Dealing with emotional wedding clients

Show Notes:

How confident are you in dealing with emotional wedding clients?

In today’s episode, I chat with Leah Weinberg, a former wedding planner turned lawyer, about her book “The Wedding Rollercoaster” and the emotional side of wedding planning.

We discuss the importance of understanding the psychology behind weddings and really tuning in to clients’ behaviour and emotions to provide better support and a more personalised experience.

We also chat about some of the tricky situations she’s faced, like dealing with difficult family dynamics and incorporating cultural and religious traditions into her clients wedding days.

Check out Leah’s book on Amazon

Follow Leah on Instagram

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Time stamps:

The Inspiration for the Book [00:02:45] Leah Weinberg shares the story of how a conversation with a client inspired her to write her book, “The Wedding Rollercoaster.”

The Psychology Behind Weddings [00:05:45] Leah Weinberg discusses the emotional side of wedding planning and the tough conversations that couples may have to navigate.

Why Couples Get Stressed [00:07:17] Leah Weinberg explains the various factors that contribute to the stress and emotion that couples experience during wedding planning, including family dynamics, money, and past relationships.

Understanding the Client’s Experience [00:09:07] Importance of understanding the client’s behavior and experience in the wedding industry.

Dealing with Difficult Emotions [00:12:11] Process for dealing with difficult emotions from clients and understanding one’s own emotional intelligence.

Challenges Faced by Couples [00:16:58] Example of a couple from different cultural backgrounds and the challenges they faced in combining their traditions for the wedding ceremony.

Breaking down the planning process [00:22:05] Leah Weinberg shares her advice on how to help couples navigate the overwhelming process of wedding planning by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps.

Importance of context when asking personal questions [00:21:13] Leah Weinberg and Becca Pownall discuss the importance of providing context when asking personal questions to clients, especially when it comes to family dynamics and cultural or religious traditions.

Dealing with unexpected life events [00:24:38] Leah Weinberg shares a story of a couple who went radio silent during the planning process due to an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis, and how she handled the situation with empathy and professionalism.

The Wedding Rollercoaster [00:26:25] A former wedding planner turned lawyer shares a heartwarming story of a couple who decided to shave their heads in solidarity during the wedding planning process.

Creating Touchpoints [00:31:13] The importance of creating touchpoints and checkpoints during the wedding planning process to avoid miscommunication and ensure a positive experience for clients.

Becoming Emotionally Intelligent [00:33:32] Tips on how wedding professionals can become more emotionally intelligent and self-aware to better handle heavy emotional situations during the planning process.

Putting up emotional boundaries [00:35:09] The guest shares her experience of having to consciously put up emotional boundaries with clients and not take on their emotions. She also suggests meditation as a helpful tool.

Compartmentalizing work and personal life [00:36:51] The host and guest discuss the importance of compartmentalizing work and personal life, and not letting work emotions spill over into personal life.

Importance of reading “The Wedding Rollercoaster” [00:37:42] The guest talks about how her book is helpful for both couples and wedding vendors, and how it can improve communication and relationships between them. The host suggests making it a prerequisite for working with them.

Transcript:

Leah: People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. And when you think about it, the crux of the wedding industry is how we as the vendor suppliers, wedding pros, make our clients feel.

Becca: I am Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you are listening to The Wedding Pros who are Ready to Grow podcast.

I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get going with today’s episode. Today I’m chatting with Leah Weinberg. After a decade as a wedding planner, she’s now returned her roots as a lawyer to assist her events colleagues with all things legal. Leah has also written a book called The Wedding Rollercoaster to help navigate couples through the emotional ups and downs of planning their wedding.

And as we know, there’s a lot of them. Leah, welcome to the podcast. It’s so fun to have you. How are you doing?

Leah: I’m good. Thanks so much for having me on today.

Becca: It is an absolute pleasure. Now, my audience will be glad that today we are not talking all things legal, although perhaps we should get you back to do that at another point.

But actually, we are gonna focus this episode today around your book and the ups and downs of the wedding rollercoaster and our couples. Now, people might be thinking, well, I’m not getting married, so why is this relevant to me? But we are gonna be looking at it from the supplier perspective. So before we get into that a little bit more, I would love to start by just finding out a little bit about your story, about how you ended up writing this book and writing on this subject in the first place.

