The Wedding Business Magazine April 2017

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"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Wiliam Butler April 2017

ENGAGE! YOUR BUSINESS We sit down with Engage! creators Rebecca & Kathryn to discuss the evolution of the "It" Luxury Wedding conference.

get educatedwith davidtutera We talk to the superstar Wedding Planner and renowned industry speaker on his new educational initiative.

I n This I ssue 8

From the Editor A welcome note and introduction to this month's magazine theme. By Kylie Carlson


WED Social What you Believe About Yourself Will Define your Success. By Shannon DePalma


WED Expert What's In It For You? By Kellie Daab


WED Biz Why You Need to Invest in Yourself. By Heather Waits


WED Feature An Interview with Aleisha McCormack of the Bridechilla podcast. By Meghan Ely


WED BizCoach The Importance of Mindset in your Wedding Business. By Emma Etheridge


WED Pro An interview with David Tutera. By Meghan Ely


WED PR How do you make the leap from practitioner to expert? By Meghan Ely


WED SEO How to Find SEO-Friendly Blog Inspiration When You?re Out of Ideas. By Kathy DalPra


WED Inspire Engage!: The Making of the "It" Luxury Wedding Conference. By Meghan Ely


WED Promo How To Get Testimonials That Help You Make More Sales. By Heidi Thompson


WED Strategy The Nuts & Bolts for Running a Smarter, More Profitable Wedding Business., with Sage Wedding Pros By Meghan Ely


WED Digital The Future of Event Technology with Sandy Hammer, AllSeated. By Meghan Ely


WED Guru Favors are not just for Wedding guests. By Sam Lloyd

102 WED Legal Making Friends with the Enemy. By Christina Scalera

Contributors Christ ine Ligt hart Christine Ligthart is the Director of Education for the International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning and is the Founder of The I-Do Crew.

Websit e:

Christ ina Scal era Creatives 'gon create! Christina Scalera's mission is to help creatives fulfill their life's work by setting them up to have beautiful businesses from the inside out.

Websit e: www.christ inascal

Kel l ie Daab Kellie Daab, owner of iDo Collective, is a Wedding Business Architect. She is the creator of the Wedding Business Blueprint process and provides services specifically to wedding professionals.

Websit e: www.idocol l ect

Meghan El y OFD Consulting owner Meghan Ely has over a decade of experience in the wedding industry. She is also a prominent national speaker on a broad range of wedding marketing and wedding PR topics.

Websit e: www.of dconsul t

Kat hy Dal Pra Kathy takes the overwhelm out of SEO, sales and website conversion so wedding businesses can turn more curious visitors into high paying clients.

Websit e: www.brideappeal .com

Shannon DePal ma Shannon DePalma is a business coach and digital marketing strategist for wedding professionals and creatives. She?s a successful entrepreneur that grew and sold her first wedding business in two years.

Websit e: www.shannondepal

Emma Et heridge Emma is the founder of The Wedding Biz Coach and supports wedding-prenuers to grow their wonderful wedding businesses by teaching real-life, practical, actionable strategies that work.

Websit e:

Heat her Wait s Heather is the founder of Profitable Weddings, a mentoring community teaching wedding professionals how to turn their passion into a profitable business.

Websit e: it abl

Sam l l oyd Based in the UK Sam is the founder of The Wedding Owl, and is an experienced, specialist wedding business consultant with extensive, practical knowledge of the Wedding Industry.

Websit e: www.t heweddingowl .com

Heidi Thompson Heidi Thompson is the chief marketing geek & founder of Evolve Your Wedding Business and she is on a mission to help you book more weddings without all of the struggle and stress.

Websit e: www.evol

Fromtheeditor As an educator in the wonderful world of weddings I not only get to attend conferences and workshops around the globe, but speak at them too. I love spending time with my peers as I find it inspiring to be around so many like minded people. I always end up learning as much as I teach when attending these types of events. Continued education is so important for the growth of any company, but especially for those in the wedding industry. It is very easy to get stuck in a rut doing what you do, being incredibly busy and not setting aside time to see what's going on around you. There is always something to learn no matter how experienced you are, as we live in a world that is constantly changing and evolving. In this issue we are celebrating education and taking you on a round the world tour of what is available to you as a wedding professional. Of course we are only scratching the tip of the iceberg here, but we've attended quite a few educational events over the last couple of months and wanted to share with you what we I encourage each one of you to commit to moving your have learned. business forward in 2017 by attending at least one educational event. This can be anything from taking part in an online webinar to attending a conference, the important thing is finding the time and committing, so your business grows and develops in the year ahead.

K yliex

K ylieCarlson

TheStyled Shoot Team Dip Dye Water Colour Inspired Wedding -

Wedding Concept & Event Styling: Cloud 9 Wedding Organizing


Location: private residence in Jumeirah, Dubai


Photography: JVR Photography


Cake: Rasha Rmeily Cakes


Bridal wear : House of Moirai


Tie -dye : Egypsywear


Flowers: Tulipano


Wedding calligraphy: Fozzy Castro Dayrit


E-walls Studio


My List

Quote of the

M onth

?Thebeautiful thingabout learningisthat no onecantakeit awayfromyou.? B .B . K ing

W hat you B elieveA bout Y ourself W ill D efineyour Success B y Shannon D eP alma

#WEDsocial As creative entrepreneurs we spend a lot of time working on tasks and goals outside of ourselves. We learn about Facebook ads, emails, Instagram, and we spend a lot of time helping our clients. Add in all the tasks you do to take care of your family on top of your business and that leaves you with zero time to take care of yourself. We end up spending a lot of time helping, doing, and expending energy outside of ourselves to stay afloat but expending energy outside of yourself won?t get you a head in business. As a business coach I see client after client that comes to me, thinking they need the latest marketing trick or if they could just master sales funnels, all their business needs will be met. Transformation and success starts with us, in our heads. We run our businesses, we make the decisions, and when those decisions are coming from a place of fear and not confidence our businesses will suffer. How do we get to a place of confidence if we really do need that next client in order to pay our bills? Confidence comes from your core beliefs you have about yourself. If you want to succeed but deep down you believe you won?t or you are fearful of failing, no matter how fancy your sales funnels are or how awesome your Facebook ads are, you will find a way to sabotage success. In order to combat those beliefs and train our brains to be confident, there?s a couple steps you can take.

1)Aut osuggest ion. Think about how you talk to yourself right now? Would you ever talk to your best friend or your mom like how you talk to yourself?. If no way is your answer then let?s program some new positive, supportive, confidence infusing thoughts into your head. Your thoughts also dictate your beliefs and your actions Make a list of 10 statements you would love to believe about yourself. 2)Get honest wit h yoursel f about what you?re af raid of . I ask my clients these questions and they are usually shocked at how they respond. What would you do if you knew you couldn?t fail? Staying in a place of lack (lack of clients, lack of money, etc.) is easy because..? From these questions you?ll uncover things you would be doing if you were confident and probably things you?ve been avoiding. 3)Make a decision. This one seems simple right? A lot of us creative entrepreneurs make a decision to start a business and that seems to be where things stop. We stop making decisions every day to go further or go after our goals. Re-affirm with yourself. What are you committed to? Why are you going after this goal? For example: I am capable of making all my dreams come true, I am successful, and clients are coming to me every day. Repeat this out loud every day. Even when it feels weird, even when it doesn?t feel true, keep going, eventually that will be subside. These 3 steps are what you can take to get closer to your goals today. In order to obtain success we need to check in with ourselves, to see what?s going on inside of our heads that?s not letting us hit our goals or telling us why we can?t have it. By creating a mental routine that will set up you for daily success, your daily success will equal long term success and hitting those big goals. Words by Shannon DePalma

This issue of the Wedding Business Magazine is about the power of continued education and we are pleased to share a video interview with you from Bruce Russell on the next page. Bruce is at the apogee of the international luxury bridal and party planning scene. Amongst the most highly sought after planners in London, his name is synonymous with passion, flair and style which combine to offer clients truly unforgettable occasions.

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W hat's I n I t For Y ou? B y K ellieD aab It's no surprise that continued education is an investment. Often times it's an investment that many wedding businesses simply pass over due to limited funds or time. There's usually some argument that keeps you from forking over the cash but let's look at what's really in it for you? What are you actually receiving in return for your investment. Underst anding of Your Cl ient s Needs: What your client needs, how they want to communicate, what they expect of you, and even how they want to pay changes as the years go by. What you've been doing for the last 5 years is not going to work today. With the continued growth of online connectivity, your business needs to be meeting the needs of your clients.

#WEDexpert Do you know how other businesses are meeting the needs of their clients using new systems and best practices? How will you know without continued education? Best Pract ices Change: The way you managed your clients experience in the past is likely not going to be today's best practices. For example, do you have an online calendar where your clients can set up a meeting with you ? or are they waiting to hear back from you for hours or days? You need to be up to date with the policies, procedures, and systems that top notch businesses are using. This will keep your business moving forward and will lessen the learning you'll have trying to make the decisions alone. Innovat ions Happen: Fabulous ideas happen every single day! Learning about new innovation in the industry allows you to bring innovation to your clients and your local market. Being aware of, and using these new ideas from influencers helps you to stay several steps ahead of your competition and shows that you are invested in staying up to date with innovation and new thoughts in the industry. Act ion St eps: Often times we find ourselves full of ideas yet completely stumped. We can't seem to figure out the steps we need to take in order to get to the end goal. Many times, listening to a speaker, hiring a business architect, or attending a workshop will teach you the action steps you'll need to implement to begin seeing the forward momentum your business needs. When you invest in yourself as the business owner through continued education, consultations, workshops, and conferences you'll likely turn around that investment in increased revenue, visibility, and ingenuity. Words by Kellie Daab

I ntroducingI W ED Global Here at the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning we like to build partnerships that give our students the best possible opportunities. One of these partnerships is with the fantastic team at the Institute of Wedding & Event Design. IWED offer the world?s leading hands-on training and certification course for professional event designers and decorators, Accredited Event Design (AED) Diploma and Certification. Their teaching team travels to cities across North America giving hands-on instructional classes to both beginners and professionals. In 2013 The Academy collaborated with IWED to produce the Accredited Special Event Design Master (ASED+M) Diploma and Certification. We created this advanced degree level program for event professionals by combining the industry-leading Accredited Event Designer curriculum from IWED, with our Master Wedding Business program. This course is currently being upgraded and will be available in the summer of 2017. More recently our North American Academy has partnered with IWED to offer the Certificate in Wedding Planning and Certificate in Event Planning, details of which can be found here...

