Wedding Planner Q&A – “I Want to Plan Weddings Full Time, How Do I Attract More Brides?”

 

 How Wedding Planners Can Attract More Brides

In my Q&A today I answer a question from a part-time wedding planner who uses social media to promote her business and wants to attract more brides so she can be a full time planner. The tips I offer here may work for you too!

Question

I’m working at a job and planning weddings part-time but would love to make it full time. I use Twitter and Facebook to promote my business. I also advertise by word-of-mouth when I attend events.

How do I attract more brides?

Answer

It’s important to be on social media sites and equally important to get out and talk to people about your services so you have a great start. Now you need to step it up a notch and get out in front of more potential clients.

Here are 6 tips for increasing and improving your marketing so you can attract more brides:

 1) Separate your business and personal social media accounts

Your Twitter account only has tweets of a personal nature. Start a new account just for your business and keep it professional. Do the same for any other sites you might use, such as Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest is a fabulous site for you to use to show brides your style and promote both services and products, take advantage of it and get a business account.

 2) Post more often on your Facebook page

You haven’t posted to your page for almost six months so you haven’t appeared on your followers’ timelines in a long time. You need to post frequently, as least once a day, to get yourself in front of people. You might also consider purchasing advertising on Facebook but get use to posting regularly before you do this.

 3) Post relevant information on your Facebook page

Once you start posting regularly, make sure it’s clear to people that you plan weddings. I actually thought you were a baker or caterer because your cover photo is a wedding cake and you post frequently about food. It’s fine to post wedding cake and catering ideas but make comments explaining why, as a wedding planner, you are posting a particular photo.

 4) Create a website or blog for your business

While it’s tempting to just use free social media accounts for online marketing, you need to have your own site. You can fill it with information about the benefits of your services and photographs of your work and have links out to your social media accounts.

5) Put links to your online sites in your email signature

I noticed you listed your social media accounts at the bottom of your email. Instead of just listing their names, make them clickable links to the accounts. You’ll be connecting with a lot of brides and wedding vendors via email and you want to make it easy for them to go to your accounts to find out more about you.

I suggest you change the “Sent from my iPhone” type signature that appears when you send emails from your phone to a marketing message or a link to your website or Facebook page.

 6) Meet new people

Get out, find new, diverse places to network and socialize in person so you can meet new people and introduce them to what you do. Also, make it a point to meet wedding vendors who work with the types of brides you want so you can create your own network for referrals.

You’ve already got some of the basics in place to help you attract brides, just spend a little more time increasing your presence and letting brides know you’re a professional. You’ll soon be attracting many more brides than you are today.

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 Planner Q&A – “How Do I Find Out if There Are Local Brides Who Need Me?”

 

Determine if Brides in Your Area Will Hire a Wedding Planner

In my Q & A today I offer tips to that might help you if you dream about starting a wedding planning business it but aren’t sure if there’s a market for your services.

Question

I’ve dreamed of being a wedding planner for a few years. I’m reluctant to start my own business because I’m not sure if there is a need for it in the area. How do I find out?

Answer

It’s great that you’re taking the time to think about how you can be successful before you start your business. You need to do some research to learn about the brides and the health of the wedding industry in your area. Answering these 3 questions can help you make your decision:

1) Are there other wedding planners in the area?

It may seem to be a good thing when there aren’t any other wedding planners around but it really could be a sign that there isn’t any opportunity for business.

2) If there’s competition, what services are they offering?

This will give you an idea of what the brides who are hiring wedding planners want. It will also help you determine if you have unique services to offer that will help you stand out and get hired.

3) Do you see a lot of marketing and advertising aimed at brides?

You would be able to tell that the wedding industry is healthy in my area because there are well-attended bridal shows and advertising for products and services aimed at brides and engaged couples all through the year. If you don’t notice this in your area, chances are good that couples in your community aren’t investing a lot of money in weddings.

While it’s important to do your research before launching your business, don’t over-analyze. If you have a good feeling about the opportunities in your area, consider doing wedding planning part time. This way, you’ll see first-hand if brides will buy your services and if it’s something you would enjoy doing full time.

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 – 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Discount Your Services

 

Why Discounting Your Wedding Planning Services is a Bad Idea

If you just started your wedding planning business, or if you’re experiencing a slow time, you might be tempted to offer discounts. Here are 4 reasons why it’s not a good idea:

1) Brides will believe you offer low quality services

When you discount your services, brides will think you haven’t been able to sell your services at full price because you aren’t any good. By charging what you’re worth, brides will recognize that your services are valuable.

