A publication inspired by the Association of Bridal Consultants September/October 2012 Volume 2 Issue 4
the publication for wedding planners, professionals, and designers
Top 10 Catering Trends 8 Social Media Strategy 12 8 Steps to a Great Contract 21 New! Ask the Experts 23 Say â€œYesâ€? to Proposal Planning 24
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CONTRIBUTORS put the
Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC™, of Frank Event Design,
into your weddings
Chicago, was named 2012 Event Planner of the Year by Event Solutions Magazine. He feels the intermezzo, an elegant “quick” course, really adds a huge wow factor to a plated meal for weddings and events. See page 8.
Donna Brian, MBC™, is a full-service wedding/event planner and certified Sandals representative. She is the Association of Bridal Consultant’s Louisiana state coordinator, a member of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Wedding Professionals International, and the Better Business Bureau of Shreveport. She is a fan of niche food bars. See page 8.
Stephanie Courtney, ABC™, Allergen Free Events, has firsthand experience with food allergies. She, herself, has a food allergy and her mother has had celiac disease for 11 years. Courtney is a consultant for allergen-free events and works with clients who have food allergies and sensitivities. See page 8.
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Lisa Hopkins, CPCE, CMP, is the director of catering
and conference services at The Houstonian Hotel in Houston. She is currently the president of the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE). See page 8.
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Kevin “Yoshi” Kohara, MWV™, is director of Asian Markets for the Association of Bridal Consultants and president of Sophia Trading Co., Ltd. In 1992, he left a career in banking to import and wholesale overseas’ wedding gown brands in Japan. Kohara has authored several books and is a recognized wedding expert throughout Asia. See page 15.
Aviva Zack is a partner at Bliss Wedding Design, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and a freelance writer for multiple publications. Her business recently added proposal planning to its list of services. She has been a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants since 2005. See page 24.
Nicole Zenner, PBC ™, LK Events, Inc., has eight years of wedding and event planning experience in the Minnesota and Chicago areas. In between planning and producing events, Nicole works in digital advertising, managing the social media marketing strategy for clients and employers and keeping the pulse on evolving trends. See page 12.
Wedding Planner Magazine
Departments International: Western-influenced Chinese Wedding Market is Booming...................................................................15 One of Asia’s most well-respected wedding experts, Kevin “Yoshi” Kohara explores the Chinese wedding market and recaps his learnings from the 2012 Beijing Bridal Show.
Real Wedding—Mexico City....................................................................................25 What do you get when a famous Mexican actress weds a successful lawyer? A stunning event with 800 guests, 400,000 roses, and Julio Iglesias. Real Wedding—Alabama...........................................................................................26 Transforming an all-black room was the challenge for this wedding in Little River Canyon, Ala., inspired by the colors of fall. Real Wedding—England.............................................................................................27 An American bride and English groom used the 18th century, private Spencer House palace as its source of inspiration for this classic event. ABC Member Best Practices....................................................................................29 Think Outside of the Box: What are YOUR creative ideas for new revenue? Columns ABC Member Insight—Ronni Johnston, ABC™, Perfect Touch Custom Weddings, Wichita, Kan............................................................................................. 18 Learn the secrets to successful initial consultations. Master Wedding Vendor™ Profile: Sally Lorensen Conant, Ph.D., MWV™.................................................................... 19 Business Basics: 8 Steps to a Great Wedding Contract..................................21 Do you really need a business contract or is it just an extra step in the process? Lawyer and consultant Dina Eisenberg explores how you can turn a cumbersome process into the stepping stone for great clientcustomer relationships. Ask the Experts..............................................................................................................23 Wedding Planner Magazine readers pose their pressing industry-related questions and our advisory panel has the answers. In Every Issue Contributors..................................................................................................................... 4 Editor’s/Publisher’s Letter.......................................................................................... 7 President’s Letter............................................................................................................ 7 ABC Meetings & News................................................................................................ 16 Advertisers Index.........................................................................................................30
24 Dear.mx (arnaud Zein el Din), Salvador Carmona
Creative Revenue Stream: Say “Yes” to Proposal Planning..........................24 Looking for additional sources of income for your business? Consider proposal planning, a natural complement to wedding planning that can lead to future business.
25 Windau Photography
Taking a Strategic Approach to Social Media....................................................12 Social Media can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, but used right, it can mean more business suited exactly to your style. Explore time-saving tips, resources, and ideas. Plus, learn about the results of Wedding Planner Magazine’s first-ever social media survey!
Table of Contents
17 Micaela Scimone Photography
Features Catering to Couples: The Top 10 Wedding Cuisine Trends........................... 8 Food is a part of every major celebration of our lives, and it certainly plays a pivotal role at wedding celebrations. Discover the latest trends for catering cuisine and explore tantalizing options within each.
Wedding Planner Magazine
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Your Wedding. Your Style.
6/27/12 2:26 PM
Volume 2 Issue 4 September/October 2012 Publishers Nancy Flottmeyer, PBC™ David Wood
Art Designer Nancy Flottmeyer, PBC™
Writers Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC™ Donna Brian, MBC™ Stephanie Courtney, ABC™ Dina Eisenberg, JD Beth Erickson Lisa Hopkins, CPCE, CMP Ronni Johnston, ABC™ Kevin “Yoshi” Kohara, MWV™ Aviva Zack Nicole Zenner, PBC™ Proofreader Kim Seidel
Photographers Alan Abrams Photography Barnet Photography Dear.mx (arnaud Zein el Din), Salvador Carmona Garbo Productions Gina’s Portraits KB Photography Micaela Scimone Photography Mueller Photography Olivier Kpognon Photography Windau Photography Wedding Planner Magazine, a publication inspired by the Association of Bridal Consultants, is published bi-monthly by Wedding Planner Magazine LLC, 400 Main Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601. Phone: 608.796.2257. Fax: 608.796.2253. email: email@example.com. Visit: www.weddingplannermag.com.
Times have changed… A mere 20 years ago, the wedding plate was typically adorned with rice pilaf, a few steamed veggies, and either cordon bleu or chicken with white sauce. And the wedding cake? Wet cardboard with sweetened shortening. Together, it was a ho-hum meal that did little to please the palate. But thanks to a generation of gourmets and foodies, caterers, chefs, and event planners are letting their creativity soar for couples who really want their wedding to burst with life—and flavor. Inside this issue of Wedding Planner Magazine, you’ll find the top 10 trends for wedding catering, courtesy of the contributions of our readers and the National Association for Catering and Events. Speaking of trends, social media is one that doesn’t seem to be going away. That’s why we polled readers in an online survey about how they use social media and whether they’re able to track its success. We share those results here, along with an article on “Taking a Strategic Approach to Social Media,” by Nicole Zenner, PBC™. Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) Director of Asian Markets, Yoshi Kohara, takes a look at the Chinese wedding market, and Ronni Johnston, ABC™, gives you tips on making your initial consult matter. Plus, you’ll learn how your business contract can be your best friend in “8 Steps to a Great Wedding Business Contract,” by Dina Eisenberg, JD. Hungry for more? In this issue, we’re introducing a new feature—“Ask the Experts.” In it, you pose the questions and our advisory panel has the answers. Another first for this issue is the profile of a Master Wedding Vendor™, Sally Lorensen Conant, Ph.D. And, thanks to ABC members, you’ll also hear ideas on creative revenue streams in Member Best Practices, and learn along with them in Real Weddings. We hope you enjoy this issue, created just for you. Remember to find us on Facebook and Twitter! If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to register for ABC Business of Brides Annual Conference, Diamonds & Denim in Denver, Nov. 11-13. Celebrity planner Donnie Brown and industry expert Rebecca Grinnals are the core presenters. Find out more at www. BusinessofBrides.com.
Copyright 2012 Wedding Planner Magazine LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publishers.
Creative Director Nancy Flottmeyer, PBC™
Editor Beth Erickson
© Olivier Kpognon Photography
Nancy Flottmeyer, PBC™ Publisher/Creative Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Erickson Editor email@example.com
Wedding Planner Magazine does not necessarily endorse the claims or contents of advertising or editorial material. Printed in the U.S.A. For advertising information: 608.796-2257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org the A publication inspired by Association of Bridal Consultants4 Volume 2 Issue September/October 2012
the publication for wedding
8 Top 10 CaTering Trends 12 soCial Media sTraTegy 21 8 sTeps To a greaT ConTraCT 23 new! ask The experTs planning 24 say “yes” To proposal
planners, professionals, and
Venue: Rancho Las Lomos; caterer: 24 Carrots, Orange County, Calif.; linens: Wildflower Linens; design: Inviting Occasion © Barnet Photography
Wedding Planner Magazine ISSN 2160-3286 is published bi-monthly by Wedding Planner Magazine LLC, 400 Main Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601. Circulation is 4,000. Advertising is accepted; corporate ABC members receive a discount on rates. Annual subscriptions are $36. Periodical postage paid at La Crosse, WI and at Eau Claire, WI. Postmaster send changes to Wedding Planner Magazine, 400 Main Street, La Crosse, WI 54601.
David M. Wood, Publisher President, Association of Bridal Consultants
www.weddingplannermag.com Twitter: @wedplanmag Next Issue: Top Wedding Industry Trends - Planning a Stylized Shoot - Get Your Real Weddings Published - And more...
