Learn more about SP

I'm Terrica - welcome to the SP Blog! Here you will find posts about our past celebrations, tips for planning your big day, wedding planner education and tips, and everything in between! We hope you'll stay awhile!

Kickbacks: What Wedding Planners, Vendors and Clients Should Know

Wedding Advice

A fellow wedding planner shared this must read article on her facebook page and I wanted to share it with you all.  This is a must read for any bride and wedding vendor and it is so unfortunate that this happens.   I do not conduct business this way! I charge a flat fee upfront for my wedding planning services based on the service level that is a fit for my clients.

Thanks to Outstanding Occasions for this article:

The other day I was talking to a wedding professional that had been contacted by a wedding planner.  The wedding planner wanted them to meet their client to discuss their product/service.  The wedding professional met with the client and later received a phone call from the wedding planner.  The planner asked “What will my commission be?” to which the wedding professional replied “Commission, what are you talking about?”  The planner replied, “Well, I referred the client to you and so I want to know what you will be paying me for the referral?  I “earn” a commission from all of the event professionals that I work with.”  Much to the wedding professional’s dismay, the wedding planner was NOT joking.  They wanted to get paid.  The wedding planner made it very clear that if the wedding professional did not pay them for the referral, their client would not be working with them.  The wedding professional was angry and shocked and decided not to work with the client or the wedding professional.  (YAY!  I was so proud of the wedding professional for standing up for what they believed in and not giving in to the planner!)

So in case you are unaware, here are the facts:

There are some wedding planners (and a lot more than I originally thought) that charge wedding professionals/vendors a fee for referring clients to them.  Here is usually how it works with these planners that accept a kickback (also often referred to as a commission or a referral fee):

1.  Client hires Wedding Planner. (For example, Client pays Wedding Planner $7000.)

2.  Wedding Planner refers Wedding Professional/Vendor to Client.  (Wedding Planner refers Client to Photographer, who they often refer for their events.)

3.  Client hires Wedding Professional.  (Client hires Photographer.)  Client may not (and usually does not) know that Wedding Planner accepts money from Wedding Professional for referring them.  It is either a flat fee or a percentage of the amount received by the Client. (Photographer pays Wedding Planner a fee of $500 for referring them.)

4.  Usually, the Wedding Professional will charge the Client a higher fee to cover the fee (the kickback) they have to pay to the Wedding Planner.  (Photographer charges Client $6500 instead of their “regular” package price of $6000.)

5.  Sometimes, as in this case, the Wedding Professional does not know about the kickback prior to meeting with the Client and quotes them their regular package price.  If the Client books them, they have to pay the fee out of their “own pocket.” (Photographer meets with Client and doesn’t know that Wedding Planner will demand a kickback so Photographer quotes the Client $6000, the regular package price.  Client books and now Wedding Planner demands that Photographer pay $500 to them for the referral.  Photographer now has to take $500 from the $6000 they received from Client and pay it to Wedding Planner and therefore, they only get $5500 from the sale.  Photographer has now cut into their profit from the sale.)

6.  Client pays more money to the Wedding Planner than has been divulged.  (Wedding Planner charges Client $7000 and most other local planners are charging $9000-10000.  Through the eyes of the Client, it looks as though the first planner is a lot less expensive.  Unfortunately, Wedding Planner charges the Client $7000 and then charges a total of $3000 to individual wedding professionals for referring them.  Client indirectly pays those fees too.  So, Client knowingly pays Wedding Planner $7000 and unknowingly pays Wedding Planner an additional $3000, which they believe they are paying to the wedding professionals for the product/service they are providing.)

Unfortunately, either A.)  Client pays more to cover the fee that Wedding Planner charges Wedding Professional for the referral or B.) Wedding Professional gets paid less than their set price because they have to pay a referral fee (that they were unaware of) to Wedding Planner.  It seems like a win, win scenario for Wedding Planner, but is Wedding Planner really looking out for the best interests of the Client?  NO!  So why not just charge $10000 to the Client (if that is the amount that Wedding Planner wants to bring in) and let Wedding Professional charge $6000 (or whatever their regular fees are) and then Client can make a educated decision (with everything out on the table) whether they value the Wedding Planner and Wedding Professional enough to pay their regular fees


Comments Off on Kickbacks: What Wedding Planners, Vendors and Clients Should Know