Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Set Up an Exhibit Booth I’m Sharing with Another Wedding Vendor?”

 

 Sharing an Exhibit Booth with Another Wedding Vendor

I like the idea of wedding planners sharing booths with other wedding vendors in expos and fairs. It offers more opportunities to attract and meet potential clients while cutting some of the expenses of exhibiting. Not all expos and fairs are events that attract a large number of brides but you may still be able to get clients from them when you share a booth, as I discuss in this Q&A.

Question

I’m just starting my wedding planning business and I need some tips. A photographer I know has invited me to share a booth in an expo. It’s an expo that showcases everything in products and services in the areas of real estate, construction, home improvement, furniture, gardening, decorating and home security. I know, it’s not a bridal fair, but I want to get well-known in my area and I think this is the way to do it. Many people from the local area will be going to this fair and some will be brides.

What do I show on my side of the table?

Answer

I’m concerned that this is not a bridal fair. The photographer can meet potential clients for portraits and non-wedding work if few brides and engaged couples attend the expo, but there isn’t much opportunity for you to get wedding planning clients.

This is bridal fair season, there are many opportunities to exhibit in expos and fairs aimed at brides and newly engaged couples now and throughout Spring. Take some time to research these fairs and, if you consider participating, you can ask your photographer to join you at one of these events. (Be sure the fair management allows vendors to share a booth, some do not because it potentially cuts their profits.)

If you feel you want to exhibit at this expo anyway, and have experience in planning events other than weddings, have your wedding planning portfolio handy but highlight your skills in planning social events and large private parties. These skills are more likely to bring you some business at this expo. (Stay away from planning small, low budget parties, they probably won’t be profitable.)

When you share a booth with someone else, make sure it’s well-organized. Display photographs that your photographer has taken of events that you have done together, if possible, and be prepared to talk about the benefits of your services as both a wedding and event planner. Most people won’t hire you on-the-spot so your task at the expo is to book appointments for short, free consultations and collect contact information so you can reach out later. A raffle or booth giveaway will entice people to give you their information, just make sure you let them know you’ll be adding them to your email list.

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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Wedding Planner Q&A – 4 Tips for Growing Your Wedding Vendor Network

 

Starting and Growing a Wedding Vendor Network for Wedding Planners

You can’t plan weddings alone, you need a network of wedding vendors. If you don’t have a great vendor network in place yet, or need to grow the one you have, this Q&A can help you.

 Question

I don’t have any wedding vendors at all to work with, I’m ready to start networking. What do I need to do?

Answer

Hopefully, you’ve planned a few weddings before you decided to start your wedding planning business, even if they were for family and friends and you did them without being paid. If so, this means you’ve worked with some vendors and have a start on a network. Now you need to grow that network so you have a variety of high-quality vendors to work with to satisfy the needs of different brides.

Here are 4 tips that will help you grow your wedding vendor network:

 1) Start with the people you know

Reconnect with the vendors you’ve worked with whom you believe would be the right professionals for your future brides. Let them know you now have a business and set up short meetings so you can get to know each other better. They’ll have contacts and may introduce you to other wedding vendors.

Also, think about people you’ve used or use today in your personal life, for example, caterers, florists and hair stylists. Since you already know their work, they might be great additions to your vendor network.

2) Visit and join business groups

Go to meetings of local chapters of wedding and event planner associations and attend small business networking events. If you’re a bit shy, or not used to talking to people you don’t know, start with small events and let greeters know you’re new and what you do. Groups very often have ambassadors who introduce new attendees to others in similar industries and help them start conversations.

 3) Always be prepared

If you’re going to grow your vendor network, you need to be prepared to give them a good first impression. Know what you’re going to say when wedding vendors ask you about the type of brides you want, the services you offer and how you’re different from other wedding planners. Be ready to share a story about a wedding you’ve planned and what you did to make it run smoothly. And, take business cards with you everywhere you go. You’ll not only give them to vendors and others who can refer you, but also to potential clients you may meet.

 4) Plan to build relationships

Don’t just collect a bunch of business cards of all the wedding vendors you meet and never contact them again until you need them. When you meet, listen to what the other person does, think about whether or not they would be a good fit for your brides and, if they are, take the time to build a relationship. A great relationship will help you work better together on weddings and may bring you referrals to new clients.

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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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Work with Wedding Coordinators at Venues?”

 

 How Wedding Planners Can Work with Wedding Coordinators at Venues

If you’re helping a bride select a wedding venue, don’t hesitate to recommend a place because they have a wedding and event coordinator. Their responsibilities are different than a wedding planner’s and a bride still needs you. My tips today can help you successfully work with a coordinator at a venue.

Question

I work in a big city where many venues have coordinators onsite. Can I use their venues for my brides? Will my brides fire me when they realize a coordinator comes with the venue?

