Choosing a wedding location and then organizing the wedding is an extremely emotional time for the bride, her mother, and the families of both bride and groom.
THIS JUST IN!
Tell me something I don’t know…
…You are probably saying—especially if you are already in the wedding business.
For most brides and most families, the wedding reception is the most involved and largest party they will ever organize. And it’s also the most expensive.
For some brides and families, the goal is to out-wow everyone who will come to the wedding—especially friends. For the mother-in-law, this can be particularly important: she wants to show her friends that her daughter’s wedding and wedding reception are significantly bigger and better than theirs.
This type of flamboyance and one-upmanship is a fact of life. On top of all this, there may be pressure from the person or people who are paying for the wedding, to STOP SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY!!!!
When emotions, money, organization, love, and stress come together, the result can be a type of person called Bridezilla. Here is how Wikipedia defines this person.
Bridezilla (a portmanteau of bride and Godzilla) is a generic term used to describe a difficult, unpleasant, perfectionist bride who leaves aggravated family, friends and bridal vendors in her wake. A bridezilla is obsessed with her wedding as her perfect day and will disregard the feelings of her family, bridesmaids and even her groom in her quest for the perfect wedding.
During the tour of your wedding facilities and during the signing process for the contract, the Bride and her mother may have seemed totally pleasant and sensible.
However, after signing the contract, the bride may have morphed into Bridezilla and her mother may have become mother-zilla. And what’s particularly pleasant about the two is that Bridezilla and mother-zilla will sometimes work together against you and then a few minutes later, they will work against each other but still against you. And then they may turn to a third party like the bride’s friend to provide additional advice (and hassle).
A Potential Double-Whammy
Both can and will be difficult and demanding. What’s worse is that they may go into the marketplace and start to attempt to ruin your good name. Brides have friends who are also thinking about getting married and brides’ mothers also have friends. And they talk to each other.
Whether you are offering your club or resort on a ‘shell-only’ basis or on a ‘full-service’ basis, Bridezilla and mother-zilla can make life extremely difficult—if you let them.
Spell Things Out Clearly
Dealing with Bridezilla starts with getting to her before she becomes a problem. During the initial tour of the facilities and during the closing meeting, it may become apparent that the bride and her family are going to be difficult. Signs of potential trouble include:
Excessive negotiation over price
Trying to go ‘off-menu’ without documentation
Threatening to go elsewhere
Having an ‘attitude’ about everything.
Veteran wedding planners, who have dealt with any number of extremely difficult people, will tell you that it’s vital to detail everything that you are going to offer and even everything that you are not going to offer. This must be part of a contract. Trouble-shooting is also part of the process and this can start with a Q and A on your website or in your wedding brochure packet. Here is an example of how it might work.
Q: What types of weddings do you typically have at Foster Farms Country Club?
A: We specialize in traditional country club wedding receptions for weddings of up to 500 people.
Q: What do you organize? What do we organize?
A: We are a full-service wedding facility. We offer a full menu of services. We take care of catering in-house but we use approved vendors, many of whom have provided services for several years.
Q: Do I have to be a member of the club to hold my wedding with you?
A: No. However, a member must introduce you and will also sign the contract.
Q: Can I bring my own caterer?
A: No. We cater in-house exclusively.
Q: What about a photographer?
A: So long as the photographer is on our approved list of vendors, you can bring your own photographer.
Q: What if a vendor is not on your list?
A: They can apply to be on the list.
Q: Do I have to sign a contract?
A: Yes. It will include all the details about the wedding so everyone is on the same page during the planning process. This helps avoid any confusion.
Q: What happens if I want to change something?
A: The country club can decide to honor the contract and not accept any changes. However, if there is a change, there will be a change fee.
Head Her Off at the Pass…
The goal of the Q and A is trouble-shooting. It should also let the bride know that you are in charge—using subtle language. In the contract, to avoid dickering and constant mind-changing, make the change fees extremely high.
One key trouble-shooting tactic is to offer highly detailed menus and packages. (See the appendix for examples). These should offer some flexibility but they should clearly indicate everything that you promise to supply. During the planning process there should be regular meetings to go over details. These will help you be pro-active and deal with any problems.
Later in this manual, a chapter will detail specific scripts you need for success—from the first phone call to the closing ‘ceremony.’
There should also be a script so that you know what to say when Bridezilla and her mother are starting to make your life difficult.
Let’s say that you are about two months from the wedding and you get a call or an email out of the blue saying that everything is going really badly—even though you know that everything is going according to plan and, in fact, probably going swimmingly. During the conversation, simply listen as much as possible. Then say this. (This can be an e-mail response.)
Amy. I’m sorry that you feel this way right now. Our goal is to make sure that your special day is going to be just that—special. I can’t go over all these issues with you right now. I would like you to detail, in writing, everything that is a possible problem. I will look over this list, revisit our contract from our file, and I will get back with you in three working days. However, before sending your email, you may want to double-check the contract as well.
At this stage, you have not gotten into an argument. You have asked for specifics. You have also initiated a cooling down period.
If you have planned everything before contract signing and if the contract is watertight, then you can respond to the call or email like this.
Amy. I have gone through the items you mentioned on your list. I have also gone through the contract. I would respectfully say that we went through all of your items of concern before signing the contract.
Because we have to plan things well in advance to provide you with the best service and to honor everything on the contract, we are going to go with what’s detailed in the contract. There is, of course, an option to cancel the contract. You will be free to find another location. However, your deposit will not be refunded; the deposit on the contract is $12,000. Should I go ahead and cancel the contract?
Of course, you may wish to tweak the script somewhat based on how your club operates. The key is detailing everything, including the type of olives you will have available for Martinis. The key is having a contract with a checklist that goes into serious detail.
Do not give into Bridezilla. Do not argue with Bridezilla. Be able to pull the plug on the wedding. Bridezilla will not like this and will not want to have to re-book and lose the deposit. Be consistent with mother-zilla and even with father-zilla if he rears his head. BEFORE YOU SIGN THE CONTRACT, REMIND EVERYONE THAT TO MAKE CHANGES, THEY WILL HAVE TO PAY A HEFTY FEE OR CANCEL THE CONTRACT.
It’s one thing to say that you are going to be tough with Bridezilla. It’s quite another to be able to foll0w-through backed with a contract that has her signature on it. This will prevent a screaming match.
PS: Increasingly, according to one wedding expert consulted for this publication, Bridezilla is not Bridezilla but friend of Bridezilla. This means that a good friend of the bride is directing traffic—sort of the like the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz. The person behind the curtain. If you sense that this is the case, then you need to start asking the bride whether it is her wedding or her friend’s.
About the Author:
Scott Martin is a direct response copywriter with the proven ability to execute direct response techniques and generate results.