2) Brides who demand discounts are often difficult to deal with

You might think giving brides discounts would get them to appreciate you more, unfortunately, the opposite is usually true. They’re often the most demanding clients you’ll have because they’ll believe that everything you offer is negotiable.

3) You’re probably already priced way too low

I’ve found that many new planners, and those who are struggling, aren’t confident about their talents or they’re underestimating the amount of time it takes to plan a wedding and don’t charge what they are worth. Does this sound familiar?

4) You’ll start to resent your brides and your wedding planning business

It can be depressing to work for less money than you know you’re worth and that can make you feel angry with your clients. Also, when you constantly offer discounts, your business struggles financially and you’ll feel as if you need to give up your dream of becoming a top wedding planner because you aren’t making a living.

Instead of selling your services by offering discounts, sell brides on the value of your services and the benefits they’ll receive they hire you.

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 Start a Wedding Design Business When I Don’t Have Any Experience?”

 

Become a Wedding Designer

Here’s some advice if you’re passionate and excited about starting a wedding planning or wedding design business but don’t have any experience.

Question

My passion is wedding decorating. I have no experience and really can’t afford to pay for any classes right now. I would like to specialize in draping but the classes are pricey.

I am very excited and want to start decorating events now. I have spent hours brainstorming and have put together a binder of ideas.

Do you think it would be okay to start without any experience? What should I do to get started?

Answer

It’s great to have a binder full of ideas and I encourage you to keep that up and also to create Pinterest boards full of ideas and inspiration. But you have to know what you’re doing when you take on clients, so you need experience.

You also want to be sure that doing draping and event décor is right for you, and you can only know that if you’ve spent some time doing it. Looking at photos and appreciating designs is one thing, executing them is another.

Draping is an art and a skill. You’ll need to not only know how to design what your bride wants, you’ll need to know the types of fabrics that give the right look, the supplies and props needed to create the design, the part color and lighting play in the design and the professional staff you’ll need to put it all together. Also, you’ll need to know how you and your staff can work safely when installing draping and other items.

If you can’t afford to take classes, look into getting an internship, apprenticeship or job with an event rental company that does draping and tents in addition to renting party supplies. Or, look into an internship or entry-level job working for florists who do high-end weddings. They design tablescapes, archways, gazebos and floral chandeliers for large weddings and may provide opportunities to earn money while learning the business.

As you develop experience, reach out to people you know and start designing events for free to build your portfolio.

I know you want to start right away so this probably isn’t what you wanted to read. But you want to be an expert at what you do and education and experience are keys to building a great reputation and a successful 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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Wedding Planners – 3 Reasons Why a Bride May Not Hire You After Your First Meeting

 

Why Wedding Planners Have Trouble Getting Hired at a Frist Meeting

You meet with a bride for the first time about planning her wedding. You’re enthusiastic and share great ideas but you can’t seem to get her to really connect with you. In the end, she doesn’t hire you.

Here are 3 reasons why this could have happen:

1) You started promoting yourself and your services too soon

I know you really want to impress a bride and tell her how you would perfect for her, but find out all about her first. Ask questions that lead her to telling you what she needs and wants and the wedding planning problems that keep her up at night, then offer the services right for her.

2) You already started planning her wedding

You don’t need to plan her wedding at a first meeting. When you do this she could believe she knows all you have to offer and use the ideas herself. What you need to do is establish yourself as an expert, by showing her your portfolio and testimonials, and help her to see that you and your services can solve her problems. Speak in big picture terms, don’t describe in detail everything you would do to plan her wedding.

3) You didn’t plan ahead for the meeting to be successful

You can’t expect a great meeting to just “happen.” Do research in your niche, keep up-to-date on the latest wedding trends so you are knowledgeable and prepare questions in advance that will draw out the information you need to know about a bride and her wedding vision. Also, decide how you will ask a bride to hire you and how you will explain the value your expertise and services if she is hesitant to make a commitment.

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 – “What If My Partner Doesn’t Want Me to Be a Wedding Planner?”

 

Being a Wedding Planner When Your Partner Doesn't Support Your Dream

If you have a dream of becoming a wedding planner but your partner doesn’t share passion for weddings, you might have to make some compromises. I share some suggestions for doing that in my post today.

Question

I am very new to this business, but very excited about it. However, I recently had a conversation with my partner, where it came out that he has major concerns about the health of our relationship if I have to work weekends all the time. I have had the same concerns, but always sort of hoped he’d quell my fears and tell me we’ll be alright no matter what. Well, he didn’t. So now I’m faced with loving wedding planning, but loving him more.

