Thursday, November 5, 2009

Secrets to Wedding Planning Success

Since the recession, there is not a day that goes by where people don’t ask, “So how’s the wedding planning business?” Most assume that brides are cutting back and that I am feeling the Wall Street sting, too. They are shocked at my answer when I say, “It could never be better, things are moving and shaking around here.” As businesses are closing, new doors are opening for me in the wedding industry. I believe in the motto: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” So along with tightening your budget during tough economical times as a wedding planner, you must also tighten your mind-set.

Last year I joined a group of fellow wedding planners and I have expanded my business thanks to my mentor, Ciara Daykin. Having a group to turn to held me accountable for my business agenda. I was able to share in my triumphs and mastermind with others that have the same passions as I. Along with securing a high contract with a premier event venue, I began to do what has always come natural to me-teach. Since I was a teacher before I became a wedding planner, I thoroughly enjoy being able to fuse the two together. I recently was a guest speaker at my mentor’s weekly meeting. My topic covered the core teachings I use in my own wedding planner course. Here are some of the tips from that meeting:

First of all, you need to forget about the competition. Instead of getting caught up on what others are doing, get caught up in what YOU are doing. The best way to set yourself apart from other wedding planners is to clearly define your niche. Your niche is your distinctive “calling card”. Write down what you enjoy most and then figure out how you can get paid to do it. For example, my niche is that I make weddings personal. I create events that have the couple’s personality on even the tiniest of details. So what happens? When a couple’s number one concern is having a wedding that is about them, they come to me. You too need to have a highly specialized trait that you are known for. Look at your surrounding market, what is lacking? How can you fill this void? Does anyone do destination weddings, eco-friendly weddings? As you grow, develop key alliances with vendors. This will enable you to offer exclusives or the best deal on certain aspects of the wedding.

Understand you are the wedding expert; couples have come to you for two reasons. The wedding is either too stressful or they simply don’t have time to plan it. They are hiring you to not only organize it and have all the details in place but they are also hiring you as a professional because they want your opinion. Be sure you tell your clients like it is, give them honesty and directness-that is how you earn their respect. Keep in mind your relationship with the vendor and express what is possible and what is not. You are the deal maker and you have to play both sides of the table. In the end of the day, you are there to make your couple happy. So you must remember you are representing them when you are making calls and negotiating contract stipulations.

The way you get business, is by getting noticed. You must be a leader, a trendsetter. Most of us have a problem with this, stepping away from the pack and developing our own unique brand. However this is exactly what you must do in order to catch the eye of clients. Be distinct with your marketing message. We are all different; however most of us try and conform. But if you notice, highly-successful people do not. They take the leap. This means instead of being afraid of new things or sticking to the safe way that “everybody” does, you discover new ways to get your name out there. For example, I have taken to the internet for bringing national recognition to my company and myself. I send out newsletters, have a Facebook Fan page, I tweet and I love teleseminars. This not only builds my brand, but couples find me that way too!

Most importantly, look at your wedding planning business as your resume. The more you do, the more opportunities you take-the more you build up your company’s track record. I hear the same “complaint” over and again from new wedding planners. “I just started my business; all that I have done is a few friends and families weddings.” I want to clap and say congratulations! Your abilities have caught the eye of those closest to you, this means you are on the right track. Keep going! I got started in this business by saying “Yes” to a friend. She needed help with her daughters’ birthday party and I came to her mind. I still do the Farther/Daughter dance at the local school every year. The budget is only $200, however the parents know me for it and I take pleasure in delivering beyond their expectations.

For anyone looking to break into the wedding planner business, I would suggest enrolling in a wedding planner education class-just like I did. Work with others to develop your business plan, confidence, niche and marketing strategy. Surround yourself with trusted colleagues and mentors. You will gain insider knowledge that will help you enjoy success as a wedding planner.

Wedding Love and Hugs,


1 comment:

Marcia said...

Experienced wedding planners offers you the one thing no bride has experience. A good coordinator has the experience to know what constitutes a good price and is poor price on each particular discipline that are commonly used for weddings.