Coaching f or Creat ive CEOs w it h Kyl ie Carl son We sit dow n w it h our Edit or Kylie as she launches her ow n YouTube channel and announces her upcom ing business coaching init iat ive, CEO School .
"A brand is def ined by t he cust om er's experience." Shep Hyken
In This Issue.. Our Cont ribut ors
#WEDSEO w it h Kat hy DalPra
85- 88 90- 93
From t he Edit or
Client Com m unicat ion w it h Elie Berchan
Quot e of t he Mont h
#WEDEXPERT w it h Kellie Daab
#WEDINSPIRE Wit h David Merrell
#WEDSOCIAL w it h Shannon DePalm a
#WEDPROMO w it h Heidi Thom pson
#WEDDIGITAL w it h Bill Andy Kuchner
#WEDVENUE w it h Lindsay Lucas
Educat ing Client s w it h Cavin Elizabet h
#WEDGURU w it h Sam Lloyd
How t o Wow Your Client s by Lane' Richards
How Your Business Can Think Like Disney by Michele Schw art z
#WEDLEGAL w it h Christ ina Scalera
Cherishing Mem ories w it h La Rousse Shoppe
Elevat e Your Client Experience Wit h t he Workf low by Monica Naclerio
The Ult im at e Wedding Experience w it h Rahul Kum ar
#WEDFEATURE w it h w it h Michelle Kelly
Our Favourit e Things
In Their Shoes w it h Lauren St rachan
Academ y TV
Creat ive Branding & Market ing w it h Louise Row land
#WEDBIZCOACH w it h Em m a Et heridge
#WEDPRO w it h Kylie Carlson
#WEDPR w it h Meghan Ely
Creat ing an Inclusive Client Experience w it h Britt ny Drye
Elevat ing t he Client Experience w it h Cat hrin D'Enrem ont
Contr ibutor s
Kat hy Dal Pra Kat hy t akes t he overw helm out of SEO, sales and w ebsit e conversion so w edding businesses can t urn m ore curious visit ors int o high paying client s.
Christ ine Ligt hart
Websit e: brideappeal .com
Christ ine Ligt hart is t he Direct or of Educat ion f or t he Int ernat ional Academ y of Wedding & Event Planning and is t he Founder of The I- Do Crew.
Shannon DePal m a
Websit e: w w w .idocrew .com .au
Heidi Thom pson Heidi Thom pson is t he best - selling aut hor of Clone Your Best Client s and t he f ounder of Evolve Your Wedding Business. She specializes in business and m arket ing st rat egy f or w edding prof essionals. Websit e: w w w .evolveyourw eddingbusiness.com
Kel l ie Daab Kellie Daab, Wedding Business Archit ect , and f ounder at iDo Collect ive is a w edding indust ry t hought leader, aut hor, and business st rat egist . Kellie helps event indust ry prof essionals creat e brands t hey love, st rat egies t hat w ork, and processes t hey love! Websit e: w w w .idocol l ect ive.com Meghan Ely OFD Consult ing ow ner Meghan Ely has over a decade of experience in t he w edding indust ry. She is also a prom inent nat ional speaker on a broad range of w edding m arket ing and w edding PR t opics. Websit e: w w w .of dconsult ing.com
Shannon DePalm a is a m oney m indset coach f or f em ale ent repreneurs. She built and sold her f irst w edding business in 2 years and believe every w om an should have an am azing relat ionship w it h m oney. Websit e: w w w .shannondepal m a.com
Em m a Et heridge Em m a is t he f ounder of The Wedding Biz Coach and support s w edding- prenuers t o grow t heir w onderf ul w edding businesses by t eaching real- lif e, pract ical, act ionable st rat egies t hat w ork. Websit e: w w w .w eddingbizcoach.com
Sam Ll oyd Based in Kent , Sam LLoyd is a w ell- connect ed Wedding Venue Consult ant and is t he f ounder of The Wedding Ow l. Sam has ext ensive, pract ical know ledge of t he Event s Indust ry, venues, and suppliers. Websit e: w w w .t hew eddingow l .com Christ ina Scal era Christ ina Scalera is t he att orney and f ounder behind TheCont ract .Shop, a cont ract t em plat e st ore f or creat ive ent repreneurs, w edding prof essionals, and coaches. Websit e: w w w .christ inascal era.com Photo by Ginny Haupert Photography in Denver, CO
Lindsay Lucas Lindsay Lucas, Wedding Venue Business Consult ant and Founder of Lean On Me Event s, is passionat e about helping venue ow ners build a st rong f oundat ion f or success, coaching t hem on how t o creat e a sust ainable venue in an ever evolving m arket . Websit e: w w w .l eanonm econsult ant s.com
From the Editor KYLIE CARLSON In m y part of t he w orld w here I live in rural France it alm ost f eels like sum m er is here. The sun is shining, t he w indow s are open and t he birds are t w eet ing f or all t hey are w ort h. I love t his t im e of year as t he days get longer and t hose long sum m er evenings lie ahead. It doesn't seem possible t hat w e are already ont o t he second 2018 issue of t he m agazine, but w e are and I can prom ise you it s a good one. Our chosen t opic t his issue is t he Cust om er Experience. You only have one chance t o m ake a f irst im pression. The f irst t im e a pot ent ial client int eract s w it h your brand it needs t o speak t o t hem . This f irst t ouch point could be t hrough an em ail new slett er, on social m edia, over t he phone, t hrough your w ebsit e or face t o face. What ever it is you need t o have t hought about t he experience you w ant your client t o have f rom t he f irst m om ent t hey virt ually m eet you. There are so m any elem ent s t o t hink about w hen designing a cust om er experience f or your brand. The basic ones include your m arket ing, your enquiry and booking process, t he process aft er t hey've booked, during t he t im e t hey w ork w it h you and aft er it has all been com plet ed and t he event has happened. To really creat e an unf orgett able client experience you need t o m ap out t he journey on paper and w alk t hrough it m ent ally. Try and experience w hat a client w ill experience and really t hink about each st ep caref ully. The experience is w hat w ill set you apart f rom your com pet it ion because it is unique t o you. The w ay your client f eels and t he experience t hey have w it h you w ill be very diff erent t o som eone else off ering t he sam e service dow n t he road.