Leah: Yes. So I started my career as a lawyer. Eventually decided to leave that start my own business. So I became a wedding planner. My company was called Color Pop Events, and just very recently, at the beginning of this year, I shut down my wedding company, have gone back to being a lawyer. But during the pandemic I wrote a book.

So I call that my Pandemic Silver Lining. It was a book that I, honestly, I’d had it in mind. I’d been writing a little bit. Since about 2017, cuz the whole book was inspired by like a single conversation that I had with one of my clients in the summer of 2017 and gave me the idea for this book. And so started putting pen to paper here and there, but it really wasn’t until 2020 that I finally had the time and.

Space as many of us did to write the book, learn how to put a book together, and self-publish and all of that good stuff. And so it came out in April of 2021.

Becca: Wow. I love a good news pandemic story and also I’m always very. Proud of people that can actually sit down and write a whole book. Because for me it’s been on my list of things to do for about the last five years.

But the thought of sitting down to write it and the amount of time it takes, like it’s so hard. So well done for getting it done even in the middle of the pandemic. Now, you taught there about how the inspiration for the book came from a conversation back in 2017. So can you dig into that a little bit?

Leah: Yes, yes. I like to call this, it’s not about the fried chicken story, so my. Client and I, we were on the train home from a site visit from their venue and it was the bride and we were, it was a pretty long train ride, so we had a lot of time for conversation and we were talking just regular life stuff, talking some wedding stuff.

And she shared with me that she was in the middle of a fight with her dad, and normally the family’s very close. She and her dad and her parents talk on like a daily basis. And so they were having this fight and they were not on speaking terms, and they hadn’t spoken for about a week. And she starts getting pretty emotional as she’s telling me this story, and I can tell that she’s just very, like, very upset by the fact that her dad is.

Has reacted this way. So she tells me what happened. So we’re at the point in the planning process where they’re picking out their menu. The venue has sent in, you know, those long lists of all the amazing types of food that they can pick for, for their dinner. And she and her fiance had had so much fun sitting down kind of.

Making their wish list of things, and she wanted to get her parents involved, so she sent an email and said, here are the menu options for dinner. I hope you have as much fun as we did looking through this, but one thing, the fried chicken is non-negotiable. And she said it, I mean sort of like she wanted fried chicken on the dinner menu, but said it sort of jokingly and her dad responded with, how dare you dictate to me what is going to be served at this wedding.

I am the one paying for this wedding and I am not serving fried chicken to my guest. And so, I think most people hearing that story would say, okay, that’s a overreaction on dad’s part for sure. But it occurred to me that there was more going on to the situation, and so it’s helpful to have the background information that my client, the bride is one of two kids.

She’s the only daughter and she’s the youngest of the two siblings. So it sort of occurred to me in that moment, okay, I think dad’s having some feelings about his baby girl getting married. And the fried chicken happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and he took it out on the fried chicken.

But I like to say it wasn’t really about the fried chicken. A lot of times people, if they aren’t good at expressing their emotions or don’t know how, or don’t have experience doing it, If you’re feeling sad or emotional about something, a lot of times that comes out as anger. And so that’s what was going on in this situation and that conversation made me think back to all the sort of interesting, shall we call it, behavior that I have seen from clients and their family and friends when people are getting married.

And so I decided to write this book. It’s essentially about like the psychology behind weddings. And is a guide for couples to navigate the emotional side of wedding planning. There’s all these how-to books out there, but nobody really talks about the tough conversations you have to have, the fights you might have with your parents, the disagreements that might come up with your partner, having to fire a member of your wedding party, that kind of stuff.

And so that’s. That’s how the book was born.

Becca: I love it. I love that it’s all about fried chicken. I’m with her. I would a hundred percent have fried chicken on my wedding day. But actually it speaks into something so important and I think when we work in the wedding industry, day in, day out, weddings become normal to us.

Right. We lose that spark because that’s just work. We are at every wedding, and we all have those brides and grooms that say, we’re gonna have a wedding that’s different to everyone else’s. Then we go to it and it’s exactly the same as everyone else’s because we’ve done it a million times. I think sometimes we forget the levels of stress.

And emotion as supplies that these couples are going through. So why do we think it is that, you know, when couples get engaged, they suddenly just go crazy with this stuff. Like what is it that’s causing that stress and emotion?

Leah: If you think about it, a wedding is like the perfect storm of all of this, all of this stuff.

