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Old November 5th, 2014, 03:49 AM   #1
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Getting hired by a weddingplanner

The past 2 years I have been hired by 4 weddingplanners to shoot a wedding and I have found that there are some disadvantages to that.

First some of them ask a commission, two didn't ask anything and they where happy with the trailer I provided them afterwards as they could use it as free advertisement for their work on their facebook page, two others asked 5%, not much as they do provide me with work but easy money made just for mentioning my name to a couple.

What I noticed in all cases though is how difficult communication can be, everything I want to know goes via the weddingplanner, they communicate further with the client, if needed, and the client communicates back to the weddingplanner and finally I get my answer from the weddingplanner.

At the weddingday they build some kind of wall between the "client" and the "vendors" or "suppliers" like they call us on their planning, they are supposed to be the contactpoint for everything during the wedding day itself so the couple doesn't get bothered but again this is causing another delay in communication, also when it comes to it they are not much help to me if something is not as agreed as they only have eyes for the client and what's on their planning at that moment.

When my edit is finished I got paid upfront, then have to send everything by mail directly to the client and never got to hear if they liked it or not. Only my last job with a wedding planner (I posted the trailer of that wedding here as well) the weddingplanner told me the bride liked my trailer, so even that feedback goes through them.

Usually a week or 2 after the wedding the planner send out a mail to all "suppliers" thanking them for their great teamwork, I honestly don't consider myself part of their "team" at all since like on all weddings, I am completely on my own to get things sorted with video or audio and don't have to expect any support from anyone, I still have to ask politely at the dj if I can get a feed from his mixer and if he is in a bad mood I have to look elsewhere :)

I decided to stop accepting work from planners, first of all I don't like giving away 5% of my hard earned money and I don't like the almost complete lack of direct communication/feedback from the client.

Are there more here that work with planners and how is your experience with them?
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Old November 5th, 2014, 06:00 AM   #2
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

We decided right fro the go that wedding planners were both a blessing and a curse. Most of the planners around here are people who are either getting married or just got married and thought it would be an easy way to make money. They're both incompetent and wrong most of the time.

There 'are' some very professional planners around, but part of their sales pitch to their clients is that they can save their client more money by negotiating discounts from suppliers than their services cost. That's all well and good, as long as I could quote an inflated price first in order to discount back to my normal price. If I wanted to work for cheeper I could just offer that price in the first place and probably get more bookings.

In the end we only got two bookings through wedding planners in the last 3 or 4 years and I made it clear that I wanted direct communication with the B+G right from the start, on the day and afterwards for the very reasons you mention. One of the planners was there on the day to make sure things ran smoothly (kept out of our way) but the other never turned up, I guess they'd been paid and weren't interested any more.

I'm ok giving small commissions, like 10-20, but it they are wanting 10%-15%-20% even 25% I've been asked for (on a 2,000 job), I send them on their way.
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Old November 5th, 2014, 07:49 AM   #3
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

I consider my wedding service to be very personal and like to know a little bit about the coiple and their family. That would be impossible through a wedding planner and those that I have seen at weddings have largely been an opinionated waste of space, with little or no knowledge of video or photography.

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Old November 5th, 2014, 05:02 PM   #4
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

It obviously a more popular thing overseas than here. I have encountered just one wedding planner over the last maybe 15 years... The bride booked her but had already booked me so no commission was involved.

We do have a company here that does "event planning" and the way they work is to offer you "XX dollars" to shoot and provide cleaned up footage to them (I assume they edit the final package and put their name on it. A mate of mine was asked to do a wedding but the rate was very low indeed.

I'm happy with brides booking me direct for my combined packages (Nowdays we get virtually no enquiries for just video as they love the combined video and photo and I love shooting with my own photog too!)

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Old November 5th, 2014, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

Originally Posted by Dave Partington View Post
They're both incompetent and wrong most of the time.
Agreed. Done a dozen or so weddings with planners over the years and they are the most disorganised chaotic events ever. They seem to over-complicate everything to justify their own need.
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Old November 5th, 2014, 11:40 PM   #6
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

I've only encountered one before, in Melbourne. There were a couple of things that went awry. I can't remember all of them, but the planner was definitely in the bride's bad books. One big issue was the limo being booked for an hour or two less than it should have been.