Kyl ie x
The Styled Shoot Team THOROUGHLY MODERN CECILIA -
Sit e Managem ent & St yling: What Peggy Did Next Venue: Hill Place Phot ography: Ikonw orks Creat or and MUA: Frances Moore MUA Hair: Bridal Hair in Ham pshire Florals: Judit h Searles Flow ers Props, St at ionery & Signage: Beyond Vint age Cat ering: Sm all Piece Cat ering Bridalw ear: Exquisit e Bridal Jew ellery & Hair Pieces: Vict oria Ferguson Bridal Shoes: Hannah Elizabet h Bridal Mensw ear: King and Allen Bridesm aids Dresses: Maids t o Measure Cakes: Jem im a Cakes Ring Box: The Mrs Box Silk and Silk Ribbons: Silk and Purl Silk on Table: Beck f ord Silk Model: Vict oria Lindsay Cout t s Rings: The Exquisit e Collect ion Honeym oon Book: The Saf ekeeping Societ y
Quote of the Month
exper ience is the next competitive battleground. It's where businesses
are won or lost. TOM KNIGHTON
Romancing the Client from Yes
to I Do! BY KELLIE DAAB
Att ract ing your soul m at e client isn't very diff erent t han t he age old process of rom ance. Im agine w it h m e w alking int o a crow ded room , lat ching eyes w it h a st unning creat ure across t he room , saunt ering over t o say hello, exchanging inf orm at ion, sett ing up a f irst dat e, all t he w ay t o w alking dow n t he aisle. The law s of att ract ion w it h client s and rom ance call m e t o consider som e very st rong parallels. The First Im pression Popular science w ill t ell us t hat w e have exact ly 7 seconds of t im e f rom t he m om ent of connect ion t o t he f irst im pression. This is t he snap judgem ent one hum an m akes of anot her w hen t hey are f irst present ed w it h t hem . This is also t he am ount of t im e your business has t o att ract t he roam ing eyes of your pot ent ial client . Considering w ays t o m axim ize t hose seven seconds t hrough your brand design and m essaging is a vit al st ep in gett ing t he att ent ion of t he pot ent ial client . Just like rom ance t here's som et hing att ract ive about you t hat int rigues t hem and w ant s t hem t o w alk across t he crow ded bar t o t alk t o you! The First Dat e By now you've exchanged num bers w it h a pot ent ial client t hrough t he inquiry process. You m ight have been low key f lirt ing over t ext m essage and now it 's t im e t o schedule t hat f irst dat e - or t he f irst sales m eet ing. In rom ance, like business, t hat f irst dat e is a big deal. It 's t he f irst t im e you get t he opport unit y t o get t o know each ot her in person
and t o t alk m ore deeply about yourselves. In creat ive businesses w e oft en w onder; "w ill t hey like m e?" or "do t hey like m y st yle?". Many of t he em ot ions bot h t he couple and t he business encount er are t he sam e as dat ing. This is oft en w hy f irst dat es can eit her m ake or break t he booking. Set t he st age f or t he f irst dat e so t hat you f eel com f ort able and conf ident . Take t im e t o be sure t hat your pot ent ial client also f eels com f ort able. Spend m ore t im e list ening t o t hem t alk about t hem selves - t heir goals and successes. Ask quest ions and engage in a relat ionship building conversat ion. Rem eber rom ance is about a t rue connect ion bet w een hum ans and less about your f eat ures, benef it s, or services. The Talk The dreaded cont ract ing phrase is alm ost just as com plicat ed in business as it is in rom ance. Am I your only love? Can w e w ork out our schedules? Do I give you w hat you need? Do our values and visions line up? Be sure t hat you've considered t he quest ions t hat m ay be asked during t his t im e. Know ing w hat you are and are not w illing t o negot iat e on w ill m ake t his process m uch fast er and eff icient . Not only t hat pot ent ial long t erm relat ionship client s w ill love you m ore if you st ay t rue t o your values and cont ract . Once t hose kinks are ironed out in t he relat ionship, t he next st eps usually m eans exclusivit y! You w on t he client ! Cont ract signed! You now have t he opport unit y t o earn t heir love and respect f or a lif et im e. The Dat ing Phase You're f inally sett ling in w it h each ot her. You know how t hey like t o f old t heir t ow els and m ake t heir coff ee. You're ok t o have t hat Skype m eet ing w it h your hair pulled back. It 's nat ural and com f ort able m aybe t oo com f ort able! The dat ing phase is oft en w hen t hat litt le spark of rom ance get s lost t o t he det ails and t he budget and t he day t o day of lif e and w edding planning.
