Wedding Planners – 3 Reasons Why New Wedding Planning Businesses Struggle

 

Why New Wedding Planners Struggle

It’s exciting to start a wedding planning business, but many new wedding planners struggle because they fail to make plans and decisions that will set them up for success.

Here are 3 reasons I’ve found that cause their struggles, and what you can do instead:

1) They created their services before talking to brides

Many new wedding planners decide the services they’re going to offer by looking at the websites of other wedding planners and offering the same things. Or, they create services that they think are perfect for brides that brides just don’t want.

To have a successful business, you must find out what your potential brides want and need first, then create and market those services.

2) They didn’t have plans for success

I know many of you are starting out as a one person business but in order to have a successful business, you’ll need to able to work with more than one bride at a time and plan more than one wedding a time which means you need assistants. Think about what you want your business to look like when it’s successful and make plans to hire the people you need to get you there.

And, even if you start by planning one wedding at a time, you’ll need assistants. Build their costs into your proposals so you don’t end up paying them out of your profits.

3) They paid too much money to attract brides

Advertising online on wedding websites, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and offline by exhibiting in bridal shows, holding an open house or paying to be a preferred planner with a bridal salon, are all great ways you can attract brides. However, be sure you aren’t spending more money getting brides than you are earning when planning their weddings.

Consider each marketing opportunity closely and make sure it attracts the type of brides you want before you invest. Then, after you’ve invested, track your results to see which opportunities give you the biggest return on your investment before you sign any long term contacts.

If your business is struggling, making just one of the small changes mentioned here could put you on the path to success.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “I Don’t Have a Wedding Planner Certificate or Experience, How Do I Start My Business?”

 

How and when to start a wedding planning business

You may feel the passion and desire to start a wedding planning business right now, but it’s possible may not be the right time for you.

Question

I know wedding planning is definitely the right new business venture for me. I don’t have any experience and really can’t afford to take a class because money is very tight right now. I have gone to many different websites and read many different books on wedding planning so I feel I am ready to do it.

What do I do now to get brides?

Answer

I’m very happy that you have found something you would love to do. Wedding planning can be an exciting and fulfilling business when you have the passion and desire for it, and are willing to put in the hard work it takes to be successful.

Don’t worry if you can’t take classes or enroll in any courses right now. You don’t need a certificate or degree. But what you do need is experience, and I don’t recommend you try to start a business planning weddings until you have it. Brides will be much more attracted to you and you will have much more expertise to give to them.

Begin volunteering to help family members and friends plan their weddings for free. You might also reach out to brides at your place of worship and see if you can help with wedding coordination.

Also, find busy wedding and event planners in your area and contact them to see if you can work in an intern position that allows you to work directly with brides and help plan weddings. These are usually not paid positions but being an intern can give you invaluable experience. If you have trouble finding a planner who would be willing to take you on, check with caterers, photographers and florists who handle a lot of weddings and events and find out if they use interns.

If you try to start a business now, without the proper experience, you could end up very unhappy. You won’t be able to offer the types of services that high-quality brides will pay for and you’ll end up struggling rather than having the successful business you dream of having.

I want you to be successful and enjoy a great life being a top wedding planner. For you to have this you’ll have to devote in a little time getting the experience that will make you an expert at planning weddings and working with brides. It will be well worth it in the end.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planners – 3 Reasons Why You’re Better for Brides Than Your Competition

 

Reasons Brides Should Hire Wedding Planners and Not Rely on Venue Coordinators

As a wedding planner, you know that other wedding planners aren’t your only competition. Venues often have event coordinators on their staff who help brides with their weddings when they book their services. And, I recently discovered that some Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) in major cities offer free wedding planning services to brides getting married in their city.

Don’t let these competitors scare you! You have much more to offer than they do. If a bride asks why she should hire you instead of using a “free” service, here are 3 reasons you can share with her:

1) You offer a wide range of personalized services

From budget planning, to creating a timeline, to finding a theme and bridesmaid dresses that will work for a bride’s attendants, you can do it.

