Post # 1
So my fiancé and I are obviously planning a wedding. We live much closer to his parents than either of mine so his mom has been very involved in the wedding planning thus far. Let me start by saying I love her and value her opinion and agree with it 95% of the time, however I also feel a little bit obligated to not rock the boat so to speak.
A little bit of background, I am a creative person, I have a degree in graphic design and studio art and I have worked in event planning before. When my fiancé and I first got engaged his mother was all about us using the wedding planner they used for his sister’s wedding. I was around for that wedding and remember it being a beautiful wedding and everything seemed to go well. His mother offered to pay for the cost of the planner separately from a very generous contribution to the wedding in general so I agreed to use her. I was a little apprehensive about needing a wedding planner at all, and if I had been paying for it I wouldn’t have one, but I figured I would go along with this, partly because it’s something his mom is very excited about, partly because in theory having a wedding planner should mean less stress for me right?
So we had our first meeting with the planner and she asked about what style we were going for, what theme we had of any, what colors we wanted and anything that we had already done. At that point we already had a church and a reception venue booked. She then said give me two weeks and I will have a centerpiece mocked up for you. Ok great. Centerpieces are something I had looked at on Pinterest but I hadn’t really thought about them yet as we are still over a year from the wedding. So the two weeks go by and she brings us these wonderful centerpieces. They are a little abstract and there were definitely some things I didn’t like about them, so we sort of went over some of that but she told me to keep them and look at them for a few days and then come back to her with notes. I said ok, no problem, but before you go can we talk about what the cost of these are. She stopped me and said ‘well I thought Fmil was paying for this’ I said ‘as far as I am aware she is paying your consultant fee and we (myself and my fiancé) are paying for the cost of anything purchased out of the budget we have set for the wedding’ she told me to find out and confirm and if my fmil was the one paying for this she (the planner) was not going to tell me how much they cost. So that struck me as a little odd but I moved past it. So we showed Fmil the centerpieces she gave her feedback, most of which I agreed with, I completely forgot in this conversation to ask who was paying for what. So I sent my notes back to the planner and she comes back with a few tweaks and ideas and so on. She then texts me that same day and says she wants me to call her to ‘finalize the details’ of the centerpieces. I talked to her on her phone for a bit and she is very excited about all of this and wants to order everything right now (the wedding is still a year away, May 2019). I said we hadn’t had a chance to talk to Fmil about who’s paying for what and I wasn’t comfortable moving forward without knowing where we are budget wise. She said ok but please get back to me ASAP as we need to order this stuff soon. Why do we need to order anything soon, the wedding is a year away and the centerpieces are largely live flowers. Anyway finally got my fiancé to get in touch with his mom and confirmed that we are paying for any costs incurred outside the planners fee so I texted her and asked for the cost of everything. The total per table is around $90, which is way more than I budgeted for. So I’m going to more or less have to go back to her and tell her to start over, this time with budget in mind.
So here are my issues with the whole situation. Why was budget never discussed? Even if my Fmil was paying for this shouldn’t someone who is operating a business be aware of budget before starting any project? Why wouldn’t she tell me the cost of my Fmil was paying for it? It’s my damn wedding I have a right to be aware of what is being spent especially if my choices are impacting that. What if my Fmil was paying for it and had the same reaction to cost that I did, was the planner going to admit to me that she was over budget? In thinking back to the initial meeting she never once actually asked if I had any ideas for centerpieces she just ran with her own idea. So when I go back to her and say sorry, no, start over am I going to possibly offend her? I have a few ideas that fit our theme that are much less extreme then what she brought us, am I overstepping her creative process by giving my ideas? I know as a graphic designer I can sometime get annoyed when a client doesn’t know what they are talking about but they keep offering suggestions. Am I going to seem cheap going back to her and saying cut everything in half? Am I being a bridezilla by being incredibly annoyed at the whole situation? Even at having the planner in the first place. I am also now worried moving forward that I am basically going to have to watch the planner all the time to make sure things aren’t getting crazy and out of control. Part of me wants to take the reins back so to speak and either have the planner as more of a day of coordinator or not have her at all but I am worried about the possible fall out with my fmil.
Post # 2
In a way, I see her point about if someone else was paying she didn’t want to tell you the price.