Consider w ays t o keep t he rom ance alive w it h your client s. Just like you love gett ing or giving f low ers t o your loved one - add som e special t ouchpoint s in your client experience process t hat m akes t hem know you st ill love t hem and w ant t o keep t he rom ance alive! The Wedding Day In our indust ry t his is like t he Grand Prix - Founders Day - and t he Super Bow l all in one day f or our client s. We w ant every litt le det ail t o go as planned and paid f or. So w e can som et im es be guilt y of putt ing our heads dow n and gett ing t he job done. But w e oft en f orget t hat on t he w edding day w e also have t he opport unit y t o secure a client f or lif e. We t oo can use t he w edding experience t o solidf y a long t im e m arriage relat ionship w it h your client s. Form er client s can oft en be your great est source of ref erral and f ut ure business. Consider building relat ionships w it h t heir fam ily m em bers, t heir w edding part y, and all w ho are involved in t he w edding w eekend. You're t alking t hem on as fam ily t oo! The Marriage I bet you t hought I w as going t o st op aft er t he w edding day, right ? But rom ancing t he client goes w ell past gett ing m arried! In m arriage, it becom es even m ore vit ally im port ant t o keep t he rom ance alive? Why? Because w e f orget it 's im port ant ! And oft en t im es your business and t heir experience w it h you get s buried under t o- do list s and diapers! How can you cont inue t o be a part of t heir every day? How can you cont inue t o surprise client s and st ay in t heir circle of inf luence? Becom e part of t he t hings t hey t hink and t alk about by cont inuing t he conversat ion w it h your past client s t o creat e a long last ing healt hy m arriage. See? Rom ance isn't so far aw ay f rom our client experience process is it ? If you consider how your act ions and business pract ices cont inue t he rom ance bet w een you and your pot ent ial and current client s you'll be w ell on your w ay t o being t he biggest rom ant ic in t ow n. Words by Kellie Daab
Lear n Fr om The Exper ts
# ASKKYLIE Help! My New Business is Overw helm ing Me. Over t he last t en years Kylie Carlson has t aught and m ent ored just over 3,000 new w edding and event ent repreneurs around t he w orld. Video is one of her passions and now she is using t his plat f orm t o share her know ledge and t ips w it h ot her budding creat ive ent repreneurs on her new Creat ive Business TV Show . Are you launching a new business? Are you a creat ive ent repreneur f eeling overw helm ed w it h t he sheer am ount of choices and t hings you need t o do? Then t his episode of #AskKylie is f or you!
Creating the Best
# WEDSOCIAL Being a prof essional, being an expert , and being a leader in your indust ry is som et hing t hat you need t o show case in your cust om er experience. It m ight be som et hing t hat you have been shying aw ay f rom . I know in t he cust om er experience, how m any of us w ant t o give our client s everyt hing, and f or som e of us w e m ight be suff ering f rom "nice girl or nice guy syndrom e" but you are here t o guide your client t hrough t he best st eps f or t hem t o get t he best experience. To give your cust om er t he best experience t hat includes t elling t hem eit her subst it ut ions t hat w ork bett er or som et im es it does involve t elling t hem no. For exam ple, you're a phot ographer and you have a client w ho t ot ally and com plet ely object s t o t aking fam ily phot os. It is your job as an experienced phot ographer, t hat know s how im port ant t hose fam ily phot o's are t o all of your client s , t o guide t hat client int o m aking t hose phot o's a priorit y, even if you w orry it m akes you look a litt le "m ean or direct or bossy", it doesn't . You creat ing t he best client experience includes t elling your client not w hat t hey w ant but w hat t hey need. This can be t errif ying, I underst and, but you w ant your client t o be happy and also have a sm oot h w edding w it h happiness aft erw ards. You m ight have seen t hat video circulat ing around t he int ernet about t he w edding t hat w ent up in f lam es, and t hat right t here is a perf ect exam ple of a vendor not t elling a client "no, t hat w ill be a f ire hazard." It is act ing out of int egrit y t o only do t he t hings t hat w ill give your client t he best experience and give you t he best review s. The best cust om er experience DOES m ean m aking t he cust om er happy, but t hat also m eans being t he prof essional, t elling t he client no, or operat ing your business out of int egrit y. Words by Shannon DePalm a
Client Exper ience BY SHANNON DEPALMA
THE ULTIMATE WEDDING EXPERIENCE WITH RAHUL KUMAR, VIVAAH WEDDING PLANNING Vivaah Weddings is a prem ier Wedding Planning & Managem ent com pany operat ing locally and globally f or Dest inat ion Weddings. Wit h off ices st rat egically locat ed in t he UAE and Thailand, Vivaah has planned, concept ualized and m anaged w eddings int ernat ionally. Today, Arun Bablani and Rahul Kum ar share t he evolut ion of t heir ow n client experience and t heir cont inued success w it h m eet ing t he needs of t he luxury m arket . Wit h Vivaah Weddings, how does client experience play a role in your services? Off ering t ailor m ade solut ions f or dest inat ion w eddings, t he services include everyt hing f rom incept ion t o w rap up. Hence, our client just needs t o let us know how t hey have envisioned t heir big day and our t eam w orks t ow ards shaping up t heir special day bett er t han t hey w ould have im agined. How has your client experience evolved over t he years? Over t he years, w e have seen t he client s being m ore recept ive t o delegat ing higher responsibilit y t o t heir w edding planners. Today?s bride is w ell t ravelled and w ell inspired. She expect s not hing but t he best and w e keep hearing how all our client s w ant som et hing t hat hasn?t been done bef ore. We handhold t he client f rom beginning t o end m aking t he ent ire w edding planning process seem like a cakew alk.