Venue coordinators only help manage a wedding at their venue. A planner at a CVB finds vendors based on a bride’s requirements and puts the bride in contact with ones that fit her criteria. A bride still needs to do most of the planning on her own.

2) You have access to a wide number of vendors

Venues often stick to their preferred vendors and a CVB will only suggest vendors who are members of their bureau.

You have a network of vendors who handle a variety of budgets and styles. You can help a bride select the ones best suited to her budget and her personality.

3) You’re dedicated to helping your bride on her wedding day

Venue event coordinators work for the venue. They’re often juggling events in different rooms on the same day. CVBs work for their city and their members, they keep their membership strong by helping them find clients. They aren’t involved in a wedding day.

Please note, while venue event coordinators are competition, it helps to get to know them and be on good terms with them. They sometimes have brides who require more services than they can offer and refer them to wedding planners.

As a professional wedding planner, you can join a CVB to get referrals from them, but membership can be expensive. The best thing to do is to find out how frequently they get brides asking for referrals to wedding planners before you decide you want to join.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Become a Destination Wedding Planner?”

 

Become a Sought-After Destination Wedding Planner

If you’re a wedding planner in an area that can attract couples from other parts of your country, or the world, consider having a destination wedding business. Market yourself as the expert brides can trust to handle their weddings from afar, just like this wedding planner wants to do.

Question

I recently moved to an island that is one of the top destination wedding locations in the world. Hundreds of couples get married here every year, many from other countries, and they use wedding planners. I want to help them plan their weddings!

What do I need to do?

Answer

I’m so glad you selected a niche where you know there are brides who want the services of a wedding planner.

What you want to do is establish yourself as the expert in destination weddings in your location and make it easy for brides to find you online.

Here are 5 tips that can help you do these things:

1) Learn everything you can about your island

Since you just moved, you may not know as much as planners who may have lived and worked on the island for a long time. Take the time to learn everything you can about the area such as; the ceremony sites, venues and transportation options, then establish relationships with wedding vendors.

You’ll need to know what documents couples from other countries need in order to get married in your country and any other rules they’ll need to follow.

2) Decide what you can offer that makes you unique

I used the name of your island and the word “weddings” in a Google search, I came up with a few wedding planners who offer services in your area. You must find a way to differentiate yourself from them or you will get lost in the crowd. What skills do you have that other planners don’t have? What services can you offer that couples need that other wedding planners in your area don’t provide?

Please do not differentiate yourself by being the lowest priced planner or offering deep discounts. Quality clients who will value and respect you do not hire the cheapest wedding planner and your business cannot survive by offering the lowest rates.

3) Select a business name and website address that includes the name of your location

I noticed that the name of your company and your web address is very generic. It does not speak to the fact that you plan destination weddings on your island. Consider incorporating the name of your island in your business name to attract the attention of the search engines and confirm to brides that you are the expert in weddings in your location.

4) Fill your website with information couples want and need to know

The site should establish you as an expert and offer couples from other countries everything they want to know about getting married on the island, in addition to telling them the benefits of hiring you.

5) Establish a blog and a presence on social media sites

Share tips, area trends, photos of beautiful places to get married on your island and photos of weddings you are planning. By blogging regularly, you have a better chance of search engines finding you. By posting regularly on Facebook and Pinterest, brides will see you more often on their timelines and feeds. They will start to get to know you and feel comfortable enough to contact you about planning their weddings.

When you start your business, please be careful about how you accept money from overseas clients. Fake “brides” who send bad cashier’s checks have scammed many wedding planners. Be sure you talk to your bank about the safest way to accept money from people in other countries before you open for business.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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7 Traits Top Wedding Planners Look For In An Intern

 

Get a Wedding Planner Intern Position

Last week celebrity wedding and event designer David Tutera posted a request for interns for his New York City office on one of his Facebook Pages. What a great opportunity for someone!

