Bride wants out of contract (warning: long post)

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Daniel David

New Member
So I met with a bride and her fiance last August about their upcoming June 2010 wedding.

They really liked what I had to offer and wanted to use chinese lanterns. This was back when I was at $1000 per wedding so I sold them on a reception system, ceremony system, and for me to install chinese lanterns for her special day. She asked if I would buy the lanterns because I could use them at another event, and we agreed upon a price of $1350. (I would charge a heck of a lot more now)

So all is good, they sign the contract and make the initial payment. Then I get a phone call from them back in February, saying they have hired a violinist to play music for the ceremony and they no longer need the ceremony system. I explain the system is not there for just music, but it is to help their 200 guests hear what was being said, especially since it was an outdoor event.

She felt a lot better after she talked to me, and wanted to keep everything the same.

Then, I get an email from her informing me she has hired a wedding planner, and she feels that I have ripped her off with my pricing and taken advantage of her, and cannot believe that I will not give her a partial refund due to her not needing a ceremony system.

She proceeded to tell me all she needed now was a human jukebox. Someone to just show up and play music.

I then proceeded to remind her we had this very conversation a few months ago. I also said we could do a new contract, but it would be at my current rate. For only the reception system and use of chinese lanterns, plus travel to the venue my new price would be $1616. I gave her three options moving forward.

1. Keep the contract as is.
2. Do a new contract.
3. If she was truly unhappy, she could forego any additional expenses and get out of her contract.

So she sent me an apology email and said she had not realized what all I had done, and that she wanted to keep my services.

We met first without the wedding planner, and she really liked my ideas to personalize her event. However, that all changed when I met with her and the wedding planner later that week.

We met out at the venue, and the planner said I just needed to worry about where I was setup and that she would take care of the rest. I suggested to the planner that the location she was wanting to put the tent, the guests would have their view blocked due to shurbs and columns for their formal dances.

She again reminded me I was "just the DJ" and that was her job to plan those details. I said okay, I will be over here, and when you all need me, please let me know.

We then met and discussed the ideas with the planner, that I had previously discussed with the bride, the planner crossed her arms and then the bride told me we would not be doing anything that was previosuly discussed.

I then reminded the bride, she was paying me for my expertise and then reminded her about the wedding style she wanted. She said again we no longer want that, and continued with our meeting. We got to the formal dance portion, and I asked if she knew why we did the parents dances. She had no idea, I then asked the planner why we do the parents dances and she had no clue. So I explained to both of them why we do the parents dance and then suggested we do them first, the bride liked that idea and then the planner chimes in but her father already gave her away at the ceremony. Lets do it as 1st dance, daughter father, mother son. The bride sided with her, and I informed her that she was not doing anything different than what guests see at about 95% of reception.

I then informed her because she was not doing anything to make the guests feel involved in her celebration, that the majority of guests would leave once the open dancing began, and she said she did not care.

So obviously this was no longer the type of client I wanted to work with. I said my goodbyes and thanked them for their time, and I asked if they could please cc me a copy of the final itinerary so I could be prepared for their wedding day.

So a couple of weeks pass, and I hear from another vendor through the wedding network that this bride is bad mouting me all over town and that she wanted out of her contract and that I would not let her out of it.

So I contacted the bride, and told her what I was hearing and she wanted to know who told me. I said that was not important, but what was important was that she was not happy, and so I asked her to be honest with me. She the proceeds to tell me that she originally wanted a band, but really enjoyed how detailed I was in our initial meeting and felt I was the right fit for their wedding.

I informed her that things changed with her when she got the wedding planner, and said "Oh, but I love her she is great" I told her I was happy for her, and that if she really wanted a band to go get one, and I would let her out of her contract. She was totally blown away at how nice I was, and I bet she felt more than a little guilty for bad mouthing me.

I told her I had not done anything wrong to her, and even gave her a chance to get out of the contract three weeks earlier. So after this long novel post we are at the end. I kept my intial payment and I could have held her to the contract, but it wasn't worth the hassle or damage control I would have to do, from making an additional $950.
 

unlimitedsounds

Active Member
YEP! I HAD a client who wanted everything for NADA but then when I gave them a nice package including some EXTRAS that I would charge extra for and didnt, she didnt sign the contract and said she would when she was READY! I tried to ask her what was the issue and she god mad! she hasnt contacted me and also canceled at the HALL where I work and the event was to take place....

LOL!
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
Dan, I have to applaud you on your patience and diplomacy. I can't imagine it was easy for you. I felt my blood-pressure going up just from reading your account of the bride & planner's behavior. I wish your expertise and grace under fire could get the attention of a national trade publication the way the bad behavior of some DJ's do. You represented the profession very well. Definitely the bride's loss. I'm wondering if she knows that many bands; take 20 mins off for every 40 on, have a limited catalog of songs, etc., etc., etc. -Z-
 
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Daniel David

New Member
So what about the laterns you bought?
Ahhh the power of networking!

I had originally priced the lanterns, but then met a vendor who could set them up cheaper than what I would have paid.

For outdoor events the client is responsible for the balance in full 3 weeks prior to the event. Which means once I had full balance then I was going to order the lanterns. Guess I won't be out anything except my time, and planning materials, but I got paid $400 for that and I didn't play any songs, nor setup any equipment.
 

ninodj

Active Member
It's funny how we ( DJ's ) can add lanterns, outdoor sound systems, properly announce introductions, arrange a proper time schedule to make things happen.....but yet we are only DJ's.
 

krim

Servicing Northern NM
I'm wondering if she knows that many bands; take 20 mins off for every 40 on, have a limited catalog of songs, etc., etc., etc. -Z-

Around here everyone knows it's just the opposite, 20 minutes on 40 minute break! So many people know how bands are but for some reason they keep booking them?!