Wedding Planner Magazine
F E AT U R E
Late-night wedding snacks
Catering to Couples: The Top 10 Wedding Cuisine Trends
By Beth Erickson, Wedding Planner Magazine, with: Lisa Hopkins, CPCE, CMP, president of the National Association of Catering and Events; Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC™, Frank Events, Chicago; Donna Brian, MBC™, Love in Bloom, Shreveport, La.; Stephanie Courtney, ABC™, Allergen Free Events, Edgewater, Md.; AnnaMarie Wintercorn, MBC™, Elegant Weddings and Events, Stuart, Fla.; Mark Kingsdorf, MBC™, The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consulting, Glenside, Pa. PHOTOGRAPHY barnet PHOTOGRAPHY
Gourmet food trucks
Wedding Planner Magazine
Late-night wedding snacks
1. late-Night Wedding Snacks Guests who stay well past the main meal to socialize and dance the night away work up an appetite, which is why many brides and grooms add late-night wedding snacks to cap off their day. Items often resemble “street fare fun foods,” comfort foods, and easy breakfast pick up food. Think sugared donuts on a stick served over coffee, mini grilled cheese triangles with a tomato soup shooter, silver dollar pancake stacks, beef sliders with truffled French fries, or fried chicken biscuits with honey.
“Weddings are about celebration and savoring the good things in life: family, friends, food—and don’t forget drinks” Signature drinks
2. Gourmet Food Trucks Mobile eateries have been around since the days of the chuck wagon in the 1800s, offering the convenience of comfort food where and when you need it. Over time, food trucks were seen as festival fare, but today, they’re popular from New York to California and offer everything from fried foods like funnel cakes and corn dogs to more upscale sushi and crab cakes. What does that mean for weddings? Many couples are embracing this unique trend as a creative way to feed wedding guests—for the rehearsal dinner, cocktail hour, an outdoor tented reception, or after-hour wedding parties. Multiple food trucks can be brought to almost any venue and serve a variety of ethnic foods, seafood, or the American favorite hamburgers and hot dogs. Food trucks can serve as stations even, with one offering rice or baked potatoes, another featuring a variety of vegetables, and yet another with a protein, perhaps even personalized with a favorite chicken recipe passed down through generations. Be sure to plan for the climate and the number of anticipated guests. 3. Artisan Spirits, Signature Drinks, Craft Beers, Wine Weddings are about celebration and savoring the good things in life: family, friends, food—and don’t forget drinks. More and more couples are getting creative in how they incorporate wine and spirits. Signature drinks remain popular— whether based on the season or the bride and groom’s preference—but now craft beer displays, perhaps coupled with seasoned varieties of popcorn; artisan spirits; and even wine tastings are growing in popularity. Wine varietals, like sauvignon blanc, malbec, pinot noir, zinfandel, rosé, and riesling are being requested more often to enhance the menu.
Wedding Planner Magazine
4. Decadent Desserts It hasn’t been “just wedding cake” in years. The creative dessert offerings at weddings grow more inspired each year. Pie buffets or dessert stations with assorted parfaits, cookies, truffles, pudding, cannoli shells, brownies, and cheesecake are popular. Non-fat frozen yogurt or ice cream bars with white, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream stations include scrumptious toppings like crushed Oreos and Butterfingers, candy sprinkles, nuts, whipping cream, and cherries for guests to create their own sundaes. Assorted candy buffets and even cotton candy stations create buzz and excitement among guests. For those who decide cake is the way to go, the options are limitless: from multiple frosting and filling flavor combinations to cheesecakes, gluten-free options, and even elaborate cupcakes.
Decadent desserts Niche food bars
5. Niche Food Bars As the average wedding size continues to grow, niche food bars have become increasingly popular. They offer a greater variety of food and are cost-effective since fewer servers are needed. The guests enjoy the cultural motifs, ice sculptures, and use of up lighting at each station. The key to a good station is always to have action—a chef cooking or finishing off an item at the table, or a server assembling the different components of the dish. It makes the station feel alive and will also move the quality of the food up a notch. Food at a station doesn’t have to be fancy and high-end to be effective if you add action. Niche food stations also give the guests an opportunity to mingle as they move about the reception hall. Even better are the mouth-watering food choices. Imagine: crawfish étouffée and grits served in martini glasses; mashed potato and sweet potato stations with condiments like brown sugar, butter, pecan, marshmallow, green onion, bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, chives; seafood and sushi offerings; Mediterranean foods like samosas, bruschetta, lamb, grilled chicken, vegetables, hummus, assorted cheeses; Brazilian items like grilled chicken and flank steak, andouille sausage, bratwurst, grilled yellow and zucchini squash, Portobello mushrooms with sauces like chimichurri and barbecue; bruschettas with grilled shrimp, turkey, filet mignon topped with fruit, assorted cheeses and garnish; and street fare like mini muffalettas, fajitas, sliders, and hot dogs. Just about anything is possible. 6. Coffee Bar Complete with its own barista, coffee bars at weddings appeal to all partygoers. It looks and feels like an upscale coffee shop at your wedding and ties in nicely with wedding dessert offerings. Whether guests want regular or decaf, mochas, au laits, or lattes, they can order it their way. Add hot cocoa and frappé drinks for the younger guests and cordial shots for the adults. 7. Healthier Kids’ Choices Say goodbye to chicken nuggets, corn dogs, and French fries. A growing trend in schools, restaurants, and catering is enhanced nutrition for children’s meals—offering healthier food choices with more whole grains, fruits and veggies as sides (think carrot sticks and cut apples or melons), and even mini-meals that are smaller versions of adult menu items. This falls in line, too, with the recent USDA dietary guidelines that suggest increasing fruits and vegetables in the diets of all Americans. Above all, in preparation of children’s meals, it’s important to go nut-free—avoiding foods with tree nuts or peanuts—for those with allergies.
11Enhanced Weddingintermezzo Planner Magazine
With food allergies on the rise, there is an ever-growing need to accommodate those who must eat a certain way because they have no choice. For these individuals, eating, or in some cases, even being exposed to certain foods can create a life-threatening situation. They, their planners, and caterers must take food content, preparation, and serving requirements very seriously in order to keep guests safe during the event. Some in the hospitality industry view the extra precautions as overhead, but fortunately, there are some great chefs and caterers who have taken them to heart and are making a difference for those with allergies. This is a really important trend that cannot be ignored. In some cases, allergies can be very severe. You can ruin a guest’s reception by not taking care of their needs—not to mention, potentially risk his or her life. In some cases, these vendors have food allergies or Celiac disease themselves, or have a close family member who does. They understand firsthand what is involved. The truly allergen-free and gluten-free vendors have had training for themselves and their staff in how to prepare their work environment and handle the food safely from source-to-service without risking cross-contamination. Their staff knows how to respond to guest questions without making the guest feel conspicuous for asking, “What is in the food?” They understand the medical nature of the request. The product? It’s just as tasty and quality as food for those without allergies. In most cases, no one would know the difference.
Just how do you find an allergen-free or gluten-free caterer? Ask around, google it, but remember, there are no industry standards that dictate the required level of training or certification for a caterer or venue claiming this service. Instead, it is the responsibility of the planner and client to probe deeper and ensure they understand just what the caterer means. All food at stations needs to be properly labeled. All menu requests need to be given to the caterer in advance of the function (at least 72 hours). Planners need to make special notes and help the caterer make these special guests feel their needs are being accommodated. A few simple questions during the initial meeting with the venue/caterer, bride and groom are usually enough to solve the mystery. • How many allergen-free or gluten-free events have you done? 9. Enhanced Intermezzo • Did you provide just a few special meals or were the entire events You eat with your eye, so presentation is just as important as taste. One allergen/gluten free? of the courses being made over is intermezzo—to get away from just a • Are you associated with or certified by the Food Allergy Anaphylaxis scoop of sorbet in a martini glass. If the martini glass is your only vessel, Network, Gluten Intolerance Group, Celiac Sprue Association, rim it with a colored sugar. Add mint, basil, or even frozen sugared National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, or any other grapes to kick it up a notch. To really make an impact, try using a kitchen management training program for preparing and handling different vessel. Coupes are huge right now. Also, small, low-lipped glass food for people with allergies? bowls such as a “fantasy glass” make a nice statement. For really special • How much of your staff has received training? events, consider individual, lighted ice sculptures to hold the sorbet. • Do you have a separate kitchen or a kosher kitchen? Other ideas? Wrap the sorbet in a foil, like a piece of French candy. • If you prepare everything in the same kitchen, what are your best Use an exotic sorbet and stray away from lemon and lime. Consider a practices and protocols for preventing cross-contamination? (Do they wine-infused sorbet with cabernet, merlot, or sangría; late fall raspberry use separate surfaces, condiments, utensils, toasters, fryers, grills, with Chambord float; Hachiya persimmon and lychee garnished with pans, boiling, storage, and presentation?) mint-leaf tempura; black pepper blackberry; or Italian lemon ice served • Do you have a separate room for your bakery? in the paper cup with a wooden spoon. Another idea is to move away • Do you allow gluten-free baked goods from another bakery? from sorbet entirely and serve shaved ice granitas or a liquid intermezzo • How do you handle foods with allergens and or gluten on a buffet? like a non-alcoholic version of punch romaine. A seasoned, reputable caterer will answer these questions with ease. If you are not satisfied with the responses, move to the next caterer on your list. ••
8. Locally-Sourced/Seasonal Fare A trend for several years, local sourcing of food continues to be popular as consumers look to reduce their carbon footprint, support local growers and farmers, offer quality products, and keep costs down. Everything from locally sourced vegetables to meats, seafoods, ice cream, wines, beers, and spirits is possible. If it’s made locally, it can be offered. Some caterers and restaurants even have their own gardens for veggies and bee colonies for honey. Local sourcing of catered items, also encourages seasonal consideration by being aware of what is available locally during the time of year of the event.
10. Allergy-free Fare Since Chelsea Clinton’s wedding several years ago, in which she offered vegan and gluten-free menu items, a refreshing change has taken place in the catering industry for brides and grooms with food allergies or Celiac disease—an ever-growing group of vendors and caterers who are able to provide allergy-free alternatives.
