Well, June will be here next month, and soon we will see specials on the Style Network, and the Food Network, relating to brides, weddings, dresses, cakes, and everything in between. Let’s see, I’m 36 years old, and in my life, I have been a bridesmaid twice, a bridal registry consultant (even though I wasn’t ever a bride), a wedding vendor to 4 clients, so far, and yet…I’ve never been a bride. Well, there’s still time. I’m with the man of my dreams, and the other day, we were talking about jobs, and being that he was a man that wasn’t used to talking about the bridal industry, I kind of hit him with ALL that entails of being surrounded by everything relating to a wedding.
As a bridesmaid, here are the things that I’ve had to deal with:
-I’ve been subjected to the noncaring bridal shop seamstress, who twirls you on the platform, picks at the dress that you’re trying on (word to the wise, you prom season girls, brides, bridal party, and such- check out your local home economics teacher to see if she can hem your dress for less, from $5-$25 per dress), AND…I’ve learned that great customer service, even an associate saying a beautiful “HI! Can I help you?” as you enter the shop for the first time, if even to window shop or browse, and a bridal shop that actually cares about you, treats you with kid gloves, is the right choice.
-dealing with the girls in the party, trying to find a meeting of the minds over favors for the shower, the bridesmaid/bridesmatron dress style, how much to go in for for the bachelorette party, who does what in the bridal party, other girls’ tastes versus your’s, and much more. We had a wishing well for my cousin’s bridal shower for her groom, and we bought a big trash can, for the groom’s $5-10 gifts for him, and I put one of my fabric photo frames tied to it, and put in a fabric sign inside, and called it, “Kenny’s Can”.
-meeting the groomsmen the night before the wedding, and the awkward dance with your paired up partner down the aisle, during the reception, because you met him the night before, and still can’t remember his last name (I am going to have several outing with my bridal party, including the guys, so that the women and men get to know one another, and not have a first meeting the night before the wedding)
-and of course, a big issue for people, the money involved in doing all of these things. Honestly, I think that I’m not getting married until I can afford for my party to have everything that I (or WE) need and want them to have, so that they don’t feel burdened. Afterall, I, and my future fiance’, will be the ones asking them to be in our party, not the other way around. I’m still getting used to the “WE” thing.
As a bridal consultant, I’ve had to deal with:
-the bridal couple, their expectations, from simple, to elaborate
-the infamous scan gun, to scan their favorite items, from expensive items that some may never use (although, it’s nice to have as an investment, down the road, in case you do want to “do it up” for the holidays), to the groom’s need to have the Godfather trilogy on dvd. Or dealing with the gun, and then finding out the system is down, or your fellow sales associate still can’t figure out how to use it, and tells the couple to come back when you’re back on schedule…not a good thing to do as a sales associate.
-the mother of the bride…although I had one that was VERY detail oriented, but not hard to deal with, just concerned that her daughter had the best wedding possible
-dealing with the MANY poor couples having to return rolling flat carts of merchandise, FILLED HIGH, I can’t tell you how many times that this happened, because aunt so and so decided to buy the wrong small appliance, because the aunt felt that the one on the register wasn’t the right one for them…word to the wise, if the bridal couple picked it for their registry, you should buy that specific one that they picked, not what you “feel” is the right one for them, because the couple is only going to bring it back, waste time, hold a line up…or, don’t buy one at all. Get a gift card. Better yet, donate to the couple’s favorite charity. I am going to make a list on my facebook profile, and do a color chart of my favorite colors for each room, and scan pics of what I have already, to give them an idea of my style. I say this, if you can only afford $5, think of what the bridal couple would want for that $5- their favorite scented candle, a plush towel in their favorite color, a platter in their favorite colors and styles from TJ Maxx or Marshalls that was on clearance, or at an antique shop, or even an estate sale or gulp, garage sale. You’d be suprised what people get rid of these days. However… that aunt may STILL buy that item that you didn’t want, so…brace yourself.