I really applaud the efforts you made in making the situation what it was. I really feel like wedding planners overstep their boundaries and I have lost a job or two because they know a $300 DJ that gives them $50.
 

djtunes

Checking Reality
It seems to me that the wedding planner may be responsible for your loss of income and damage to your reputation.
Maybe Judge Joe Brown or someone in your area will see it that way too.
 

Bob Dietrich

Active Member
This is a sad take on this industry in general. The vast majority of this industry basically offers cookie cutter service...insert names here _______.

While I don't much care for most planners as it seems their much like most DJ's in the area of professionalism, on the whole I suspect the percentage of planners who does a good job comparitively speaking is higher than our industry. IN our industry it seems many has never even met the B&G and like sheep, they're herded into the area they're told to play at and like a good sheep does as told.

Then there are the true pros of this industry, like the many fine members we have here who leads. How many of you have been told you should be a wedding planner? I suspect quite a few of us here have heard exactly that. We have the experience, vision and professionalism that many planners doesn't have. Sadly, we are in the minority.

It can be a pleasure to work with a good planner! There just really isn't that many good ones. Last year I had a somewhat similiar situation where the bride had hired a planner. I had spent several hours with this client on her vision and we had a superb event planned including her outside ceremony. Along comes the planner and starts changing everything. I asked that we meet and go over these changes one by one. Virtually everything she had planned while it would still work ok, wouldn't have been as good...seems planner hadn't thought about the natural lighting of outside when reconfiguring the area for the ceremony and the negative effect it would have...little things like that all the way through the reception. Then, I finally asked her how much experience as a planner she had...less than 2 years doing it part time as a hobby...about 20 events total. I made sure during this meeting to mention I had been doing this over 30 years now...something that made the brides jaw drop when her planner told me of her experience. At this point she told her planner the original plan is going to be what she used and anything about the ceremony and reception should first be ran through me.

At this point I suspected she would say forget it and quit. To my surprise she said that's fine and we had an excellent working relationship that continues to this day. She originally picked my brain about different things and she still occasionally calls me with ideas and such...as well as recommends me for every event she books if they don't have someone yet. I consider her a friend and a professional as she now looks at the much bigger picture ad does a great job. Unfortunately, this is not the norm.

I believe being in the minority as we are, you'll always have these folks trying to do everything...including your job. If they are unwilling to have a reasonable conversation about their event you can simply be the sheep and follow or graciously bow out as was shown above in the first post by Daniel.

I'm proud to be able to be a part of like-minded professionals we have here at Mobile Beat...and I hope each of us takes the time to at least try to work with everyone...if we can help one or two planners along the way it elevates our industry...something that's definitely needed.
 
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Daniel David

New Member
Dan, I have to applaud you on your patience and diplomacy. I can't imagine it was easy for you. I felt my blood-pressure going up just from reading your account of the bride & planner's behavior. I wish your expertise and grace under fire could get the attention of a national trade publication the way the bad behavior of some DJ's do. You represented the profession very well. Definitely the bride's loss. I'm wondering if she knows that many bands; take 20 mins off for every 40 on, have a limited catalog of songs, etc., etc., etc. -Z-
The truth is the industry runs in cycles. Years ago the "in trend" was to have a wedding band play the receptions. That trend is making a comeback mainly due to the lack of professionalism portrayed by our industy (boobie bongo's anyone?)

Eventually, the shift will make a focus back to DJs. Yes, I have mentioned the pros and cons of bands, and right now brides want to hire a band, or if they hire a DJ they go for the cheapest they can find, because in the bride's mind all DJs are the same.

It is up to you to seperate yourself from other DJs, and even when you manage to seperate yourselves and get a premium rate for your services, sometimes things happen and the clients needs change as proved by the example above.

I would much rather let the client go, then to sit there and be miserable for the few hours. It does take a lot of restraint not to let your frustrations show. I caught myself starting to slip a couple times during conversations..lol
 

hippydog

wuz here when it was Red.
Dan, I have to applaud you on your patience and diplomacy. I can't imagine it was easy for you. I felt my blood-pressure going up just from reading your account of the bride & planner's behavior. I wish your expertise and grace under fire could get the attention of a national trade publication the way the bad behavior of some DJ's do. You represented the profession very well. Definitely the bride's loss. I'm wondering if she knows that many bands; take 20 mins off for every 40 on, have a limited catalog of songs, etc., etc., etc. -Z-
I couldnt say it any better myself..
so i will just give a big +1 !!!
 

Ken Heath

Super Moderator...da-ta-daaa!!!
Staff member
If you think it takes very little to become a dj these days, consider the initial investment required to call yourself a wedding planner???

;)
 

CMB

Active Member
While you're out the income...I think you're out alot more stress. In the end I feel they would have bashed you after the wedding, regardless that they told you they wanted a jukebox.
 

Bill_Goode

Mobile Beat Moderator
Staff member
I have some thoughts, but you will have to go here to see them....

My hats off to you for what you did. Now, let's not hope they bash you for letting them off the hook!
 

DJ Jonny T

New Member
Wedding Planner? More like wedding problems. I've rarely met one that did not cause more problems then she solved. And I'm sure she got paid of course. Plus I doubt this 'planner' was certified. Hell I've done more in ways of planning then any I have met.

Now I'm sure there are some good ones out there but in all my years I have never met one.
 

bill_smith

MobileBeat Moderator
Staff member
When they get what they think they want, they will have experience.

Sounds to me like this planner has a way of doing it, and anything that is novel or different gets squished. Glad that you've decided to move along.
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
Famous Experience Quotes for a Thousand Alex

When they get what they think they want, they will have experience.
Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
Experience Is What You Get When You Didn't Get What You Wanted
 
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