So it’s like past relationships. Like relationship and emotional baggage that the people getting married might have. It’s honestly the emotional baggage that family has as well, and like how they view marriage, especially if there’s parents or people that have separated or divorced, that kind of thing.

But it’s also money, which is a huge stressor for people. This is probably the first time that these people in a lot of cases have been spending this much money, especially on a singular event. So that is stressful. It’s family dynamics and family relationships. Just get magnified in terms of who’s involved with the wedding planning, whether people are being supportive, whether they’re not, who’s invited, who’s not, and just stress in general of it’s.

It’s kind of a second job for people to plan a wedding if especially if they’re not working with a planner, to help them through that process. And so it’s just this like concentration of so many different things coming together that makes it a really high stakes emotional time for the people getting married and then the group surrounding them as well.

Becca: Yeah, and I’m sure people listening to this have had this experience when they’ve worked with couples themselves, and there’s probably some things resonating with them where they’ve had couples saying things or family drama going on right in front of them in a consultation or difficult conversation.

So we see it all of the time. But why do you think then, because none of us are going through this, potentially, we might not be planning our wedding at the moment, but why do you think us as wedding pros should actually be paying attention to the behavior of our couples? Is this important to do? Should we be looking at this behavior and why do you think that’s important?

Leah: Yeah, it’s super important. There’s a quote that often gets attributed to Maya Angelou, but. After reading about it, people think it wasn’t, it’s actually misattributed to her, but it’s that quote about, people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

And when you think about it, the crux of the wedding industry is how we as the vendors, suppliers, wedding pros make our clients feel. And so in order to give the best experience, we really have to understand. The client, we have to number, number one, understand and pay attention to the client behavior. But then we also have to understand just their experience because as you said, this is our job.

We see this all the time. Like nothing is, it’s not new for us, but we have to take a step back and realize that for our clients, it’s very new. It’s very exciting for them, even though we not may not be feeling that, and so, We’ve gotta see, understand what they, what they’re going through, and be able to kind of take a look and observe their behavior in order to enhance the experience that we’re giving them.

Becca: So if we decide that this is important to us and we need to pay more attention, are there practical things that we can be doing to help in these situations when we are faced with them? Because, You might think maybe we’re just best to avoid it. Maybe we’re best to keep out of it. Like practically, how does this look?

When we’re working with couples,

Leah: the first thing people have to do is have a little bit of self-awareness and understand their own sort of emotional intelligence and how, and their emotional style and how they operate. Like if you are the type of person who does not like big feelings, Within your close relationships, much less big feelings with like work relationships, then your approach with your couples is going to be very different than somebody who feels like they’re very well equipped to sort of navigate difficult emotional situations.

So what I talk about here is everybody should approach this in their own way, in a way that feels genuine to them. But some practical things we can do. A big thing honestly, is just becoming a better listener. Make sure that you’re practicing those active listening skills and focusing and paying attention and not thinking of the next thing that you’re gonna say in, in your head while you’re having a conversation with somebody.

And just be there for them and listen and really sort of take in what they’re trying to tell you. And then in terms of the next step, it, again, it depends on how comfortable you are with having these. Sort of more emotional conversations with people. But even just offering sort of surface level advice or directing them to maybe other resources or somebody else that might be more helpful for them to talk to if they’re coming to you and expressing some challenges or obstacles that they’re facing in the process.

It really just, just kind of being there and showing up and being present in that moment for them, I think is going to be a huge first step for people.

Becca: Now, sometimes I think we. Get the bad end of the stick as wedding pros. So we know that our couples might be going through difficult times and sometimes the cases that they end up taking it out on us.

So they might send us a short email, they might complain about something totally unnecessary, and it’s easy for us to get defensive to start fighting back. Like do you have any thoughts around how we absorb that emotion? How we remember what’s going on in the moment and how we best respond?

Leah: Yes, there’s, I have a certain I actually have a process for how to deal with this.

Becca: Love that.

Leah: I mean, the first, the first step is, and it really depends on the context, but I like to talk about things like on the wedding day, on the wedding day. Somebody might come up to you and not be happy about something and they’re gonna take it out on you and somebody yells at you. And I feel like in a lot of, obviously there’s the line of something turning into like abuse and harassment and behavior that we need to shut down.

