Reality Check: Vendors are Humans Too

{Warning: this isn’t so much of a happy, upbeat post but it has been on my mind and heart for a while and it seemed like a good time to post it}

My mother in law passed away on Friday, July 15, 2011.  That is her, my husband and Abby at my Abby’s 1st birthday party last year.

It wasn’t completely unexpected (she had been battling kidney cancer for nearly 2 years) but the end was very fast and very sudden.  We scrambled to get things together in Columbus so we could go to Cincy and say our goodbyes.  It was a hectic and very emotional time in my family, as I am sure you can imagine.

I sent an email to all my existing couples letting them know I would be out of town and out of touch for a while.  I also put an out of the office message on my email that stated very plainly that due to a death in the family, we would be closed until the following Wednesday.  When I checked my email on Sunday I was overwhelmed with the kind words and true concern that my clients showed to my family.  It was a wonderful validation that I have built an incredible client family.

I also had in inquiry from a bride getting married in 2012 that was sent late Friday night – note this was well after I put on the out of office message.  I responded to her, asking her for some information about her wedding.  She emailed me back the next day (Monday) telling me that I had “taken too long” and was unprofessional for not getting back to her immediately and that it was “my loss” for not being more attentive to someone as “important” as her.

Give that a minute to sink in.

Someone who hadn’t hired me, someone I had never spoken to, someone who was told via an automated email message that I was dealing with a death in the family told me that my response time of 2 days over the weekend wasn’t fast enough.  I wish I were kidding.

Needless to say, I did NOT respond to that email and I frankly pity the poor vendors who wound up working with her.

Why am I sharing this story?  Because sometimes the world needs to be reminded that wedding vendors are humans too.  We LOVE what we do but we often work weird hours (many wedding vendors take Mondays off since we work so many Saturdays) and we have non-wedding related lives that we have to tend to as well.  If a photographer doesn’t respond to your Friday afternoon email until the following Tuesday or a venue doesn’t call you back for a day or two or a baker takes a while to get back to you…cut them some slack.   You never know what might be going on in their lives – their mother in law might have passed away, they might be ill themselves, or they might have just rushed their spouse to the hospital.

After all, wedding vendors are humans too.

11 Responses to “Reality Check: Vendors are Humans Too”

  1. Angela Dal Bon Sacramento Invites Says:

    Amen!

  2. Terrica Says:

    Em, this spoke so much to my heart because I have dealt with several immediate family/health issues that have had to take precedence over events that won’t take place for a minimum of 6 months from now. I wish you well– I know your family has been through so much, but still you smile and bring joy to so many people’s lives. It’s that sorry bride’s loss– definitely not yours. I know you already know that, but I just wanted to reconfirm it. Please allow me to share this– this was an awesome read and needed to be said!

  3. Amy Keating Says:

    Thanks for sharing! I recently missed a conference call due a family emergency… My dad has Alzheimer’s. I contacted the bride ( who hadn’t booked yet) to apologize. Long story short- she will not return calls or emails, or even tell me she’s signed with someone else. I feel terrible, but had no choice in the matter. Sometimes real life gets in the way, even though you don’t plan for it. I’m slowly accepting the fact that maybe it was meant to be and the universe didn’t want me to work with her anyway. I’m sorry for your loss. If it’s one thing I’ve learned…. You have to stay positive…. That will attract the nice clients you are meant to work with.
    Best,
    Amy

  4. Corey Ann Says:

    I had something similar happen to me when my SIL died last May. Unfortunately, the client had already booked and I got a screaming phone call while I was at the funeral asking me why I haven’t replied to their email about wanting to schedule an engagement session. Yes, they’d been told via auto reply why I wouldn’t be replying but… it killed me. They thought a week was “more than enough” time to deal with it. When I informed them that the funeral was delayed due to a holiday there weren’t any apologies, just demands. Needless to say shooting their engagement session and wedding was very, very difficult.

    We aren’t robots. Life happens for us too. Kindness goes a long way.

  5. Brit Tucker Stewart Says:

    So well said, Emilie.

  6. Cori Christensen Says:

    Wow. That is really sad but unfortunately not too surprising. This is a tough business and I guess you should count your blessings for saving her weekend for a fun and humane bride. Best wishes in 2012 and prayers to you and your family.

  7. WrappedCouture {Lissahn} Says:

    There really isn’t anything left to be said, as you said it all. I have seen this happen before and to a good friend/colleague of mine. It’s unfortunate that, once the engagement ring goes on, all rational is lost. Great post!

  8. Juliet Says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Wow, what an awful person that bride is.

  9. Chris Aram Says:

    omg! I am so sorry to hear that … I hope you all are healing from your loss and frankly you would not have been out of line in the least to tell her to go pluck herself. I probably would have!

    I have heard stories of this kind of behavior before and it amazes me that people can be so devoid of empathy. I was lucky that when my own mother passed away last year, the couple whose wedding I was scheduled to shoot that weekend could not have been more understanding. They were very gracious and fortunately I was able to snag two very capable photographer friends (Ashley and Coty Henry) to shoot in my place.

  10. Deborah Bergeon Says:

    Emilie, even though I don’t know you ( never met you, just found this site as I searched for wedding planners), I was touched and disturbed by your post. Some brides are truly “Bridezillas” who think of only themselves. I’ve planned a wedding for one daughter and am in the process of planning another one for September 2012. I am blessed that both of my “brides” have been easy-going. Don’t let this negative experience weigh heavy on your heart. Family comes first no matter what. You did nothing wrong. BTW…do you travel out to the Buckeye Lake area? I may be needing a “month before” coordinator. I used one for the other daughter and it was a great investment!!

  11. Deborah Bergeron Says:

    Oops! I must be tired! I misspelled my last name. :-). It is BERGERON.