sarah Jane I am so sorry this was your first planning experience. Being involved in someone’s wedding is a huge deal and a massive amount of pressure. From reading your email I am convinced that you did the very best you could despite your inexperience.
While you can’t change what’s already happened, the first thing you need to do is apologise, even if you feel you did the best you could at the time. While the flowers being a bit late, the cake being a bit saggy and her not liking the person who did her face might seem like pretty minor misdemeanors, you do need to look at it from her point of view. Yes, she is your friend, but in this situation she was first and foremost your client. And the customer is always right.
Ask her if there’s anything you can do to make it up to her, and go out of your way to do anything that she might ask you. Think of something nice you can do for her to show how very sorry you are. How about a canvas print of one of her favourite wedding images? Try your very best to build those bridges.
However the most important thing is what you do from now on. Firstly, before you accept another wedding booking, you need to get some practice under your belt. Volunteer to help out with some low-pressure events, maybe a charity fundraiser or your sister’s birthday party. The more you do something the better you will get at it.
The other thing I’d strongly recommend you do would be to apprentice with an established wedding planner. Planning weddings is, in my opinion, the hardest job in the industry. Not only do you have to be a master juggler, but you’re involved in every little aspect, from the start of the process right up until the last guest says goodbye at the end of the night. It’s a long-haul commitment and there are so many things to consider. Give yourself a fighting chance for the future by learning as much as you can from an expert before branching out on your own.
There are also a lot of wedding planning courses around. The Mark Niemierko Academy is excellent, for example. It’s vitally important to not take on the responsibility of working on someone’s wedding again without getting some proper experience and knowledge behind you.
Sarah Jane, please don’t let what’s happened hold you back. Just make sure you learn from it. Do what you can to sort things out with your friend but most importantly do not dwell on things you can do nothing about. Beating yourself up is pointless. Rather, use what’s happened as one massive lesson on what not to do again.
Don’t let one bad experience kill your dream. Instead let it motivate you to go out and do a much better job next time.