Answer

Venues of every size in cities large and small very often have wedding and event coordinators. Of course, you can use these venues. Coordinators work with wedding planners and have a different role than you do, so brides still need you.

As a wedding planner, you need to be prepared to work with a venue’s coordinator to help your brides have the weddings they want.

Here are 5 tips for working successfully with them:

1) Explain to your bride what a coordinator at a venue does versus what you do

A venue’s coordinator is in charge of all of the things their venue provides. They do things like make sure the table and chairs are set up, manage the food and beverage provided by the venue, check that that the restrooms are ready for guests, oversee the venue staff and handle parking.

You work for the bride and handle every detail for her leading up to the wedding day and on the wedding day itself. You manage the budget, timeline, vendors and help the bride make decisions. You are there for her every step of the way, doing the things she needs you to do to make sure her day is stress free.

2) Set clear expectations with the coordinator

Position yourself, not your bride, as the point-of-contact for the wedding. You need to be the one involved in all the day-to-day details.

Meet with the coordinator and write a list of each of your responsibilities so you are both clear about your duties and nothing is forgotten.

If your bride booked the venue before she hired you, talk to her and explain the advantages of having you work with the venue’s wedding coordinator for her.

3) Don’t let the venue’s coordinator manage the other wedding vendors

Be the point-of-contact for all the vendors involved in the wedding. You need to know their concerns and answer their questions. If you let them contact the venue’s coordinator, you may not know of any problems until they become emergencies.

4) Stay in contact with your bride

Ask your bride how often she would like status on the wedding planning details and abide by her request (of course, contact her immediately if something needs special attention). You don’t want her calling the venue’s coordinator, or other vendors, for status updates because you didn’t stay in touch with her as often as she wanted.

5) Respect the role that venue wedding coordinators play

Coordinators are experts on weddings at their venue. They know what works best and can provide suggestions for proper lighting, sound and a floorplan that works for the size of your bride’s guest list. They can make your work easier so treat them as valuable partners in your 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 – 6 Things to Know Before Writing a Wedding Planning Proposal

 

When to Write a Wedding Planning Proposal

Do you often write and send out wedding planning proposals but never hear back from brides? In today’s Q and A, I provide tips that will help you improve your proposal process so you can get more clients.

Question

My main concern is how to communicate with the brides. I feel like I am doing something wrong because after I talk to them and send my proposal they never contact me back. It’s very frustrating! What do I do?

Answer

Your communication skills might be fine, unfortunately, not every bride who contacts you is serious about hiring a wedding planner. It’s best to find that out first.

Here are 6 things you need to know before you write a proposal:

1) What the bride really wants

Have a conversation with the bride and get to know her. When she tells you about herself, her fiancé and her wedding vision you’ll be able to determine if you would be the best wedding planner for her and which services you have that fit her needs.

2) If the bride is serious about hiring you

If the bride won’t spend time talking to you, doesn’t provide much information, talks briefly and just says, “I need a proposal,” she probably isn’t serious and you would be wasting your time writing a proposal. A bride who is interested in hiring you will want to know all about you so she can decide if she can trust you with planning her wedding. She’ll also want to take the time to share information about herself, her fiance and her wedding so she can get an accurate proposal.

3) Who is making the final decisions about the wedding

If the bride isn’t making all of the decisions herself, you’ll need to talk to whoever will be making them with her so you can address their needs too.

4) What the wedding budget is

If the budget doesn’t appear realistic or won’t cover the cost of your services, you won’t want to spend your time and energy on a proposal. If the bride doesn’t know her budget and wants you to tell her what things cost first, you can provide simple estimates but don’t write a formal proposal yet. This could be a sign that she may be looking for a free consultation or is just price shopping.

5) What other wedding planning options she is considering

If you know that she will DIY her wedding if she doesn’t hire a planner or if she is planning to use a venue event coordinator or if she is considering a competitor, you’ll be able to sell the benefits of hiring you over those options in your proposal.

6) When she plans to make her decision

Get a commitment so you know when to reach out for her answer. When you follow up after sending a proposal, offer to answer questions and again explain the benefits of your services.

Don’t give away an entire wedding plan during your first meeting or in your proposal. Wait for a commitment and a deposit before providing too many details.

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 Planners – 6 Steps for Setting New Year’s Goals You Can Accomplish

 

 Wedding Planners - 6 Easy Steps for Setting Goals You Can Accomplish

Every year wedding planners and wedding planners-to-be set goals for themselves and their businesses that end up being sources of frustration and depression because they weren’t achieved.

Don’t let that be you!

Here are 6 steps for setting goals that you can accomplish in 2016:

1) Forget about the past

Maybe last year you set some goals that you weren’t able to achieve this year. You may have wanted to finally start charging for wedding planning or to make enough money as a planner to quit your day job or to start attracting brides who have bigger wedding budgets, but it didn’t happen.

