The Ol’ Vendor Switcheroo

by admin on June 15, 2009

It’s Wedding Hell Week! All new stories about wedding etiquette horrors.

As a Wedding Officiant who has been in business for several years, I’ve had instances where couples have showed interest in my services and then changed their minds.  But not like what happened today…

I had been in email contact with a potential client for some time.  She kept saying she would send the contract as soon as possible, but as the wedding date is on Halloween (it’s October 15th today) we had started working on the perfect personalized ceremony for her and her fiance’.  They wanted a handfasting and were not sure how or where to even start.  I supplied them with materials, went over the materials with them, helped them to write their ceremony, and provided several hours worth of email support, all the while being thanked for “being there” and “helping us with our ceremony”.  I was “a perfect choice” for them until today, when I was informed that they would no longer be needing my services.  Here is what she wrote:

“…we’ve decided to go with someone else.  We have a friend who recently got ordained and we decided to go with her.  She wasn’t sure if she felt comfortable doing the handfasting, since she hadn’t performed one before.  But we went over it together (*NOTE:  “IT” is the ceremony that *I* helped her to write and perfect!!!) & she feels like she could handle it and not mess up our ceremony.  That’s what she was afraid of doing and why I had to search around for someone who even knew what handfasting was!  I do appreciate all your help.  I’m sorry it didn’t work out for us.”

Of course, by now I have turned away three other requests for Halloween weddings because I was supposed to be doing this couple’s wedding.  Not only did she technically steal MY materials, and use my valuable time, she has cost me future business!

Wedding Officiants – before you ever, EVER send anything or work with any of your couples, MAKE SURE you have that legally binding contract IN YOUR HAND!

I have to give her credit, though, for at least thanking me.  Sure, thank YOU for making me lose money that *I* need to feed my three kids! 10-15-08

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine June 22, 2009 at 12:07 am

My question is: If you have e-mails indicating she was booking you for the date and she was promising to return the contract and you supplied her with your services, short of performing the ceremony, why aren’t you suing her in small claims court? All it takes is a “meeting of the minds”, which you clearly had. She just decided to rip off your service by getting her friend to perform the ceremony. If you can prove you turned down business on her assurance that she wanted you for the date and you provided her with pre-ceremony assistance, then you have grounds to sue in small claims. It’s not too late.


Elizabeth April 15, 2010 at 10:55 pm

That’s just tacky, in my humble opinion. The officient had already invested plenty of time and creative thought in making “their special day” fit their desires, not to mention the materials used in this case, and suddenly they want someone else, little more than a fortnight before the wedding? I don’t think people should be forced to carry on business with a person who offers something other than what they want, but they had plenty of time to decide whether or not the OP met their needs, and he/she sounds like a very accomodating person anyway.

Not to mention that suddenly going with a friend who had just been ordained and who have never performed a handfasting before, rather than your very experienced first choice, suggests you don’t value the ceremony all that much. Maybe a handfasting isn’t exactly “traditional”, and wouldn’t even be recognized as marriage in the eyes of some more fundamentalist worshippers, but that doesn’t mean YOU should treat it like playacting in which role of officiant is inconsequential. You’re not deciding on a dress to wear to prom, you know! Treat this person with more respect.


Offshoreoildude October 17, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I’d be sending her an invoice irregardless for “services rendered”.


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