Mains thing I found annoying were: (1) planner acting as the source of all information, but being too busy to answer questions like which direction bridal party entry was happening from; (2) planner kind of fussing around my equipment. For instance: unmanned tripod left to record guests as they entered reception. Planner complains about tripod making room look untidy. In fairness, a room without a tripod does look tidier than a room with, but it's not something anyone's mentioned to me before or since -- they just let me do my job!

I think Ray Roman does say, though, that most of his high-paying work comes through planners. I guess really expensive weddings inevitably employ them.

Edit: Actually, there was at least one more wedding planner I met, and maybe this is the commonest situation in which an Australian bride might hire a planner -- when it's an overseas wedding. Otherwise, well, I think people around here would rather save the money. And I also suspect that many brides enjoy the process of creating their wedding themselves.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; November 6th, 2014 at 12:18 AM.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 12:50 AM   #7
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

I think Ray Roman does say, though, that most of his high-paying work comes through planners.
Definitely the case for those weddings I did with a planner, each time the couple had big budgets, I also have the nicest looking demo's in such the case because the location is also of a high standard.

And I also suspect that many brides enjoy the process of creating their wedding themselves.
And in those case the bride wants to talk directly to her videographer and photog before the event because she wants to be sure everything is like she wants it to be, last wedding I did with a planner there was a bus which was going to be used to drive the family to the town hall for the legal marriage, then to the church and right after that to the venue. I contacted the planner to see if it was not possible to shoot inside the bus but I had to find a way to get back to my car which did not seem possible so I just followed with my car all day. During the wedding it appeared that after the town hall the bus was going back to the start location before they would go to the church so I could have been in that bus for the first part, this is something I would have known if I would have talked to the bride when we discuss the planning.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 08:12 AM   #8
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

I used to give a discount to the bride if they hired a wedding planner, then I could send my planning sheets through them and not bother the bride for lighting details etc.... but that bit me in butt before and don't really offer it anymore. My expectations are pretty high, I expect a planner to have the technical knowledge to make my life easy, but around my area, there are few that get it. One of the best organized weddings I ever did was organized by a friend of the bride, the friend was a kindergarten teacher. I told her she was great and should go into business planning weddings.

I wouldn't give a kickback to the wedding planner, that's a gamble to me. But that's just me.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 08:24 AM   #9
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

Yeah, I don't believe in payola or commission. You can accept work from planners, but just let them know you will not be paying a commission. They would not do the same for you.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 06:44 PM   #10
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

In my early years, I used to pay out like around 20% to them planners. My average pricing was around $1500
US dollars, but I didn't give them much fancy artsy stuff, just the basics. They ( 5 of them) kept me very busy for about 6 years, like a total of around 40 weddings a year. The rest, I booked myself through vendors which I usually gave 5% or a flat $50. That worked very well and I still have planners referring me now and then but I don't give them more than 10%, take it or leave it. I don't care about meeting with the family of the couple or getting detailed agendas. I just like to shoot, edit and get paid...the least amount of sweat for what I am paid. I find that those who hire a planner are not too particular about the video cinematics look, they just want coverage with simple edits. This is according to my experience. The ones who want to be more picky and look for artistry usually don't go the planner route. They sit down with me and go over details. Those I charge accordingly. In any case, I never give them a lobster dinner for the price of a hot dog.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 07:50 PM   #11
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

I find most weddings with 'wedding planners' tend to also be the ones that run late, a bit unorganized, bride unsure what to do etc.. I was at one where I swear there were 2 o3 planners running the event?! Even had wireless mics to communicate. It was absurd, just going wayyyyyyy to far to make sure the bride doesn't see the groom ('ok, where is she, ok we're here so we'll walk down this hallway'). The funny part was after the ceremony the reception & introductions started way too late, people hustled in, then waited a bit, then were back up & getting drinks from the bar etc etc.. The dance floor opened up about an hour late & garter/bouquet/cake cutting essentially happened towards the end of the night, and were anticlimatic.
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Old November 7th, 2014, 02:15 AM   #12
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Re: Getting hired by a weddingplanner

In my region planners don't tend to ask for a cut. They recommend video and photo people that they trust will do a good job and not be late etc. The brides trust them to make good recommendations.

Most of the planners I work with are super professional and work with the video and photo people. Some are atrocious however and don't give a hoot about coordinating and giving heads-up.

I always offer the planners a copy of the DVD afterwards which is good for them and me of course.
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