But, if you’re not near his office, you can still find an internship. With Engagement Season just around the corner, many busy wedding planners will begin their search for people who can help them.

If you’re interested in being an intern, look for information on websites, blogs and social media sites of the top planners in your area or reach out to them yourself. But before you contact anyone, make sure you have the qualifications you need to be an intern.

Here are 7 traits most top wedding planners look for in an intern:

1) Good oral and written communication skills

You may be asked to answer phones, talk to vendors, talk to clients, take notes during meetings, write and send emails and write thank you letters. A planner will be able to tell how good you are in these areas when he/she reads your cover letter and your resume and interviews you.

2) Detail-oriented

It goes without saying that you must be someone who pays close attention to everything and won’t miss any detail of a wedding.

3) Knowledge of and experience with social media

Many planners rely on some social media to market their businesses. Your knowledge and experience in writing blog posts, using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest will help you, if you have presented yourself as a responsible person on these sites. (Yes, they will check out your presence on the Internet.)

4) Experience with scheduling

Busy planners will need you to help them set up and coordinate meetings with clients and vendors. You’ll need to be able to juggle and coordinate calendars.

5) Ability to multi-task

Wedding planners need to be able to smoothly handle multiple weddings and multiple tasks within each wedding and they expect their assistants and interns to be able to do it also.

6) Ability to meet deadlines

There is no such thing as not being ready for a wedding on the wedding day. You must be someone who respects deadlines and always meets them.

7) Experience in events

You don’t need to be an expert but any experience you’ve had in planning events for school, work, your place of worship or volunteer organizations is helpful.

If you’re sending  resumes to a few different wedding planners, make sure your cover letter includes information specific to their company and highlights the skills and accomplishments that you have that meets their criteria.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “I’m Discouraged, Is It Time to Give Up My Wedding Planning Business?”

 

3 Ways New Wedding Planners Can Do to Attract More Brides

It takes work to get your new wedding planning business off the ground, but have the confidence that you can do it. Like this new wedding planner, you might just need to make a few changes to the way you’re marketing your business to attract more brides.

Question

I’m just starting my business and I’ve got one bride scheduled for a day of service and one destination wedding. I’ve been sending information out to newly engaged couples but haven’t received anything back. I’m wondering, should I just give up?

Answer

You’ve just started your wedding planning business and it sounds like you began with unrealistic expectations of how fast you would get all of the brides you want.

This isn’t a business that can promise overnight success. It takes time to develop the relationships, recognition and reputation it takes to be successful. And, if you’ve heard or read stories of how someone just told a few friends about starting their business then suddenly had hundreds of brides trying to hire them, realize that many of those stories are not true.

If you are willing to do some extra work, here are 3 things you can do to attract more brides:

1) Pick your niche

Successful wedding planners focus on a niche. They select a specific group of brides, learn all about them and target their marketing to speak directly to them.

2) Develop your online presence

Your Facebook Page has very little information, in fact you name was not on it and most photographs were not of weddings. If you want to attract brides, you must put photos of weddings you have planned, even if you planned them free.

Follow other wedding Facebook Pages, share their information and photos and add your comments to them. You want your Page to be the place brides visit to get the best wedding information and recognize you as an expert.

Also, it doesn’t appear that you have a website or blog. Or, if you do, it didn’t come up in Google and you don’t have a link to it on your Facebook Page. If you don’t have a site, I encourage you to set one up as soon as possible, don’t just rely on brides to find you on Facebook. You want your business to start showing up on Google searches for wedding planners in your area and it only happens when you have your own web presence.

3) Get out and meet brides and wedding vendors face-to-face

You mentioned that you are “sending out information to newly engaged couples.” Unless these are couples you have met, chances are good they are seeing it as junk mail and not reading what you send.