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#WEDEdu Catersource Dat e: March 14th & 15th, 2017 Locat ion: New Orleans, Louisiana Websit e: This past March, I had the pleasure of attending Catersource 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Celebrating 25 years, the conference was jam packed full of education, demonstrations and celebratory events. If anything, this was a year of change for the conference, with the addition of new programs, the combination of industry awards and the move from Las Vegas to New Orleans. This year, I also had the opportunity to slip into The Art of Catering Food, a program that focuses on culinary techniques and trends. This was the first year it would be joining Catersource and it allowed attendees to get up close and personal with well-respected chefs from all over. Breakouts were in abundance and there was a little something for everyone- from inspiration and social media to modern day business practices. Personal favorites included Ryan Pflumm's Event Energy Redefined: Leveraging Your Local Entertainment for the Ultimate Guest Experience, Listen Up & Sell

We're all about education and this month we want to share our coverage from the latest workshops, conferences and educational events we have attended around the globe.

More! with Alan Berg and Celebrate! Not Just Tolerate: Attracting the LGBTQ Market with Cicely Rocha-Miller and Michael Stavros. Tuesday marked the opening of the exhibit hall, which was conveniently located within the New Orleans Convention Center for easy access. Exhibitors maintained a high level of energy throughout the two days and inspiration certainly could be found around every corner. I?d be remiss if I didn?t highlight one of the conference?s biggest strengths- the city of New Orleans itself, which served as the quintessential backdrop. The Big Easy was the very definition of hospitality and the conference was a buzz with conversations about favorite meals enjoyed throughout the city. Catersource closed on a celebratory note with the Industry Awards Event, a combination of the Catersource ACE and ICA CATIE Awards. Hundreds gathered to honor the best and brightest globally. By Meghan Ely

Quintessential ly WeddingsAtel ier Dat e: April 1st & 2nd , 2017 Locat ion: London, UK Websit e:

Earlier this year I attended the luxury wedding fair Quintessentially Wedding Atelier, hosted in the iconic The Langham hotel in London. The event is the brainchild of Quintessentially group, the award-winning luxury lifestyle management and concierge services. Curated with finesse and featuring the finest luxury brands, it is the ultimate wedding show for the distinguished couple looking to create an exceptional experience for their wedding. The exclusive exhibitors showcased some spectacular stands in the stunning setting of The Langham ballroom and it?s adjoining rooms. A real standout for me included the set display by award winning Ricky Paul Flowers, whose explosion of pink blooms dominated the room; with a glass covered floral aisle and floral suspended sculptures. Also of note was luxury retailer Harrods who re-created their signature store front in a cute illustrated pop up set, complete with luxury gifts and personal shoppers. The event had been carefully crafted to engage all the senses; from eye catching embellishment in the feminine bridal wear by Needle & Thread, to the mouthwatering pastel sweet treats at Laduree. I could not help but dance along to the fabulous live band courtesy of ALR Music, whilst enjoying the prettiest G & T ever drank, created by Bloom Gin. Attendees were treated to a bespoke beauty consultation in the Dior on site beauty suite; a sensorial space infused with the brand?s delicious scents. Thank you Quintessentially for a gorgeous day! By Martha Tobyn

OneFineDay WeddingFair - their story Dat e: 2017 Locat ion: Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and New York Websit e: Since it was launched in Sydney in 2012 there have been over 20 One Fine Days around Australia and in New York and the Fair has become known for being a; "refreshing alternative to the traditional bridal fair, showcasing a handpicked collection of sought after vendors in the wedding field." One Fine Day is the brainchild of Jessica McLeod, Nadean Richards and Marissa Mills. In this interview with Jessica we learn more about the One Fine Day story and how being involved can benefit local Wedding Vendors. Can you give us a l it t l e bit of t he background of how One Fine Day came about and who you creat ed One Fine Day f or? One Fine Day was a little idea we dreamt over approx. 6 years ago when Nadean Marissa and myself were running our own businesses in the wedding industry Each year over 15,500 guests attend our fairs in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and internationally in New York City. At One Fine Day we have a strict screening process designed to ensure every vendor and sponsor fits the One Fine Day aesthetic. This in turn assures that vendors attract clients that they love to work with. Our unique selling point is with the setup we provide - live entertainment, visual delights, fashion parades, competitions, bridesmaids corner and exclusive VIP space This entices not only the bride but also the groom, bridesmaids and mother of the bride. One Fine Day is an opportunity for couples to meet and chat with vendors in a relaxed and inspiring atmosphere. One Fine Day is so much more than market stalls and flyers. Our guests are encouraged to maximise their time at the fair and stay all day! We bring your target audience to the event to assist vendors to: -

increase brand awareness Book weddings they want to be part of Gain media coverage, exposure and networking opportunities Experience face to face contact with their demographic Be part of an exciting and inspiring community

There are so many opport unit ies wit hin t he wedding indust ry f or creat ive and hard-working peopl e now and you get t o meet and share experiences wit h so many of t hem, f rom right around Aust ral ia. Is t here a qual it y/ qual it ies in a Wedding Vendor t hat st ands out t o you as being essent ial t o success? Passion for what you do is a stand out. Brides and grooms are attracted to people who love what they do. Going the extra mile and being a genuine person speaks volumes in a sometimes saturated market. What advice do you give t o anyone considering exhibit ing a One Fine Day? Um, do it!! We create an amazing platform for not only booking weddings, but for networking too. We try to provide our vendors with the tools to be successful not only on fair day but in the year following too. What about Wedding Fairs general l y? Are t here t rends in wedding market ing and exhibit ing at Fairs t hat you t hink our Wedding Pl anners, St yl ist s and Designers reading t his, need t o be aware of and ready t o respond t o? There is a shift away from the old school, printing of flyers and handing them out. Connecting with couples is more important than ever. And coming up with a creative way to do this will set you apart. Do you have a sense of what it is coupl es are l ooking f or when choosing a Wedding Pl anner/ Designer t o work wit h? As above, passion, dedication, personality are all important. This may be a job for you, but it's everything to your couple. Some of t he St udent s/ Graduat es f rom our Aust ral ian school wil l be at t ending One Fine Day in Mel bourne t his May. What advice woul d you give t hem in t erms of get t ing t he most out of t he experience of at t ending One Fine Day, as aspiring Wedding prof essional s? Oh Exciting! I'd advise to come along, see what others are doing in the industry and try and think of a way that you can position yourself in a unique way. What is it that is special about you that you can offer your clients. What can we expect f rom One Fine Day over t he coming 12 mont hs? J: We always have cards up our sleeves and are constantly thinking of new ways to do things or new places to do them! New York is back on in October. Perth coming up in June. And we are considering a few other international expansion options. Interview By Christine Ligthart

AMost Curiousweddingfair Dat e: March 17th-19th , 2017 Locat ion: London, UK Websit e: Back in March I had the pleasure of attending the press launch for A Most Curious Wedding Fair 2017, in London's trendy Shoreditch. The alternative fair advertises itself as ?THE wedding show for the style savvy couple?, keeping ?it simple, stylish, free spirited and NOW.? I knew it was going to be right up my street! As a creative person, and with a background in the fashion industry, I love discovering innovative new ideas. Most Curious really targets that stylish millennial market who are looking for something different, less mainstream, and something that can be personalised to them as a couple. My brain was spinning with so many new ideas when I left the show! Here are some of the key trends and innovations that stood out for me: -





Neon Signage ? perhaps the 'new' light up letter... Go Big or Go Home Florals ? The floral artistry by FROG was particularly impressive, as was the fusion of geometric props and botanical elements from GEO-FLEUR x CLARE NICOLSON. Alternative Bridal Wear ? The Bridal Fashion element seemed to have exploded this year, with more and more alternative bridal wear suppliers and an emphasis on Made in London, championed by the lovely Dana Dallal and Muscat Bridal. New Takes on Keepsakes ? Standouts included the bespoke botanical artworks of bridal bouquets by Flowers & Foliage and the personalised, often comedic banners by Oh Squirrel. More than a Photobooth ? It was great to meet Amy Pennington and The Portrait Machine, what a great way to impress your guests by gifting an illustrated portrait! Pink! ? The whole theme was the perfect pinktopia.

