Selecting the correct tone for nuptial-related communication, turns out, is kind of tricky.
If it’s full of exclamation marks, it’s because I think you are a dreaded “feeler” and thus have put in the 2/3 exclamation mark rule in order to try to get you to think emotional reasoning is important to me. See previous post on me being a Vulcan of love.
Pastry and I have been working to book the major vendors for the whole shindig, and we met a super awesome photographer a few weeks ago for coffee and portfolio chat. We decided to move forward with him to hopefully not photograph us looking too dumb in our wedding finery, and thus received a quote and contract to review. Enter communication issue number one…
How to work with a vendor you like, but need more information to move forward
Pastry had lots of questions about the contract, copyright, release to print, and selling our unborn children’s images in case of future business sale (not really…hopefully), so he emailed the photographer directly. Now, said photographer is perhaps the peppiest, most positive person we’ve ever met, and he always asks cute personal questions/follow ups to prior conversations in his emails. Pastry is a technical writer and works in a very large tech company, and thus, emailed spritely photographer a very direct, business-like contract suspicion email. And, I about had a heart attack as I kind of want the photographer to like us and thus not take macro photos of our nostrils for our wedding.
Future wedding album: Nothing but pages of nostrils in need of a good Biore strip.
“So, uh, that email is a bit pointed…Try not to scare away the wedding photographer? We kind of want him to like us.”
“Ha, okay, I’ll send a happier follow-up.”
“He’s a HAPPY! FUN! LOTS OF EMOTIONS! AND EXCLAMATION POINTS! AND PERSONAL QUESTIONS! kind of person. You sound like the grouchiest person ever in that email, which is entertaining as I am definitely the grouchier, more hardcore negotiator in our pair.”
Pastry constructed a lovely, emotionally driven follow up email referencing Pixar movies (good call, Pastry, good call), and lo, the photographer answered all the questions. AND, he still likes us. (Hopefully.) No macro nostril pictures in our future! (Hopefully.)
But it did make me think about how most vendors in the wedding business have a double-pronged interest in all of this wildness. It’s a business, yes, but it’s a business of emotion on all sides. I doubt many people who hate weddings or emotions last long in making heart themed caked for bridezillas and their 137 person wedding party. You can definitely tell the authentic wedding enthusiasm in your vendors – Some play great lip service to it, and I’m totally okay with that as long as the customer service is great. Some genuinely are SO EXCITED about our wedding, and this whole crazy party. Which is also okay, if a little odd, as long as the customer service is okay. Some perhaps step a little over the line, and you start to wonder if they live in a basement surrounded by stuffed cats wearing tiny bridal veils as they construct an elaborate shrine to Randy from Say Yes to the Dress, wedding things the only priority in their life.
We are gathered here today in my basement to celebrate the union of Ms. Muffet Fluff and Rear Admiral Randy Meow…
Others, particularly DJs, seem to generally feel like your wedding is beneath them yet easily swayed when they realize the shear amount of money they will make from DJing some top forty dancing music and some “tastefully selected” retro music for cocktail hour. (I do understand this outlook as my own classical singer view aligns nicely with this – I’m not enthused particularly to sing at a stranger’s wedding unless I am directly staring at the multiple digits on that payment check. Singing for friends, entirely different story, as I could not imagine something I enjoy more.)
So, I, in my extensive wisdom, coached Pastry through his positive email chain. And, then I promptly sent a super grouchy email to a caterer who had pissed me off. I have never been one for following my own rules.
How to send a scathing (but ever so slightly nice in tone) email to a vendor you do not like
I try to channel Latrice Royale for my testy emails.
In the great venue search of 2015, we looked at 14 different places across the entire metropolitan area. We narrowed our top contenders down to three places, #1 tech-central all-inclusive romantic venue, #6 old pecan grove that brought about childhood nostalgia, and #13 a wacky combination of traditional garden, modern venue, and insanely bright hotel. The first venue was our top choice for the majority of venue hunting…until we tried the catering at the open house. BLEH. Fish cake of death! Bland potatoes! Overdressed salad! BLEH AGAIN. Decent cheese plate though as Pastry’s dad and I ate most of the brie at the open house. (Pastry thought it was adequate…I, as you can tell, did not share those feelings.)
So, I emailed the caterer as they were the only option in the venue package to see if we could arrange a tasting as well as look at the upgrade options. The coordinator emailed us information. But, then the catering owner emailed me separately, saying that we could arrange a tasting only after we had booked a venue and they could even help us book a venue for a fee if we needed help in our indecisiveness. My response (thus far unsent)? NO MONEY FOR YOU, caterer. Lo, three weeks later after we had booked #13 as our venue (with their internal catering option and very lovely event coordinators), I got a follow up email from the original catering coordinator asking us again if we would like to arrange a time to do a tasting.
Enter TESTY BRIDE IS TESTY email. (Somewhat edited.)
“Rage email” comes with some pretty great stock photo options. Not as weird as “woman with cactus” luckily.
Dear catering coordinator who has thus far been professional and was undercut by her own boss,
I received another email saying that your company would only be willing to help us after we had booked a venue. Thus, we booked another caterer for our wedding. As explained in our original email, we had been hoping to do a tasting (and pay for it) in order to determine the best approach to a venue package or a la carte catering options at your preferred venues. To be honest, the terse response from your company was part of the reason we were swayed to another venue entirely. And, as the preferred venues have followed up with us to inquire as to why we did not book, they have also been informed of our reasons.
So, in the space of two days, we’ve managed to build, annoy, resurrect our relationship with the photographer and I managed to ensure I will likely be poisoned by a certain catering company should I ever attend any of their functions. I’ll just let Latrice say it all about how I feel about this below.
Update: Catering company emailed me back a ever so slightly snotty response. (Obviously edited to portray the subtext I read.)
Dear Testy Bride Who No Doubt Is Likely Drinking Too Much White Wine to Comprehend the Glory of Our Catering Company,
We are sorry it there was any miscommunication (on your part, oh queen liege). We looked back and our owner DID offer to meet with you AFTER determining the venue AS WELL AS offered to help you decide on a venue if you wanted our input. We know a lot about our venues, and would not doubt steer you in a way that would mean ultimate profit for us.
We hope we can work with you another time! (BECAUSE YOU’LL OBVIOUSLY NOT STAY MARRIED, YOU DEMON BEAST.)
Best, warmest, kindest regards,
Blah de Blah Catering
P.S. We poisoned your fish cake.