So my question is are there any jobs in the industry that would incorporate some of the things I love about wedding planning, while requiring a “mostly” 9-5 weekday schedule? And, if I did decide to pursue wedding planning, would it be possible to use a partner or an assistant to do most of the actual event work, while I focus on the planning?

Answer

Wedding planning isn’t a 9 to 5 business so being in this industry might be challenging. Most brides work during these hours and will expect to be able to meet with you in the evenings or on weekends. Also, most weddings take place during the weekends.

Regarding jobs in the industry, you didn’t mention what you love about wedding planning or your background. If you have skills in, for example, floral design or catering, you might be able to work for professionals in these areas by helping them prepare for weddings. You might also investigate working for an event or party rental company, helping wedding and event planners and people planning their own events chose the appropriate linens, tableware and props. However, be aware that the types of jobs these companies offer you may tend to be administrative rather than creative in nature due to the restrictions in your hours.

If you want to pursue wedding planning, you would need to get a business partner who would be willing to do most of the meetings with brides and be onsite during the rehearsals and weddings. You could be the one doing the administrative tasks and handling the marketing in addition to reviewing contracts and making follow up calls with vendors. You would need to do any wedding planning jointly since your partner would be the one executing the plans and would want to have input.

If you do decide to have a business partner, you must have an attorney draw up a contract that clearly states your responsibilities. Do this even if you partner with a relative or friend.

Understand that running a business, whether it’s wedding planning or something else, can take a lot of time and energy. You’ll need the support of your significant other mentally, emotionally and sometimes financially to succeed. Be sure you clearly and honestly communicate what you want to do and gain agreement before you proceed.

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 – 5 Signs That You’re an Amateur Wedding Planner

 

 Looking and Acting Like an Amateur Wedding Planner Will Stop Your Success

Whether you’ve been planning weddings for a few months or a few years, if you act like an amateur, brides will not be interested in hiring you.

Here are 5 signs you might be acting like an amateur and what to do instead to attract the brides you want:

1) You DIY all of your marketing

If you have some graphic and web designing skills, by all means design you own business cards, mailers, handouts and website. But if you don’t have these skills, you need to hire experts to do these things for you. Brides get an idea of your level of professionalism and style from your marketing so make sure it represents you well.

2) You work alone

Professional wedding planners have assistants to help them, they don’t try to run their business and plan weddings themselves. Assistants give them the ability to spend quality time with their brides and take on more clients.

3) You don’t have a good vendor network

I’ve heard it said that a wedding planner is only as good as his/her vendor network. You must have a wide network of high-quality vendors who you can work with to plan fabulous weddings.

Find vendors at wedding industry events, wedding and event planner associations, bridal shows, business networking groups and through word-of-mouth.

4) You don’t know the value of giving a good impression to everyone, everywhere

You represent your business everywhere you go. You must give a good impression to brides, vendors and the people who can give you referrals.

Always look neat and appropriately dressed, be on time, well-prepared and organized for meetings, speak respectfully about past clients, even if they were bridezillas or groomzillas, don’t bad mouth your competition and always give excellent service to your brides.

5)  You lack industry knowledge

Bridal magazine are great but they don’t offer enough information for professionals. Read industry magazines and websites such as Special Event and Catersource/Event Solutions, attend industry conferences and join wedding and event planner associations. Also, spend quality time with some of your vendors to learn what they do and how you can work together to create beautiful, well-planned weddings for your brides.

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 – “Where Do I Find a Wedding Planner Job?”

 

Where to get a job as a wedding planner

If you’re not ready to start your own wedding planning business or you feel like you rather not take on the responsibilities of running a business, here’s where you can find a wedding planner job.

Question

I am currently taking a wedding planner course online. My goal is to work for a business, rather than have my own business. I would feel more comfortable being part of a team rather than being on my own. My question is where do I start to look for a career like this around my area?

Answer

Owning a business isn’t for everyone and successful wedding and event businesses need great, hard-working planners on their teams so there are jobs available.

First, decide what your ideal job would look like. Part time? Full time? Working in a small to mid-sized team of wedding professionals? Or, working in a large company or corporation that offers, among many things, the services of wedding and event planners, such as a hotel or another type of venue?

Then do some research and check out these 7 places to find job opportunities:

1) Your wedding planner school

Successful alumni may reach out to to your school for referrals to new planners. Contact them to find out if they have a referral program for jobs.