A Most Curious Wedding Fair attracts a range of exhibitors from hip established brands to up and coming talented designers and makers. My biggest take-away from the event was how much it seemed to have grown in scale and popularity since I attended last year, the queues were round the block on preview night! So watch this space. By Martha Tobyn

exotic weddingpl anningconference Dat e: April 5th & 6th, 2017 Locat ion: Dubai Websit e: I had the great pleasure of speaking at the 3rd Exotic Wedding Planning Conference in Dubai earlier this month hosted at the Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre. It was a 2-day experiential event that brought together 100+ wedding planners, suppliers and service providers from across the globe. It was an opportunity for the wedding fraternity to come together to discuss the present & future of the wedding industry, strategies to host successful destination weddings and how to overcome challenges faced by professionals in the industry in 2017. I was lucky enough to be a keynote speaker on the first day and had a great time talking to attendees about the importance of using video as a promotional tool, and how they could incorporate it into their overall marketing and social media strategy. There was an interesting networking concept that saw all attendees gather in two large circles around the room to exchange pleasantries and business cards, whilst moving through their circle. Day two was where most of the educational events took place and once again I took to the stage, this time as part of a panel. My panel discussion was the Mant ra f or right Branding and myself and my three panel members had 8 minutes to present on our topic and then take questions. Our subjects were quite wide and varied: -

Turn Past Brides into Your Ambassadors - by Zainab Alsalih Season Marketing Ideas for Wedding Seasons - by Innayat Khubchandani Quick and Easy Social Marketing - by Kylie Carlson Selling to Entitled Millennials - by Ghada Blanco

Other topics included Pricing Strategies for Planners, Organisation of Creative Minds, Balancing your Work Life, Dealing with Difficult Parties, Wedding Dreams on a Realistic Budget and The Power of being 'The Face' of Your Business. Add to this the one-to-one meetings available with the 40+ industry suppliers during the course of the event and there was certainly something there for everyone. We look forward to the next Exotic Wedding Planning Conference in India on the 3rd & 4th of August, 2017.

theDubai weddingindustry Dubai is an amazing place and one where you feel almost anything is possible. Luxury pours out of every nook and cranny and life is good. The interest in Dubai as a region has spiralled out of control in recent years. Its a very cosmopolitan city and locations like the Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab and The Palm are iconic making it a great choice for wedding photos with its easily recognisable coastline and spectacular architecture. The wedding industry in Dubai is globally diverse and this means there is no such thing as a standard wedding, which opens up many opportunities for the creative wedding professional. The complexities of planning a wedding in this region are wide and varied due to the variety of cultures and Zainab Alsalih from Dubai based luxury wedding planning company Carousel told us that a normal wedding for her would have a guest list of 800-1000. The industry is conservatively valued at about $1.2 billion per year, with approximately 15,000 ceremonies taking place there every year. Due to the heat October to April are the busiest months, with requests for destination weddings coming in from as far off places as Canada and the US. In terms of budgets clients spend anywhere from Dh100,000 to millions - and the industry is only growing bigger. Until recently there has been very little by way of education for those looking to continue their learning in the industry, or indeed start training for a new career. There were no workshops or conferences to attend or courses to take. Things are starting to change though. The region in general is hungry to learn and willingly takes part in any opportunity that presents itself, with events like the Engage Academy hosted by BrideClub ME and The Dubai Wedding Summit, produced by WeddingsOnline. So with this in mind just over a year ago the Academy launched its Arabian Campus with headquarters in Dubai servicing the GCC region and it has been a great addition to our portfolio of online campuses.

Earlier this month I made my second trip to Dubai to celebrate the first birthday of our Arabian Academy and to host our first Wedding Business Masterclass. As part of the trip I was invited to attend an educational workshop for wedding planners hosted by Arabia Weddings. I had an amazing time and met some incredibly inspiring people. We are looking to partner with Arabia Weddings to co-host more workshops of this type throughout the region, so watch this space. One of the things that impressed me about the industry in Dubai is they know how to network and collaborate, two things that are so important for the growth of any company, no matter what their size. We had absolutely no problem securing sponsors for our Masterclass and were lucky enough to work with some very generous partners. Another highlight for us was an event we co-hosted with ILEA ME the only association for the event industry in the Middle East and the local arm of the International Live Events Association. We had a wonderful night of cocktails and canapĂŠs under the stars at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel where our guests networked and enjoyed a chance to socialise and make new friends. The corporate event industry here in Dubai is a robust one and has the support of some great initiatives including The Middle East EVENT Show, which is quickly growing into the most important networking event in the Middle East's event industry calendar. We also met and set up a partnership with ESP Recruitment, the only events specific recruitment consultancy in the Middle East. It's office opened in 2008, after a decade of leading the way in the UK, and has now become a leading specialist for the industry worldwide, with far-reaching and successful business relationships in Dubai and across the region. With large events such as the Expo 2020 its no wonder that new venues are opening all the time in Dubai and its a land full of opportunities. Our very own Advisory Board member Teegan Deck has recently taken on the position of Wedding Planner for the Viceroy Hotel that opened its doors earlier this month. We had the great pleasure of meeting the Director of Lifestyle Events at Emaar Hospitality Group who looks after Address Hotels + Resorts, Palace Downtown, Arabian Ranches Golf Club and Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. We have a new exclusive work experience partnership being put in place for students of our Arabian Academy with the Emaar Group and are excited to see what the future brings.

theinspiremastercl ass Our day started off with Richard Fitzgerald of new media company We Are Augustus on How to Create a Successful Social Media Strategy, something that is so crucial to any marketing plan. Next up was one of our Advisory Board Members Joumana Tannous of Luxury Wedding Planners, Aghareed who talked to us about Designing an Exceptional Customer Experience. It was great to see her at work getting attendees to role play with each other and really explore the idea of what their own customer experience should be. Our final speaker before lunch was Julia Jackle of Creative 971, a digital agency in Dubai. She shared her knowledge with us on how to Create Compelling Content to Drive More Traffic to your Website, something most of us struggle with. After lunch we enjoyed a fast paced presentation from Nikki Rutherford of Weddings Online who really put us through our paces on how to Market Your Wedding Business. Everyone?s ears were pinned back and listening as she took us through some great ideas and strategies. Next up was Samia Hasan of Direction Dose whose subject was Storytelling and Finding Your Unique Voice. This topic is something many of us find challenging and Samia gave us plenty to think about. The day ended with a Q&A session on Styled Shoots with Rhiannon Downie-Hurst of Bride Club ME and Mennat Al Hammammi of Abu Dhabi based boutique events company Cloud 9. Words By Kylie Carlson

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our favouritethings In each issue we share with you some of the tools we can't do without, things we've found when researching and some gems we've been told about by others. They make our lives easier and save us huge amounts of time within our working life. In some cases they are just great Apps that we love to play with. Enjoy!

- Heytell Lets you talk to your crew just like you would with a walkie-talkie ? only this time, it?s with your smartphone.


- Boomset Lets you check people in using QR codes, print badges and create wristbands.


- ArrangeMySeat This app, ArrangeMySeat, does just what it promises ? it takes care of the seating arrangements for an event! Website:

- This is a guest feedback App. You set questions so attendees can answer and ask their own questions, as well.


- TopTablePlanner This is another app for arranging seating plans making figuring out where guests are going to sit really easy.



W hy Y ou N eed to I nvest in Y ourself B y H eather W aits News Flash: If you are not investing in yourself, clients are not going to invest in you. You may think your education stopped when you graduated, but think again. Trends change. The way we do business changes. The applications and processes we use change. You change. So if you are not staying up to speed, your potential clients will take notice and chose someone else.

watch a tutorial on how to use the newest version of Microsoft Excel; take a class specific to your wedding business (if you are a florist, learn a new technique of designing; a baker, learn how to create a new, trendy style of decorating); or take a Quickbooks class at the local community college or from a CPA so you can finally enter those expenses correctly.

I tell myself and my students all the time: Never Stop Learning. If you don't use it, you lose it, so exercise that brain!! Here's four ways to get your learn-on and keep your business ahead of your competition:

Become an Expert . When you position yourself as an expert, people flock to you? you don?t have to go after them as much. So to make yourself the go-to wedding pro expert in your area, create a plan involving guest blogging on other wedding pro?s blogs; speak at local networking events for wedding pros as well as for consumers; create a YouTube channel and give

Brush Up on Skil l s. Take a class on how to use that iPhone to shoot pictures at your next wedding (almost) as good as a photographer; jump on YouTube and

demonstrations and short talks to educate and inspire your potential clients; enter contests and win awards (then brag about them on social media, your website, etc); write an eBook explaining the ins and outs of your type of wedding business and include tips and advice for potential clients that they will find useful and helpful; and specialize in ONE thing and be exceptionally great at it! Get a Hobby. Studies have shown that when you have hobbies, it uses a different part of your brain, improving memory and concentration (and we all can use that!!). So go to your local craft store and sign up for a class. Or, find one of those ?wine and paint? classes where you can mingle with new people while you sip on a glass of wine and paint an awesome canvas.

Learn Somet hing New. Learning a new skill is exercise for your brain! You use a part of it you never have before. So take it a step further and learn a whole new task! Take a class on public speaking, political science or sales. Step out of your comfort zone and expand your abilities. These will not only bring a new dimension to you, but they will enhance your business skills, too, making you more marketable and sought-after by wedding clients! The key to your success is to never stop learning. Rather it?s new trends, skills, the latest app or something out of your comfort zone, you will only grow and better serve your clients! And I promise, it will be far more fun than high-school calculus class!

A n I nterviewwith A leisha M cCormack

#WEDFeature These days, education takes on many forms in the wedding industry, from webinars and conferences to workbooks and coaching. If you?re looking to catch the attention of millennial engaged couples, however, you may find yourself in an uphill battle. Brides and grooms are inundated with messaging- how can you stand out from the rest? Enter, Aleisha McCormack, host of the wildly popular Bridechilla podcast. Aleisha is her audience?s virtual bridesmaid who tells it like it is. Inviting the world's best wedding bloggers, planners and experts to share all their deepest and darkest wedding planning secrets. She helps brides banish the negative and plan their day, their way. Podcasts are on the rise becoming a great way to stay engaged with a target market. Today, we are diving into Aleisha?s podcast to discuss her show and how she?s resonating with her millennial audience.

"I don?t think we realise how much of wedding planning is guided by this pressure to please others"

Tel l us how you got int o podcast ing, and what appeal ed t o you about using t his medium? Coming from a stand-up comedy and television writing background the podcast medium appealed to me as a) I could work in sweat pants b) There is no heckling c) You can create evergreen content that reaches (potentially) millions of people. I came to podcasting as a fan. I?m an avid listener, subscribing to a variety of shows, everything from TV recaps to social media marketing (to politics!). When my husband Rich and I moved from Melbourne (Australia) to London, I found myself less keen to hit the stand-up clubs BUT I wanted to perform. I wouldn?t say that I had a super well thought out strategy with entering into the wedding planning market. Having written a fun wedding planning book in Australia after we got married (Smart Wedding), I thought that perhaps there might be room for a tell it like it is wedding planning show that comes from the perspective of a layperson. The original show was called ?The Save the Date Wedding Podcast?. I launched in November 2014. Two hundred episodes in, we changed the name to Bridechilla, a much better fit for what I do. What is your approach t o reaching engaged coupl es? Podcasting is an old/ new medium. It can be a challenge to market. I couldn?t tell you the amount of conversations I?ve had with people who have sworn on their Nanna?s life that they don?t have the podcast app on their iPhone. It?s built into the IOS platform, so unless you?ve deleted it, it?s sitting there waiting for you to discover all of the awesome that is on offer for free in podcast land.