A lot of times it’s just somebody coming up with like a snippy or snarky tone and saying something, and it’s like in that moment we kind of just have to unfortunately be professional. Take it, absorb it in that moment, and then, you know, once you have some time and space kind of figure out, was this really, was this your fault?

Was it just them? Sort of blowing off steam and there’s this intellectual piece of like, okay, let me take a look and analyze the situation and see what really happened and like, is there something I should have done or do I need to apologize? That kind of thing. But then the third step honestly, is understanding how you’re feeling in your.

Body about it because I’ve had plenty of situations where something went wrong. The client complained to me about something and even though my brain said I had nothing to do with this, there was honestly, I did everything that I could to try to prevent it. It was honestly another. Supplier’s fault. And still I felt it in my like I sort of like felt that guilt I felt in my body like, oh, I hate this.

I’ve let this person down. So there’s this sort of like in the moment you have to just deal with it. Then you sort of figure out with your brain what happened in the situation. And then you also have to take the time to understand and like acknowledge what’s happening in your body and eventually try to, you know, you wanna let it go.

You wanna. Pass through it, but you sort of just have to feel it for a little bit.

Becca: Yeah, and that’s definitely something that I know people find tough because again, as wedding business owners, wedding professionals, we’re so close to our businesses and we take everything so personally. So yeah, just trying to take a step back is really helpful.

One thing I talk quite a lot to my clients about when they come to me, because often they’ll come to me when they’re in a crisis, so someone’s sent an email or someone said something and they don’t know how to respond to it. And often I say to them and I dunno if you agree, whether this is a good thing to say or not, is okay, let’s take the emotion out of this for a moment and let’s remember we’re business owners.

We don’t need to say, your emails made me feel really sad. Or we don’t need to say like, I’ve done everything we can, but actually we just need to say the facts. Do you think that’s a good approach to kind of sometimes just be like, here’s what happened, here’s what we’re gonna do, and kind of reset those boundaries?

Leah: I do, yeah. I think it’s keeping it factual and one of the things like in those types of situations that I consciously stopped doing in my business was apologizing for things that weren’t my fault. So when I would get emails like that, Normally, you know, my initial reaction would be like, oh, I’m so sorry that this happened.

Like, let’s try to figure out how to work with it or figure, you know, work through it. And eventually I got to the point where I was like, this person is not just on principle. This person’s not getting an apology from me if it is not my fault. And so I will go to the ends of the earth to help you get whatever resolution you want.

But if what you’re looking for is an apology from me for something that wasn’t, My responsibility. That’s no, that was no longer gonna happen.

Becca: Yeah. I think that, again, that’s something that people struggle with is they say sorry for everything and they don’t really realize that they’re even doing it.

Sometimes I think it’s subconscious that we just start with those kind of sentences in our emails as well. Now, you talked a little bit earlier about some of the common struggles that clients may have, and I think one thing I’ve noticed. The older I get is that we’re so stuck in our own worldview, and so when other people are going through things, we just assume everyone else has the same kind of background as us, the same culture as us, that their family situation is the same as us.

But obviously that’s completely untrue. And so I think sometimes we fail to recognize that other people may have this stuff going on. So I’d love it if you could share some examples or give some thoughts about the kind of situations you’ve seen couples. Go through in their wedding planning and how that’s kind of manifested itself?

Leah: Yeah, I, there’s a lot of different, I have a lot of different stories. One of the stories that comes to mind of like the people from different backgrounds and combining different cultures. I had one. Couple who, the bride was Jewish, the groom was Indian, and from the very beginning our plan had always been, oh, we’re gonna, we wanna craft a ceremony that honors both of our different backgrounds, sort of acknowledges the different religions, but neither of us are particularly religious.

So it wasn’t important to have a very traditional. Ceremony. You know, we’re moving along with that assumption. Then one day I get a call from the bride and she’s like, we have a problem. And it turned out that the groom’s mom, who’s Indian, did not want the bride wearing a white wedding gown during the ceremony when they were doing any of the Indian traditions, because those white is the colour of mourning in India.

So we were like, okay, maybe she just wears her, sorry for the ceremony, and then changes afterwards for the reception. But then her mom didn’t love the idea of doing Jewish traditions while she was wearing a Sari and not the wedding, not the white wedding gown. And so we had to figure out what to do and we were brainstorming different ideas of like, Do we maybe just completely separate the two occasions and do you know the Jewish ceremony and reception on one weekend and maybe a couple weeks later they handle.