2) Wedding and event planner associations

Considering joining an association so you can develop relationships with others in the industry. Attend local chapter events on a regular basis to meet and network with successful professionals who can hire you and/or refer you to someone who can.

3) Venues

Hotels, country clubs and event venues often have small teams of wedding and event planners who plan events for their customers.

4) Local High-End Wedding and Event Planners

Talk to recent brides, check local editions of bridal magazines, attend bridal shows and search wedding blogs and Facebook pages for the busiest, most successful wedding planners in your area. Learn more about their businesses and, if you feel you would be a good fit, contact them and find out if they might be interested in your skills.

5) Other types of wedding vendors

High-end caterers and florists often have planners on staff to help them, so do some research into these businesses in your area and see who might be in need of you expertise.

6) Wedding planner job websites

Do a Google search for websites that list job openings for wedding and event planners. Be cautious if a site asks for money to find you a job.

7) Networking

The best jobs often come from referrals from people you know. Make sure your friends and family know that you want a job as a wedding planner.

Employers want planners who have education and experience. If your experience is limited, offer to plan events for free for family and friends. These experiences will not only help you add to your portfolio, they’ll also help you develop a list of people who can give you glowing references.

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 Ways to Avoid the Distractions That Can Hurt Your Business

 

Wedding Planners - Don 't Get Distracted - Stay Focused on Your Goals

At the beginning of the year, you set goals for your wedding planning business. You might have decided to finally launch your business, attract more brides to your existing business or maybe expand and add new services and products.

Have you started to accomplish some of your goals or have you found yourself overwhelmed with so many distractions that you haven’t made much progress?

There can be a lot of distractions in daily life and unless you get and stay focused, you won’t be able to become the top wedding planner you want to be.

Here are 3 tips that will help you avoid distractions so you can concentrate on making your business a success:

1) Set boundaries

With all the technology in use today, family, friends and brides can reach you 24/7 via phone, texting and email. While you want to be reachable, if you’re not in the critical last weeks before a wedding, set aside specific times during the day to read and respond to email and social media comments and return phone calls. Don’t let other people control your time.

2) Set priorities

If your goal is to to have a successful wedding planning business, you need to spend your time marketing and promoting your business and giving your brides excellent service.

Each evening before leaving your office, write down the things you want to accomplish the next day, be realistic about what you can get done, and start in on them as soon as you sit down at your desk.

3) Stop multitasking

Multitasking can make you feel like you’re getting many things done at the same time but it can actually hurt your productivity and the quality of your work. Each time you switch from one task to another, you’re actually interrupting your own work and making your brain figure out where you left off before it can start doing the task again.

So as difficult as it might be, concentrate on doing one thing at a time so you’re always doing your best for your business and giving your best to your brides.

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 – “Do I Need to Buy the Specialty Decorations Brides Want at Their Weddings?”

 

Wedding Planners - Find and provide high-end decorative irtems

When you look through wedding blogs and magazines, couples always seem to have the perfect decorative items, no matter what the theme. As a wedding planner, brides may ask you to provide these items for their weddings. Here’s where you can find them and how to decide if you want to invest in them.

Question

I started my wedding planning business about 12 months ago and have planned a few small weddings. I would like to know what I should do when I want to plan large-scale weddings with tons of detail. Should I purchase detail items, which may never be used again, or is there another option?

I know I can rent things such as vases, chairs, etc., however I’m wondering about other detail items that may be on reception tables or large urns that may make the wedding and reception even more glam.

Answer

Congratulations on planning your first weddings! I’m sure there are many more in your future.

If you work with a bride who wants items that you can’t rent and can’t use again, find out if she’s willing to purchase them. Many brides are more than happy to pay for items that would help them make their vision come true.

However, before you ask her to purchase any items, do some research. If you are working with wedding and event designers, ask them to find the detail items you want to rent or have them suggest alternatives that are more readily available.

If you’re doing the design work yourself, look beyond your local party rental companies for your items. Check with high-end florists, tent rental companies, caterers and theatrical prop houses for specialty rental items. Also, find companies through wedding and event planner associations and industry magazines, like “Special Events,” that rent and sell to event professionals. They can provide many of the things you see in wedding blogs, magazines and on Pinterest.

If you know that the items your bride want will be used again by future clients, and you have storage space, consider purchasing them and renting them out yourself. This way you can not only easily provide unique, high-quality items to your brides but also make some additional money. (Get a seller’s permit so you can purchase at wholesale prices and find out from your state government if you need to charge sales tax when you offer party rental.)

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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