So, one of my real challenges is not only introducing them to me and how I can help them, it?s also encouraging some new listeners to enter the world of podcasts for the first time. I do a lot of social media marketing, blogging, Facebook videos and asking listeners to share and review the show to encourage new listeners to join the Bridechilla community. I?m big on list building, partnering with other like-minded wedding vendors and influencers (of that sound like you get in touch) and providing value in whatever way I can. What ot her apps and f orms of t echnol ogy do you see mil l ennial s using in pl anning t heir weddings or just l if e in general ? There are a bunch of great all in one apps and websites out there that help gather information and cut back on the dreaded email cycle between couple and vendors. is a collaborative wedding planning app where you can communicate with vendors and keep track of guests lists, budgets, images etc. I use to collate listener questions and have recommended it as a planning tool to my listeners. It?s a free collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process- great for sharing info with your partner, wedding planner and mother-in-law. I?ve had so much positive feedback from listeners who have used to connect to qualified, local professionals. Everyone from bakers to hairdressers are using this service to connect with clients. Have you f ound a part icul ar educat ional t opic t hat resonat es most wit h coupl es? If yes, what is it and why do you t hink it 's so popul ar? For me one of the most discussed themes on the Bridechilla Podcast is obligation. I don?t think we realise how much of wedding planning is guided by this pressure

to please others (and don?t start me on the b/ s concept of perfection and ?the best day of your life?arghhhh). So much of the time the guest list and other big decisions are guided by friends and family members rather that what the couple really want. I?ve had listeners who genuinely started their wedding planning with the hope of having a 30-person, intimate wedding and due to pressure and obligation have found themselves with 150 people on the list. It?s easier said than done to ditch 120 people and to tell your mother that your second cousin Nancy, who you haven?t seen for 13 years, probably doesn?t need to come along (and cost you $140 in the process). My mantra is ?you should never fake smile on your wedding day?and if there is a person on your guest list who doesn?t make you beam, ditch them. It 's probabl y f air t o say t hat t he biggest dif f erence bet ween mil l ennial brides and coupl es in t he past is t heir use of t echnol ogy. How does t echnol ogy change t he way prof essional s l ike you are educat ing t hem? Technology can bring freedom but also can completely overwhelm people? hello Pinterest and Instagram! We are in a really interesting time technology wise- live streaming and video technology is booming, we communicate using short messages, no one listens to voice messages anymore and I believe the wedding industry has to move with their clients. Listeners are often contacting me saying that they are frustrated by the lack of communication from vendors. Installing chat bots on your website (they are awesome and will save you time), returning emails within 24 hours (or hire a VA to help you if that isn?t possible) and thinking of ways to make communication with your clients fast and simple will absolutely lead to hire booking and revenue.

How do you see using podcast s as an educat ion t ool moving f orward in t he f ut ure? Where wil l podcast s be in 5 years? There are hundreds of new podcasts released each day (covering every topic you could ever image). Consistency and quality of message is key. Sure, you can produce a podcast in your lounge room but if your sound quality is crap and your content stinks you probably won?t go far. Podcasting is a powerful medium, it?s the new radio and I am so excited to see where we all go with it. How do you choose what t opics are right f or your podcast f rom al l of t he inquiries you get ? Well it?s interesting to me how many people pitch topics that are completely not my bag and straightaway I can tell if they?ve listened to the show or not. I know that is such an obvious thing to do but you would be surprised at how many emails start with ?Hey guys, we love your show?and I?m like, well ?I?m Aleisha, it?s just me?and then I respond with, ?Thanks! What?s your favourite episode??. Usually at that stage they choof off (as we would say in Australia). The real winning pitches are from people who have taken time to look through my back-catalogue topics, seen what I?ve covered (I?m happy to repeat topics with different perspectives) and pitch broad chats that my listeners all over the world will find value in. How can wedding prof essional s who are int erest ed become a guest ? They can contact

Interview by Meghan Ely

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academy tv Free-to-air videos for aspiring, novice & established wedding professionals. We take you behind-the-scenes at conferences, workshops and industry events, as well as going into the studio to produce some great educational content to help you in your career in the wedding industry. No subject is off limits and we cover everything from pricing to client consultations. Most recently we have produced a video about what its really like to be a Wedding Planner - warning though a lot of laughs were had making this video.

intheir shoes CarolineJ . Fox L aw L egal Services for Creatives We're thrilled to sit down for in-depth interview with Caroline J. Fox, an attorney with a focus on helping creative entrepreneurs navigate business. From designers, wedding vendors, musicians to advertisers, brewers, and developers, Caroline boasts an impressive resume and rich understanding of what it means to be an artist in the business world. She is talking to us about what drew her to working with creatives, which legal areas wedding pros are talking about, and her new podcast, Next Tuesday Podcast.

"I love speaking to wedding and event professionals? you all are so organized, and ask the best questions!"

Your company special izes in l egal services f or creat ives and, in t his compet it ive market , what makes Carol ine J. Fox Law st and out ? When I started practicing, I knew I wanted to do things differently than most firms. People approach lawyers like they do dentists: they dread dealing with us. There?s a reason there are so many lawyer jokes! I wanted to make the law accessible, easy to understand, and less of a barrier to small business. I also have a background in the creative industry, so I understand the integrity of the creative concept is paramount. I learned from some of the best attorneys and business managers in the creative business, and they taught me how to flex my own creative muscles by constructing solutions, not barriers. I am not a ?no? attorney; I don?t want to inhibit business growth. I figure out how to make it work. What drew you t o work specif ical l y wit h wedding prof essional s and how does your approach dif f er given your niche? As to my approach, I make sure I protect the client as much as possible while staying ?on-brand.? No couple is going to want to engage a wedding planner with a 10-page, hyper-technical contract full of ?heretofores? and ?whereins.? Weddings are a celebration; couples don?t want to be signing their life away! However, with the average cost of a wedding in the thirty-thousand-dollar range, there is a huge risk involved. To balance these interests and protect both parties, I draft clear, concise contracts while providing the liability protection an event professional needs. I also use design-based tricks to make contracts feel friendlier: sans serif fonts, white space, simple numbering schemes, etc. Finally, I try to address any disputes from a crisis-management perspective. While I will always zealously advocate for my

clients, I always consider 1) how this will affect my client personally, 2) how it will affect their business, and 3) how it will affect their reputation in the industry. Sometimes ?winning? for my clients isn?t steamrolling the opposing party in court; it might just be coming to an agreement where the parties can move on and feel fulfilled. You?re a regul ar f ace on t he wedding indust ry speaking circuit . What l egal t opics are you asked about t he most by wedding prof essional s? Let me start by saying I love speaking to wedding and event professionals? you all are so organized, and ask the best questions! As far as questions I get most frequently, a lot of folks ask about nonrefundable deposits. Wedding professionals book so far in advance, it can be a headache splitting up payments to reflect the work that?s been done over time. Instead of billing in small increments, many vendors split it 50/ 50: a 50% nonrefundable deposit with the other 50% due on the day of the event. This isn?t wise, at least from a legal standpoint. Without getting too bogged down by legal history, the system encourages freedom of contract, and won?t uphold anything that looks like a ?penalty? for cancellation.

However, work is work, and equity principals support payment for it. We have to create a timeline for payment that represents the work/ payment balance, which? as I am sure you can imagine? can be tricky. But I have seen judges refund every cent of a contract when the bride cancelled the planner?s contract three days before the wedding. This issue, we?re f ocusing on educat ion and conf erences so what advice woul d you share wit h wedding prof essional s about t he best way t o f urt her t heir l egal educat ion whil e al so managing t heir company? I think as a business owner, you have to educate yourself on every aspect of your company, including the legal side. However, I think part of being a successful business owner is knowing what you don?t know, and selecting a trusted team to guide you. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to read a lot of business books, even if they are pretty boring, and to ask a lot of questions. Never ever be scared to ask your lawyer questions. This is often your first business; you aren?t supposed to be an expert on everything! Don?t be embarrassed to ask for clarification. You only learn by asking and doing. At what point does it make sense f or a wedding prof essional t o t ake t he next st ep and ret ain l egal services? You need to retain an attorney before you start your business. I know if isn?t the answer people want to hear, but there are so many things that can derail a small business in the formation process; partnership agreements are prime example of this. Even something as seemingly simple as picking a company name requires thought and counsel. I have had clients spend thousands on branding, only to get slapped with a trademark cease-and-desist letter and have to rebrand. Or worse, they can?t trademark their name at all, and others can use the brand?s goodwill to benefit a different business! In this global digital economy, it?s better to evaluate trademark issues on the front end instead of dealing with the fallout after the fact. You aren?t selling face serums or leggings out of your house; you are running a company. Some attorneys provide consultations, where for a flat fee they will sit down and talk you through ?starting a business 101.? That way, you aren?t locked into a long-term billing engagement that will drain your company?s wallet, but you?re getting quality advice (specific to your state). Also, please please PLEASE have an attorney review your client service contracts. I am seeing a spike in disputes between wedding vendors and couples, and an attorney-reviewed contract could have prevented or protected the vendor.