The Indian ceremony and reception. We thought about doing an outfit change during the ceremony. So like doing part one, having a little intermission while everybody goes to change, and then coming back for part two. That ended up being not feasible just cuz it was gonna take a long time. So for the outfit change to happen and where we eventually landed was they decided to do the Indian ceremony in the morning, then they did a breakfast.

Had the Indian ceremony, did portraits with everybody in their Indian attire. Then we had a break. Everybody went back, changed full hair and makeup change. Had the Jewish ceremony and then just the regular reception afterwards. But it was really interesting because they didn’t think this was gonna be a concern.

They were caught completely off guard by it. And so one of the things I learned from that was to let my clients know, Hey, if we are talking about different. Cultural traditions or religious traditions, let’s bring the family and the stakeholders in for that discussion early because you might be surprised at some of their very strong opinions, and we don’t wanna get too far along in the planning process and then have to sort of.

Problem solve. We’d rather know that going in.

Becca: Yeah. And I think sometimes couples either don’t know those things are gonna come up or Yeah, they’re not very forthcoming with that information. And again, maybe they’re in their worldview so they think we understand, even though it might be a totally different concept.

Do you think as wedding supplies, we should be. Asking better questions or how do we, how do we navigate that without kind of prying into situations, but whilst also making sure we’re thinking about these things and thinking about their situations?

Leah: Yeah, we do have to ask those questions and sometimes they can be fairly personal questions, but giving context when asking the questions.

So I see a lot of times photographers in their questionnaires or on calls, they’ll a, they’ll say something like, We need to know about family dynamics. Are there any divorces that we need to know about? Do we need to know of any people that don’t get along and like, they’ll say we understand that that’s a very, not intrusive, but sort of like, that’s just kind of a very private question, but they explain, you know, we need to know this in the context of when we’re doing portraits.

Are there people who we need to make sure we place them on opposite sides of the photo or. Do we wanna make sure we have separate photos so these people aren’t in the photo together? Uh, especially for planners, that information is really helpful to know. But I think as long as we are, we are explaining that we’re asking these questions in order to.

Provide a better service in order to make sure things go more smoothly on the wedding day. I think we can ask those questions in that correct context with that, with that background provided to them.

Becca: So context is key because we’re giving them the information about why we’re asking the questions, rather than just sounding like we’re asking everything about them for our own benefit,

Leah: right we don’t want your, we don’t want your family’s dirty laundry just to have good gossip. We’re actually asking it for a purpose.

Becca: Now, how do you think we help couples navigate more of the overwhelm of the wedding planning process? So it may be that they don’t have these cultural differences, they’re sorted with the money.

You know, they haven’t got any big life events going on, but just the pure planning of a wedding and the amount of different contracts and people they have to speak to and emails they have to reply to can become really overwhelming, but we know that as a vendor, as a supplier, we have to get this information and we need to get everything sorted.

So do you have any thoughts around how we just navigate that when we’re working with couples?

Leah: My big thing is to encourage couples to get organized and that break the entire process down into more manageable pieces and steps. And so as a planner, one of the very first documents I ever give my clients is I create a checklist for them of all of their major to-dos.

The timing of everything. It’s tailored based upon their specific wedding. It helps them say, okay, you know, if you look at the big picture, it’s like we have this hundred, we have a hundred things to do between now and the wedding, but when you break it down and go, oh, this month it’s coming up, we have like five major things that we need to tackle.

And so that makes it feel a lot less overwhelming when you can break it down into those steps. And then, I mean, when I got married, I got married before I was in the industry, and so as any good lawyer would, I bought books in order to learn how to plan my wedding and sort of did that myself like I.

Bought books, took notes, essentially created my own checklist that I could use to get organized and sort of understand what the process looks like. But it’s really important to break it down into those smaller steps, create realistic timing for getting everything done, and then that’s gonna help clients feel a lot more comfortable with what they have, cuz it’s not just this huge, giant thing on the horizon.

Becca: Yeah, I think that’s really key and being organized, but also setting out those expectations and boundaries from the beginning with your couples and explaining to them, you know, this is what’s gonna happen, this is when it’s gonna happen. Then this is when we need it by. And all those kind of good things as well.

Because again, we are doing this day in, day out. They’re not, and they don’t necessarily. Understand.