F E AT U R E
TAKING A STRATEGIC APPROACH By Nicole Zenner, PBC™, LK Events, Inc., Chicago
Social media is forever changing. New platforms and tools sprout just want to increase your Klout score, which measures your social media up seemingly overnight proving that no matter how long you’ve dabbled impact. Whatever you decide, it’s important to determine your goal(s). in social media, you have to keep testing, evolving, and rethinking the tactics for your business. 4) Get active and stay active! Julie Albaugh, a social media journalist from Wedding Marketing Online, recommends “that you determine how If you’re one of the few who are not using social media, you should be. much spare time you have each week to be consistent.” Comment on If you’re using it, but still unsure how it is going to help your business, blogs, like photos and posts, retweet, repin, and don’t forget to submit you need to use it right to see an impact. In the State of the Social Media your own posts, tweets, and photos. Are you seeing results? If not, Marketing Industry report released in April 2012 by Social Media Examiner, change how you say things, use fewer words or characters, change the “those people that are self-employed and put in the time, see the greatest time of day you are active on sites, include more hashtags in your tweets, benefit from social media.” Those benefits include building vendor relation- increase the number of people you’re following, include more descriptive ships at a rapid pace. How? Reach out and connect with vendors and inditags. Monitor your results, and continue to patiently test what works. viduals you meet after every networking event. Like their page on Facebook. Comment on or share some of their posts. Like a picture of an event. Follow 5) Check in on your goal. Every six months, check to see if you are the vendor on Twitter and retweet something they’ve had to say. Friend achieving your goal. If you are not, change tactics and keep working. If them on LinkedIn. Look to see what connections you share. Follow their you have, reassess your strategy and set new goals. Continue to use what boards on Pinterest, and do a little re-pinning. If their accounts aren’t active, works, and don’t forget to test other or new tactics based on where your don’t bother. It’s not worth staying connected online if there’s nothing audience is every day. to follow. You’ll quickly find that vendor partners who are active in social media will remain top of mind in your everyday work. Remember, social Embrace your social media strategy, and you will see rewards! media is no substitute for face-to-face interactions. That is a crucial part of any business. Instead, it is simply a more rapid means of disseminating and Nicole’s Top Resources on Social Media gathering information about business developments, educational materials, The Social Media Marketing Book, Dan Zarella, 2010 The Twitter Book, Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein, 2009 ideas, and personal nuances. Here are some tips for getting started: 5 Ways to Develop Your Social Media Strategy 1) Ask yourself whom you are trying to reach, and with whom you want to connect. “With nearly 80% of all active U.S. Internet users regularly visiting social media sites,” your choice is to reach and connect with potential, current, and former clients, industry vendors, or a combination of both (Nielsen, State of the Social Media Marketing Industry, April 2012). You decide what’s best for your business. 2) Find out how your target audience uses social media. If you’re not sure where to start in your research, just ask. In initial meetings with clients, ask how they use social media. Also ask trusted friends and colleagues in the wedding industry how they use social media to target their business audience. People are very generous in sharing this type of information. 3) Determine how you’re going to measure results. Similar to other marketing efforts, you need to determine your return on investment. Do you want to gain 5-10 new couples per year through social media alone? Perhaps you want to increase the number of likes to your Facebook page or the number of followers you have on Twitter and Pinterest. Maybe you Your Thoughts on Social Media...
“Social media, in a very new and different way, is the best possible endorsement of your product or service from your peer group—it shows the prospective client that you are reputable and trusted among other vendors, clients, and contacts within the network.” - Caroline Seale, Foxtrot Events, New Orleans “Building a presence using social media does not happen overnight. It takes time and consistent and quality posts on a daily basis.” - Cathy MacRae, Creative Weddings Planning & Décor, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Wedding Planner Magazine
“Engage in conversations with your followers/fans! Ask creative and thoughtprovoking questions. Allow them to ask you questions, and respond in a timely manner.” - Myiesha Antwine, PBC™, Kiss and Tell Weddings, Ardmore, Okla. “Don’t just go into social media blindly. I created specific purposes for each platform. Before I post on each, I take time to think about whether or not it supports or contradicts the goals that I’ve set and the voice that I want the platform to have.” - Emmanuela Stanislaus, Precious Occasions, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
“State of the Social Media Marketing Industry,” Social Media Examiner, April 2012 “The State of the Blogosphere,” Technorati, 2011 HubSpot—free webinars and ebooks
Social Media Bloggers To Watch: Brian Solis, Lee Odden, Jay Baer, Mitch Joel, Jason Falls, Olivier Blanchard, Gini Dietrich, Danny Brown, Jay Dolan, Tom Webster, Scott Stratten, and Ruth Zive.
Top 10 Ways Your Social Media Strategy Will Fail 1) You work with just one social media site. 2) You stay uninformed about the offerings of the next hot social media site. 3) You post the same message at the same time on all social media sites. 4) Your professional posts or tweets are always too personal. 5) You are not on social media sites every day. 6) You don’t interact with followers. 7) You only post your accomplishments. 8) Your professional posts or tweets are always too professional. 9) You don’t actively share other’s posts or retweet. 10) You don’t share photos or videos of your work.
“Social media is the only way to effectively reach the most eyes and ears of the fiancées needing our products and services.” - Linda Windham, ABC™, Honeymoons For Less, Columbia, S.C. “Social media is a fantastic way to build brand awareness and relationships with potential clients. But, it must be part of your overall marketing plan, not the only aspect. I believe the most important aspect is still a great-looking, informative, properly targeted and tagged website.” - Amy E. VanMeter, PBC™, Amy VanMeter Events, Winchester, Va.
“Participate, several times a week, and post relevant current content. Start with one or two of the social media options so you don’t get overwhelmed in the beginning.” - Nancy Skipton, PBC™, Simply Celebrations & Events, Kent, Wash. “Posting a weekly blog is a great way to connect with current clients and bring in future clients. I always try to have fun when writing my blog posts. I like to include photos, tips, website links, and vendor referrals to help my brides and grooms plan their wedding.” - Tamara Sims, Something 2 Dance 2 DJ Entertainment, Schaumburg, Ill.
TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Time spent in a typical week on social media 50
The Results Are In...In June 2012, Wedding Planner Magazine asked readers to
complete a survey on social media in the wedding industry. The following social media profile and comments about social media usage are the results of the 122 responses to our survey..
Attention Social Media User...This Is You! Ever wonder what the typical social media user in the wedding industry is like? How often do they actually use social media? Can they track its success? What sites do they use? Now is the chance to find out. We tracked the top answers to all of our social media survey questions and created the following profile of our Wedding Planner Magazine respondents.
Overall survey respondants:
93% are wedding planners 54% have been in the industry 1-5 years 94% are female 37% are 30-39 years old
40 30 Percent readers 20 10 0
3-5 6-10- Hours
percentage of new business gained with social media
0-10% 11-25% 26-50% 51-75% 76-100%
RESULTS OF OUR SURVEY
56% Use social media extremely often 35% Spend about 3-5 hours per week 31% Update several times a day 100% use Facebook, 60% use Twitter, 53% use LinkedIn, and 66% use Pinterest 35% have over 300 likes on Facebook 19% have over 300 followers on Twitter 21% have over 300 connections on LinkedIn 27% have 1-50 followers on Pinterest 85% have separate business/personal accounts 86% post business updates/recent events 92% post updates herself 42% consider social media as effective as other forms of marketing 54% can track the effectiveness of social media 51% gain 0-10% of new business through social media
“Though I am not a fan of automating everything, I am quite fond of HootSuite, where I can update posts for all of my social media platforms with one click.” - Jodi Gagne, ABC™, CSS, Simply Perfect, Toronto “It’s important to post items that are relevant to your audience and not make it exactly like what you post on your website and/or blog. There has to be a reason for them to visit your Facebook page, so offer specials or promotions just for your followers.” - Jenny Garringer, PBC™, Pink with Envy Event Planning Services, Beavercreek, Ohio
“It can be easy to get lost in social media. Block off time during your day to devote to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, and only go to these websites during that block of time. When your time is up, move on to other business tasks.” - Heather Canada, MBC™, First Coast Weddings and Events, Jacksonville, Fla. “You can exhibit articles about your last weddings and events. Your clients will be grateful because they will have more reference about your job.” - Valentina Corro, Grupo MAAS, Mexico City
how much social media rates in comparison to other forms of marketing (advertising, bridal shows, mailings, etc)
Much less effective Less effective As effective More effective Much more effective
“Network, network, network! Combining social media efforts with in-person networking events is the only way to keep connections alive. Get prospective clients to like and respect you socially so that they will trust you in your professional life, which leads to more business and referrals.” - Ginia Lucas, MWV™, Y-Knot Rentals, Mesa, Ariz.
“For most wedding vendors, sharing photos from recent work and sharing recent testimonials is a great way to keep followers—fans, friends, clients—up-to-date with your recent work. It also keeps you in the front
of their mind, so when they hear ‘wedding,’ they instantly think of you. It is very important, to post photos of your own work—I understand that sharing inspirational photos is nice, but it is a bit misleading, and you don’t want to promote someone else! You want to promote you and your amazing work! Always keep your interactions on social media positive and professional—if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t comment publicly—send a message if you’d like to help out a friend with some criticism.” - Joel Maus, Studio EMP Inc., Fullerton, Calif.
