What do vendors do about wedding clients who change their minds in the last minute?

Hi everyone,

I'm sure this happens a lot so I'm interested in seeing how different wedding vendors handle such a problem if they occur:

What does a wedding vendor do when a client changes their mind in the last minute about a wedding item (in my case invitations) that they have put down 50% deposit for and have finished production and ready to ship out?

For example if a client requests for a revision post-production that wasn't detected during final proofing? I normally would tell a client nicely that there are additional charges for such changes, but what do you all do if the client is not happy and decides not to pay the surcharges or the remaining balance for the finished product?

I have had some folks tell me the customer is always right, make the changes without charging, and some who tell me don't let clients take advantage of you, gently explain the necessity of the additional charges and the time and energy it requires for those changes.

Thoughts?

cheers,
AT

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Hi Amy,

Great question. Given the nature of the wedding business, there will always be a change of plans or three to deal with. I advise my coaching clients to deal with this type of thing by being clear from the beginning.

Be very transparent about your process during the contract phase.

Yes, it's rewarding and exciting when a couple decides to go with you, and that's why it's also a good time to spell out what it takes to have a good working relationship. That's the moment to explain about change orders and how they can impact the quality of the wedding.

I might say something like,

There are so many decisions we'll be discussing as we plan. No worries, though because I'll get you through it. As we get closer to the date, say 2 weeks before the wedding, any changes you want to make in any of the arranged plans with vendors will need a change order. I'll give you a few copies. That way we can stay organized and you'll be aware of any of the additional charges that the change order might require. You'll be responsible for those fees because [add your explanation here]. That's the best way for me to ensure you have the wedding you dreamed of. Will that work for you?

It's soo much better to know ahead of time if your bride is going to have trouble with this idea, and it will help her evaluate the changes she wants i.e. is it worth filling out the order and dealing with the fees.

Clients aren't always right or reasonable. They get stressed and need our understanding and compassion but not babying.

Hope that helps.

Warmly,
Dina Eisenberg
PositivelyWed.com
Dear Amy,

I've worked as freelance fashion illustrator my entire career. Since I've been doing couture charcoal fashion portraits with brides-to-be (from digital photos), I've transferred what I've learned in my dealings with Art Directors to my interactions with brides. I've become very good at knowing what questions to ask, so I can solicit the information I need, and also in presenting my policies, which are designed to protect both parties. Do you have a policy for revisions that you communicate to customers up front? Since most people are VERY PARTICULAR about how their portrait looks, and especially brides, I build in opportunities for proofing, always keeping the lines of communication open. This includes communicating the point at which no changes can be made without additional costs being incurred; BEFORE I start a portrait.

You need to agree on the assignment, you both need to sign off with the knowledge that any additional changes will be charged for. You have to value your time and effort as a professional. It has a price tag on it. It's what you do.

Best wishes,

Franklyn Margasak
The Wedding Artist
www.theweddingartist.net
I require clients to pay the balance before printing so no one gets screwed financially. If they change their mind about the invites, they usually do so before the production of them...
It is mind-boggling when minds are changed. I'll ask the couple "why" to get more info, did they find something better?cheaper? Something turned them off? I'd like to know so I can fix it, but I often hear crickets chirping and get no feedback.
Its' tough-yes?
You are right in trying to protect yourself, as a service provider getting final payment should be given before finished work is delivered.

As to changing our minds, brides have no stranglehold on that, again I say, sign off on everything upfront, be certain and agreed that all changes after agreement is signed off on will be charged for, so ladies, talk to friends and family or anyone else who's opinion might sway yours, then call your providor.
Good Luck, it will work for both parties,

Franklyn Margasak
www.theweddingartist.net
The bride didn't think she would change the desgin at the beginning.

A little troublesome.

http://www.goodorient.com/prom_Dress_C333
http://www.goodorient.com/Wedding_C671
http://www.goodorient.com/Wedding_C671
The customer IS always right... however...
In situations like these, you really have to be subjective. In most cases, however, I would personally refer to the signed contract (which would of course include a clause stating that all changes must be presented in writing...etc., etc.). It may also be of benefit to include a clause (in your case) that indicates to your clients that post-production changes and amendments are subject to additional fees or charges, pending review.

You really shouldn't let clients take advantage of you; at the end of the day, you are in business to make money, not to lose it. Now, if there is an error or poor communication on your part - that is different, and you'd have to bite the bullet.. but from what the above situation sounds like, you wouldn't be in the wrong and you should not be responsible for the additional costs.

Hope this helps!

enVy
The worst is also about flowers. Some couple change type of flowers already ordered. It is not easy to explain at the florist.

I always really try to reach an agreement between vendors and clients but I think the decision to change is not a good reputation for me from the vendor's eyes.

Fabrizio Mengasini
www.italyprestige.com

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