Some of us can't stand when our best friends don't return our calls. So when it comes to wedding planning, it's almost unbearable to have a vendor go MIA for even a moment. But our experts urge a cool head when it comes to contacting vendors who haven't responded—and have offered up this step-by-step action plan to get a reply, STAT.
Keep Calm and Plan On
"It's really important to bear in mind that your vendors are working on a multitude of events simultaneously," says Aviva Samuels, owner of Kiss the Planner in Palm Beach, Florida. "Your wedding is very important to them, but there are other clients' weddings that are equally important. So don't assume the worst if your vendor has not gotten back to you within a couple of days." While Samuels says it shows great customer service to reply within a 24-hour time period, it's not necessarily indicative of your vendor being a dud if you don't get an instant reply.
Start out Being Nice
Remember, says Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events in Phoenix, that you catch more flies with honey. If your vendor hasn't replied, just know it's easier for them to drop you a note or call if they're responding to a kind email rather than an angry one. Why? "An angry email requires careful thought before responding," she says, "and that takes time—time that your vendor is apparently short on. A simple email such as, 'I know how busy you are, and I'd love to pay you! Could you please point me in the right direction, and I'll make the payment promptly?' is short, sweet, and oh-so-easy to respond to. Remembering your end goal rather than being led by your emotions, even if there's ample reason to be irritated, will help you to write an email that gets results."
Let Them Know If a Question Is Urgent
"Don't cry wolf when it comes to your vendors," warns Samuels. If every email becomes an unnecessarily urgent one, he or she may become conditioned to put your correspondence on the back burner. "By giving your vendor the heads-up on what really matters when you do have a question that is urgent, they're more likely to pay attention and get back to you more quickly—if they are able," explains Samuels. "If each time you claim urgency, they are less likely to take you seriously."
Send a Second Request for a Reply
If your initial attempt to reach your vendor doesn't elicit a response, your follow-up can call them out. "Send an email," Keel says, "that reads something like: 'I had hoped to hear from you by now. It's been almost two weeks since my initial email to you, and while I know you are busy and have other clients, I'm not comfortable waiting two weeks or more before I hear from you. What can we do to improve this?'"
Deliver an Ultimatum
If your polite-but-persistent outreach hasn't worked, it might be time for an ultimatum email. But, "before you send this email, read through your contract and familiarize yourself with the cancellation policy," she warns. "Understand the cost repercussions if you have to hire another vendor and potentially fight to get some of your money back from the non-responding vendor."
Armed with this information, you can send an email that reads something like: "I am disappointed that we haven't been able to resolve this. I have enjoyed working with you up to this point and admire your work. However, the lack of communication on your part is not acceptable. If I do not have a response from you within two days of this email, I will need to seek cancellation of our contract and financial recourse. I hope to come to a resolution quickly so that we can move beyond this."