Instead, we?re now heading to court. You?ve just launched your new podcast Next Tuesday Podcast- can you tell us a bit more about this initiative? Of course! I am lucky enough to work with a lot of women owned businesses, and there are a lot of hurdles we have to manage. The Next Tuesday Podcast delves into how we do it all. My co-host, Suzi, is a holistic health practitioner who runs her own small company. We talk to women business owners and high-level execs about the challenges they have faced, the lessons they have learned, and how they keep themselves centered in trying times. We?re trying to break apart that double-bind theory, where women in business (or politics) are painted as either ?too hard? or ?too soft? by taking a multifaceted look at today?s businesswomen. We ask a lot of questions, drink a lot of wine, and have a great time while we do it. What are your top 5 tips for creatives to ensure they are on the ?right side?of the law? My top five ?I-Dos? for creatives: First, make sure your business is organized correctly. Try and form a corporate entity, like an LLC or an S-corp, or some other limited liability organization, to protect your personal assets. Second, keep your personal finances and your business finances totally separate. That is the fastest way to lose any liability protection provided by those entities? it?s referred to as ?piercing the corporate veil.? Third, always get copyright releases from every single person who creates something for you that you use for your company. This includes photographers, graphic designers, writers, web developers-- anyone. Just because you pay for something does NOT mean you own the copyright! Fourth, get a good accountant. They are worth their weight in gold, and I consistently thank my lucky stars for mine. Finally? and this sounds simple, but you would be surprised? keep all of your information updated. Any business information with the State Corporations Commission or the IRS needs to get updated every time you move so you can receive notices and be properly served. Missing a notice can mean corporate cancellations, domain name expirations, trademark cancellations, or? in a worst case scenario? that you miss a court date and the judge rules against you.

www.cjf oxl

Words By Meghan Ely

TheI mportanceof M indset in your W eddingB usiness

B y Emma Etheridge Mindset is possibly THE most important thing that will make your wedding business successful. Mindset is everything. If you think something is going to be hard, difficult or tricky, it often is. When you think something is going to be easy, great and wonderful ? it often is! If you are just starting out in your wedding business, you may not yet be open to this, I know I wasn?t when I first started my business. Coming from a corporate background everything was about action and a ?just get on with it? kind of approach. But when I started my self employment journey, sitting at home everyday on my own, with nothing but the cats and radio to keep me company, I started to buy into the importance of mindset and now, I practice and work on my mindset every-single-day without fail. And I cannot tell you the difference doing this has had on my business and on me as a person. Starting, building, growing and nurturing a business is hard. There is no point in sugar coating it. But when you have the right approach and mindset about what you are achieving and the actions you are taking, you will experience success far quicker. When I work with my clients I teach them how to do the practical marketing actions that will grow their business, the tools and techniques that work. But I always start off with setting the scene about mindset and how they feel about what they are about to embark on. When you have a happy mind your will attract the right brides to you, brides that will be drawn to your energy and the passion you inject into your business. You see you can learn all of the skills, the tools, the techniques. You can take online courses. You can invest in coaching and mentoring and these are so very very powerful in the growth of your business. Heck, that is what my business is all about! But before you invest in anything, you have to work on your mindset and you have to go into all of this teaching, education and support with a can do attitude. An attitude that keeps you going when things get tough. An attitude that

#wedbizcoach supports you in your actions. When I am working with clients in group coaching or one to one I make sure that the mindset is in the right place, that they know they can achieve. Because they can. You can. All of us can. There are only a few things that separate the wedding business owners that just survive and those that thrive. 1. Positive mindset 2. Dedicated commitment to achieve 3. Support and nurture. EVERYONE has the negative niggles, the pesky self doubting monkeys that sit on your shoulder and pop up when you least expect them! The best thing you can do for you is to see the signs, know when the mindset is shifting from a good place to a bad place and intervene! Take action to stop it. You have to be strong in your business, and sometimes this means being strong to yourself. If you want some tools and techniques for supporting a healthy mindset, which will help you build your wedding business, take a look at the 6 part mindset series over on my YouTube Channel here (link: https:/ / channel/ UC_LBrIyz7SN7NOR4e6--1_Q) where I walk through 5 mindset tricks that can help you grow a successful wedding business. # 1 Take a break # 2 Reconnect with your why # 3 Surround yourself with people who get it (other wedding biz owners!) # 4 Use the word yet - my favourite ever tool! # 5 Be inspired Hopefully some of these tools and techniques will help you to grow in your business and give you a happy mind so take some time to watch the videos when you need that boost. Remember a happy mind means brides will be drawn to you and your wonderfulness. Here?s to happy minds! With love Emma x

#wedpro D avid Tutera David Tutera is a leading wedding and entertainment expert that is known for his artistic vision and unique creative talents. With celebrity clients such as Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Barbara Walters, and more, he has created an outstanding reputation for himself that has led to tremendous success in the industry. At the age of 19, David opened his own event planning firm that has become one of the most popular in the country. Since then, he has used that success and experience and embraced education for fellow event professionals, and has become one of the most sought after speakers on the national and international circuit. Join us as we discuss his take on where education is and where it?s headed in the future, as well as his exciting new initiative!

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In your career, how has cont inued educat ion pl ayed a rol e? Continued education has helped me to develop new relationships and learn about new products, services, technologies and trends in an industry that is always changing. You're one of t he most wel l -respect ed speakers in our f iel d. In your experience, which of your t opics have resonat ed t he most wit h audiences and why do you t hink t hat is? You can only learn so much from studying a book or taking an exam, experience, on the other hand, is the truest test of all and when I speak to others in the field, I use my own personal stories? sharing the up and downs of the business, the mistakes I?ve made and the lessons I?ve learned along the way. A lot of people only see me on television or read my tips in a magazine, but I like to share the real behind-the-scenes experiences as a planner and business owner--the good, the bad and the ugly that us, industry pros can be faced with.

Where do you get your inspirat ion f rom when deciding on educat ion t opics? Having been in this industry for over thirty years and starting my business from scratch, I?ve seen a lot, I've done a lot and I?ve learned a lot, which is why I pull topics right from my own experiences to educate others. Where do you see educat ion heading in t he f ut ure wit h t he advances in t echnol ogy and mil l ennial s making up a l arge port ion of t he indust ry? We live in a world of instant gratification and over-booked schedules. With the every-growing popularity and advances in social media and live streaming at our fingertips, I think educational advances will definitely continue to involve these elements, allowing participants to learn at the click of a button, whether live or at a pace and time that suits them. Why is cont inuing educat ion so import ant f or wedding prof essional s? Continued education is a very important part of this industry, whether you are just starting out or have been a veteran in the field for years. It helps to keep your area of expertise fresh and up to date in addition to learning, building your business, perfecting your craft and even developing new relationships.

What advice do you have f or wedding prof essional s who are t rying t o decide which educat ion opport unit ies are right f or t hem? Make a list of topics you are interested in learning more about and/ or any areas that you?d like to strengthen or refresh. Keep in mind what educational format or preferred method of learning suits you--ie: are you interested in a multi-day hands-on educational experience or do you prefer listening to a presentation by a fellow industry leader, or both! Research conferences, seminars and associations with upcoming events and see which ones speak to you and your needs most. What advice do you have f or aspiring educat ors? What are some t ips f or breaking int o t he business? Join associations and attend networking and industry events to get out there and introduce yourself to other pros and prospective clients. And make a great first impression when doing so--you never know who will think of you the next time they need to refer a client or collaborate on a project! This industry is very big and very small at the same time, so developing relationships is extremelyimportant.

Online presence is key. Like I said before, we live in a world of instant gratification--if someone wants to see your work or learn more about your services the first thing they are going to do is ?online stalk? you. Be sure to have a proper website and social networking pages showcasing your work and contact information. Take great photos of your work to build your portfolio and add to your online pages. Get your feet wet! Intern or work under another professional who can teach and mentor you along the way as you begin your career. Tel l us about your new init iat ive coming out t his June. How did t hat come t o be? I have always been very passionate about speaking to audiences and educating others in the industry, especially through my own personal experiences as an event planner, an entrepreneur and a brand; and I am beyond thrilled to be launching The David Tutera Symposium--a project that focuses on just that!

personally developed and will host exclusively for industry professionals of all levels. During the course of the Symposium, I will personally host, present and mentor guests with an intimate, hands-on experience unlike any other, pulling back the curtain to unveil my 30+ years of knowledge and insight into building a successful business and brand in the event industry. The David Tutera Symposium will be taking place June 5 - 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California and invites individuals that are considering getting into the industry, getting their feet wet, or are just looking to breath new life and excitement into their career or business. Visit to learn more and to reserve a spot, as spaces are limited. Interview by Meghan Ely

The David Tutera Symposium is an intimate three-day seminar I?ve

"I?ve seen a lot, I've done a lot and I?ve learned a lot"


B y M eghan Ely

You?ve spent many years learning your craft through on-the-job experience and dedication to continuing your events education. In a sea of newcomers and other talented pros, how do you leverage all that you have invested in becoming the go-to person in your industry to become a recognized, bona fide expert? Being viewed as an expert by colleagues and up-and-coming professionals is a great way to increase your brand awareness and stand out in a crowded market of wedding pros. You can become the indispensable resource to both your customer and your wedding colleagues. So, how do you make the leap from practitioner to expert? Put it in Writ ing First, you must establish your credibility by leaving a trail of great, searchable written media. Begin with your own website, blog and local publications. Publish tips and tricks and real weddings that demonstrate the quality of your work. Then branch out. Offer to guest post on other vendor blogs. Respond to media inquiries for industry input and make yourself easily available to the media when they need comments to fill out a story. Familiarize yourself with major industry publications and learn their publishing guidelines and schedules. Be prepared when the window for submissions opens with great, informative topic proposals. Speak Your Mind Next, turn your focus to developing a speaking platform. Even if public speaking causes you to shake in your boots, it?s worth overcoming your fears to help move your career as an expert forward. Speaking allows you to reach audiences in new regions and develop a wide-reaching network of fellow experts with whom you can share and exchange opportunities. Start by speaking at local events and regional networking gatherings. Then seek national and international conferences and conventions. The more often you speak successfully, the more you will be invited to present.

Learn How t o Make Great Media Peaches Finally, hone the art of making pitches to the media. Follow best practices ? send short, concise emails and keep your message on point. In your pitch, include a quick introduction, your list of proposed topics, and an explanation why you are the expert for the job. Sign up for the free HARO service, which disseminates media pitches three times daily. When you find a pitch you would like to explore, send your concise email to the editor immediately, paying close attention to the specifics of the request along with any deadlines. You should receive a quick response for your efforts ? hopefully in the form of a request for an interview or more information via email. In order to take your place in an overcrowded and ever-growing industry, you need to take steps to stand out from the rest. You are a confident, experienced professional with reserves of information that others want to hear. Follow the above guidance and you will achieve your dream and gain yourself recognition as a successful leading industry expert.

