How to Politely Decline a Wedding Vendor

Here's the scenario: As a bride or groom, you're spending quite some time researching, emailing, and interviewing with potential wedding vendors. In this case, let's say you found three different wedding photographers, they've all sent you their proposals, and after weighing in your options, you've decided to go with lucky number three. That's awesome because of course you want to do business with someone you connect with! But what to do about photographers one and two? Here's where it gets tricky, right? The easier thing to do (trust me, I'm guilty of it too) is to just drop the communication and hope that they get the hint. Most likely they will, but the truth is, there's a kinder and more polite way of doing this and that's simply letting them know you're declining their services. 

Seriously, we prefer it.
And please don't feel bad. You didn't do anything wrong. 

As a wedding photographer, I understand that business is business. Rejections are actually expected because I know I'm not the right photographer for every couple, be it style differences, budget reasons, or even personality disconnections. I also understand the reality that you're probably considering two or more photographers, which only means someone's bound to be turned down. This sort of relationship can't be forced, and if I end up receiving a rejection, I don't take it personally. Perhaps it'll take more time out of your hands to communicate your decision, but I can tell you right now how much I appreciate that because of the time and effort I've invested to draft my proposals and communicate with you. I just want to know if you've changed your decision so I can wrap up our conversation and reopen the wedding date to other potential clients. Really, no hard feelings at all!

Lastly, if you're able to give me a reason why you're declining my services, please tell me. I want you to feel comfortable doing so because I want to keep growing. As we all know, writing a rejection feels awful, and it's absolutely normal for us to not want to hurt someone's feelings. But again, because I'm coming into this from a professional standpoint, your honest reason is actually very valuable to me as a vendor. That way, I can improve whatever might be an issue. Consider it sort of like a dating relationship. No one wants to be ghosted. Even if it's hard at first, we'd all rather hear the truth or reason than be left hanging!

With all that said, here's a sample email layout you can use if you're ever stuck in this situation:

"Hi (Vendor's Name), 

Thank you so much for your proposal and taking the time to walk us through your services. We've decided to move forward with another (photographer or any other vendor) that better suited our wedding (or any other reason - budget, personality, style, etc.). Thanks again for your time!"

That's it! Your email doesn't have to be apologetic or super long. In response, I'll congratulate you again and say thanks! In the end, I want you to work with a wedding team that can carry out your vision and dream. It's not always an easy process, but I just want you to know that we understand. If you have any thoughts, questions, or similar experiences, feel free to share! I'd love to hear more!