Your t agline is t he Ult im at e Wedding Experience and you off er an ext ensive num ber of services under your brand. What st eps do you t ake t o ensure every off ering w it hin Vivhaa is of t he highest caliber? Through our successf ul t rack record and having planned and m anaged w eddings f or prom inent fam ilies around t he w orld, it has posit ioned us t o const ant ly raise t he bar f or our ow n selves and off er our client new and innovat ive concept s t hat m ake t he fam ily and t heir guest s go w ow. Our concept t eam underst ands t he client ?s pref erence, t ast e and personalit y. Based on t his, cust om ized w edding experiences are designed w hich event ually goes t hrough m ult iple ref ined versions t o arrive at ?The Ult im at e Wedding Experience?. You specialize in part icular in dest inat ion w eddings. How have you t ailored your client experience t o m eet t he needs of t his part icular m arket ? Much of t he fam ilies t hat reach out t o us are looking at host ing dest inat ion w edding celebrat ions w it h diff erent perspect ive in m ind. Som e look f or t ravel connect ions t o t he dest inat ion w hile t he ot hers m ay look at f resher landscapes t hat haven?t been explored in t he past . What ever t heir requirem ent be, w e f irst run t hem t hrough t he pros and cons of t he dest inat ion t hey are considering. Follow ing t his, w e visit t he dest inat ion f or a t horough fam iliarizat ion bef ore t he client m akes a f irm decision on select ing t he dest inat ion. Once t his has been done, w e begin all ground w orks at t he dest inat ion t o ensure t he w edding celebrat ions are just as our client has envisioned it t o be. This ent ire w edding planning could be a f ew m ont hs t o alm ost even a year. The UAE and t he Gulf has such a m elt ing pot of cult ures and t radit ions. How is your client experience im pact ed as a result ? We at Vivaah Weddings only cat er t o t he Sout h Asian w eddings segm ent . Having said t hat , since t he UAE and t he Gulf has a populat ion belonging t o diff erent et hnicit ies, w e see t hat our client s are w illing t o include and f use several diff erent cult ures int o t heir w edding celebrat ions. This could be in t he f orm of dĂŠcor,
ent ert ainm ent or even f ood or beverage opt ions. Wit h our business being operat ional in t he region f or over 11 years, w e underst and t he possibilit ies and m eans of f ulf illing our client s? requirem ent s. What t op t ips w ould you share f or t hose w edding prof essionals eager t o elevat e t heir client experience t o att ract t he luxury m arket ? While t here are several unique pract ices w e f ollow at Vivaah Weddings w hich enhances our client ?s experience, t he one im port ant t ip t o ot her w edding prof essionals w ould be ? not t o be assert ive and do not enf orce your pref erences on t o your client . We have seen how m any w edding prof essionals quickly lose t heir client ?s att ent ion or int erest w hen t hey t ry inf luencing t he client t oo m uch or st eer t heir client int o m aking a f orced decision. It is im port ant t o realize t hat it is your client ?s w edding celebrat ions and t hey have t he right t o choose and explore t ill t hey are cont ent and sat isf ied w it h t heir decision. Int erview by Meghan Ely
# WEDEDU Every m ont h w e share t he lat est w orkshops, conf erences and educat ional event s w e hear about f rom across t he globe.
BRIDE ABU DHABI
Dat e: May 9t h- 12t h , 2018 Locat ion: Abu Dhabi Websit e: w w w.t hebrideshow.com
Dat e: April 30t h, 2018 Locat ion: Chicheley Hall, UK Websit e: w w w.w edx.co.uk/ w edx- chicheley
Get ready f or inspirat ion and m ot ivat ion; lot s of great connect ions w ill be m ade, lot s of insider know - how w ill be learned, and plent y of laughs w ill be had.
Dat e: June 18t h- 21st , 2018 Locat ion: Banff, Canada Websit e: engagesum m it s.com / engage18canada
ONE FINE DAY WEDDING FAIR Dat e: May 27t h, 2018 Locat ion: Pert h, Aust ralia Websit e: onef inedayw eddingfair.com .au
Join 6 Wedding Indust ry Leaders (including our Edit or Kylie Carlson) and a sm all group of f ellow ent repreneurs. Leave buzzing, w it h a not ebook f ull of t he best advice, answ ers t o your personal business quest ions and new inf luent ial cont act s. Most im port ant ly, leave w it h big plans f or your business. Prepare yourself and bring an open m ind. This year can be your year, w het her you?ve been w orking your socks and shoes off f or a w hile and need t hat som et hing ext ra t o set you on t he right t racks, or you're a f resh face t o t he indust ry ready t o show t he w orld w hat you're m ade of.
KAREN TRAN ROYAL FLORAL MASTERCLASS Dat e: March 28t h, 2018 Locat ion: London, UK Websit e: w w w.plannedf orperf ect ion.co.uk
On t he 28t h March, 2018 The Lanesborough, Hyde Park host ed t he m ost ant icipat ed royal inspired gala in t he event s indust ry calendar. Present ed by Elizabet h Solaru of Elizabet h's Cake Em porium and UKAWEP Advisory board m em ber, Jane Riddell of Planned f or Perf ect ion along w it h support f lorist Leanne Robert s- Hew itt of Wildabout , t he f loral f illed gala w as a breat ht akingly beaut if ul kaleidoscope of past els, w hit es and gold. It w as a culm inat ion of t he t hree day royal w edding inspired f loral m ast erclass att ended by st udent s f rom all over t he w orld and delivered by global f loral icon and renow ned f loral designer Karen Tran. Karen envisioned a grand w edding breakfast f it f or t he royal w edding of Prince Harry and Miss Meghan Markle. The out com e w as a perf ect blend of out st anding Am erican f loral design in a t ypically English regency st yle sett ing. Karen t ransf orm ed t he w edgw ood blue Belgravia room designed by t he lat e Albert Pint o int o a f loral w onderland f eat uring t he m ost dram at ic f loral t unnel and t ablescape laden w it h exquisit e bloom s supplied by Piet Van Kam pen of G Fresh. She used a com binat ion of blush and peach roses, w hit e hydrangeas, seasonal t ulips in w hit e and pinks, hyacint hs, phaelanopsis and cym bidium orchids t o creat e her signat ure t all cascading t able arrangem ent s. In bet w een t he t all arrangem ent s w ere baroque gold candlelabras and along t he lengt h of t he t ables w ere low groupings of f low ers in beaut if ul hand cut vases and gold candlest icks.
