How do you deal with vendors who ignore grooms?

July 19 |
denisse & jay 19
Hey, vendors: HE'S DRIVING! Photo by Wild About You Photography
I know you guys have written before about wedding vendors who totally ignore grooms, but I'm looking for some super practical, step-by-step guidance on how to make it clear to my vendors that if they keep ignoring my fiance, they stand to lose our business.

Does anyone have any copy-n-paste conflict resolution-style phrases that I can use to make it respectfully but completely clear to vendors that there are TWO OF US planning this wedding?

We love one Tribesmaid's simple solution ("p.s. please include both of us in your reply"), but we'd love to hear from those of you who've wrestled with this. How did you make it clear to your vendors that they needed to include your partner?

  1. i've had my FH make first contact with any vendors that aren't friends of ours. he sets the appointments, he leaves his information with the vendors. the first time any of them even talk to me is when we're there in person. he's shy, so i don't mind taking over negotiation and asking millions of questions, but i make it pretty clear that i'm going to talk everything over with him before making any decisions. if at that point they're still ignoring him, we take our business elsewhere.

    9 agree
    • This is exactly what we're doing, only opposite for the shy part, ha. I have massive anxiety over phones and speaking with people for the first time, and logistics have a tendency to frustrate me, while Fiancee doesn't have these problems. The first time any of our vendors will likely talk to me is when we show up for tastings and things. So far it's working great to nip things in the bud, we haven't had an issue yet.

      3 agree
  2. I'm still in shock that any customer service would ever ignore a paying customer. What is wrong with people?

    42 agree
  3. As a wedding photographer I would say 99% of the contact person is always the bride, or mother of the bride. I always try and get a feel for both of them (the couple) during the phone consults, ask questions about the groom by name, and encourage both of them to be there at the first in-person meeting. This is a great reminder to always remember to find out both the brides and grooms vision for the day and tastes.

    *or the bride & brides or grooms & grooms :)

    10 agree
  4. This has been on my mind too. I wish I had some wonderful copy and paste quote to add, but I don't. :( I'd just tell the vendors straight to the point.

    "We're getting married and we're in this together, including planning our wedding. "

    Then maybe the groom could express his involvement so it hits home. I know this sounds a little…desperate, but if a vendor knew how involved Mr. Groom really was and saw his genuine interest, maybe there wouldn't even need to be a "We'll find someone else" approach. I tend to avoid confrontation. :(

    I can't speak for any vendors, but I'd imagine they would find it refreshing to see an equal partnership in decision making. Just tell them during the first meeting what's up and go to every appointment together. Take turns sharing ideas and asking questions.

    0 agree
  5. I can't say I ran into this even once–and we talked to lots of vendors. A few were fairly rude, but they were rude to both of us equally. :)

    7 agree
  6. I think part of the problem is that people (in the mainstream) still tend to think of it as the bride's day. My FH has 2 male friends, one of which just got married and the other is planning on marrying my best friend in the coming year or two. When talking to them, each on separate occasions, they said (without being prompted by us) that it is the bride's day. To which we responded that we don't see it that quiet that way, that to us its OUR day and they both seemed surprised.

    My point is I think it is so engrained in our culture that it's the bride's day: it's her day to look all beautiful and glamorous and have everything she wants and so many people still feed into that and go along with it that the idea of a groom having opinons and its his day too just baffles people.

    Honestly, if it were me, I would have my FH go ahead of me, shake hands first, make sure he asks lots of questions and when all is said and done don't allow the vendor to have your phone number up front. Make them work with your FH. And if they ask you a question, turn to your FH and say "Hmmm, I'm not sure. What do you think?" even if it's just for show to get them to see that he has opinions too!

    12 agree
  7. We we had a couple of potential vendors keep asking what I thought about things when we met with them, rather than both of us – I kept making a point of asking my husband what his opinion was before we reached any decision which usually worked.

    Most of them got it, but we ended up walking out of one suit shop because the salesman kept talking to me and ignoring my husband, despite me telling him that it wasn't me he needed to be speaking to – I wasn't fussed what he wore as long as he showed up on the day!

    3 agree
  8. We haven't run into this all that much, and our wedding is in 9 days, so I think we might have just avoided this particular wedding stress.

    I think there's two reasons for this: we made a point of presenting ourselves as a united front from the start. I didn't meet with any vendors on my own, for example. Also, my partner has been really active in the planning process. He is regularly the one sending out emails to vendors, asking the follow up questions. We tend to split the email responsibility 50/50, so vendors are used to dealing with both of us. And we always cc the other person in emails, so everyone is in the loop.

    But I think the biggest thing is, probably, that we made a point of hiring vendors who we felt like we clicked with. And anyone who ignored/dismissed my partner was not someone who we felt like we clicked with!

    2 agree
    • If it's a matter of excluding your FH off the emails, perhaps replying, adding your partner back to the email chain, and then simply writing, "Please be sure to include xx on all future email correspondences, so we are both involved in the conversation. Thank you."