You need to get out and meet people. Find local chapters of wedding and event planner associations to meet wedding vendors and become referral partners. Attend business networking groups and get the word out about your business. Join social groups at your place of worship. Learn about the brides in your niche and start finding places where you can meet and socialize with them.

If being a wedding planner is truly your dream, don’t let yourself get discouraged. Keep working to attract clients and don’t give up!

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

 



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Wedding Planners – Learn These 7 Habits of Wealthy Wedding Planners

 

 Rich Habits of Wealthy Wedding Planners

Do wealthy, top wedding planners have habits that have helped them get and stay rich? Yes!

An article in the current issue of Success magazine lists the habits of rich, successful people that have helped them reach their potential.

I’ve listed 7 of them here that I believe would be particularly important for you to develop as wedding planners:

1) Live within your means

As a wedding planner, it’s easy to spend money on trendy designer items to look fashionable. And, when you start a new business, it’s easy to invest a lot of money in technology, advertising and marketing that you think will make you look like a seasoned professional.

While it’s important to look good, have professional tools and invest in promoting your business, don’t get into deep debt doing it.

The most important thing you need to impress a bride is your knowledge, experience, self-confidence and ability to make her feel like the most important bride in the world.

2) Read everyday

Reading bridal magazines and wedding websites are part of your business but it’s also important to read books on a variety of other topics. For example, biographies of successful people and business books will help motivate you. Books on art, architecture and design will inspire your creativity and help you with event design.

3) Spend less time on the Internet

It’s fine to answer your email, make a few posts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to market your business and connect with a few friends. But refrain from getting so addicted that you spend hours in front of your computer screen, tablet or smartphone reading gossip and trying to connect with people you aren’t your real friends.

Get out of your home and office and join business and social groups, volunteer and/or take classes in something you’ve always wanted to learn. Do these things not only to attract business but also for your own personal development.

4) Set goals

Whether you want to start your wedding planning business or grow the one you have, write down your goals. Then create a plan to make those goals happen.

5) Avoid procrastination

Don’t sit around waiting for the “right time” to pursue what you want or say you’ll work on your goals “someday.” Start today by writing a “to-do” list and scheduling the tasks that lead you to accomplishing your goals.

6) Do more than expected

There is a saying in business, “under promise and over deliver.” You want your brides to see you as the planner who does what it takes to make their wedding successful. This makes your clients happy and happy clients give excellent referrals.

7) Believe in yourself

You might not be a successful wealthy, wedding planner today but you must believe you can be and see yourself as being that person in the future or it will never happen.

You can read the original article, “16 Rich Habits,” in the November issue of Success.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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“What Do I Do First? Get a Wedding Planner Certificate or Start My Wedding Planning Business?”

 

Getting a Wedding Planner Certificate or Starting a Wedding Planning Business

With Engagement Season just around the corner, I’m getting questions from many of you who want to quickly start a wedding planning business so I’m answering one today.

Question

I love weddings and know I would be great at helping brides plan them. What should I do first? Get my wedding planner certificate or start my business? I want to do something right away.

Answer

You don’t need a certificate or degree in wedding planning to begin working as a wedding planner. However, if you have little knowledge and/or experience planning weddings, you could benefit by spending some time studying wedding planning first.

But, be thoughtful about the certificate or degree course you select. Don’t be in such a hurry that you just pick the first course that comes up on your Internet search or the one you can finish in the shortest amount of time because you think it will make you successful quickly. Instead, think about what you need to know about planning weddings and running a wedding planning business then research to find the course that could teach you those things.

Also find out the type of support the school can give you during and after you complete their program. They should be available to answer your questions and provide insights into how you can get some experience (which you must have) and start your business after you obtain your certificate. Some courses also offer you a limited membership in a wedding and event planner association that can help you meet other wedding professionals and your vendor network.

Beware of courses that are low cost and offer done-for-you websites or advertising opportunities to graduates. These opportunities may not be in your best interest so think before you invest.