The f loral t unnel and archw ay of beaut y t hat f ram ed t he ent rance t o t he Belravia room st ood at an im pressive 12 f eet t all and 14 f eet w ide and w as a sight t o behold. Decorat ed w it h a f low er carpet m ade up of t housands of roses, hydrangeas and orchids, it f eat ured a t ulip canopy and w as t opped off by m agnif icent branches of cherry blossom . In t he cent re of t he room t he f ocal point w as t he im pressive 6 f oot cake in w edgw ood blue and peach designed by Elizabet h's Cake Em porium . Inspired by t he ceiling of t he Belgravia room , it f eat ured hand paint ed clouds, t he signat ure m ouldings of t he baroque design of t he ceiling, hand m ade peach and pink sugar roses, piped scroll w ork and a hand paint ed royal crest . The cake sat on t able com plet ely covered w it h a 'clot h' of peach and pink roses. The evening began w it h a cockt ail recept ion in t he Great Hall of The Lanesborough w hose grand st aircase had also been decorat ed w it h t housands of bloom s. The hot el has a long st anding associat ion w it h t he royal fam ily; The Great Hall has t he dist inct ion of having an ent rance t hat is only accessible t o Her Majest y The Queen and t o no one else.
The guest s included a m ix of t he best event planners and not able f lorist s, edit ors of bridal m agazine, bloggers, inf luencers and fashion designers t o royalt y. They w ere w elcom ed w it h specially creat ed f loral inspired cockt ails, t he f inest Cham pagne and canapes f rom t he Michelin st arred kit chen of t he hot el. Niche London St ring Quart et and m agician Richard Parsons ent ert ained t he guest s. Aft er t he cockt ail hour guest s w ere ushered in t o t he dinning room w hich had been t ransf orm ed int o a f loral w onderland. They all ent husiast ically applauded t he very regal Karen as she m ade her ent rance int o t he room . The guest s w ere w elcom ed by Head of Event s, Ant oinett e Lett ieri w ho w orked incredibly hard in bringing t he event t o The Lanesborough. For t he f irst course, guest s w ere delight ed w it h scallop carpaccio and roast ed beet root t art are served w it h berries and pom egranat e yoghurt . The gasp inducing m ain course w as a very delicious st one bass baked in globe art ichoke w it h sam phire seaw eed and lem on butt er and crunchy green asparagus parcel w it h an incredible burrat ina. For dessert , t he past ry chef creat ed t he glossiest chocolat e pudding w it h a perf ect m irror glaze layered w it h t he light est chocolat e cream , cocoa st reusel and chocolat e sponge; a perf ect blend of t ext ure and sm oot hness. The f ood and drink w as served on never seen bef ore charger plat es, supplied by Whit ehouse Crockery, w ho also provided t he china, cryst al and gold f lat w are. The t ables w ere dressed w it h linen f rom Over The Top Linen Hire and Great Hire provided t he w hit e and caram el CKC chairs. The opulent gold f oil st am ped m enus and place cards in w edgw ood blue w ere by Grosvenor St at ionery Com pany w ho also m ade t he invit at ions and t hank you cards. In bet w een t he m ain course and dessert , guest s w ere ent ert ained by a duo of opera singers w ho perf orm ed a f ew arias including t he f low er duet by Lakm e. Jane, ow ner and creat ive direct or of Planned f or Perf ect ion, w ho m et iculously planned t he event , said "Elizabet h has been t he driving f orce behind bringing Karen's w onderf ul royal m ast erclass t o London.
Thank you Elizabet h f or asking Planned f or Perf ect ion t o join t he collaborat ion and choreograph t his evenings t he gala dinner. Karen, t hank you f or your inspirat ional art ist ic t alent , you and a fabulous t eam have w orked so incredibly hard t o creat e t hese exquisit e f loral displays f or t his evening. Thank you also t o an incredible t eam of w edding and event suppliers w ho have w orked w it h m e t o bring t his evening t oget her so perf ect ly" The event w as capt ured in all it s glory by f ine art w edding phot ographer Robert a Facchini and on f ilm by Vogue Wedding Film s. We can all agree t hat t his night of f loral celebrat ion f ull of aw e inspiring beaut y produced by t he queen of f lorals, Karen Tran w as indeed perf ect f or t he royal w edding. Coverage court esy of Jane Riddell Addit ional credit s: Hair & Make up: Diana McDonald / Candles: Wick and Tallow / Opera singers: Fiona Haynes & At inuke Koyejo / Mast er of Cerem onies: Lanesborough But ler / Illust rat or: Poppy t he Illust rat or / Karen Tran?s Dress - The Wedding Club
HOSTED BY CHRISTINE LIGTHART AND LISA MACALE OF THE ACADEMY OF WEDDING & EVENT PLANNING
The Flor al &
For lovers of f low ers, st yling, w eddings and event s! Suit able f or beginners and t hose looking t o t ake t heir w edding or event business t o t he next level. Increasingly Wedding & Event St ylist s are being called upon t o off er a f ull
Business Wor kshop 4TH AUGUST 2018 BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
service t o t heir client s, w hich includes f loral st yling. Wit h f lorals playing such a prom inent role in t he design of alm ost all w eddings and m ost event s, t here has never been a bett er t im e t o learn t he skills of f loral event st yling. In t his w orkshop you w ill: -
Learn t he essent ials of f loral event st yling, including w hat equipm ent you need
Learn how t o source f low ers, cost and quot e
Creat e t w o popular and m odern t ypes of cent repiece design
Part icipat e in a dem onst rat ion of how t o creat e 2 diff erent st yles of f loral w reat h, bef ore creat ing your ow n
Gain a deeper underst anding of social m edia f or business, w it h a f ocus on Inst agram and how t o use social m edia t o t ell your brand st ory and att ract your ideal client
Have your w ork phot ographed by a prof essional phot ographer and get a Headshot , so you have im ages f or your port f olio or w ebsit e
This is a hands- on w orkshop, w hich includes dem onst rat ions and t he opport unit y t o w ork on your ow n designs, w it h t he guidance of prof essionals. We w ill also be invit ing all part icipant s t o subm it quest ions ahead of t he w orkshop, so sessions can be f urt her t ailored t o m eet your individual needs. We have t aken our 30+ com bined years of experience and 100?s of w eddings planned, designed, st yled and phot ographed t o creat e a com prehensive w orkshop w it h real lif e lessons, st ep- by- st ep plans and t ips and t ools t o give you a solid f oundat ion f or t aking t he next st ep in your ow n career.