-having to tell the couple that the item that they picked out for their registry has been discontinued, and having to ask them what they want to do next, in lieu of the situation- I LOVE EDI systems (it’s a retail thing)
-having to be on floor as a sales associate, bridal consultant, unofficial department assistant manager, being a glorified stockperson having to put away flat trucks of merchandise filled 6 feet high, deal with the EDI to see if merchandise is going to be clearanced or what the buyer needs to know from your store, dust, clean, do special orders for china, flatware, and stemware, inventory, etc. – I could go on and on. Yay.
As a wedding vendor:
-turned my frames into favors / place cards, for bridal showers, reception, table number display frames, printing on fabric, or cardstock, personalizing the frames to the event with names and dates
-dealt with the “sample” issue: What I do is charge for the sample, $1-3, but normally $2-$4 for nonwashable fabric covered favor / place card wallet sized photo frames, minimum depending on what is asked of my services, some fabric or services may require extra. Then, I take that sample off of the subtotal, when they buy 25, 50, 100, 300 etc. items, so instead of paying for 150 favor frames, they pay for 149 frames. All samples are available to purchase through Paypal on my site, at no extra cost to the bridal couple or party. Many vendors will give a free sample, but so that they don’t attract people that want free merchandise, they ask for proof of an engagement, like a clipping or scan of an announcement of the engagement from their local paper. As my cousin told me, when I got into the wedding vendor industry, “Favors, place cards, should be the same, or less than the cost of the stationery / invites”, between $1-5..however, some are as much as $10-$25 for the REALLY luxurious ones out there, depending on what materials, fabrics, etc. are used, and how long it takes to make them up.
-I am trying to get into the industry, selling wholesale
-having the pleasure of dealing with the bridal party who want favors / place cards for their friend / family member’s bridal shower, or the mother of the bride organizing the day. So far, so good- you have to help these people, this is a big day in their life, so make it wonderful for them, not awful.
-thanking God that I’m not a cake decorator, or bridal gown sales associate. I saw that episode of Cake Boss, where the cake shop owner’s favorite customer’s daughter, the bride, came in the day before the wedding, and massacred the cake, when the cake shop owner left the room for 2 minutes, to figure out how to redo her cake that was finished to specifications, but due to mother-daughter strife, the bride hated the cake, saw it finished, and decided to do some of her own decorating, taking some icing and dessicrating the cake. Buddy was amazing, dealing with it. He handled the situation, well, as well as a great vendor could. lol He made a new one within 12 hours, and delivered it. I respect Buddy and Duff Goldman IMMENSELY. And I’m extremely tense when I decorate a cake, so to do it for a living would not be a good idea. And those bridal shop sales associates, who have to schlepp heavy, expensive dresses back and forth, making a 7-8% commission only on the dress sold, no base wage, from what I’ve been told… I’m not great at sales. Dealing with a mother of honor or friend or family in the bridal party, and them telling the bride that she looks fat in a dress that she tried on, or hearing, “Well, “I” wouldn’t wear that dress!” It’s the bride’s day, not the best friend’s, or mother’s, or grandmother’s day. Usually that type of incident stems from jealousy or control issues, because the person who speaks out of turn is having something going wrong in their life, or that they can’t control, so they nitpick at something like a bride’s wedding dress that she’s trying on. Saw THAT on an episode of “Say Yes To The Dress”.
-dealing with the bride, matron of honor/maid of honor, bride’s mother change her mind on an item. It happens. You may not be JUST dealing with the person on the phone or in email, others, not showing themselves, may be involved in the decision making process. If they change their mind, you move on. Onto the next project.
Well, after telling my boyfriend all of this, warning him, I mean, enlightening him lol of what is involved in all the planning of a wedding, from all of the hats that I have worn, even showing him a dvd of Disney’s wedding planning in Disney World, his eyes are now more open. It’s funny, after dealing with all of the stress, the issues with other parties involved, seeing what others go through…I still crave to have all of that some day…just hopefully, to deal with it better than I did at the time, be more prepared, and dreaming of the wonderousness of the future event for my guy and myself.