Planning the happiest day of your life should be easy, especially if you have help…right? Unfortunately, the more personalities you bring to an occasion, the more likely it is that there are going to be disagreements—and none will make you more upset than the ones you have with your wedding planner.
After all, this is the person you’re counting on to make your wedding a smashing success. If you feel like he or she is slacking in any way or making mistakes, it adds a whole new layer of stress you absolutely don’t need. But how do you address the situation without coming across as difficult, or ruining the relationship altogether? After all, you want to be clear enough so that the mistakes don’t happen again, but you also want to make sure you can still work together—what’s one to do?
Luckily, we have the answers. From strategic tips from wedding planners who’ve experienced similar disagreements with their clients to general guidelines from etiquette experts, here’s how to disagree with your wedding planner while keeping your sanity intact.
Be clear about your expectations.
“Many times, misunderstandings happen because the couple and planner aren’t clear about their expectations,” says planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events. “Language is the biggest issue. Often, a planner may use words unfamiliar to the couple—such as technical event planning or industry terms—leaving the couple potentially confused. This happens with couples, too: For example, a couple will say they want a rustic wedding, but when I show them rustic options, they hate them. This is because they didn’t really mean rustic—they meant romantic or modern or minimal!”
To help solve this, Meyer insists that images might be the best way to go. By showing pictures of exactly what you’re looking for and setting a timeline around when you’re expecting them, you can be assured there won’t be any issues later down the road.
Consider an email.
“I don’t necessarily think (unless the problem is so big, you want to end the relationship) that your issues need to be addressed in person,” says founder Jennifer Taylor of wedding planning company A Taylored Affair. “In fact, I think meeting in person might make the situation a bigger deal than it already is.”
Instead, she recommends shooting an email that clearly outlines your issues in a non-confrontational way. By doing this, you’ll have enough time to think about how you want to frame your problems, and you’ll also be able to write down exactly how your planner’s actions made you feel, without being accusing. “A short list or just why you’re upset can really help your planner, especially if he or she has no idea,” elaborates Taylor. Later, you can have a conversation about it in person if you wish, but writing it down first always leads to a calmer interaction.
Realize that your planner might be more upset than you are.
“Honestly, I think the big one to realize when talking with your planner is understanding that your planner’s main goal is to make sure that you’re happy,” says Ashley Douglass of Ashley Douglass Events. “So, chances are, if something goes astray, your wedding planner is probably going to be even more upset than you are, because they let you down.”
Therefore, Douglass recommends coming from a place of understanding, as your planner will already be trying to rectify the situation. “If your planner doesn’t have a solution, I understand being more upset, but if they’re actively trying to fix the situation for you, it’s best to let them do their thing,” she says. “Making them feel worse won’t help in any way.”
Be respectful of your planner’s opinion.
“Brides know that they are the most important part of the celebration,” says etiquette expert Lisa Grotts. “If your planner is a good one, he or she knows this too, so don’t lose your cool.” Grotts suggests the best way to have the disagreement is by honestly not even using the word no, since it could spark a negative conversation.
“Instead, say something like, ‘What a great idea! I wish I could think out of the box like you, but I’m more of a traditionalist,’” elaborates Gross. In this way, your planner will realize you did pay attention to his or her thoughts, but chose to disagree anyway—which, of course, you’re well within your rights to do.
Know when it’s time to let go.
“Honestly, you may not always be right,” says Harmony Walton of bridal consulting firm The Bridal Bar. Her advice is to know the difference between a disagreement due to a matter of opinion, as opposed to a dispute that has a more technical aspect to it—for instance, which floral pieces you want versus how to time the celebrations.
“A couple and their planner can disagree, and that’s okay,” Walton stresses. “If it’s a matter of personal preference, be sure to share that openly and the reason behind it—a good planner will want to honor your wishes. If the difference of opinion is about something more technical, remember why you hired this person. Share your concerns, but consider the fact that they have more experience and your best interests at heart.” And yes, that means knowing when it’s time to let the disagreement slide.