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September/Octoberion of Bridal Consultants 2012 Volume 2 Issue 4
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Top 10 CaTering Trends 8 soCial Media sTraT egy 12 8 sTeps To a greaT ConTraCT 21 new! ask The exper Ts 23 say “yes” To propo sal planning 24
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Wedding Planner Magazine advisory board
Barbara Diez Barbara Diez Event Planners Master Bridal Consultant™
Create a wedding day memory to last a lifetime. At America’s First Resort Destination®, couples have stayed, played and exchanged vows for more than100 years …now it’s your turn. Contact our Destination Wedding Specialist at 561-233-3057 or email MyWedding@PalmBeachFL.com
Mark Kingsdorf The Queen of Hearts Wedding
Master Bridal Consultant™
Frank J. Andonoplas Frank Event Design
Accredited Bridal Consultant™
Tamara Lin Waterman
2011 Miss Dorothy Heart Award Recipient
Master Wedding Vendor™
Edward L. Griffin The Wedding DJs/Hardcastle Entertainment, Inc.. Vendor
John Goolsby, MEI, CPV, MPV, Godfather Films Novice
Shelly Stone, Signature Events by Shelly Professional Bridal Consultant™
LaToya Parnell Something Blue Weddings
All of our advisory board members are members of the Association of Bridal Consultants. Have a question about the wedding industry? Our upcoming issues will feature an “Ask the experts at Wedding Planner Magazine” column. We will work with our advisory board to answer the questions for publication or directly on Facebook. Please send questions via message on our Facebook page or email email@example.com with “Ask the Experts” in the subject line.
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7/6/12 5:55 PM
Western-Influenced Chinese Wedding Market is Booming By Kevin “Yoshi” Kohara, MWV™, ABC Director of Asian Markets
At left: The entrance to the 2012 Beijing Bridal Show. Right: A flower girl and bridesmaids stand ready for the wedding at the Hilton Hotel in Beijing.
The wedding industry in China has changed rapidly during the past seven or eight years. In 2010, more than 8.2 million couples married in China. According to Shi Kanning of the Wedding Industry Committee, established by the state-run China Association of Social Workers, consumer spending on weddings was set to increase by 20 percent per year (Reuters.com). In fact, today, some Chinese weddings cost more than $150,000 in U.S. currency.
be pampered choose high-end shops where shop staff can assist clients one-on-one. Everyone else goes to more public shops where shared dressing rooms and long waits are the norm. This is China. Even if brides wish to wear high-priced gowns, it is an impossible dream because the average income for Chinese women in their 20s is around 4,000 to 8,000 Chinese Yen ($500-1,000 USD), while items at an elite store are priced at least 30,000 to 40,000 Chinese Yen ($3,770-5,030 USD).
Ceremonies and receptions go hand-in-hand My last memory of a Chinese wedding was in Shanghai almost five years ago. Then, I could still see remnants of Chinese traditions. During this trip, I visited one wedding arranged at Beijing Hilton Hotel. Since the Chinese Government does not allow religious marriage ceremonies, many couples arrange marriage vows and receptions at the location. The wedding I attended was like that. And, although some traditions and customs still exist, this wedding drove my previous image of a Chinese modern wedding out of my brain. Here, there was no Chinese gown, no red-colored linen, no firecracker entertainSo what is it like to plan a wedding in China? The February Beijing Bridal ment. Instead, there was a ring pillow, the bride’s friends serving as Show, with more than 70,000 attendees, was a great place to learn more. bridesmaids, and flower décor that looked like a page in an American bridal magazine. Average guests per reception are 150. The couple Here is what I discovered: usually prepares extra tables in the reception site for extra guests invited by original guests, even if the wedding couple does not know The role of wedding planners Generally, the wedding planner’s role is to arrange vendor’s products or extra guests. services into a package price and sell the whole package to couples. Essentially, 40 percent of this is the planner’s income. Vendors like florists, The importance of wedding photography Wedding photography is one of the biggest industry businesses in paper companies, etc. do not need to meet the couple as the order is China, Korea, Vietnam, and other countries close to China. Photos are arranged between the planner and couple. taken at the time of engagement. Wedding photos are taken, in full wedding attire, during the two to three months prior to the wedding day. Average floral costs for the reception site are 10,000 to 20,000 Chinese Yen ($1,250-2,500 USD). The marriage ring is averaged 1,700 to 3,000 Overall, industry professionals who know American high-end wedChinese Yen ($210-370) Photography costs average 4,000 to 5,000 dings say the Chinese wedding is not as much of a production as their Chinese Yen ($500-620 USD). United State’s counterparts, even though couples spend significant sums of money. But they believe there are many opportunities in this The bridal gown shopping experience Wedding gown shopping is defined by economy. Those who can afford to growing market. •• Different markets in different provinces Indeed, China’s wedding industry is thriving, with many high-end weddings produced annually in Beijing and Shanghai. Many wedding companies from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan have developed their business in Shanghai. The Taiwanese business grew quickest, as their mother tongue is closest to Mandarin. The Beijing market is unique as weddings are arranged only in the morning, which means fewer business opportunities for Japanese businesses since it is not seen as profitable to have only one wedding per day.
Wedding Planner Magazine
Association of Bridal Consultants Meetings & News
For individual monthly state meetings, please contact your state coordinators and the ABC website www. BridalAssn.com.
Attend and earn two points for education and professional development. For more information, or to register, visit www.BridalAssn.com. Sunday, Sept. 16 Building and Remodeling Bridal Business The Westin Detroit Airport, Detroit, Mich. www.abcbrbdetroit.eventbrite.com Sunday, Sept. 23 ABC World of Wedding Planning Holiday Inn, Carle Place, N.Y. www.abcwownerny.eventbrite.com Monday, Sept. 24 Networking & Etiquette Revival Holiday Inn, Carle Place, N.Y. www.BridalAssn.com State Meetings Tuesday, Sept. 18 ABC-Georgia Meeting 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Vinewood Plantation, Newnan, Ga. Monday, Sept. 30 ABC-North Carolina 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Carolina Colours, New Bern, N.C. Veronica@behindthescenes.com
Save the Date
Sunday - Monday, Feb. 3-4 ABC-California State Meeting Friday - Saturday, Feb. 22-23 ABC-Indiana State Meeting
ABC Annual Conference Sunday-Tuesday, Nov. 11-13 Business of Brides Diamonds & Denim in Denver Grand Hyatt, Denver www.BusinessofBrides.com www.BridalAssn.com
Alan Abrams Photography
Candice Benson, MBC™, and The Finishing Touch team, Millburn, N.J., won the ISES New Jersey Garden State Gala Award for “Best Graphic Design” for their invitations for the third year in a row.
The following ABC members attended and celebrated the Grand Opening of Cloud Nove Events (above, l-r): Rosario Gil, Regina Cialone, Jacqueline Vazquez, ABC™, Lisa Marie Blinn, PBC™, and Madelyne Jackson. Regina Cialone, Cloud Nove Events, Copiague, N.Y., recently opened her new office space, which was featured in Well Wed Hamptons Magazine. The Grand Opening was on Friday, July 6.
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Toni DeLisi, MBC™, Memorable Events, Ramsey, N.J., was elected director of programs for the Greater NJ Chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events and received the 2012 Brides Choice Award from Wedding Wire.
In the media
Angela Dupont, ABC™, CPCE, Fort Worth, Texas, and Elizabeth Gonzalez, After Yes, Dallas, Texas, submitted an entry for the Best Conceptual Tabletop category of the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE) Awards. The Lone Ranger-themed tabletop they designed was for the 2011 D/FW NACE Fundraiser Tabletop Competition.
Tara Fay and Xena Productions Bespoke Events, Blackrock Co. Dublin, Ireland, were featured weekly in a series on weddings and tips for planning for three months on Xpose, an entertainment show, on TV3, one of Ireland’s main television channels. They were also featured in the Irish Times’ article “Valuable Tips for the Big Day” in June located in the Price Watch section on how to save money on wedding planning. Katy Griffiths, VOWS Wedding and Event Planning, had one of her commitment unions featured in Seattle Bride Magazine.
Angela Dupont, ABC™, CPCE, Fort Worth, Texas, completed her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship degree from Southern Methodist University in May. While in the program, she developed a business plan and strategy for acquiring a historic property to transform into a turnkey venue for weddings, corporate, and non-profit events.
Toni DeLisi, MBC™, Memorable Events, Ramsey, N.J., was recently selected to be in New Jersey Bride’s “Love It” awards, a list of the wedding industry companies the magazine loves.
Shafonne Myers, Pretty Pear Bride, Avon, Ind., is speaking about “TOPIC” at Backstage Bridal Pro at the Pecan Hill Resort in Los Angeles, on Monday, Sept. 24. According to Myers, Pretty Pear Bride is now the only print magazine and website in the world dedicated to plus-size brides. Grisell Neumann, Coordinadora de Eventos, Mexico, created a project called BODA (“wedding” in Spanish). The letters stand for Buenas Obras De Apoyo (“good deeds of support”), and the project is designed to redistribute wedding gifts that are either unwanted or non-returnable to couples with no resources who are getting married. With the help of other foundations, BODA locates a bride in need and gives the wrapped gifts under the giver’s first name. Elaine Parker, Weddings by Elan, Nashville, Tenn., has had a busy year since becoming an ABC Emerita. She is completing a guide about special needs weddings for persons with visual, hearing, or mobility limitations. She started a Vision Aids Closet for seniors who have low vision or are losing their vision due to macular degeneration or diabetes. Parker orders the aids and then goes to clients’ homes to teach them how to use them for cooking and recreational pursuits. She also received a lifetime achievement award from the Professional Chefs Association of Tennessee and a Presidential Recognition medal of Culinary Heritage from the American Culinary Federation. Lisa Smith, Gabbi Grace Events, Harper Woods, Mich., was asked to serve on the Wedding Industry Experts panel, a group of wedding planners and designers from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and more. The panel gives aspiring wedding planners and designers an opportunity to hear about what works in the real world of wedding planning from successful industry professionals. The Wedding Industry Experts put out a weekly report available through www.weddingindustryexperts.com. Smith is also the author of “Ask Lisa,” a column in Pretty Pear Bride Magazine.
