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Is your wedding planner accepting commissions?

Is your wedding planner accepting commissions?


The subject of commissions, also known as "kick-backs" is one I feel very strongly about because it can define the integrity of a wedding planner. The job of a wedding planner is to save their clients time and money. We do this by negotiating special discounts with the best suppliers in town. We then pass on these savings to our clients. This can save a couple hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Only if you hire a wedding planner that does not accept commissions can you be sure that any supplier recommended to you has been recommended because they are the best supplier for the job.

Trust between the client and planner is imperative

So what happens if your planner takes commissions? Can you truly trust them? Are their recommendations based on suitability for the job or the knowledge that they will earn extra money?

So I ask you, does this planner have your best interest at heart? Taking commission blurs things: can you truly trust any recommendations made to you?

Over the years as a wedding planner, suppliers have often offered me commissions and when I say "I'm sorry we don't accept commissions" the suppliers are sometimes shocked and ask why not. There are some industries where commissions are paid between businesses such as the tourism or mortgage industry. I understand this and for some it makes perfect sense. When it is business to business it can be acceptable, for example a mortgage broker earns their salary by receiving commission from the lender. It they didn't earn the commission they'd have to charge the consumers directly a fee for organising their mortgage. However we are talking about consumers.

Of course from a pure profit point of view, not accepting commissions seems crazy, in a world where money is sometimes valued more than integrity, why should a planner lower his or her levels of earning? It takes a strong planner to say NO to commission when it is offered. It takes a strong planner to put the value of an honest relationship above profit.

Is the fee structure explained to clients?

If a planner does accept commission, do their clients know? Do they explain that as well as the wedding planning fee they will also receive commission from some suppliers? Or is it all kept under wraps? If the clients know and are ok about it, who am I to say that is wrong? Even though I think this planner still does not fulfil their duty of saving the bride and groom money as well as time.

As Debbie from The Wedding Planners Lounge says: If an event planner is taking commissions or kickbacks without their client's knowledge, it is unethical."

Or to word it more strongly from Preston Bailey: "For me, it is very simple: if you accept commission without your client's knowledge, it is thieving".

What about our recommended suppliers?

Should the suppliers that we recommend be grateful for our referral? Of course! They show their gratitude by going above and beyond for our clients. Why? I like to think it is because they value Vow Factor as a planner and want to keep us and our clients happy!

So if you are a bride or groom looking for a wedding planner, the first question you should always ask is: "Do you accept commissions?"



Article by Simone Flueck, Vow Factor Weddings and Events