H owtoFind SEO-Friendly B logI nspiration W hen Y ou?re Out of I deas We?ve all been there - blogging brain blocks. We know we need to blog to generate traffic and keep our website from looking like a ghost town, but we?re plum out of fresh ideas for what to blog about. Here?s the good news: Finding SEO-friendly blog topics is seriously simple if you just know where to look. So whether you?ve yet to publish your first blog post or you?ve been hacking away at it for years, I?m about to make finding topics a whole heck of a lot easier. Let's look at 5 ways you can discover search-ready blog inspiration without much effort. 1. Wedding Forums I have a process called ?Forum Fishing? and it?s one of my all-time favorite methods for discovering popular blog topics that will help you write a blog couples actually want to read.

#wedSEo B y K athy D alP ra Here?s how it works: You mine highly active wedding forums for popular topics in your niche and use them as inspiration for your editorial calendar. Why are f orums such a powerf ul source of bl og inspirat ion? Because forums reveal the exact words brides and grooms use to describe products, services and wedding-related challenges they?re having. These are the same words they?re likely typing into search engines. It ?s t he ul t imat e keyword research t ool f or your bl og. ACTION STEP: Follow my step-by-step Forum Fishing process I lay out in this tutorial to fill your editorial calendar with months of SEO-ready blog post topics. There are a few caveats to keep in mind when selecting the best topics that will be a home run with your audience that I cover in my tutorial, so be sure to go through that. 2. Inst al l a search box on your bl og Search engines aren?t limited to Google and Bing. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest all have search engines. And, if you have a search box on your websit e or bl og, you have a search engine t oo! Use it t o f ind new bl og t opics.

Anytime someone enters words into your search bar, it?s a clue as to what they want: answers, resources, help. These are ideal bl og post t opics t hat are right in f ront of your nose! In order to find out what words visitors enter into your search box, you might have to install an extra Wordpress plug-in, like Search Meter. Once you do, it will keep a record of all the words visitors type into your search box so you can mine it for great blog content inspiration. ACTION STEP: If you don?t already have a search bar on your blog, have your developer add one. And, if the search tool does?t record the entries natively, add a plug-in that will. 3. Buzzf eed Totally free. Totally trending. If you want to see what types of trending wedding-related topics get the most engagement, just plug in the word ?wedding? or ?weddings? and scroll down the list looking for the topics that received the most replies.

This site gives you an idea of what might be popular with your own readers and which keywords will likely bring you search engine traffic too. ACTION STEP: Head over to and type keywords you blog about into the search field, such as ?wedding planning?. Write down all the trending topics you?re inspired by. Come up with your own unique blog post ideas from that inspiration and add to your editorial calendar. You can grab a free Editorial Template from me here. 4. Email & Web Form Inquiries Every week couples are telling you what they want you to blog about? you just never realized it!

When you receive questions from couples who inquire about your services through your website or by email, t hese are cl ues as t o t he kinds of t opics t hat coupl es need hel p wit h. For instance, one of my destination wedding planner clients was finding that she constantly got asked for lists of local venues by prospects who had not hired her yet. Since pretty much every wedding planner in her region hid this information until they were booked, we decided that a much better approach for her was to give her venue knowledge away for free to prospects through her blog and email list to demonstrate her value up front? even before they hired her. As a resul t , her inquiries skyrocket ed and her income soared. She found that giving away everything she knew about each venue didn?t make her services obsolete, but rather made her even more desirable because it was proof of just how much of an expert she really was! ACTION STEP: Start keeping a journal of all the various types of questions and requests you receive from prospects by email or web form. Convert those inquiries into blog posts that you can respond with. Not only will this save you a ton of time when replying to inquiries, it will also leave a very positive impression to prospects because you are trying to be helpful to them even before they hire you! And, as a bonus, since they are using their own words when contacting you, chances are good that these are the same words other couples use when searching for similar problems in Google. So if you optimize your blog post with those keywords, you will likely receive search engine traffic to your post as well. 5. Use Keyword Suggest Google has a pretty nifty tool built into its search engines that suggests keywords that are similar to whatever you?re typing in, based on what other users have searched for in the past.

What I l ike most about t his t ool is how convenient it is. You don?t have to log into any fancy keyword research tool to use it. Just open Google and type away. This tool also works in YouTube, another Google-owned product. YouTube is a fantastic resource for SEO-friendly blog ideas that are how-to and education related. When you?re looking for ideas to create tutorial-style blog posts, YouTube is a great place to start.

ACTION STEP: Head over to Google or YouTube and start typing in keywords related to what you like to blog about. Write down the suggestions returned by Google Suggest and use them for SEO-friendly blog post inspiration.

Q& A I keephearingtheterm, Onl ineMarketingandI think this rel atestousingsocial mediafor my business, but I amnot real ly sure. Canyouexpl ainthetermtome? Online or Digital marketing is really an umbrella term which refers to any tool, strategy or method of getting your business name in front of your potential customers. It is so important in the Wedding industry as most of your potential clients are doing their wedding planning, online.

Nowthat I amtakingmorebookingsfor WeddingsI amfinding that I can't keepupwithmy social mediapostsandI am worriedit wil l affect my businessinthel ongterm. What can I do? The answer is to develop a Social Media Calendar. You can do this in 4 easy steps; 1. Determine what content your audience actually likes. 2. Research the best time to post and how often you will post (do some research using Google to help with this and also refer to 'insights' on Facebook. 3. Create great content to share ( we recommend putting time into finding images to go with your posts too). 4. Fill up your social media Calendar and consider using scheduling tools to help you manage your posts.

#wedinspire Engage!: TheM akingof the"I t" L uxury W eddingConference W ithRebecca Grinnals & K athryn A rce If you asked anyone in the luxury events industry to pick the ?it conference? to attend, it would no doubt be Engage!. Acclaimed wedding strategy consultants, Rebecca and Kathryn, created Engage! in 2008 with a plan to bring together the wedding industry?s key influencers and trendsetters from around the globe to exchange ideas, network in an intimate setting, and take their businesses to the next level of success. Since then, Engage! has become a can?t-miss for thousands of event professionals, and attracts the top speakers from around the globe. We?re sitting down with creators Rebecca and Kathryn to discuss how the evolution of Engage!, and what they?re looking forward to in the future. If you had t o describe what you do t o someone who isn't f amil iar wit h your work, what woul d you t el l t hem? Kathryn: Well our elevator speech often goes likes this, ?We bring together 350 like-minded event professionals from around the world, three times a year in amazing locations for education, inspiration, networking and lots of fun!?

Ultimately, we're connectors. Our main goal is to connect incredible people in the event industry, and then see what happens after that. We just want to be the conduit to making these great relationships happen. You bot h init ial l y met at Wal t Disney Worl d working on project s and t hen came t oget her t o consul t t o t he indust ry. Tel l us about t he journey t hat t ook you t o f orming t he biggest wedding l uxury summit ? Rebecca: It was one of those things where we just closed our eyes and jumped. Engage! really was born out of many years of being part of other events that were wonderful, but always feeling like something seemed to be missing in our industry. We chose to focus on the luxury market, and create more of a conversation between speakers and attendees. We had all these amazing industry friends and contacts that we'd been working with for years, and felt so many people wanted access to them to be able to connect and learn from them in a neutral and safe environment. We held the first Engage!, which was in June of 2008, here in Celebration, where we both live. We announced it via an email blast six weeks before and amazingly, attendees came from 20 different states. We used frequent flyer points to fly Preston and Marcy down in fact, so it was definitely bootstrapped. We felt like for the people who were in the room that day, there was a kind of magic. We said to each other, "Oh my gosh, wait a minute ? this is really kind of exciting.? Since then, keeping that feeling of magic has been one of our really big tenets that we?ve hopefully maintained, even as Engage! has gotten bigger than anything we ever thought it would be. Our speakers are fully engaged in the event, and they're there getting just as much out of it as anybody else. They're learning from their peers, and they're realizing that they have a lot not only to give, but also to take in. It?s important for us to have blurred lines between speakers and attendees. How woul d you describe t he Engage! brand? What were you inspired by when craf t ing it , and why do you t hink it resonat es wit h peopl e?

Kathryn: Ultimately to be inclusive. We wanted to make our attendees feel welcomed and relaxed and give them the ability to connect with one another in a safe environment. Also, we felt it was important to keep everyone together. So our speakers sit in the audience with the attendees. There?s no magical curtain they come or depart from. Now with 350 attendees, around half are ?first timers? so we host a session just prior to Opening Session just for them. It allows them to see that while they may have come to the event alone, they are not the only ones - a chance to make a new friend before joining the larger group. By the end of the three-day event it feels like the end of summer camp? lots of tears saying good-bye to friends! What do you hope Engage! at t endees gain f rom t he experience? Rebecca: A strong community. This is still what the premise of Engage! is - which is to make people feel that everyone is on an equal playing field, and to connect people. Our idea was to bring everybody together and just provoke conversation. Engage! is a place where, for us, people can come together and be open and honest with one another. It was pretty simplistic with where we started, with the hope of creating something we would want to attend. We focused on every touch point where we could possibly surprise and delight? little things, like fun branded notebooks, beautiful linens on the tables instead of the standard hotel linens, and personalization at every opportunity! How woul d you describe t he educat ion at Engage!? Rebecca: It may take a day or two, but Engage! attendees let down their guard and really talk to each other about the challenges they?re facing. With that, it was important for us early on that people were vulnerable on stage. We wanted to kind of crack that traditional conference format? where you can get up and say, "We had a really bad year, and I didn't know if we were going to make it." And some of those things were happening very early on naturally. We are so

thankful for the brave speakers that were willing to get up and pull back the curtain. We also never set out to focus on trends. Over time however, it's evolved so now people are getting to experience things that are new and different, when it makes sense. As we?ve grown, we've been able to work with amazing collaborators. What kind of charact erist ics and qual if icat ions do you l ook f or when you're sel ect ing speakers f or t he upcoming summit s? Kathryn: We're definitely looking for those with a kindness and willingness to share their experiences, and who will want to connect with the audience. Keynote speakers who are thought starters and get the conversation going and encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and think differently are always a big hit. Often that someone is from outside of the wedding industry. Ultimately though, we really do want those who are comfortable sharing their business tips and trends, successes and even failures and what lessons they learned along the way. Rebecca: It?s an embarrassment of riches. We are very fortunate that we have a lot of interest from people who want to speak. It's an interesting mix for us of how we put our speaker line-up together. We continue to evolve the program, but we want to have a blend of fresh new faces as well as people who are disrupting the industry doing innovative things. It's also a delicate balance for us because what we find is people usually come for the speakers the first time. And while the speakers are still really important, we find that when they return they are coming back for the community and the experience. They're coming back for the jolt of inspiration or because they're at a place where they just need to kind of reconnect with people and say, "Here's a challenge I'm facing." We'll also have people not return for several events, and we'll think, "Oh they must not have had a good time." And then they'll come back and say, "It was just timing," or, "I went, and I wanted to work on all these things in my business, and then I came back because I feel like I'm ready now to take it to the next level."

