Hands up any photographers who have done this? Only me then …. or am I the only one to admit it?!
One evening earlier this week, I caught up with some paperwork and sent out a contract and receipt for a wedding booking. This meant that a couple had found me through my available marketing avenues or via a referral, taken time to look through my website, we’d liaised via email with attachments, questions and phone calls after I checked I was available on my desk calender. We’d arranged to meet face to face … this sometimes takes a long time to organise as we all have busy lives, finally meeting face to face, exchanging stories, having a giggle and getting to know each other. I’d emailed over a summary of our photography chat post meeting, the couple chatting and deciding they would love to book me, me being delighted, the couple being happy, setting up my bank details on their on-line payment system and forwarding a deposit. Our agreement then being formalised by checking the deposit had been received and raising a contract and receipt. Phew … nice and easy but pretty standard in my line of work.
This happened exactly as above EXCEPT when I went to file the couple’s folder in my ‘Future Wedding’ folder (it’s not marked as that btw but that’s where I put my future wedding files!) … my legs almost buckled as I realised I already had a wedding file for that date. My heart in my mouth and tears in my ears, I double checked the other file and it was true. I had bloody double booked a wedding.
I emailed the 2nd Bride immediately and explained fully what I had done and that I needed to chat with her and her fiancé. To say I was remorseful was an understatement. Any of my old Wunderman admin team will know how much I hate getting things wrong! I hardly slept all night worrying about what my couple-not-to-be would react.
If I can take a moment to explain what happened before any future couples thinking of booking me think ‘Well she’s a bit crap!’. With admin/paperwork muck ups, there is ALWAYS a traceable reason why/when things go wrong giving you the opportunity to correct and make things better. When we first got our lovely rescue cat Poppy in December, she couldn’t leave me alone, this meant trying to edit and work with a fluffy cushion on my lap whenever I sat at my desk. All was good until she wanted to play with the paperwork on my desk and accidentally knocked over a drink on my paperwork and desk calendar. Not a problem, I was more gutted that my antique Pine desk smelt of wine I didn’t manage to drink in time.
So, basically I mucked up. I didn’t double check all the dates from the files in my ‘Future Wedding’ folder were all on my new calendar. My photographer’s finger thumbed over a file and I didn’t count how many files vrs how many weddings I had put on the calendar. Before I receive cries of ‘You MUST go electronic’, I can’t. I have tried twice over the years , both times my meticulous and time consuming created calendars disappeared in to the Cloud ether … never to be seen again.
The bride and I have spoken, deposit returned and all is cool. She is stressed as I would expect her to be but I have passed her details over to a good photographer buddy and have offered to help pull her photo book together whilst I make her cuppas post wedding as a friend. Me? I remain totally mortified at my error and have made doubly sure all my dates are on my calender so don’t panic booked couples!
So my question to you is, when did you last check all your wedding dates and what system do you use?