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HELP!! How do I tactfully fire a vendor?

Hi all, I really hope you can help with this...I hired someone that I kind of know (an acquaintance from college, who is friends with a handful of my own friends) to do hair and makeup for me and for 7 of my bridesmaids for this coming July. She never asked me to sign a contract or put down any kind of deposit, and she said that with a wedding party of my size she would need to hire an assistant to "tag-team" the hair and makeup. 

Fast forward a couple of months, and her assistant drops out. The assistant emailed me personally to tell me that she would not be able to participate, and I said thanks and wished her luck. I waited and waited for 5 weeks to hear from my "friend" about what her backup plan would be. She never emailed or called, so I finally contacted her - and rather than present me with my options, she asked ME if I had any ideas of what to do...

So I said I knew of another makeup vendor that came highly recommended, reached out to her myself, and this new vendor was available and happy to work with the other girl, so I went ahead and booked her. It seemed like a great solution to me. I let the first girl know that it was all set, and she actually got upset with me - she apparently had wanted to do the makeup (though she never communicated this to me), and was going to have her assistant do the hair (turns out, she had no interest in doing the hair, though she advertises that she does both). She sent me pictures of makeup that she has done and asked me to "consider both looks," hers and the other vendors, and "decide which I liked for my big day." I told her that I felt the most comfortable with this solution, with her doing hair and the new vendor doing makeup, and could she send me her pricing so that we could write up a contract. I haven't heard from her since. It has been a full week. 

What do I do? Do I fire her? It would be especially unpleasant since she's an acquaintance and a friend-of-friends, but I don't want someone doing our hair who is unhappy/doesn't actually want to be there... And if I do fire her, how do I do so as tactfully as possible? HELP!!!

Re: HELP!! How do I tactfully fire a vendor?

  • Yikes...this does not sound like a pleasant situation to be in. When you hire friends to work in your wedding there is always a possibility that things can go south, and it looks like it did. There is no successful way to "fire" a friend. If you choose to do so, you have to understand that its a friendship ending move (similar to kicking people out of a wedding party, etc.). 

    Your friend sounds flakey and unprofessional. She should have told you about the assistant dropping out, she should have been upfront by stating that she would've done the make up portion instead of the hair portion, and because she shot down your reasonable solution in terms of having her do hair alongside the make up artists she is not making this any easier. 

    At the same time, I feel like this could have been prevented had you called sooner. Your friend is not being responsible. She's not responding to your calls, and isn't following through on the pricing packages etc. Send out one more email stating that you would love to have her as a hairstylist for your wedding and ask for the pricing. If she refuses to respond, thats not your fault. I'd give her a week to respond, and then start looking for back up hairstylists (or adding a hairstylist through the venue). Whether you fire her, or go through with the suggestion above, the friendship is probably going to end.
  • edited April 2014
    Quick question: Did you tell her you knew of another MUA before you reached out to the other MUA? It doesn't really matter, just curiousity on my part.

    I was thinking maybe you can give her an out and take the blame. I'm not saying it is your fault, it just sounds like a big miscommunication all the way around (on her part). I was just thinking, if you make it sound like you screwed up and allow her to bow out, then maybe it wouldn't end the friendship.

    For example, maybe say something like, I am so sorry I didn't realize that your plan was to do my makeup and have your assistant do hair. I unfortunately have already signed a contract with the other MUA and if I cancel I have to pay a cancellation fee, so I don't feel comfortable cancelling it. If you would prefer not to do our hair, I completely understand and I'll find a new hairstylist. Please let me know by the end of the week. If I haven't heard from you by then, I'll assume you don't want to do our hair and I'll proceed with finding a new hairstylist.

    Maybe something like that.

    ETA: Fix paragraphs
    carliealissa
  • Thanks guys!! I took your advice. I did tell her about the new MUA and that I was going to sign the contract as long as she felt comfortable with that solution, but she didn't respond. Being in a bit of a panic (as you can imagine) I wanted to book her as soon as possible, so after not hearing from her I just went for it. 

    I told her I was sorry if our signals got crossed, and that I'd understand if she no longer wanted to work with us but that I need to know by Sunday evening at the latest so that I can move on with my plans. Wish me luck!!
  • She sounds unprofessional. Find someone who actually likes doing hair.
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  • I would never hire a friend no matter how willing and cheap they are.  Right now I am pacifying my future mother-in-law by telling her I will look into her "friend" that does her hair to do mine.  I already am speaking with a hair and make-up team that are actually professionals and turned out to be cheaper than the "friend".  My advice is to hire the professional hair and make-up people and tell your friend thanks but no thanks.  I would rather not stress out sign a contract and KNOW someone was going to show up instead of this girl.
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