Engage! has evol ved over t he years, and t he summit s become al most your f ul l t ime at t his point . So I imagine your def init ion of success is dif f erent f rom t he day you st art ed t his vent ure? Kathryn: I look at being successful as having a healthy family I spend quality time with. Rebecca and I have this great friendship and we get to work together every day, and we've met some really incredible people. We continue to get to explore different venues, and at every Engage!, we're not only reunited with the friends we've made over the years, but we're constantly meeting new people who inspire us. Rebecca: The fact that we get to travel to these amazing places. We're still pinching ourselves all the time. We?re heading to Venice in a couple of weeks for planning and can?t help think, "Is this real life?" Plus, we still get giddy when speakers call us back? we still have that overall sense of wonder. So I think for us, success is knowing that we get to get up every single day, and be really excited about what's about to happen. What are you l ooking most f orward t o when it comes t o t he f ut ure of Engage!? Kathryn: I look forward to continuing to meet new people, and travel to incredible places with my good friend. I love seeing the Engage! community continue to grow while watching the support for one another around the world. I hope there's many more years of Engage! because it's very rewarding and so much fun, and inspiring for us as well. Rebecca: I think above and beyond anything else for us ? success is seeing what has happened ?because of Engage!.? We get so much fulfillment and joy when someone tells us a great ?Because of Engage!? story, and we look forward to many more to come! Interview by Meghan Ely



H owToGet Testimonials That H elpY ou M akeM oreSales B y H eidi Thompson Testimonials matter, you know that, but they matter a lot more than you might think. Many wedding professionals see testimonials as icing on the cake and something that is nice to have but they are actually really crucial and can contribute to your sales if done correctly. When we choose to work with someone or to purchase something we are taking a risk. We are hoping that our results will be what we think they will be but we really have no way of knowing if that will be the case. As a potential client or customer, testimonials help us to reduce our risk by seeing what others have said about their experience. If you?ve ever purchased anything based on Amazon reviews, you know what I mean. This is part of a psychological phenomenon called social proof and it is incredibly powerful. Testimonials are one way to demonstrate social proof but not just any testimonial will do the trick. I see a lot of bland testimonials that say things like ?She was great!? or ?We?re so happy we worked with you?. That only gives you a tiny piece of the story. If you want your testimonials to help you make more sales they have to describe the experience of the customer before, during and after working with you. You have to tell their story, their full story. Not sure how to do that? I've got email templates that include the questions to ask your clients to craft a testimonial that sells. Just click here to download them and you can start getting testimonials that sell for you!

showcase Apple Orchard by Perfectly Yours Wedding Planning - North American Wedding Academy Graduates Emma and Elin With blooming apple trees, buzzing bees and the smell of summer, we let nature be the very base and inspiration for this styled shoot. The apple orchard created the most romantic and dreamy surroundings possible for this styled wedding inspiration. An already romantic and beautiful setting was completed with soft colors and simple details that together created a Swedish wedding dream. The table was set with a soft grey linen table cloth, white china and inherited family silverware. A stunning and irregular white and green centerpiece gave a fun and playful feel. Stationery was kept simple to complement the look and to give a slightly softer and more romantic touch. This wedding inspiration shoot oozed romance where we simply let nature guide us as we styled and completed the look and feel. The Shoot Team: -

Styling and Coordination: Perfectly Yours


Photographer: Mstudio


Location: Ellenäs Gård


Flowers: Ninas Bjorkelund


Hair: Klipp- och Hudstugan


Make-up: Stine Teper


Groomswear: Cenino Donna Växjö


Bridal dress: Sensiblem


Jewellery: SOHO, Växjö


Models: Tommie Lagerkvist, Mimmi Alexandersson, Daniella Karlsson & Sandra Munier

#wedstrategy TheN uts & B olts for Runninga Smarter, M oreP rofitable W eddingB usiness W ithM ichelleL oretta, Sage W eddingP ros These days, most of the education opportunities are afforded to those that are new in the wedding market. But as we?ve seen over time, some challenges diminish while others arise and increase as you evolve your business. So where do they find help? Michelle Loretta of Sage Wedding Pros has come in and identified an essential educational gap in the market. Michelle has led the way in terms of ensuring that master level wedding pros not only sustain their business, but thrive. We?ve had the pleasure of connecting with Michelle through her Be Sage conference, and have enjoyed watching her company grow. Sage Wedding Pros is a consultancy dedicated to educating and advising business owners on how to be completely sustainable, financially and operationally. Co-Founded in 2009 by Michelle Loretta, the company began as a blog for providing daily insight into everything it takes to run a successful small business

as a wedding planner, photographer, stationery, floral designer and so on. Today, Michelle spends her days creating business plans and financial strategies for her clients. Michelle?s job is to put the nuts and bolts on the missing pieces (a marketing strategy, a hiring plan, or a cash flow plan) so that their business can run smarter, stress-free, and be more profitable. 1. What inspired you t o st art Sage Wedding Pros? In 2009, I owned and operated a wedding stationery business and my goal was to increase my vendor network nationwide. Blogging seemed like a great way to start the conversation. Sage Wedding Pros began as a blog giving people sage advice for their businesses. I was one of the first people to share this idea of treating your wedding business the same way you would a Fortune-500 company. We published a series called the ?13 step business plan?and that?s when the blog evolved into something more. We began to produce The Simple Plan workshop that led to other seminars and educational tools. This paved the path to what we provide today: no-fluff business education and consulting.

2. The Be Sage Conf erence is geared more t oward mast er l evel prof essional s. What are some of t he unique chal l enges t hey f ace as opposed t o someone who is newer t o t he indust ry? Master level professionals have successful businesses. They are thriving and making a living off of working in the business full-time. The challenges come in two parts: keeping the business running effectively for continued success and the leveling up of that business. Be Sage attendees are at a crossroad where they can leverage their expertise to do more in their careers, in their businesses, and in their lives.

3. What rol e do you pl ay working wit h mast er l evel prof essional s? Two of my strengths are strategy and ideation. A master level professional will come to me with a challenge and my job is to dig into the root of that challenge. For example, a photographer recently hired me to create a financial strategy for

her business. In digging into what really happens in her business, her problem wasn?t financial viability but in the weakness of her marketing and sales strategies. I?m able to peel apart the onion in a business and see what is truly happening underneath the surface. Once I figure that out, we can start to build on strengths and create the next stage of success for the business owner.

4. What do you t hink some of t he biggest impact s a ment or can have on a bot h a budding business prof essional and someone who has worked in t he indust ry f or years? A mentor is the person who ?knows what you don?t know?. You are walking in the dark, and they are several steps ahead of you, lighting your path. A mentor looks out for you and checks in with you. They want to see you build success in your business.

5. What are some of your t ips f or cont inuing educat ion at t he mast er l evel ? I have 2 tips: 1) Do it. I find too many people that become complacent. Your business is running smoothly and you certainly don?t need to fix anything. BUT ? the industry changes and evolves quickly. How will you create more value with the business you?ve built? 2) Find your tribe of masters. This industry is entry-level focused. There are so many resources for people just beginning. Take time to study those educators and conferences that are building knowledge specifically focused at helping you build greatness. Look for the meaty topics and look to see where your peers of 5+ years in business are going for education and knowledge.

6. Do you t hink mast er l evel prof essional s can st il l benef it f rom at t ending some of t he major conf erences t hat are geared more t oward pros t hat haven't been in business as l ong? Why or why not ? Yes. BUT ? you do need to be choosy. A lot of the conferences geared towards entry level wedding pros aren?t going to present you with what you specifically need to level up your business. (And you will likely walk away disappointed.) You have to research the conference to make sure it suits your specific needs.

There are entry-level conferences that have topics that are important for newbies and masters. Some topics that everyone can benefit from include: how to navigate social media platforms, how to build more profitability in your business, and how to systemize your business better.

7. What are some good business books you woul d recommend? A book that I highly recommend for Master Wedding Professionals is Business Model Generation. It forces you to think of unique ways that you can spin your business. As a service-based industry, we?ve been doing the same thing for the last 70 years. This book flipped my mind on different ways to capitalize on opportunities. A book that I encourage Wedding Professionals who manage teams to read is Thanks for the Feedback. (In fact, I recommend you have your entire staff read it.) Feedback is critical for a well-running team. But, most of us are doing it wrong. This book gives great insight into how to make feedback a positive and important part of every wedding business.

8. Tel l us a bit about your upcoming conf erence. Any new det ail s you'd l ike t o share? I?m so excited for Be Sage Conference this year! The goal of Be Sage is to give master-level professionals insight into the next stages of their business, amongst a community of smart, like-minded, collaborative business owners. We bring together the best and brightest minds. In our fourth year, this December 4-7, we?ll be at the Westin Resort & Spa in Hilton Head. I?m looking forward to learn about using culture to push a business forward from Sunny Gross of Delivering Happiness (the Zappos company), how to scale a creative business from Kristy Rice of Momental Designs, and the art of storytelling from Meghan Ely from OFD Consulting. You can learn more here: . Words By Meghan Ely

#weddigital TheFutureof Event Technology withSandy H ammer, A llSeated Sandy Hammer was a force in the corporate event planning industry for more than 20 years before co-founding AllSeated, an online resource that helps streamline the logistics of any event. She has worked in the publishing, art and tech industries bringing with her a penchant for innovation. This issue, Sandy shares why technology is shaping the events industry, how AllSeated is paving the way for professionals, and her mission to digitize the world of events.