BOOK YOUR WORKSHOP PLACE HERE...
# WEDFEATURE WITH MICHELLE KELLY, POCKETFUL OF DREAMS
Pocket f ul of Dream s is a luxury w edding design and planning bout ique based in t he UK, f ounded by Michelle Kelly in 2010. The bout ique f ocuses on t he sensory experiences and det ails of planning each w edding, em bedding a caref ully craft ed aest het ic t hat speaks t o t he beaut y of nat ure and t he couple's unique st yle. You have a beaut if ul w ebsit e; can you speak t o how everyt hing a pot ent ial/ current client sees needs t o look or f eel a cert ain w ay t o evoke your overall brand and t he experience t hey w ill have w it h you? Thank you so m uch, our w ebsit e w as act ually years in t he m aking. I really f elt very st rongly about creat ing a brand ident it y t hat w as 100% aut hent ic and t rue t o w ho w e are. The key t o doing t hat is t o f irst of all know w ho you are and w hat you off er t o client s. So w hen I say it w as years in t he m aking, it t ruly w as. I spent over 7 years in business t est ing ideas, w orking w it h epic client s and learning all I could about w hat t hey w ant ed t he m ost f rom a support service like ours. We got som e t hings w rong and learned a hell of a lot , but in t he m ain w e got it right , w e t w eaked and perf ect ed every single litt le det ail and elem ent of our service unt il it w as exact ly how w e w ant ed it t o be. That ?s w hat resonat es t he m ost w it h pot ent ial client s, a genuine and aut hent ic brand t hat is clear in it ?s f ocus, and is approachable, f riendly and dow n- t o- eart h. People are const ant ly t elling us it ?s like a breat h of f resh air t o f ind a com pany like ours and t hat t hey f eel com pelled t o
w ork w it h us because our brand speaks t heir language. We?re not about sales- bullshit or persuading people t o ?buy now or lose t he chance? w e really do det est t hat w ay of w orking, f or us it ?s about being 100% t ransparent in our approach. We value honest y, so if w e don?t know how t o do som et hing w e?ll say - but you bet w e?ll f igure out a w ay t o m ake it happen - because solving problem s is in our DNA. We m ake sure our branding is consist ent across every single t ouchpoint f rom our w ebsit e and social m edia t o t he w ay w e int eract w it h our client s, giving t hem an aut hent ic experience. We couldn't be anyt hing but ourselves. You pride yourself on providing a level of personal service t o your client s. What are a f ew exam ples of how you do t his? I t ruly, t ruly care about every single client and t he experience t hey w ill have, as if t hey w ere m y ow n fam ily. I f eel such a responsibilit y t o get it right f or t hem and t o ensure t hey have t he m ost incredible journey. Because gett ing m arried and planning a w edding is a journey, a som et im es rocky one t hat w ill bring up all m anner of unexpect ed f eelings and em ot ions. I?m so conscious of t his and know t hat w hat w e do, t he support w e provide, is just one sm all facet of t he w ider journey. So if a client is f eeling nervous, anxious or st ressed I?ll w ork w it h t hem t o get underneat h t he issues and f ind a w ay t o support t hem t hat w ill ease t hose f eelings. Every client is diff erent t oo, so it ?s about list ening
"That ?s w hat resonat es t he m ost w it h pot ent ial client s, a genuine and aut hent ic brand t hat is clear in it ?s f ocus, and is approachable, f riendly and dow n- t o- eart h."
int ent ly and som et im es reading bet w een t he lines t o really uneart h w hat ?s going on f or t hem . I?m nat urally quit e an int uit ive person and t his skill has served m e w ell over t he years, I oft en just know exact ly w hat ?s going on f or m y client so I?m able t o address it w it h t hem , or suggest a w ay f orw ard t hat I know w ill help t hem t he m ost . Your client s really love how t heir event s f eel like t hem . How do you successf ully execut e t his t im e and t im e again w it hout repeat ing or gett ing bogged dow n w it h using w hat is t rendy? And how does t hat speak t o t he experience your couples get w it h you and your com pany? It ?s easy really, m y client s are t he m use each and every t im e. Every client is so diff erent , and once you get t o know t hem and get under t he skin of t heir loves, likes, dislikes and t he litt le quirks t hat m ake up t heir personalit y it ?s so easy t o creat e som et hing personalised. I m ean, how could I repeat t he sam e aest het ic over and over AND keep it personal t o t he client . It ?s im possible and it ?s also prett y lazy.
Our approach is also really collaborat ive, w e don?t push our client s dow n a specif ic design rout e or insist t hey have a cert ain aest het ic, w e w ork w it h t hem t o t ell t heir ow n st ory t hrough a com pelling event design. It ?s alw ays about t heir vision and uncovering t heir ow n aut hent ic st ory. Som e client s w ill com e t o us and know exact ly w hat t hat vision is, som e by t heir ow n adm ission are less creat ive and so t hey need a litt le help uneart hing it . We?re happy t o w ork w it h bot h t ypes of client and know t he right quest ions t o ask. We alw ays w ant our client s t o f eel involved in t he process, w e don?t t ake over or t ell t hem w hat t o do, sure w e?ll guide and advise based on our experience but w e keep an open m ind t oo. We?re big believers in t he pow er of possibilit y.
How do you w ow your couples f rom t he init ial proposal t o t he reveal?
Is t here anyt hing else you w ould like t o add?