      3 agree
    • To second the email thing, when we registered a domain for our wedding website, we also got a joint email address which forwards to our separate email accounts. This is the email address we give out to vendors (and use for joint online accounts, etc.) so that we see all the emails from vendors coming in and either one of us can respond.

      Another thing we did is that whenever we were presented with a contract which only had my name as the other party, I made sure to amend it to include both our names and both of our contact information.

      1 agrees
  9. My fiance and I met with all the vendors together. He contacted the hotel to reserve rooms, and the bar where we're having an after-party in their private space (small afternoon wedding, larger optional after-party!). Those vendors definitely directed themselves more at him than me. One of them basically ignored me a little, until I directly answered a question that fiancé wasn't being clear about (party start time).
    On the other hand: I initiated contact with most other vendors, and tended to do a lot of the talking, because I'm a talker and he can be a bit quiet. At one cake tasting, I directed a question at him, and he gave a vague response. The vendor then said, "I'll let you two have a few minutes to discuss" and she left the room. She understood that he 1) was involved, but 2) might not want to be critical in front of a stranger; so she gave us the room to talk amongst ourselves. Well-handled.
    So, one thing to bear in mind is that I think they often direct themselves to the person who contacted them. A solution might be for the groom/person-not-getting-attention to directly answer a question from the vendor, or ask one; somehow directly speak to them. Or if there's a question directed at the bride, she can just look at the groom and say, "I don't know, what do you think about that?" to the groom, who then directs his answer to the vendor. I did this about a couple of things that I knew he cared more about than I did during vendor meetings.
    Also, just keep using "we" in all contact–email, phone, in person. Answer questions with things like, "We talked about that, and we like the idea of…" and "We're really interested in such and such…" You could even just answer a few questions with, "The groom LOVES blah blah blah, so we'd like to do that."

    2 agree
  10. I've gotten this from a different perspective. Being two grooms, we had some vendors who were clearly frazzled because there wasn't a bride to talk to about everything. They would just, somewhat arbitrarily, pick one of us and focus all the attention on him.

    After the initial meeting with these vendors, we would go elsewhere. If you can't handle talking to both of us, we're not going to hire you.

    With this situation, it sounds like you may have already hired this vendor. I would, then, politely instruct them that both of you are making the decisions about their services and that addressing both of you would be kindly appreciated. If they continue to address just "Bride" instead of both, then become more forceful by having "Groom" answer questions (as others have suggested). If they still don't get it, I'd just drop them and incur whatever cancellation cost to find someone who understands the dynamics of what's going on.

    You've given them a couple chances and so the onus is on them to be receptive to you because you are their client. Moving mountains isn't a requirement, but being open to the way your relationship works, especially in the stress-times of planning a wedding, is paramount to making everything run smoothly.

    12 agree
    • "You've given them a couple chances and so the onus is on them to be receptive to you because you are their client."

      Agreed! I expect vendors to clue into the clients' dynamic after meeting them, either by watching the couple interact or, if they're unsure how their relationship works, by being honest and asking them. It's rude to presume one person is the primary client and the other is secondary.

      When we were looking at venues, our previously-first-choice venue ended up not getting our business because the owner constantly used the phrase "some girls" in answering our questions about what previous couples did for decorations/catering/etc. (example: "Some girls choose to put the dance floor over here"). My fiance, the groom, was asking all the questions. It irked me that she didn't respect his role in wedding planning, despite the fact that she was answering HIS questions. Ugh, disrespectful. We decided we didn't want to work with this person for the next year until the wedding, so we crossed the venue off our list.

      1 agrees
  11. I think the person who makes first contact tends to be the one who get continued contact so perhaps having both people or the groom initiate I think would help. We're doing wedding planning right now, and my FH does all the contacting of vendors, because things like that give me massive anxiety, and he gets a lot more attention from vendors which is fine with me. He blind copies me on everything and I just let him know what I think. In person we've both been included.

    1 agrees
  12. We totally deal w this all the time. He is more organized, more details, and just generally more wedding than I am, so we try to make sure that vendors understand that he is the point person. I agree that having him make first contact helps- but some vendors have just insisted on having my info, too! The bitch about them ignoring him or leaving him out of emails is that we don't always realize it right away- so that causes confusion, too. I'd say- just Do Not Give Them your contact- just his! Maybe split vendors if you need to be equal- you talk to photog, s/he talks to djs, etc. one vendor, one contact.

    1 agrees
  13. We created a single email address for all wedding correspondence and sign off with both our names. Vendors seem to get it then and face to face is easier as we set the expectation from the get go.

    4 agree
  14. We went to one venue where the saleslady kept saying, "Some of my brides do it this way, and some of my brides do it that way, and some of my brides…." Which made me think, "It's very nice that they're so welcoming of same-sex couples, but aren't there ANY grooms at weddings here?!"

    And yes, when I say "we", I mean myself (female) AND my male fiancé.

    4 agree
  15. We came across this with a couple of vendors early on. We decided that if a vendor wasn't going to embrace us as a couple, they probably weren't going to embrace our offbeat wedding celebration either.