Don’t beat yourself up over it! If you dwell on what you didn’t do or did wrong, you won’t have the confidence you need to succeed.

Think instead of what you learned while you were working to reach those goals and use that information to help you set and accomplish your 2016 goals.

2) Make short-term goals

Set goals that you can achieve in 90 days instead of 365 days. This is a more manageable length of time and allows you to realize success more frequently which ultimately helps you to accomplish more in a year.

3) Be specific

Set measurable goals. For example, don’t just say, “I want more brides by April.” Set a realistic goal of the number of brides you want to have as clients by the end of March.

4) Write down your goals

I really believe in the power of the written word. Write down your goals and post them in your office where you can see them every day. This will remind you to take action.

5) Create an actionable plan

Once you have written your goals, write down the steps you will take to achieve them. Break down your steps into daily tasks and schedule them on your calendar.

6) Plan a celebration

Plan a way to celebrate your success. You may want to treat yourself to a well-deserved day off, write down you success and post it in your office, share it with friends and family or take yourself out for lunch or to a spa. Whatever you do, make a plan to celebrate. Acknowledging your success will give you the confidence and motivation you need to set and accomplish more goals in the future.

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 Planners – 5 Quick and Easy Marketing Tips for Engagement Season

 

Wedding Planners - 5 Quick and Easy Marketing Tips for Engagement Season

We’re days away from the most popular wedding proposal day of the year, December 24, Christmas Eve. Millions of couples will become engaged on that day and you’ll want them to be able to find you when they’re ready to hire a wedding planner. So, it’s important to keep marketing your wedding planning business through the holidays, but you may think you don’t have the time because of the demands the season has on your life.

Not true! If you can get yourself to focus on your business for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day, preferably in the mornings before you lose track of time, you can do it.

Here are 5 quick and easy marketing tasks that will help you attract newly engaged brides:

1) Update your website

Is it easy to navigate from page to page? Are there photographs of recent weddings you have planned along with testimonials? Are the benefits of using your services clear? Have you mentioned how you are unique and different from other wedding planners? Are there links to your social media sites and are they all working?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” take your focused time each day to make the changes needed to attract the brides you want.

2) Complete all of your social media profiles and bios

Check all of your accounts and make sure the information is complete and up-to-date. You should have a brief description of how you help brides, your contact information and links to your website or blog where people can go to find out more about you and your business.

3) Post to your Facebook Page

Do at least one post a day. Talk about 2016 wedding trends, offer wedding tips, show photographs of the weddings you have planned and repost photos and articles from other Facebook wedding Pages.

4) Pin and repin on Pinterest

Daily, choose 5 to 10 photos and articles that represent the style and information the brides in your niche want and pin them to your boards.

5) Create podcasts

Podcasts are very popular right now and you can easily create them using the voice recorder on your smartphone or tablet. Record yourself giving wedding tips and other information that would be valuable to newly engaged brides and upload them to your website and/or use a service such as Podbean (I’m not affiliated with them) to host your podcasts and get more visibility.

These are just 5 of the many marketing tasks you can accomplish in a short period of time when you get focused.

For more help on marketing during the holidays and beyond, pick up my Kindle book, Become a Top Wedding Planner – Marketing during Engagement Season.



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Wedding Planners – An Easy Way to Promote Your Services During the Holidays

 

Promoting WSedding Planning Services During the Holidays

Still looking for more ways to promote your wedding planning business during this holiday season? One easy way to do it is by sending holiday cards. Reaching out to former clients and the wedding vendors you’ve worked with in the past with a holiday card will remind them of the great job you do planning weddings and help you get referrals.

Here’s are 5 steps to promoting your business with holiday cards:

1) Use snail mail

Sending cards in the mail, rather than an email shows you took the time to do something personal and, because few people send cards, yours will truly stand out.

2) Write a personal message

To a couple whose wedding you planned, mention something special that you remember about the wedding, thank them for the opportunity to work with them and wish them a happy holiday.

For a card to a fellow wedding vendor, mention a moment you shared while working together on a wedding.

3) Don’t make a sales pitch

Resist the urge to remind people you’re available to plan weddings and that you want referrals. And, please don’t include a business card.

This is just a time to express gratitude for the opportunity you had to work for them or with them and wish them well for the holidays and New Year. This type of message will do more to get you referrals then a full-blown sales pitch.

4) Keep it short

People aren’t interested in reading a letter telling them everything you did during the year. Just write a few personalized sentences and sign the card.

5) Do it now

You still have time to purchase cards and get them in the mail. Consider New Year’s cards instead of holiday or Christmas cards if you need a little more time to get them done.

