I know, I know: I said I would come back today to talk to you about our florist. And I will! I promise! I am very excited to be working with her!! First though, I want to talk about something a little taboo: the break-up.
No, I’m not talking about that kind of break-up! I’m talking about the email or phone call you inevitably have to make when you need to tell one vendor that you’ve decided to go with another. Obviously, I interviewed more than one florist…which meant that at some point, I had to send an email to the florist I didn’t hire.
There are many schools of thought on this, but these are mine: someone who has shared their visions of your wedding day with you and taken considerable time to write up a proposal deserves to be told one way or another if you are hiring them or not. Granted, it’s different for every vendor and situation, but here are my general tips for writing that email:
1. Be vague at first, but don’t be afraid to be specific later, either. I find that it’s best at first to be a little vague—simply thank the vendor for their time but tell them you’re going in a different direction. Good vendors—the people who you didn’t hire for one reason or another but who still were polite, responsive and have a good work portfolio—aren’t going to berate you for not picking them. Sometimes, after you’ve sent them the break-up email, they’ll respond back and ask you why. If you feel comfortable sharing the reasons you aren’t going with them, many vendors are actually grateful to hear these reasons, as it helps them focus on improving their business for future customers. I don’t feel that it’s necessary to be specific in an initial email, but if they ask, don’t be afraid to say why you are going with someone else.
2. Those vendors you don’t like still deserve to know. Yes, it may be easier to forget a rude vendor rather than send them an email…but in the end, does that make you any better than them? Better to take the high road and just politely state that you’re going in a different direction. You can feel good that you made the right choice AND stayed polite. Which leads me to tip 3…
3. Just because a vendor is rude to you doesn’t mean you deserve to be rude to them. There can be a bad apple in every bunch: Sometimes, an outrageous vendor will, in fact, have the balls to berate you about not choosing them. Or maybe they were rude during your appointment. Or maybe they didn’t show up to your appointment at all! Despite those egregious errors, I subscribe to the school of thought that two wrongs don’t make a right. Better to stay above the fray and not risk any repercussions later on (who knows who this vendor is friends with? Especially in a tight-knit industry like weddings). If you are not going with a vendor because he or she has been rude to you, go re-read tip number one: be vague yet polite in your response and don’t feel like you owe the vendor any further explanation. Even if they ask for it—continue to be polite. Try responding with a concrete reason they can’t argue with (example: pricing)…and if they’re still rude? Hit delete and move on.
4. Keep it short and sweet. Most likely, you haven’t developed a long-term relationship with this vendor (unless you’ve already booked them and now have to break up with them, but that’s an entirely different experience in itself). There’s no need to write a novel—just state the quick facts and move on. Vendors appreciate that you sent the email and didn’t waste their time with a long, drawn-out story.
Ok, maybe not THAT short and sweet, but you know what I mean!
5. If in doubt, send one. And by one, I mean email, of course! Maybe you only met this person once. Maybe you didn’t even meet them, but engaged in a few email conversations and still decided to go elsewhere. Either way, it’s better to drop them a quick line so they aren’t bombarding your inbox with follow-ups.
Here’s an example of an email I’ve written:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me the other day. It was a pleasure meeting you and discussing ideas for our wedding; however, we have decided to go with a different ______________ (insert vendor type here).
I wish you the best of luck in the future and thank you again for meeting with me!
Short, sweet, and to the point. If I get a response back asking why I am choosing someone else, I am more than happy to be more specific and share.
Keep in mind, these tips don’t apply to every situation…and I am certainly not advocating that you let yourself get walked all over by an outrageously rude vendor. But, if you keep these rules of thumb in mind, you should be able to walk (er, email?) away from most (if not all) of your vendor meetings being seen as a responsible, polite, and easy-to-work-with customer.
What are your tips for “breaking up” with a vendor?