She likely wanted to make sure if this was a gift from Future Mother-In-Law to you that you didn’t worry about the price of it and made sure to just get what you wanted. I know if someone was paying for something for me I would probably pick the absolute cheapest options whether I liked them or not because someone else was paying, which is not always what the person paying wants the gifted party to do. So I do in a way see her point.
She was hired as a planner so of course she’s going to come in with a million ideas for you to choose from to make your life easier. If you have ideas you need to be verbal and express that up front when you first talk about things.
Honestly, I don’t see any huge red flags here just a lot of miscommunication.
Post # 3
I agree with the above poster. I see no issues, besides a bit of miscommunication, with what happened.
Post # 4
Overthinking. You both used poor communication. Given that you have so much time, it would have been a better use of her time for you to have first clarified who was paying, before she did any work at all on the centerpiece idea. I also don’t see a problem with her not sharing the cost if Future Mother-In-Law was paying.
I suggest you be more assertive at the next meeting. Rather than sit back and let her present ideas, start with a discussion of your budget and your ideas for the look, feel you want. It is silly to waste her time developing ideas that won’t work at all for you.
Post # 5
I get that you’re annoyed with having this planner, but for your own peace of mind, either decide to be zen about it or decide to back out. Starting over on the centerpieces should be a good thing, right? Because you can start from your budget and inspiration ideas, set the paradigm for how future planning will go, and this time get an accurate read on how she’ll handle your concerns and plans?
You won’t seem cheap or like a bridezilla – the planner shouldn’t be pushing ideas regardless of budget. Be upfront about your budget, whether it’s per centerpiece or decor total or both. Discuss and set ground rules with her about getting firm itemized quotes before placing any orders – or whatever else will give you peace of mind about her getting out of control. And I’m sure you’ll stay respectful but don’t be overly concerned about overstepping her creative process – she’s hired as a planner not a designer, and I think it’s normal for brides to have some specific ideas about types of flowers/vases/etc.
Don’t hide any of your opinions (including ones like “I don’t want to deal with this so far in advance” etc), but do get into a positive attitude and really look at the planner as your ally and a reasonable person. If you do that and she shows you that she isn’t reasonable, then you can back out or majorly limit her role.
Post # 6
This sounds like miscommunication. If Future Mother-In-Law paid for everything in full last time, it would be a fair assumption it was the same arrangement if no one told the planner otherwise.
Be assertive and just start over. Call her up and apologize for the miscommunication over who would be paying for what and ask if you can have another meeting now that you are on the same page to discuss budget, ideas, and a timeline of what you would like to see and how much involvement you will need from her on what activities.
Post # 7
I’m going to put the blame on the planner, here. Why didn’t she confirm budget and price point before spending weeks designing and mocking up centerpieces?
OP, if I was in your situation, I’d want to see if I could get out of the contract with the wedding planner and just have a month-of-coordinator instead. You sound like you have a lot of your own ideas, you work in a creative field, and you have background in event planning. I have a feeling you and this wedding planner may wind up butting heads a lot over creative control.
If you’re worried about possible fallout from your future Mother-In-Law… consider this. If you need to set boundaries with your Mother-In-Law, may as well learn to do it sooner rather than later.
Post # 8
I think your planner is getting ahead of herself since the wedding is so far away. I also had an issue with my planner’s lack of communication and putting me on the back burner since my wedding is in October. I simply wrote an e-mail discussing my concerns and left it up to her to “please advise” given the circumstances. I basically gave her room to agree and decide for herself not to work with us. However, she replied very professionally and agreed to do a better job. I think you should also address your concerns in an e-mail and give her time to reflect and respond. I do not think you should just deal with a planner you don’t mesh with just because your fmil wants her. I would at least give her an opportunity to rectify the issue before you pull the plug.
Post # 9
Thank you all for your feedback. For now I am going to go back to our planner and lay everything out. I will give her some new ideas but also be very straight forward about budget. I had a long talk with my Fmil and she agrees that it was strange to not have budget discussed, even if she was the one paying for everything she still would have a budget to be considering. So she and I are on the same page and hopefully we can bring the planner back to where we all want to be. I will say having to go back to the drawing board I have come across some really cool and relatively inexpensive centerpiece ideas.