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 Planners – 5 Ways to Stand Out From Your Competition

 

Brides Hire Wedding Planners Who Stand Out From Their Competition

It’s Engagement Season and you’re busy marketing your services to newly engaged couples – but so are many other wedding planners. Brides will be interviewing planners to see which one works best for them and may ask you one of those dreaded questions, “Why should I hire you and not someone else?” or “How are you different than other wedding planners?”

Please don’t answer that it’s because you “pay attention to detail,” are “very organized,” or “love weddings” – brides read and hear those statements everywhere. And, please don’t say it’s because of your low rates – you should never try to be the lowest-priced planner, it will look like your services don’t have value and you won’t be able to make a profit when your rates are low. Instead, you need to help brides understand how you’re different than other planners.

Here are 5 ways you can set yourself apart from other others and be the one brides want to hire:

1) Specialize in a niche

Get to know the problems and concerns of specific type of brides and become the expert at solving their wedding planning problems.

2) Communicate what you do

Too often wedding planners offer unique services but only market the ones that they believe every bride wants. When you offer specialized services that only brides in your niche need, promote them. If you’ve picked the right niche, there will be plenty of brides who will want those services.

3) Feature plenty of testimonials

Fill your website and social media sites with glowing comments from your past clients, take videos right after the wedding, if possible, of couples telling all about how you have helped them. Brides will be impressed by messages from other brides.

4) Offer something your competition doesn’t

Look at what other wedding planners in your area offer, see what wedding planning problems they aren’t solving and offer solutions. For example, maybe you offer busy working brides a personal shopping service to help them find the right gifts for their bridesmaids. You can even sell gifts yourself and become a one-stop shop.

5) Create proof that you’re the expert brides need

Showcase your knowledge in writing by authoring ebooks and Kindle books. Or, if you aren’t a writer, offer wedding planning tips on YouTube or in podcasts. Most wedding planners don’t take the time to do either of these things so they will make you stand out as an expert who runs a successful wedding planning business and knows how to help brides have the weddings they want.

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



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Wedding Planners – Learn the 2016 Wedding Trends to Attract the Brides You Want

 

Wedding Planners - 2016 Wedding Trends

When couples become engaged this holiday season, brides-to-be will be searching the internet for the latest wedding trends for 2016 so it’s the perfect subject to discuss on your social media sites and blog. Pick the trends that will appeal to the brides in your niche, post examples and share how you might incorporate the trend into the weddings that you plan. This will help you establish yourself as the expert brides need.

Here are 5 wedding trends you can look for in 2016 that you can share with your brides:

 1) Long tables or a mix of long and square tables

The trend is definitely away from round tables with a preference for long tables with low floral tablerunners.

 2) Ghost chairs

Clear, Lucite ghost chairs now come in a variety of styles from modern to Victorian, with arms and without. You can use them in many reception styles from rustic, with weathered wooden tables, to elegant, with mirrored tabletops.

 3) Metallic golds

Glitzy, sequined linens, flatware, chargers, shiny candelabras and lanterns in gold, especially rose gold, will be big in the coming year.

 4) A mix of centerpiece styles

At one time it was expected that the same arrangement would grace every table. In the New Year, more and more floral designers will be using at least two different centerpiece styles at a reception in order to add interest to the room.

 5) Naked wedding cakes

I featured these cakes a couple of years ago on my Facebook page and fans didn’t care for them! Now, many brides are choosing these unfrosted cakes, simply adorned with berries or flowers, over ornately designed, fondant-covered ones.

If you need more information on trends, check Pinterest and the websites of bridal magazines and wedding blogs. Post and share the ones that fit the wedding styles of your brides and tell them how you can help them plan type of the wedding they want.

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



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Become a Top Wedding Planner – Marketing during Engagement Season

 

How wedding planners can attract more brides during engagement season

The time between Thanksgiving Day and Valentine’s Day is known as “Engagement Season,” when more than a million couples, in the United States alone, will become engaged. The most popular day is December 24, the day when families are together. There are few better gifts to give or receive than an engagement ring.

This means that during this time, you, as a wedding planner, need to be more visible than ever if you want to attract the attention of newly engaged couples. They need to see you online, when they search for wedding planning information, and offline, where they can meet you face to face, learn about you what you do and connect with you personally.

I’ve just released a Kindle book to help you do this, “Become a Top Wedding Planner – Marketing during Engagement Season.”

In it you can learn:

  • 5 things you should do to ramp up your business that can help attract more couples than you do today
  • 6 sites to be online and what to post that will get you noticed
  • 7 places to be offline to connect with people who can refer or hire you

And a checklist to make it easy for you to remember what to do

Just click here and get your copy so you can start attracting the engaged couples you want to plan weddings for in the New Year.

PS – It’s only 99 cents!



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