Leah: I was gonna say that’s what we take for granted. Like you said, we do this all the time and so we don’t quite understand just sort of sometimes the level of like handholding that they might need in getting some of this stuff done.

Becca: Yeah, and sometimes they need a whole lot of handholding. We know that for sure. Now, one thing I wanted to ask you about as well is if you’ve got any stories or examples of when something’s come up. Really unexpectedly. So everything might be ticking along fine. Everything’s going well with communication, and then suddenly the couple stops communicating with us or suddenly something huge happens in their life, like an unexpected loss or a health diagnosis.

Do you have any examples of how this can impact the relationship and how we should deal with those situations in a professional manner?

Leah: Yeah, it’s. Funny, not funny. I, I end up with a lot of clients who end up with a lot of significant sort of life events happening to them. And at first I was like, why is the universe punishing me?

But then I reframed it and I was like, I think this is happening because I’m equipped to help them in this situation. Like, My level of emotional intelligence, I am the right person to help them through these situations. The biggest one that comes to mind was my clients and this, they were getting married, honestly, right before everything shut down in 2020.

So it was fall of 2021, and I had been emailing them and asking, we didn’t have a ton going on, but I was just emailing to check in and I hadn’t heard from them in a while. They had kind of gone radio silent, weren’t responding to emails. And one day I’m on a call and I see the groom calling at the same time, and I couldn’t hop off to take the call, but I got off the call.

I saw that he had left a voicemail and immediately I was like, okay, something’s. Something’s wrong. I feel like in the, this day and age, if somebody calls you, there’s usually something pretty important if you’re not texting or emailing. And so I was like, okay, let’s, you know, gave him a call back and he let me know that his fiance had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

And that was why they hadn’t communicated in a while. It was very new and obviously I was like, this is, you know, please don’t apologize for not getting back to me. You have stuff that you need to deal with, and it was a very new diagnosis. They hadn’t really figured out treatment plans or prognosis or anything like that.

And so I said, you know, we don’t have anything going on right now. We are still far enough out from the wedding that we have time for you to think and figure out what you wanna do, get more information on from the doctors on her situation and all of that stuff. So we kind of tabled things for three or four weeks, and then in December we had a call reconvened, and they let me know that her prognosis was really good, that the cancer was very treatable.

She was going to be starting chemo, but the doctor felt like her having the wedding to look forward to was actually gonna be a really helpful thing during her course of treatment. And so they decided. The wedding was still on, so we just, we kept moving forward and then probably three or four weeks before the wedding, we were having their final DJ meeting at their apartment.

And after the DJ left, I hung back just to go over a few things with them and they said, we want to run an idea by you. And I’m like, sure, go ahead. You know? What, let’s, let’s hear it. The bride was explaining that she was at the point in her chemotherapy process that she was starting to lose enough of her hair, that it was coming up on the time to shave her head.

And she explained that this is a very, can be just sort of a very isolating, lonely, sort of depressing moment for people going through chemotherapy. And she said the only thing that would make me feel good about doing this is if I could do it at the wedding. With all of my friends and family there, and then the groom says, and I am going to shave my head in solidarity at the wedding too.

I’m getting goosebumps just retelling this story cuz it’s so beautiful. And like I started getting emotional listening to this and it was just really beautiful. And so then, you know, we had this, okay, that was the new task. I’d obviously never planned a head shaving as part of a wedding before. So we started trying, talking about how to figure it out, like where to time it within the day.

And she wanted some portraits with her natural hair. So we decided to do the head shaving after cocktail hour, like right before going into dinner. And the first dance. But it was, it ended up being like I had to coordinate with all of the vendors and give them a heads up. And in particular, it was important to me to make sure they knew what was going on so that if anybody was gonna be triggered by it, or needed to not be present for it, that they knew in advance what was happening and that they were welcome to like, Step out, do what they needed to do.

And we were all, I mean the vendors, I was so proud of the team because everybody just rose to that occasion. Like you said earlier, sometimes people can respond with like, this is not my job, this is getting way too, like I don’t get paid enough for this. Like I am stepping out. But everybody really came together and rose to the occasion and what we thought was going to be like really heavy and sad.

Was so joyful. Like they picked they picked like upbeat music to do it. Everybody was chanting her name. They had different friends and family come in with the, the shears to, to shave their heads and stuff. And it was so beautiful. And it’s just an example of how like we can get caught off guard in our jobs and at the end of the day, like.