I?m not sure I ever set out t o w ow m y client s, but as I?ve said earlier it really is all about nurt uring t hat client relat ionship, really underst and w hat it is t hey w ant , list en w it h int ent and provide f ocused solut ions t hat w ill be t he very best rout e f or t hat part icular client . It ?s never a one- size- f it s- all approach, sure w e have our syst em s and processes but w e t ailor our approach t o t he client . I guess t his is w hat w ow ?s our client s, t he series of sm all sat isfact ions t hey receive t hroughout our t im e of w orking t oget her. We t ake t he st ress aw ay and allow t hem t o enjoy t he w hole process, not just t he day it self.
Just know w ho you are, don?t t ry t o em ulat e ot her brands w ho look like t hey are successf ul, t here?s no- one else out t here like you, so st ay t rue t o you. That ?s w hat client s value t he m ost .
The reveal it self, on t heir w edding day, is alw ays going t o have a sense of w ow - fact or. Even t hough t hey have been int ensely involved in every litt le det ail during t he planning st ages, not hing can com pare t o seeing a design com e t o lif e t hrough your ow n eyes. Even I am w ow ed every t im e and I?m a litt le m ore experienced at know ing w hat t o expect . I also like t o keep a f ew t hings back t o surprise m y client s w it h on t he day, and t hat doesn?t have t o be som e grand design idea, but litt le gest ures t hat help t hem f eel t aken care of. How has having an elevat ed client experience helped you w it h bookings? It has allow ed us t o m aint ain consist ency across t he board, sure w e have a great w ebsit e and brand aest het ic but it ?s also backed up by t rue heart - cent red values. And t his com es across in our client consult at ions - t hey know hand- on- heart t hat everyt hing w e say and do com es f rom a place of aut hent icit y. We?re not t rying t o be som eone else, w e?re just us. On an event w e draw upon our ow n experiences t o solve problem s in- t he- m om ent and alw ays deliver on our prom ises. That ?s w hy w e have so m any glow ing t est im onials f rom previous client s, t he kindest and m ost lovely w ords I?d never have im agined being said about us, even in m y w ildest dream s.
Int erview by Meghan Ely
PHOTO OF MICHELLE BY HELENA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY STYLED SHOOTS BY DAVID JENKINS PHOTOGRAPHY
w w w.pocket f ulof dream s.co.uk
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IN THEIR SHOES WITH LAUREN STRACHAN, LACE SIXPENCE WEDDINGS & EVENTS
Lauren is t he f ounder of Lace Sixpence Wedding and Event s w hich provides f ull service planning, design and st yling f or luxury w eddings and special event s across Scot land. Bef ore graduat ing f rom t he UK Academ y of Wedding and Event Planning Lauren had a successf ul career in m arket ing f or t he global oil and gas indust ry. What f irst inspired you t o pursue a career in t he w edding indust ry? Aft er f eeling unf ulf illed in m y m arket ing job and being m ade redundant f rom t he oil and gas indust ry f or t he second t im e in 2015, I looked at w hat w as im port ant t o m e and decided t o explore m ore of w ho I w as and w hat I w ant ed f rom m y lif e. I analysed w hat I loved, w hat excit ed m e and w hat I held a t rue passion f or. From t here, I decided t o build a lif e and business cent red around exact ly t hat and set up m y dream w edding business, Lace Sixpence. I also decided t o enrol in a diplom a w it h t he UKAWEP t o f urt her m y event s know ledge in t he specif ic area of w eddings. You launched your business Lace Sixpence Weddings and Event s in 2017, t ell us m ore about your brand and t he Lace Sixpence et hos? The Lace Sixpence brand encapsulat es underst at ed elegance, aut hent ic det ailing and f law less execut ion, w hile creat ing last ing m em ories f or m y client s and t heir guest s.
A business is not hing w it hout it ?s client s. Can you describe t o us your perf ect Lace Sixpence client ? Our perf ect Lace Sixpence client w ould be a st ylish couple w ho w ant s t heir venue decor and f lorals t o be an expression of relaxed luxury and as unique as t hey are. Just over a year int o your business can you t ell us how your business has grow n and evolved since it ?s concept ion? Since t he concept ion of Lace Sixpence, t he business has grow n and evolved t enf old f rom m y original business idea. I st art ed t he business purely off ering planning and coordinat ion services, but quickly realised t hat t he local f inancial dow nt urn in t he oil and gas indust ry w as im pact ing on how bridal couples w ere spending t heir w edding budget s and t heref ore w hat services t hey w ere looking f or. This f orced m e t o ret hink m y business off ering and look int o ot her areas I could capit alise on, leading m e dow n t he rout e of venue st yling, decor hire and m ore recent ly f lorals. In t his issue w e are f ocussing on t he client experience, w hat do you do t o m ake sure your client ?s have t he best experience possible? I have learnt t hat people w ill f orget w hat you said and f orget w hat you did, but t hey w ill never f orget how you m ade t hem f eel. I w ant m y client s t o f eel special, appreciat ed and m ost im port ant ly, have t rust in m yself and m y creat ive abilit ies. I am also a big believer in t he f iner det ails, I like t o give m y client s a sm all personal gift aft er signing t he cont ract s or on t heir w edding day, t o t hank t hem f or choosing Lace Sixpence t o be involved in t he special m om ent in t heir lives. I w ill also send t hem birt hday, Christ m as and f irst anniversary cards. I f eel t hese litt le personal t ouches go a long w ay in ensuring m y client s cont inue t o f eel conf ident in t heir decision t o hire Lace Sixpence and let s t hem know t hat t hey are valued.