What drew you t o t he event s indust ry in part icul ar? Coul d you describe t he indust ry, in t erms of t echnol ogy, when you f irst st art ed Al l Seat ed. I was a corporate planner in the tech industry for ten years. My pure frustrations drove me to want to digitalize our industry. It was at the same time that Uber came out and I thought, how can the taxi industry be digitized before our event industry? We are an industry of precision and excellence and we know how to do our jobs (and do them well) but we needed technology tools to help!

Can you share a bit about what Al l Seat ed does f or our readers? What was your goal in creat ing Al l Seat ed and how is it unique f rom ot her event t echnol ogy companies? AllSeated is an online network for planning events that provides users with collaborative tools that simplify and enhance the planning process such as: scaled floorplans, guest list management, seating arrangements, timelines, reporting, and so much more. With all of the event details updating in real-time, AllSeated is a space to work collaboratively and it keeps everyone on the same page regarding the details of an event. One big difference between AllSeated and other event planning tools is that AllSeated is FREE! We?re also constantly coming to market with new, groundbreaking features that have never been seen in the events space. As a company, we push ourselves to be creative and provide innovative tools for the industry that benefit professionals as delight couples. How can t oday?s wedding pros st ay up-t o-dat e on t he l at est t echnol ogies? Many tools and advancements in technology continue to come our way in this industry which is a pleasure to watch. Event professionals need to find the tech tools that simplify their lives and ultimately save them time. You need to look for a tool that fits your team and meets your demand. I am a big believer in reading tech blogs and adopting products that will benefit the business - even if the product isn?t specifically built for events that does not mean it can?t be useful! In your opinion, why is it import ant f or al l wedding prof essional s t o embrace new t echnol ogy? Technology is not a luxury today the way it has been in previous years! It has become a part of our daily lives and, most importantly, your clients are demanding it in so many ways that it?s critical for professionals to stay up-to-date with or even ahead of the trends. You must be a tech adopter! There are many tools available on the market that are free, easy to find, and easy to adopt. Technology will enhance your professional brand, save you time, and help scale your business. l seat

As a company, how do you generat e f eedback f rom users? How is t hat insight used t o improve your business operat ions? We are a company that is driven by our community of users. We hold think tanks on a regular basis which cover all categories related to our business. We work closely with our users and listen to their needs. I don?t believe a company can grow effectively without be totally immersed with its users. We consider many of our users as our partners and wouldn?t be where we are today without them! Where do you see t he f ut ure of event t echnol ogy going, as a whol e? AllSeated?s team of developers come from the gaming industry. We have been watching Virtual Reality (VR) for awhile now and have seen it become more entrenched in our industry. For the past two years, we?ve been enhancing on our 3D tool and will soon be launching a mass market VR tool that is efficient, fast, simple, and a ?WOW? for our users! We believe that our next level of technology will be in Augmented Reality (AR). AR will allow designers and planners to create an entire event reality within their office. Yet at the same time, your clients can be immersed in the details of their wedding and feel like they?re actually in the space ahead of their big day! Imagine how collaborative and efficient the creation process will be! You will be able to create a reality from nothing and change the details of the event in real time. AR can provide tremendous opportunities for wedding planners around the world to generate more business. How does Al l Seat ed?s branding ref l ect t he company?s goal s and val ues? AllSeated?s brand is ?Technology?. Everywhere we go we share new ideas, new products, new thoughts and visions for the market. Our brand and company believe in sharing why we built free tools ? so that we can change an industry and make a difference. We reflect this in our company by gaining inspiration from our users. Inspiration creates innovation. With this innovation we can build more and more products for our market. How is Al l Seat paving t he way f or wedding pros t his year and beyond? AllSeated plans to heavily disrupt our industry ? in a positive way! While our core planning tools are free, we are in the process of building a very powerful network that we plan to open later this year. This new AllSeated network will allow you to find targeted opportunities that will make a difference in growing your business and beyond! Watch for the launch coming soon! Words by Meghan Ely

#WedGuru Favors arenot just for W edding guests. W hy sayingthank-you, properly, can helptopromoteyour weddingbusiness, freeof charge? B y SamL loyd

If you are thanking your clients after they book an aspect of their wedding with you, that is great news. Also if you are thanking them after their wedding, then even better. But you might be still missing an opportunity to make your thank-yous work harder.

Do you bel ieve you are you ef f ect ivel y saying t hank you? For Marketers, saying thank-you is about much more than just being polite, and they might argue that it?s one of the important elements of a solid Marketing Communication Strategy as saying thank-you properly can be an essential soft tool, that can pay back in terms of goodwill. A main benefit of saying thank-you, is that it not only shows your appreciation, and that you value the business and want to remain in the forefront of the recipient's mind for future business events but secondary benefits include showing attention to detail and the ability to follow through on tasks, both of which are important business traits. But the third and most important reason for saying thank-you when running your own business, is that it can, if done well, bring financial dividends. So do you have a proper t hank-you process in pl ace? Obviously the type of thank-you depends on the situation and the relationship between the sender and the receiver. Because weddings are so unique, marketing your wedding-related products and services requires a more focused approach. Also a thank-you should be sent as quickly as possible, while the update is still fresh in the recipient's mind, ideally on the same or next day after the update. If you don?t have a proper thank-you process in place I would start to incorporate one now so that you take every opportunity to bring in those financial dividends. After a client makes the decision to make you part of their wedding day, they are often euphoric, so immediately after having received a deposit, you should: 1. Thank/ congratulate the couple for their booking. 2. Remind them of the other services you offer, that they didn?t book, e.g. if a florist and the bride has booked her bouquet, button holes and flower girls? crowns ? there is no harm in reminding her that if she would like to add corsages, for the mother of the bride and groom, all you require is an email, with 10 days? notice and payment received by BACs. 3. Inform them of an event you are attending, such as, I will be at wedding fair on if they are around to attend.

Are you spreading t he news? 4. With Social Media, why not ask couples to share their wedding update with their wedding guests, that promotes you free of charge to their peers. I would recommend creating a number of thank-you templates. As a DJ you might want to generate something like: Many thanks Sam & Leigh, its official you have now booked me to DJ at your wedding reception on 1st January 2020 at 19.00 at The Darling Buds Farm. I hope you are as excited about working with me, as I am about DJing for you, I really can?t wait to share your big day. If at a later date, you change your mind and want to entertain your guests during the day, you can still add my Photo Booth; just drop me an email, 10 days before the event and make a BACS payment, or if you want a catch up on my other services, I will be at The Old Kent Barn Wedding Fair on Sunday 10th June 2019. In the meantime, if you want to spread the good news here are some easy ways to share your update on Instagram and Facebook (attach social media ready promo images): Instagram & Facebook -


Provide clients with an eye-catching image or artwork that depicts your services. Include your instagram name/ web address so they can tag you. Provide copy with your image - e.g "We just booked our wedding DJ @spin-doctor # music # dj # makeitdance # dancefloor # wedding # party # letsdance" For Facebook which is less image reliant than Instagram try including some additional promotional copy in your post artwork , such as - "We've chosen them to spin tunes on our special day because....(insert your business attributes)" , "So it's time to start practicing cutting some shapes, send us your requests."

Then post wedding, you should have your next thank-you template lined up, just make sure it is timely, sincere, is easy to share and importantly you up sell, such as, I can?t wait to be with you at your next celebration.

#wedl egal M akingFriends withthe Enemy (aka W hy Y ou N eed a B usiness Community) Raise your hand if you?ve ever been jealous of a ?competitor? in your niche, whether it?s someone who provides the exact same services ? ?Oh, hello wedding photographer # 742!? ? or someone who provides adjacent ones. Watching people seemingly succeed and surpass you is frustrating, especially on days when everything feels like a setback. Some days, everyone feels like the enemy. But here?s the thing: Seeing everyone as a competitor is severely limiting and, quite frankly, completely and utterly boring. That?s why I?m sharing 3 reasons why you need to be having more coffee dates with other pros in your area. 1. It increases the pie (or, in this case, wedding cake may be more appropriate). By cultivating a community where wedding professionals gather to share ideas, challenges, and trends, you?re actually helping to improve business for everyone. Remember, every time your friendor markets their business, they?re actually marketing the entire industry and encouraging brides and grooms to explore options for their dream wedding team.

B y Christina Scalera 2. It gives you a fresh perspective. Sometimes we get so stuck in what we?re already doing that it?s great to have an outside voice to clear the clouds away. You?ll keep the creative juices flowing when you get together regularly with other wedding business owners to discuss social media trends and new styling ideas. Marketing strategies are always changing, and a good business community will foster a healthy dialogue, help everyone grow, and keep the local industry relevant in the future. 3. No two couples are the same, and neither are their vendors. There?s always going to be someone else out there who will reply faster than you or sell their services for less than yours. It?s true in almost every industry, so it?s time to accept that truth and focus on the things that you CAN change. Your style, brand, and personality (and the reason why couples choose you over someone else) are completely different from the next wedding pro, so own them! When you stand out in your own way, others notice. In a close-knit community, you?ll start being the ?go to? guy or gal for a certain type of couple, and, inevitably, someone will be booked or think you?re a better fit, and you?ll get a recommendation for a new wedding ceremony that you may not otherwise have picked up. It?s time to stop thinking of other people in your niche as ?competitors? for both your mental and business health. The biggest thing you can do for your business is to change your mindset and start viewing your competitors as your community, your industry peers, and your referral network. Book your first $3k+ client in the next 30 days.



The P ublishers AU



The International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning is the leading training company for the wedding industry with campuses worldwide. -

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