It’s about that experience that we give to these couples. And also I’m forever grateful that, like they gave me that experience too, cuz it was really a beautiful, beautiful thing to be a part of.

Becca: What an incredible story. And I think what speaks to me in that as well is what a great relationship. You had with them as a vendor, as a, as a planner, that they felt able to trust you with this information, to trust you with this big event.

And it just makes me realize how important it is that we have these conversations early on with people and that you reached out in a kind way and you weren’t saying, excuse me, why are you ignoring me all of this time? You know? And you, you’d had that relationship where they felt they could share you understood.

You took it forward and it came. Like by the end with this incredible experience. And like you said right at the beginning, it’s those feelings that they will remember and they will be thankful for. And yet it could have been so different if you’d have communicated in a different way because we can get into that space, can’t we?

Where we think people are ignoring me, they must be being rude, they must not wanna work with me anymore. And we can be a little bit short to reply. And I think it’s a reminder to us to put those, have those thoughts in the back of our head that actually there might be a really. Good reason to reply that they haven’t replied.

And the other thing that struck me as well, while you’re telling that story, and I think is a good lesson for people listening is, you know, sometimes people book us a year, two years ahead of the wedding date. And obviously if you’re a planner, you’re speaking to people regularly. But if you’re a florist or a cake maker, you know, you might not be speaking to people regularly.

And actually, it’s a reminder that we should be checking in with our clients on a reasonably regular basis.

Leah: Yes, that is one of my big pet peeves. And one of the things I try to talk about a lot is people need to form, create these checkpoints, create touchpoints for connection and checking in.

Because as the planner I see all the time, my clients would book the photographer, the dj, the florist. And then sometime in the middle of the planning process, they’re like, oh, we haven’t heard from this person since we booked them. Is everything okay? Is this normal? And I would say, oh, it’s totally normal.

You know, they don’t kind of come back until later in the process. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you were checking in? You know, even bit like, obviously people with very high volume, it’s a little bit difficult, but in that case, it’s just sending an email even like. An automated email six months out, like, Hey, we’re six months out.

So excited. Can’t wait. If you need anything, I’m here. Let me know. But like there’s so many creative ways to create touchpoints, whether it’s just going out to lunch with somebody, I always say Florist, if you have somebody who is really into flowers, take them on a visit to the flower market so they can sort of see behind the scenes.

If you’re a baker, have them in for an extra tasting and a cup of coffee just to get to spend a little bit of time with them. There’s a lot of different creative ways that we can spend time with our clients during the planning process, and I know that not a lot of people are doing this, and so it’s a way that could make you really stand out.

If you were to add that sort of to your workflow,

Becca: yeah, and I think having had this conversation with you, that’s a really important thing that people need to be doing. I’ve heard stories before where people said to me, oh, I got in touch to get my final deposit. And they said they split up six months ago.

And I think, how did you not know? You know, it’s because they haven’t spoken to them for for a year and a half, and then they’re in. Too deep, but we could avoid some of these scenarios if we’re having these conversations on a semi-regular basis. Now, before we wind this conversation up, I would love to do a little bit of self-reflection if we can for people listening, because we’ve talked a lot about the emotions of the couple and the emotions of the wedding day, but we are all very different in the way that we handle our own emotions.

Two. How do you think as wedding supplies, we can become more emotionally intelligent and more in touch with how we deal with these situations ourselves?

Leah: It starts with being honest about where you’re at right now. I mean, there’s no, there’s no use in pre, like if there’s no use in pretending that you’re very good at dealing with heavy emotional situations if you are absolutely not good at dealing with heavy emotional situations.

So you need that self-awareness and you need that honesty from the beginning to sort of self-assess and see where you are. And if you’re already emotionally intelligent, then you’re probably gonna be pretty equipped to have these conversations. But if you’re not, then you can start small. You can start kind of practicing honestly with friends, leaning into conversations like if a friend is going through a tough time, like maybe lean into that situation a little bit more and see how you can be there for that person and just sort of exercise that like emotional intelligence muscle a little bit.

But yeah, it’s kind of, it’s taking small steps. And again, the important thing is being comfortable and being genuine in how you’re approaching things. Because if you aren’t comfortable, then that’s just gonna make the person on the receiving end not comfortable themselves. And so, yeah, authenticity is key in this situation.