If you already have wedding planning skills and experience, go ahead and start your business. Begin by creating a business and marketing plan that details what you want your business to look like, the type of brides you want to work with, the services you’ll offer to them and how you are going to market those services. Then put your plan into action.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Still Have a Full Time Job? Get Ready to Start Your New Wedding Planning Business in 2015

 

Tips on starting a business for wedding planners who currently have other full time jobs

Are you thinking of starting your wedding planning business in 2015? I’ve found that this is the time of year when people start thinking about the changes they want to make in the future.

If you currently have a full time job and think that you might want to quit to have a wedding planning business sometime in 2015, here are 5 ways to prepare for your transition:

1) Create a business plan

Take the time to think about what you want your business to look like. Who are the brides you want to serve? How will you promote yourself to them? What services do you intend to sell? How big do you want your business to be?

2) Save extra money

Skip the fancy coffee drinks and impulse buys  and put away some money from your paychecks so you’ll have some in case any emergencies occur before your business becomes fully successful.

3) Take your vacation time

It may be difficult to take time off while your business is new so take advantage of your paid vacation time while you have it. If you don’t want to go on a trip, use the time to create your new business.

4) Become familiar with the wedding industry in your area

Before you strike out on your own, attend local bridal fairs and wedding industry association meetings. These events will give you a good sense of what the market is like in your area and you can create a successful business based on what you learn.

5) Plan (or keep planning) weddings during your off hours

I know it may be difficult to do this, but you don’t want to quit your job to start a business unless you have had some experience planning weddings, and the more experience, the better. And, collect testimonials and photos so you can build your portfolio.

Of course, never work on your wedding business while at your full time job and resist the urge to talk about it in your workplace, even if a coworker is getting married. You don’t want to be accused of misusing company time and property or for using your workplace to find clients.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Create a Brochure for My Wedding Business?”

 

Wedding Planner Points Out Her Benefits on Her Brochure

Brochures are not a thing of the pass, they’re still a great marketing piece to use to tell brides about your wedding planning business.

Question

Can you give me some ideas for a brochure that I can give to brides to promote my business? I want to be able to hand something to brides other than just my business card.

Answer

I’m glad you are planning a brochure. You want a lot of visibility and it works best when you use different methods, both online and offline, to market your business.

Here are 6 tips for creating a brochure:

1) Decide how you will be using the brochure

Is this a piece you are creating to give to brides whom you have met at a bridal show or another type of event, to leave behind at bridal salons and venues or to give to wedding vendors to pass out for you?

2) Determine what a bride in your niche wants to know

Once you know how you will use your brochure, think about the bride who will be reading it. What will she want to know? What information can you give her that would make her want to contact you?

3) Describe how your services can help solve the problems the bride has

Your brochure is not about you, it’s about the bride you are trying to reach. Your brochure should address her problems and explain how your services solve those problems.

You don’t need to give every detail about your services. Your goal should be to offer enough information about your benefits to encourage a bride to contact you. When she does, you can set an appointment to talk to her about the customized services you can provide.

4) Make it something the bride wants to keep

Include a wedding planning checklist, wedding day emergency kit list or tips that would make the bride want to keep your brochure for future reference or pass along to others who could use you.

5) Include a call to action

Tell the bride what you want her to do next, call you for a free consultation, go to your website or blog to opt-in to get free weekly tips, or meet you at a bridal show (put the name and date of the show and your booth number).

6) Produce a high-quality brochure

If you’re not an expert at graphic design, hire someone to help you so your brochure looks professional.

Remember to include high-resolution photographs of the wedding you have planned. Don’t use stock photos that brides may have seen on other brochures and websites, they will ruin your credibility.

Also, don’t print too many at once. You want to be able to keep information up-to-date and printing small quantities will allow you to make frequent updates without wasting a lot of copies.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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