Kim Horn, MBC™, (above) Arizona Bridal Source Wedding Planning, Phoenix, was interviewed about wedding trends for 2013 on June 3, for two segments on local NBC Channel 12; on June 7 for three segments on Fox 10 Phoenix; and June 8 for two segments on Fox 10 Phoenix. She was also featured on a live remote at the Phoenix Convention Center for the Arizona Bridal Show in 12 segments on Channel 3 TV on June 10. Gail Johnson, ABC™, Gail Johnson Weddings & Events, Tucker, Ga., was recently featured in: “The Cost of Getting Married” on BankRate.com; “The Ccost of Living Out Grand Events” on FoxBusiness.com; “The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Your Wedding Dress” on Glamour.com and Living.MSN.com; “Six Tips for Dealing with an Overbearing Mom” at ThePlungeProject.com; “Give a Great Wedding Gift Without Going Broke” at HelloWallet.com; and “Gail’s Stylish Office” at TheOfficeStylist.com. Denise Nicolette, What a Day Weddings, Scottsdale, Ariz., had two styled photo shoots (summer wedding inspiration with Pantone 2012 color trends and an eclectic wedding shoot in blue, pink, and yellow) published in Brenda’s Wedding Blog at www.brendasweddingblog.com. Gail Johnson, ABC™, Gail Johnson Weddings & Events, Tucker, Ga., was a featured vendor on Wedding Industry Experts website. Angela Saban, PBC™, Angela Saban Design and Angle Cakes Bakery, Glendale, Ariz., had pictures of a March wedding featured on the Style Me Pretty blog.
The Association of Bridal Consultants congratulates the following members who have achieved designation. Professional Bridal Consultant™ Johnella Brown, Janella Forte, Chesapeake, Va. Carol Carroll, Glenwood Springs, Colo. Andreza da Silva Mendes Novais, 4 Estacoes Eventos, Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil Arlene Dix, Creative Diaz, Lake City, Fla. Geraldine Harlson, Griffith, Ind. Tatsuya Higuchi, Japan Kara Inmon, Your Every Hearts Desire, Ypsilanti, Mich. Junko Ishikawa, Japan Malin Johansson, Fest & Bröllopsagenturen, Rydboholm, Sweden Mary Blossom Nmoh, Elegant Occasions, Antioch, Tenn. Amelia Rheaume, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Ethelle Robinson-Ellison, Weddings & Events by Ethelle, Tampa, Fla. Ebony Sparkes, Sparkling Events & Designs, LLC, Stone Ridge, Va. Lavette Swaine, Louisville, Ky. Miyuki Takahashi, Japan Dionda Wilson, Arlington, Va. Lamia Youssef, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Accredited Bridal Consultant™ Carolyn Burke, Wedding Liaison, Kirkwood, Mo. Ronni Johnston, PBCPerfect Touch Custom Weddings, Wichita, Kan.
The New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) collaborated with the New Jersey North Chapter of ISES to produce a Bridal Show called “Say Yes to the Best.” It was hosted at the Cedar Hill Country Club on March 7 and enabled members to showcase their products and services to local engaged couples with all ticket proceeds donated to Wish Upon A Wedding. This year, a tabletop design competition that brought a new and interesting element to the show was added. Members were able to showcase their design skills while brides enjoyed seeing a variety of designs inspiration. Entrants were able to use the vast inventory of competition sponsor, Party Rental, LTD. Awards were presented in two categories: “Brides’ Choice” and “Event Professionals’ Choice.” The Brides’ Choice Winner was “A Romantic Night Dream” by ABC Member Robin Rohsler Ortiz of Rohsler’s Allendale Nursery & Florist, Allendale, N.J. The Professionals’ Choice Winner Was “Spring Awakening” by ABC Member Amy Vecchione of Aventina Events, Glen Ridge, N.J., including floral design by The Garden Shop and graphic design by Parcel.
By Amy Vecchione, Aventina Events, Glen Ridge, N.J.
ABC Florida Gives Rosie Moore Business of Brides Scholarship
ABC to Launch Canada West in October 2012
By Elise Enloe, MBC™, ABC Florida State Coordinator
Plans are in motion for the official Canada West launch, which includes British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Rosie Moore, PBC™, 27 Miracles Wedding Consulting, and Manitoba. If you are a wedding planner or supplier Windermere, Fla., is the winner of ABC-Florida’s 7th and wish to be notified, please contact abcwestAnnual Conference Scholarship for the Association firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The Country of Bridal Consultants (ABC) annual Business of Brides Coordinator is Milena Santoro. She can be reached at conference. 780.999.5799 or email@example.com. Front, l-r: Josie Coccia, Naomi Munday, Lamia Youssef, An ABC Laura Collins, Janice Smith. Middle: ABC President member since David Wood, Jodi Gagné, Chantel Brown, Kimberley 2008, Moore Trench, Linnette Mavour, Matina Kalkounis, Kimwas a Cele berlee Bjorkman, Gwendolyn Ramsay. Back: Myriam Lalli Rising Romulus-Sinclair, Ettie Dawkins, Clem Dwyer, Blayre Star winner Ellestad, Kevin Lax. for January - March 2009 and is currently the President of Orlando’s Wish Upon a Wedding. This is the third time Moore applied for the scholarship. The ABC-Florida scholarship is awarded to a member who has never attended conference—whether novice, consultant, or vendor—based on an essay that is judged anonymously by previous scholarship winners and senior ABC-Florida members. Moore is married to the Rev. Marcus Moore. They have three children, Christopher, Kayla and a “special miracle,” Kaleb.
Association of Bridal Consultants Meetings & News
“Say Yes to the Best” Tabletop Award Winners Announced
Association of Bridal Consultants Directors code of ethics David M. Wood III, President Gerard J. Monaghan, Co-Founder Eileen P. Monaghan, Co-Founder Elise Enloe, MBC™, VP of North American Operations, Director of Education . ......................................... eliseABCFL@aol.com Elayne Anderson, Director of Operations.......................................................................................................................info@BridalAssn.com Candice Benson, MBC™, Director of Social Media..................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org Dena Davey, Director of Marketing.................................................................................................................................. corp@BridalAssn.com Nancy Flottmeyer, PBC™, Creative Director................................................................................................. email@example.com Lois Pearce, MBC™, Director of Ethnic Diversity..........................................................................................firstname.lastname@example.org Annemarie Steiner, Member Services........................................................................................................................mbrsvc@BridalAssn.com ABC Office: 1.860.355.7000, fax 1.860.354.1404, www.BridalAssn.com, 56 Danbury Road, Ste. 11, New Milford, CT 06776.
Our ABC members agree to: • represent each client fairly and honestly, providing all agreed-to services in a timely and cost-efficient manner. • establish reasonable and proper fees for services and provide written estimates to each client. • use honest, factual advertising. • deal with employees and clients fairly, in an unbiased manner. • disclose to clients any payments received from suppliers. • operate an establishment that is a credit to the community.
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A B C member insig h t
The Initial Consult:
Your First Chance to WOW Your Client!
By Ronni Johnston, ABC™ , Perfect Touch Custom Weddings, Wichita, Kan.
Ronni Johnston, ABC™, takes time to get to know couples during the initial consult to determine if they’re a right match for her business.
The initial consult you have with couples is the foundation of your wedding business. It is your first, or only, chance to demonstrate your value. Here, you will learn about the bride and groom—their personalities, wedding dreams, and potential challenges. Handled correctly, this can be “win-win” all the way. The couple will leave with a clear vision of their next steps—ideally hiring you is one. You will gain a clear understanding of the clients’ style, and know if they are the right clients for you. Here are some things you need to consider for your initial consults:
it’s your turn to talk. Jot down the event details for reference. Highlight anywhere you share experiences. Get personal Acknowledge them by name. Learn the key players. Look for telltale signs that someone other than the bride is in charge: She looks often at another for questions involving money or will defer her answers. Listen to the chatter between the clients. You will learn a lot about what the bride wants (lots of fresh flowers) and what the check-signer thinks (the mother hates to see all those flowers just die.) If you can perfect the fine art of listening, you’ll be able to address all parties’ concerns at once. Show that you understand both “sides” of an issue and offer a viable alternative that lets everyone feel good. Your value will be immediate and measurable.