    We steered full clear of any vendors who didn't address us both equally.

    2 agree
  16. Dang! I'm grateful that we haven't had that issue. Then again, The Boy is the one who's been contacting most of the vendors (he's a lawyer, so he has no problem with cold-contacting people, unlike me.)

    I'm with the people who can't understand why vendors would ignore a potential customer. It seems counterproductive.

    0 agree
  17. We haven't really run into this issue, but my fiance is also the one that does a lot of the emailing. He is a SAHF and I work two jobs, so he has the time to make phone calls and take care of email correspondence. Our venue/caterer was contacted by him, and even though I found them, he contacted our WP/DoC. The WP does most of the vendor email now, and we'll start to meet photographers next week without either of us having any prior direct contact with them.

    If we find ourselves in a situation where the vendor continuously ignores one of us, I think the best way to approach the issue is with gentle but obvious clues that we're both involved. Adding the other person's email address to the reply chain, saying "we" and "our" and "us", giving a shy fiance a few prearranged questions to ask in person, taking turns with emails or phone calls, etc. If the vendor still doesn't get it, coming right out and saying "We'd really appreciate the inclusion of both of us in this discussion/planning" is the last resort before moving on to someone else.

    0 agree
  18. I'm always amazed to hear these issues… the only time I can see a vendor focusing solely on the bride, with good reason, would be with the wedding dress shopping. Then, yes, it's all about the bride.

    The rest? There are kind of two of you involved in it.

    Thankfully, I haven't had this problem yet. Mind, I'm the one who actually prefers organising everything, but all the vendors we've spoken to thus far have concentrated on us both. I've always signed any wedding-based e-mails from both of us and The Manthing always has a look at the questions I've got for people before we meet them. He also has questions of his own.

    Actually, he pretty much handled our first meeting with our celebrant by himself. For someone who's not that interested in the ceremony part, he did an amazing job.

    0 agree
  19. We had a couple of vendors space on including my fiance on email chains (when he had been cc'ed prior), and from then on only posing questions to me in email. While I think it was a relatively innocent oversight/reflection of how the bride is often totally running the show, it made me crazy. Plus, my fiance has a desk job and the ability to read & respond to email throughout his workday, and I do not. I tossed this text into emails and I think it was well-received?
    "Can you please be sure to include GroomsName on emails too? A lot of time he has much more timely access to email than I do."

    0 agree
  20. As a wedding planner, I am SO THRILLED when I am contacted by a groom, or when he comes and actively participates in meetings. I hate it when people refer to it as the "bride's day" or whatever – so annoying, and sexist! I have even seen contracts from other vendors where there is no mention of the groom/second partner nor any place for them to sign it. I just cannot understand why you'd exclude 50% of your client. Because your client is TWO people. And I do get kind of annoyed when I'm contacted only by the bride, and it's like pulling teeth to get the groom to participate at all. I make a point to include both people, even if the bride herself has not cc'd the groom. Unless it's regarding some kind of secret romantic plans, and then obviously, I keep confidences as required.

    Anyhoo, my suggestion would echo others above – either do not hire vendors who don't actively include both of you, or tell them directly and clearly that you're both in charge.

    0 agree
  21. "It is very important to us that this day be more than just 'the bride's day.' We are looking for vendors who are able to help BOTH OF US realize our vision for the wedding."

    If the vendor continues to ignore your groom, or blithely states "The groom doesn't matter!" Then you should be prepared to walk away.

    "I'm sorry, that's not going to work for US."

    When this happened, I tried to diffuse the situation with humor; but the vendor clearly did not get it and continued to be rude and condescending. We chose to walk away. I'm glad we did because even after forwarding them a link to the article, the company's customer service has yet to respond to our complaint.

    I found that things like looking to my fiance and letting him answer questions not only helped the keep the vendors in check; but it kept me from making it just about what I wanted too. Focusing on his needs early and publicly really helped to make it the wedding that WE dreamed of.

    0 agree
  22. When we were interviewing photographers, I mentioned to them "John doesn't understand why we're spending such a huge chunk on photography!" The ones that laughed it off and then directed all future comments to me were not hired. Then one photography finally got my drift, and then focused her sales pitch on John and explained what she was there for, etc. She left John giddy afterwards, instead of in "zombie mode" and she was the one that got hired.
    I just simply won't hire any vendors that don't treat it as "Amber AND John's Day" If I felt like a vendor was only directing things to me, I would have John talk to them the next time, to give them the impression that we're doing this together-cause we are!

    1 agrees
  23. My fiancee and I split up the vendors. I got the florist, he got the caterer, I got the venue, he got the cake, I got the photographer, he got the rental company, I got women's fashion, he got men's. No peeking; I don't even know what the cake's gonna look like ;)

    0 agree
  24. I´ve found a little desappointed that vendors make business this way. From my own experience , I always meet up with a couple, I mean with both! I want to see them, talk to them personaly and I sometimes help them solve some problems like find a serious vender, this one who is responsable, hard-worker and creative. Also, the groom starts to play more important role tha it used to be.

    0 agree

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