It happens to the best of us. You’re so excited to work with a new client that you say an enthusiastic “yes!” before realizing that you already have a client commitment that day. An accidental double book is easy to stumble into, particularly when you have a sudden surge in interest from potential clients. So, don’t worry, here’s how to fix it, if you do find yourself double-booked.
1. Find someone who is available.
The most important thing to do is to take care of the client you inadvertently said “yes” to. As soon as you figure out you can’t service their wedding, let them know. But, it’s not enough to just say, “sorry,” you also should go the extra step and find someone who is available on that day. This is where you reach into your trusty bag of fellow wedding professionals who are fantastic, message around for someone who is available and arrange a replacement. Of course, it’s up to your client if they decide to book the replacement, but you want to do the legwork for them.
2. Make it right.
Depending on your service category, it’s a great gesture of goodwill to offer something to the person who you’ve bumped from your calendar. This could be sending a nice floral arrangement, if you’re a florist; offering to snap rehearsal dinner photos at a discounted rate if you’re a photographer or some other service of value to the couple as they’re wedding planning. Besides showing that you’re apologetic, it can help to mitigate any damage to your reputation with the couple (and their network of friends, family and co-workers who might hear the story of the wedding pro who cancelled).
3. Prevent snafus in the future.
Business challenges are the best learning experiences for the future. Once you’ve double-booked once, you will probably never do it again, because you’ll have the distinct memory of this experience as your teacher. To make sure you’re keeping up with your calendar, try to get into the habit of writing down and scheduling all of the tasks needed to service a client—not just the hours you’ll be on-site for the event. This can include site visits, walk-throughs, meeting with other vendors who will be working on the event, creating mood boards or inspiration palettes, editing after the fact or a myriad of other events, depending on your service category. Think about the total time commitment of each client, and be realistic with how long it will take you to dedicate yourself to that wedding. This will help you have a good idea of when you are actually available for a wedding and when you’re really not.
4. Consider forming a partnership or collective.
Creative professionals thrive on collaboration, so why not consider sharing the load by creating a partnership or team of professionals in your service category? Beyond being a sounding board for ideas and expanding your network, these professionals might be helpful when you have a great client who you just don’t have the time to take on. Having a group of professionals with the same standards, a similar aesthetic and creative approach is the best-case scenario for a couple that needs to replace a wedding pro who has accidentally double-booked.