Free or Fee? This topic has been covered in many forums. It is a dividing point for some, but needn’t be. Whether you choose to charge for your initial consult or not, it isn’t a right or wrong choice. It’s about what’s right for your business. However, remember that a “free” consultation must actuHelp set a goal and establish priorities ally provide some type of service. If you prefer an initial consult to be more of a sales opportunity, use another term, like “free initial meeting.” Ask for their top priorities and have them rank the rest. Give them something they can relate to—“on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is photography?” Let each person provide his or her own answer. Forms. What type should you use? Present options that fit. Provide contact information or estimates of Gather data and wedding details during the initial consultation, of the services. Ask about budget, even though it can be a tricky subject. course, but don’t get bogged down. Do use helpful documentation, but Balancing priority and budget is how you determine your referrals and keep it relevant and concise. Also decide who should be filling out the suggestions. Think of this as sketching out a rough map for them. Show forms. Some feel that brides tend to find detailed forms tedious. It can them the journey, and let them see that you are their best guide. take away from interaction time. Don’t forget sales and closing techniques. Do you ask the client to sign right away or give them time? Should you say you’ll “save the date”? Do you give a hiring incentive or deadline? Explore your options and make your choices before you meet with clients. Consider: Are you a hard or soft sell personality? Do you feel a discount could devalue your services? How are you marketing your consultations? What are the clients’ expectations? Track your contacts while you evaluate your options. If needed, take notes on which tactics you used. Quickly a pattern should emerge. Be willing to adjust your approach as brides and buying habits change over time. Use consistent business policies, but, consider adopting a few approaches to handle the different types of brides that you will meet. Get an earful Let the client talk. Ask how they met. Ask about their wedding fears and hopes. The client needs to feel you understand them. To do that, you must listen. Take notes. List questions or comments to use when
Wedding Planner Magazine
Give them the big picture Break down their budget based on their priorities. Include your service fees in their budget. Discuss their options and design in general terms. Give broad planning checklists, and discuss the amount of time needed (250 hours to plan is a realistic, average assessment.) Paint a picture of their wedding and how to get there. Help them assess what needs to be done and if they want to do it. The perfect initial consult is when the client has the most comprehensive view-to-date of their wedding, an immediate action plan, and has learned that you are a vital part of the process. Prepare, practice, and perfect—and your initial consult will serve you well. •• Ronni Johnston, ABC™, is the owner of Perfect Touch Custom Weddings in Wichita, Kan., and the Association of Bridal Consultant’s local networking group director. As a full-time consultant and mentor, Johnston knows mastering the initial consult is a critical and ongoing process.
master wedding vendor™
sally lorensen conant, ph.d, mwv™ Executive Director, Association of Wedding Gown Specialists (AWGS), 800.501.5005, email@example.com. President, Orange Restoration Labs, Orange, Conn., 800.950.6482, firstname.lastname@example.org. Employees: 3 full-time, AWGS; 10 full-time, Orange Restoration Labs Revenue breakdown: 54% preservation, 25% cleaning, 21% restoration Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Wedding Aces
Family: Between us, my husband and I have five children, ages 46, 43, 42, 40, and 33, as well as two grandchildren, 4 and 5 months. Education: I have a B.A. from Wellesley College (1960), an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Bryn Mawr College (1982, 1987) and conservation studies at Yale University, Smithsonian Institution, and Winterthur. MWV™ Status: I wanted to be the first, and I was (in 2002). A “third-party” validation is always important because it reassures the bride that her choice is a good one. And when the validation comes from the ABC, the preeminent organization dedicated to wedding professionals worldwide, what could be better! On the ABC and networking: I joined in 1994 because consultants are a natural market, but networking has turned out to be even more helpful. Eileen and Jerry Monaghan introduced me to many important figures in the industry such as Peter Grimes of Vows Magazine: The Bridal & Wedding Business Journal and Cele Goldsmith Lalli, at that time the editor of Modern Bride. Cele in turn introduced me to the owner of Priscilla of Boston, and my own company did all their work for many years. These days, I find the state, regional, and national meetings are a wonderful source of speakers, partnerships, and program ideas. Other Memberships: Textile Society of America, American Institute for the Conserva-
tion of Historic and Artistic Objects, and International Drycleaners Congress. On the AWGS: It’s a Canadian not-for-profit trade association represented in more than 500 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, and South Africa. The members specialize in cleaning gowns of all kinds, and the association’s goal is to provide women, especially brides, with not only trusted local service but also an international guarantee. We hold our members to very high standards, and we educate brides about the importance of gown care via our website, blogs, and other media. Orange Restoration Labs: We have a 4,000 sq. ft. facility where we clean and preserve contemporary gowns. I restore vintage items by hand and particularly enjoy helping brides with suggestions for updating their vintage gowns and veils. Our goal is to serve as a resource that brides, bridal consultants, bridal salons, and seamstresses can count on for whatever help they need with gowns and veils, new or old. Mentors: In 1990, when my husband and I bought a business together, I was an academic from a very different world. I knew nothing about business, and in this industry, my husband is my mentor. His background in banking and corporate enterprise has been crucial to our success. Inspiration: The Association of Wedding
Gown Specialists sponsors Couture: New York Bridal Fashion Week. Attending the markets in Chicago and New York keeps me up-to-date with wedding fashion and gives me lots of ideas for display and for adapting vintage gowns. Marketing strategy: We focus almost exclusively on the Internet but supplement with other media and networking. On Staying Fresh: We try to take a couple of days before or after major professional commitments in other cities, but every few years, we take a longer trip—most recently to Australia. Ideal client: For new gowns, the woman who cares enough about her gown to give it the proper care. For vintage gowns and veils, the woman whose family means everything to her. Recent Reads: David Baldacci in hard copy and tons of free books on my Kindle. Hobbies: Reading, gardening, my two black cats, fishing with my husband. Words of Wisdom: Never say “no” if the challenge is interesting. Always say “yes” and then figure out later how to make it work. On Giving Back: I have to hope that many, many years of community service in an earlier life carry forward because there simply is no time for volunteer work. Both AWGS and my own company contribute services and/or gowns to charities, and we have also sponsored breast cancer events and other such charitable programs. •• Wedding Planner Magazine
Take your business as seriously as your brides do. Enroll today! tgroup.net www.artis
The ABC Professional Development Program (PDP) offers some of the most comprehensive training in the industry—and it is still the fastest way to earn or advance your credentials under the new ABC points system. The PDP is available in both printed version and on CD.
The Professional Development Program is now available with a new introductory section covering the major components of the planning process.
m elopment Progra Professional Dev
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GRADED COURSE ARE: Introduction to Planning, Etiquette, Sales and Marketing, Wedding Day, Related Services, and Planning and Consulting. INVESTMENT: Individual courses at $119 each for a total of $595. Best value is the full program at $475. HOW TO ORDER: Go to www.BridalAssn.com, and click on the ABC Members header. Then log-in and use the drop-down menu for “educational materials” so we can promptly send the program.
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Call the ABC main office at 860.355.7000, and we’ll be happy to help you.
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to a Great Wedding Business Contract By Dina Eisenberg, JD | SpeakupPowerfully.com
Your business contract is not what you think. It’s more than just a binding agreement between two or more people, an exchange of money for value. It’s an opportunity to establish trust and set the tone for your entire working relationship. But how can you have a great wedding contract that feels good to you and works well for your couples? It starts with knowing your contract can’t always protect you. There are always unforeseeable circumstances. What do you do about payment if the bride or groom dies halfway through the planning or the baker goes bankrupt. Who plans for that? Your best bet is to create a solid contract that is a negotiated promise between you and your couple, a written memory of the conversations and agreements you had. It reflects your intention to work together and how. The contract creates trust and understanding that makes your work a thousand times easier. The intention is to find any snags now and resolve them so you can glide through to the wedding day. In fact, that’s a great way to start your conversation. To get there, follow these steps:
Have a written contract. It’s nice to do business on a handshake, but it’s smart to write things down. If you’re a wedding pro, review and revise your contract to make sure it’s enforceable and adequately covers your business. Just starting out? Spend your money on a contract before the business cards. It’s worth the investment. Check out Leverage-a-Lawyer for their package of essential contract forms.
Customize your contract. Many wedding pros use standardized forms, which is a fine way to start but isn’t the best solution. A customized contract means what’s important to you will be adequately expressed. For instance, because I believe in collaboration all my contracts have a mediation clause.
Get rid of the legal jargon. You don’t need it; it creates misunderstandings. For example, some contracts include a “hold harmless” clause. Sounds confusing until you realize all that means is that one party to the contract agrees not to hold the other party responsible. How much easier is that to understand? Write what you want to include in your contract like your payment terms, scheduling, deadlines, and behaviors you expect (and don’t want) from clients in your everyday language. Then, ask a business attorney to make it binding.
Dina Eisenberg, JD, is an author, mediator, and speaker who founded SpeakupPowerfully.com, an online advice and education resource focused on assertiveness for women in business. The site helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners learn to be kind yet decisive on various topics.
Know your local and state legal requirements. Make sure you both know and explain any special differences that your couple might encounter hosting a wedding in your state. In Massachusetts, there are times when a police detail has to be part of the wedding cost. An out-of-state bride might not know that, or worse, refuse to comply. It’s your responsibility to inform her. Also, if you intend to do destination weddings make sure your contract defines things like which law will take precedence—your state or the other location—if a lawsuit arises.
Have a variety of contracts. One contract does not suit all purposes. If it does, it’s too confusing to be enforceable. Consider an independent contractor agreement, a rental agreement, an agreement for design/ planning services, a change order agreement, and a preferred vendor agreement.
Make it easy to sign. It’s best to have your contract discussion and signing face-to-face, but if that’s not possible, use one of the online signature services like Echosign or RightSign, which integrates with Google docs and Freshbooks for invoicing.
Add a dispute resolution clause. Stuff happens and your energy is better spent finding a solution than assigning blame. Having a trained neutral party available to help you and your bride find a solution will save you stress and aggravation. A mediation clause sets the tone for a collaborative and problem-solving partnership.