Becca: Great. So if you’re listening to this, I encourage you to, Think and self reflect yourself about how you deal with these situations and how that impacts. I know for myself, and I know some of the people I work with as well, we can be the other end of the spectrum where we are. So we get so overly emotionally invested that we then start taking on the burdens of our clients and the other people in a way that becomes unhealthy.

Do you have any thoughts about how we can kind of do the opposite and extract ourselves a little bit?

Leah: Yeah, you, it takes a conscious decision to sort of say, I’m not taking this on. I remember, it’s interesting. I’m a very, like, I’m a highly sensitive person. I’m an empath. Similarly, I, I take things very personally.

I like to take on other people’s stuff. And I remember I had a client who, the morning of the wedding, I found out that the bride’s dad, the night before at the rehearsal dinner, told her that he was terminally ill. And she was having, obviously there’s a whole background of family dynamics going on there as to how inappropriate it is to tell somebody that on the night before their wedding, but we’re gonna, we’re gonna put that aside.

So obviously she was very upset and kind of having a, a tough morning and I sort of started feeling in my body just like that sadness, that heaviness for her of like how tough that must have been and. I realized that I was doing it and I literally had a pep talk with myself of saying like, I can’t take this on for her.

Yes I can help her through this day. Also I can help, you know, navigate the things that are gonna come up and I’m gonna make this day as great as possible for her. But like I just had to stop myself and say, Nope, I can’t physically take this on. Because like carrying that on top of the stress of like running a wedding was just going to be too much.

And so in those situations, it sometimes does take that conscious decision. To not to put up that boundary, to not take on people’s emotions. Meditation as cheesy maybe as that sounds like. But it’s good to help cuz it’s helps you get in touch with like your body and what you’re feeling and allows you to sort of process and let things.

Go rather than keeping it all in.

Becca: Yeah, a hundred percent. And sometimes I find that I need to put things in like a work box in my head. So when I’m not in work mode and I’m with my family and I’m with other things, why am I worrying about what these people are thinking? And actually we kind of have to do that compartmentalizing that when we’re talking with them, we’re dealing with their emotions and we’re helping them through it.

But actually when we’re not talking with them, we kind of put that in a box and and move on. Does that resonate? Yes. Yeah. Well, Leah, it’s been so fun speaking to you and getting a little bit deep and really thinking through these emotions. Thank you so much for coming and sharing. I’m gonna make sure that I put a link to your book in the show notes.

I think, I don’t know if we can get it here in the uk. Do you know whether we can get it? You can. Yep. On Amazon. Amazing. So I’ll put a link to Amazon for those of you in the uk, and perhaps it’s a good thing that people could buy for their couples as a welcome gift. Is it useful for couples to read it?

Leah: Oh, yes.

Yeah. I mean, it’s useful, yeah. It’s written to like, it speaks directly to couples. And then I’ve also been telling people it’s obviously very helpful for vendors to read, for all the reasons we’ve discussed today. But yeah, I know quite a few planners that give it as like onboarding gifts to all of their clients.

So it’s. Very, it’s very helpful and honestly, if client, I feel like if clients read it, it on it could help our relationship with them because they’re more aware and prepared for what they’re going through and are able to communicate that a little bit better.

Becca: Amazing. Maybe we should make it a prerequisite to working with us.

So they have to have gone through this book first so that they don’t unload on us. Absolutely. Well, I’ll make sure I link to that. Leah, if people wanna find out more about what you do about the legal things that you do as well, where’s the best place for people to find you?

Leah: Absolutely. So on Instagram, I am the Leah Weinberg and then websites.

My law firm is odu berg.com. I also have a contract template shop, which is legally set.com. Disclaimer, since I know your audience is very, is a lot of UK-based folks. You know, it is not at all drafted in conforming with any kind of international law, but it does have, we have a lot of event and wedding pro contract templates on there.

So the. Substance of it gets to a lot of the stuff that’s unique to our businesses, which might be helpful, but just the overall sort of structure and legality of it is for is drafted by Americans.

Becca: Amazing. Well, I will make sure that I link to everything in the show notes as always. And Leah, maybe I’ll have to get you back to talk all things legal at another point.

Definitely happy to. Thank you so much for your time and I’ll speak to you soon.

Leah: Thank you.

Want to be a guest on the podcast? Why not get in touch and see if you would be a good fit.

Becca xo

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