Talk directly and transparently with your couple. As a wedding professional with integrity, you are honest, but are you direct and transparent? Do you tell them what they need to know or do you “beat around the bush”? The more direct you are, the less room for misunderstanding. Let couples know what you’re thinking. Sometimes, “I don’t know” is the right thing to say. Couples will value you more if they know you’re a human being doing your best, not a super planner seeking perfection. The conversation you have with your couple about your contract is the promise you both make to give your best efforts to create their wedding. It should be detailed, curious, flexible, collaborative, and most of all fun—something you and your couple will cherish and remember almost as much as their wedding day. ••
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Editor’s note: In this new feature, you ask it, and we get answers. We take your most pressing questions and pose them to Wedding Planner Magazine’s advisory group for answers. Some answers will be printed in the publication, others posted online. Have a question? Email editor@ weddingplannermag.com with “Ask the Experts” in the subject line.
ask t h e e x perts
Industry Experts Tackle Your Toughest Questions
“How do you handle clients who become absolutely unreasonable, especially on the day of the wedding? A recent client called me unprofessional in front of my team because I didn’t introduce her “In the wedding books, flowers are everyto my team members when we came in. She was in the where—as centerpieces, down the aisle, and on arches. If your bride and some family members have bad middle of getting makeup done, and I told her we’d see allergies and she did not want candles or manzanita trees, her when she was finished. I also found out during the planning process that she’d repeatedly lied about certain what would be her options?” trivial things. She showed no indication of being a Bri- Lynn Whittenberg, Touch of Romance Special Event Planning Service, dezilla initially.” Riverside, Calif.
- Kathi R. Evans, ABC™, All the Best Weddings & Celebrations, Toms River, N.J.
“If they are far enough away from guests, good quality silk flowers that you would never know are not real will work. “You need to not lose your cool. Stay level-headed, I have done this for ceiling treatments when fresh would be way to heavy. competent, and professional. Walk away before you say Nobody knew.” something you regret, before what you are thinking in your head slips out - Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC™, Frank Events, Chicago of your mouth! Sometimes, emotions on wedding days run crazy, and clients do not act the same. I would just state facts when speaking to an out-of-control client on the wedding day. Again, if you see this behavior before the day, exercise your right to cancel the contract, if you have a cancellation clause. If you don’t, you really need one! I have used mine a few times.” “What areas of my business should I - Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC™, Frank Events, Chicago concentrate the bulk of my money,
and how should I go about it?”
- Chaquira Peguero, CWP™, Joined Together Wedding Specialists, Sunrise, Fla.
“If, in the beginning of your business, first concentrate it on education. Don’t go out without being properly trained. It does our industry a disservice for someone to hang out their wedding consultant sign, and fail because they are not ready. If you are past this stage, then invest in marketing. You need to spread the word that you are available for service!” - Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC™, Frank Events, Chicago “This is a question that is constantly asked. Something that works for one, doesn’t always work for another. Also, something that is hot today may not be tomorrow. My advice: Don’t stick all your eggs in one basket, and track what’s working and what’s not for you.” - Ed Griffin, MWV™, The Wedding DJs/Hardcastle Entertainment, Inc., Renton, Wash.
Ask Our Experts! Is there a situation that’s been puzzling you? Do you want answers? Email your wedding industry questions to editor@weddingplannermag. com. Be sure to put “Ask the Experts” in the subject line.
“I’ve only had one real Bridezilla, and I had no clue that she was one at first either. Over time, I’ve gotten better at weeding them out. Meanwhile, there isn’t much you can do besides smile and try to appease them. For consultants, the best thing you can do is document any decisions or changes. Have them email you, so you have a record of it.” - Ed Griffin, MWV™, The Wedding DJs/Hardcastle Entertainment, Inc., Renton, Wash. “This is a very difficult question indeed. If the bride becomes absolutely unreasonable on the day of the wedding, you cannot do much. You are on the last day of your long journey together, and it is about to come to an end. Just try to stay calm. Keep telling yourself that you have done your work well and nothing will make you become unreasonable. Now, having said this, a very different thing is when the bride is unreasonable during the planning process. Unfortunately, we have had two of them in our 12-year experience. On one occasion, we were lucky to realize this during the first month of the planning process. We decided to give the money back to the client and not continue with the planning of her wedding. But the other bride became absolutely unreasonable seven weeks before her wedding. She was getting us into trouble, being difficult and spoiled. She talked down to us and was offensive. We tried talking to her, but things were getting worse so we decided not to continue. Our contract has a clause that allows us to stop the planning process. We told the bride that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to be treated badly. That was our limit.” - Barbara Diez, Barbara Diez Event Planners, Buenos Aires Wedding Planner Magazine
Creative Revenue Stream
Say “Yes” to Proposal Planning
By Aviva Zack, Bliss Wedding Design, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada photography gina’s portraits
The economy has been sagging and bouncing like an old mattress for several years now. Just as you can’t get a decent night’s sleep on a ropey bed with peek-a-boo springs, you can’t maintain business as usual in a dodgy economy. If your business “needs a new mattress,” you might want to consider the following creative revenue stream to boost your bottom line. This is the first in a three part-series of creative revenue streams for your business
your blog to talk about new proposal planning services. Cross-promotion is also a viable option. My company, Bliss Wedding Design, began working with a local jeweler on promotional materials for distribution to those who might be in need of our service after they purchase the ring. Relying heavily on social media and word of mouth, interest in this service has grown, and the cost has been minimal.
With the Internet and an abundance of reality TV romances all showing off elaborate proposals, the expectations are high for individuals proposing marriage to pull off something unique. In fact, some oft-spouted statistics claim 80 percent of women reported being disappointed with their proposal. Enough to cause a little sweat just thinking about it. No pressure right? But what else is formed by high heat and intense pressure? Diamonds. And that’s exactly what proposal planning can be to a wedding planner’s business—a priceless gem that helps boost wedding sales and sets you apart from the crowd.
Make it memorable Once you’ve got a potential client’s attention, ask a lot of questions. Find out as much as you can about their love story. How did they meet? What are their hobbies and interests? What are her favorite colors, foods, and places to go? Get a clear picture of who they are, and then create a personalized plan for a romantic proposal. Whether over-thetop or intimate, the key to a good proposal is that it suits the couple perfectly. Some individuals already have clear notions of what they want to do and simply need help executing their plan. Be sure to confess if the idea needs work. Don’t be afraid to tell him to skip the jumbotron proposal if he’s the one who is the avid sports fan. Other clients may need help with the concept, but want to pull it off on their own. Assisting with a personalized plan and connecting clients with the right vendors can set them on their way to a memorable proposal.
Experienced wedding planners already have the skills needed to put together a successful proposal. Much like planning a wedding, a good proposal requires getting to know a couple, in this case, through the one proposing; matching the personality to the right vendors; and paying attention to detail. Similar to a wedding, proposal planning should be personal—telling the couple’s love story. Spread the word The key to selling this relatively unheard of service is marketing. It shouldn’t cost much if you use your vendor connections and a bit of creativity. Partner with a top photographer to collaborate on a stylized photo shoot for use online and on other marketing materials. Pitch your business to local media. Use social media like Twitter, Facebook, and
Wedding Planner Magazine
After planning a successful proposal, the relationship and trust has already been established, which will, ideally, lead to planning the happy couple’s wedding as well as their proposal. Although you cannot guarantee a “Yes,” you will be using your talent and connections to plan the perfect proposal, create happiness, and potential new clients. Who could say, “No?” •• Next issue: Elopement Planning!
Real Wedding ABC Member Planners: Alexandre Lemaire &
Aurelia de Haut, Aurelia Eventos, Delegacion Miguel Hidalgo México, (+52) 55 5253 6016/5251 9901, info@ aureliaeventos.com, www.aureliaeventos.com. Non-member businesses involved: Banquetes Kohlmann, Paula Perdomo. Photography: Dear.mx (arnaud Zein el Din), Salvador Carmona The Couple: Yadhira is a famous actress in Mexico and Juan is an important lawyer. Their wedding was highly broadcast and was considered by many as the wedding of the year in Mexico. Yadhira is a perfectionist and passionate about flower design (she owns an exclusive flower design boutique). This made the creation process even more exciting. INSPIRATION: Classical, romantic elegance with a theatrical appeal. Color palette: Silver, ivory, rose, violet. Guest Count: 800. Most unique design element: Six-meter high chandeliers made of flowers. We designed an iron structure and began putting the flowers into it two days before the wedding. Aside from the chandeliers, this event had stunning décor, including around 400,000 roses. It was a fantastic party, with a lot of live music and shows, including Julio Iglesias. Biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was building the structure to hang the lighting, sound system, and chandeliers in a 17th century building. The challenges were first to make it possible. We had fit the needs of Julio Iglesias’ rider with the capacities of the patio and focus on the fact that it was a wedding and not a concert. Secondly, we had to build an architectural structure that protected the original building and did not touch it. Insight: The wedding went perfectly, thanks to good planning and very professional and passionate people. This event reinforced the importance of taking time to do things well, having a deep connection with the bride, and working with people you really trust. These are critical with such a large event that had around 500 professionals working on various days to pull it off! ••
Wedding Planner Magazine
ABC Member Planner: Holly Lynch, PBC™,
The Season, Rome, Ga., 706.767.0606, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.theseasonevents.com. ABC member businesses involved: The Season (bartending, transportation, and planning). Non-member businesses involved: Harvest Moon Catering, Bussey’s Florist, Honeymoon Bakery, Little River Canyon Center, Unlimited Party & Event Rental. The Couple: Vanessa and Shawn are a very unique couple. The groom was from Pennsylvania and the bride from Atlanta. They had non-traditional ideas and really wanted to embrace the fall season and the mountains near where the bride’s family has a cabin. As a child, the family spent long weekends there. The couple also wanted to incorporate her southern heritage into the menu. Inspiration: The fall season in a gorgeous mountain area in Little River Canyon, Ala. Color palette: Rich oranges and corals, coppers, and soft greens. Approximate Budget: $30,000 Guest count: 125. Most unique design elements: The waterfall, where we were able to capture some really special photographs, was absolutely stunning; the very plain room we transformed into a beautiful dining room; the “beer buffet” that paid tribute to the groom’s love of specialty beers; and the “pie station” instead of traditional wedding cake. Biggest challenge: The reception room was a completely black room, with a black floor, walls, and ceiling. For us, it was a perfect canvas, but convincing the family just how magical we could make that room was a fun process. I learned how a plain, black room could become extremely beautiful! Hindsight: As far as doing things differently, the two biggest elements that posed a challenge were the lighting and the bar location during the cocktail hour. The challenge with the lighting was keeping the room lit low enough for dancing, but bright enough to function and eat. With an all-black room as a base, we used only café lighting and a few lamps on the bar and the beer buffet. The café lighting produced more light than we expected, especially since the facility buffed and polished the floors just before we hosted the wedding. The second challenge was the bar location during the cocktail hour—it didn’t create great flow in a small area, so I wish we had created a self-serve soft drink spot. ••
Wedding Planner Magazine
ABC Member Planner: Lynda Barness, ABC™, I DO
Wedding Consulting, Philadelphia, 215.262.8188, email@example.com, www.idoplan.com Non-member business involved: Spencer House (venue, catering, desserts); Micaela Scimone Photography, Quintessentially TV (videography); John Carter Flowers; Strong Sensation Band; inGenius Productions Ltd. (chuppah structure); Peppers Marquees; Focus Lighting and Productions Ltd.; Mount Street Printers; Peggy Porschen Cakes Ltd. The Couple: The bride is American and the groom is from London. They met in London and had known each other for almost three years, when they decided to wed. They were married seven weeks after the groom’s formal proposal. The venue and date were chosen immediately, and the planning began. The couple knew they wanted a very small, intimate, and formal English wedding. Inspiration: The venue was a source of inspiration. Spencer House is an 18th century private palace built for the first Earl Spencer, which features a stunning collection of 18th century paintings and furniture. The overall theme was traditional natural English, with soft flowing lines. Color Palette: The overall colors and flowers used included purples, blackberries, soft grey herbs, snowberry, purple anemones, and soft green hydrangea with soft grey silver foliages. Guest Count: 72. Most Unique Elements: The wedding celebration encompassed many rooms, so guests were treated to a tour of the mansion—arriving in the entrance hall to the sounds of a violinist; walking to the ante room and library for canapés and cocktails; heading to the dining room for the ceremony; then, up the main staircase through the music room and Lady Spencer’s room to the great room for dinner. After, guests went downstairs to the palm room for a dessert buffet and then out to the terrace for dancing, since it is not permitted in the mansion. Plus, the wedding was a wonderful mix of English and American traditions—the couple walked down the aisle to a Marvin Gaye song and had an American-style dessert buffet, but they also had English touches such as a toastmaster and a formal dinner prior to dancing. Biggest challenge: Planning a wedding in seven weeks—from the time of engagement to the wedding. Hindsight: I will urge couples to trust their “guts” more and stop shopping after they find a particular wedding professional they click with and who is within their budget. ••
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Happily ever after at Sandals begins with “ABC.”
Christine Terezakis of ABC says
“I ’m in love with Sandals” Dear ABC Mem
I’m so in love wi
th Sandals Re sorts! I’ve been a Certified Sand several years an als Specialist fo d have been tru r ly enjoying the partnership th ABC — the grea at Sandals has t service, the ex with cellent training , the commiss stays through ion checks, an the Sell-and-G d the free o! program. In fact, as I write husband on ou this, I’m prepar r four th vacatio ing to take my n compliments of the Sandals (we’re heading Sell-andGo! inc off to Sandals entives Grande St. Lu cian for six nig hts)! As Bridal Cons ultants, we strive to make couples makes that so ’ dreams come easy to do. Whe true and Sand n we send our als clients to eithe Luxury Include ® r Sandals or Be d Resorts, we aches ® ’re sending them to dreamy desti accommodation nations with lux s and world-clas urious s service that wi now Sandals an ll exceed their expectations. An d Beaches has made that oppo d WeddingMoons® rtunity bigger an d better with th program of we eir dding options and enhancem couples who wa ents designed nt to complete for ly personalize th eir wedding. A at Sandals and de Beaches is no sti na tio n we dd t just a wedding ing , it’s an EXPERI couples are ch ENCE. Wheth oosing the free* er Beautiful Begin nings wedding enhancements or the customiza of the WeddingM ble oons® program Resorts create , Sandals Reso wedding mem rts and Beache ories that last s a lifetime. I know firsthand with m because I’ve se y own clients. en this If you haven’t alr eady, I encour age you to go on a Sandals FA see all that ou M (familiarizat r partners at Sa ion) trip to ndals Resorts and Beaches Re for you and for sorts have to of your clients (a nd friends and fer— both families). I know it you’ll fall in lov that once you e with Sandals ex perience too! Best wishes fro m your friend an d colleague, Christine Tere zakis ABC Accredite d Bridal Cons ultant Certified Sand als Specialist WeddingMoons ® Specialist
Your wedding. Your style. *A Beautiful Beginnings wedding is free with stays of 6 paid nights or more in all room categories. All weddings are subject to mandatory minister and government documentation fees, which are $95 in Jamaica, $288 in Antigua, $270 in Saint Lucia and $205 in the Bahamas. All weddings that do not meet the minimum night stay requirement will be subject to a $750 processing and administration fee, which is inclusive of the minister and government documentation fees listed above. All fees subject to change at any time. Sandals® and Beaches are a registered trademarks and are represented worldwide by Unique Vacations, Inc..
Set Up A Marketing Plan Today. Contact Kim Sardo, Sr. Director/Business Development 978-281-1119 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Maria A. Lugo, PBC™, Maria Lugo Events, Dorado, Puerto Rico
Think Outside of the Box! What are YOUR creative ideas for new revenue?
“Offer add-on services like: send-out cards, gown preservation, stationery and calligraphy, and party service staff. SOC offers couples a unique way to send out their thank you cards right from their computer, and the company even handles mailing the cards out when finished. Gown preservation is a natural addition. The wholesale price to consultants can easily be doubled for a profit. Providing stationery and calligraphy are also lucrative and complementary. Plus, weddings have multiple parties, many of which will be held at the home of the families or bridal party members. Our party service staff is available to set up, serve, and clean up—letting the hosts enjoy the celebration.” - Toni DeLisi, MBC™, Memorable Events, LLC, Ramsey, N.J.
“Your best new client is related, in some way, to your best past client. Stay in touch
with happy brides, their moms, and bridesmaids. Even an occasional email
sharing something that may interest them, or a simple holiday message, can keep you in the forefront of their minds when another happy occasion comes along.”
- Aviva Samuels, Kiss the Planner, Delray Beach, Fla.
“Up sell existing clients on additional services. This could be doing a joint partnership with existing vendors in your area or, depending on your talents, adding the services to your own business. We started as planners but, over the past couple of years, have added design and décor, stationery, and floral design. You don’t have to do it all yourself, just know talented people who can look after it for you!” - Cathy MacRae, Creative Weddings Planning & Décor, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
“It sounds counter-intuitive, especially when trying to increase revenue, but don’t nickel-and-dime! Sure, parameters have to be set so clients can’t take advantage of you, but if my client needs one additional hour of help in the 11th hour, or assistance with 20 invitations even though their package doesn’t include such service, I offer help (at no cost). In return, they tell their friends and family how easy I am to work with, resulting in new clients and more money!”
- Mark C. Paquette, PBC™, Events Unwrapped, LLC, Denver
“Ultimately, there’s only one ‘you’ so consider adding a product line to your offerings. Brides from near and far may benefit (and be willing to pay for) your expertise, whether it’s wedding planning templates or check lists. Also, if you find yourself with a steady increase in blog followers, consider monetizing your efforts. Research Google ads to see if a partnership makes sense. If your blog traffic warrants it, you may consider blog sponsors. And, if you’re crafty and often create décor for your clients’ weddings, consider replicating these pieces and selling them on Etsy.” - Meghan Ely, OFD Consulting, Henrico, Va.
“The best idea we had to bring in new revenue for our business was adding lighting and
décor to our DJ entertainment business. My husband, Jay, is very creative and
was always passionate about theatrical lighting, so he did a lot of research and opened Elegant Event Lighting in 2009. Brides and grooms love the ‘one-stop shop’ concept, along with the fact that they have already built a trusting relationship with our company on the DJ side. Find something that you are passionate about that ties into your current business and go for it!”
A B C member best practices
“Become a SPECIALIST in your business—not only a wedding planner specialist, but a destination wedding planner, a green wedding planner, etc. You will be known as the BEST and it pays!”
- Tamara Sims, Something 2 Dance 2, Schaumburg, Ill.
“Diversify. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. We all have talents beyond our planning, so figure out what those passions are and incorporate them into your business model. Diversifying can better position you as not only a wedding planning expert, but as a leader and pioneer in the bridal industry.” - Kathy Piech-Lukas, Your Dream Day LLC, Oakwood, Ohio
“The best way of bringing more money into your business is to be out in the community assisting non-profits with their quest in helping those who are less fortunate. It has worked for me in the past and continues to the present. Many non-profits have chapters throughout the state and country. Meeting people who have a common goal, and expressing your philosophy, will enable the public to trust in your ability to help them, their relatives, or friends when they are planning a wedding or event.”
- AnnaMarie Wintercorn, MBC™, Elegant Weddings and Events, Stuart, Fla.
“Consider your options for horizontal expansion. Are there other ways that you can bring added value to your customers without encroaching on the businesses of your key vendors? Consider becoming a regional
representative for a company outside of your geographic area that offers products or services that are compatible with your brand and useful to your customers. This would add value to your company, enhance your scope of services, and create an additional revenue stream for your business.” - Merryl Brown, Merryl Brown Events, Montecito, Calif.
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