You recent ly att ended t he Wedding & Floral St yling w orkshop host ed by our UK Academy and successf ully pulled off your f irst w edding f lorist ry job. How has adding f loral design changed your business? Since adding f loral design int o m y service off ering, it has com plet ely t ransf orm ed m y business. It has also opened doors t o pot ent ial client s w ho m aybe w ouldn?t have look m y w ay bef ore and has allow ed m e t o off er m ore of an all encom passing service f or m y client s. I also f eel t hat it w ill help m e grow m y business m ore quickly t hat I f irst project ed, as alm ost over night I have m ore t han t ripled t he average sale t hrough m y business! What is in st ore f or Lace Sixpence Weddings and Event s in 2018? In 2018, w e have a sum m er f ull of w eddings, a couple of charit y event s and an excit ing business launch f or a new local int erior design com pany. We are also looking f orw ard t o m any m eet ings w it h new and current bridal couples t o discuss and st art planning t heir 2019 and 2020 w eddings. Can you sum up your w edding business journey f or us in f ive w ords? Pat ience, nerves, list ening, learning and creat ing.
Int erview by Mart ha Tobyn
w w w.lacesixpence.com
Free- t o- air videos f or aspiring, novice & est ablished w edding prof essionals. We
behind- t he- scenes
w orkshops and indust ry event s, as w ell as going int o t he st udio t o produce som e great educat ional cont ent t o help you in your career in t he w edding indust ry. No subject is off lim it s and w e cover everyt hing f rom pricing t o client consult at ions.
5 Things to Consider When Styling a Wedding Table
CREATIVE BRANDING & MARKETING WITH LOUISE ROWLAND, FLEURIR CREATIVE
branding is im port ant f or all businesses f rom t he beginning, it is a signif icant invest m ent , t heref ore I recom m end t hat businesses do not invest t oo m uch in t heir branding and w ebsit e unt il aft er t he 12 m ont h 'discovery' phase. There are of course except ions t o t his and if a business is very clear on t heir direct ion and ideal client f rom t he st art t hen invest ing in branding f rom t he beginning is of course recom m ended.
Fleurir Creat ive specializes in branding and m arket ing f or creat ive businesses. Louise Row land, f ounder, is passionat e about helping sm all businesses in t he w edding and creat ive indust ries build t heir brand f rom t he inside out t hrough branding, w eb design, and m arket ing st rat egy.
I w ould say t hat a business w ill go t hrough a rebrand of som e sort s every 3- 5 years. This m ay not be a com plet e rebrand t o include a new logo but a brand ref resh. It 's im port ant t o keep t hings f resh w hen it com es t o business but at t he sam e t im e, rebranding t oo oft en w ill conf use t he consum er. I f ind businesses oft en rebrand w hen t hey are going t hrough a period of grow t h. This m ay be ref ram ing t o att ract a new ideal client , expanding t he t eam or adding new services.
Your goal is t o "creat e big brands f or sm all creat ive businesses." How does branding im pact one's client experience?
You've w orked ext ensively w it h client s on t heir ow n w eb sit e designs. How does one's w eb sit e play a role in t heir overall client experience?
Branding is essent ial w hen it com es t o grow ing your business, att ract ing your ideal client s and creat ing t hat all im port ant client experience. Your branding is t he f irst t hing t hat pot ent ial client s w ill see w hen discovering your com pany. It is one of t he m any elem ent s of your business t hat w ill st art t he know, like, t rust fact or t hat is all im port ant w hen grow ing a business. Aft er all, if your client s are happy w it h t he experience t hat t hey have received f rom you, t hey are m ore likely t o ref er you t o ot her pot ent ial client s. This is w hy I w ork very closely w it h m y client s on digging deep int o t he vision f or t heir com pany, discovering t heir ideal client and creat ing a fant ast ic client experience.
For m any businesses, and especially service based business, your w ebsit e is t he 'st ore f ront ' of your brand. I recom m end t hat w hen planning out your w ebsit e, you t hink of it in t he sam e w ay as you w ould w alk around your favourit e shop. First of all, your st anding on t he st reet and t he shop looks ent icing f rom t he out side, t his is your w ebsit es hom epage. Your hom epage is m ore oft en t han not , t he m ost visit ed page on your w ebsit e t heref ore it not only needs t o look good but it also needs t o w ork w ell f or you.
When is t he right t im e f or a com pany t o consider a re- brand? The f irst 12 m ont hs of any business are f ull of discovery and change. When st art ing a business, it 's oft en t he case t hat your vision w hen you f irst launch a business w ill change during t hose f irst 12 m ont hs. Whilst
When m apping out your w ebsit e, t hink about t he journey t hat you w ant your w ebsit e visit ors t o t ake and ult im at ely t he end goal t hat you w ant t o achieve t hrough your w ebsit e. Say t hey land on t he hom epage, t hink about w here you w ant t hem t o go next . This is likely t o be your about page or your services page so t hat t hey can f ind out m ore about you. From here, you m ay w ant t hem t o visit your port f olio so t hat t hey can get t o know m ore about you and t he t ypes of w eddings you w ork on. Aft er t hey have visit ed your about page, services page and t hen
your port f olio, you w ill w ant t hem t o cont act you. On each page t hat you creat e, t hink about how you can lead t hem ont o t he next phase of t heir journey t o give t hem t he ult im at e client experience. More oft en t hat not , w hat are som e of t he t op w eb sit e m ist akes you're seeing am ong creat ive prof essionals? There are m any m ist akes t hat I see creat ive prof essionals m ake w it h t heir w ebsit e and t his alw ays leads back t o user experience. As m ent ioned above, som e m ay not t hink about t he journey t hat t hey w ish t heir w ebsit e visit ors t o t ake and t heref ore pot ent ial client s are left f eeling conf used. I alw ays recom m end keeping it sim ple. An average w ebsit e user m ay click on 2- 3 pages bef ore leaving a w ebsit e t heref ore you only have t hose 2 or 3 clicks t o reach your end goal. This m ay be com plet ing a cont act f orm or sign- ups t o a new slett er. You t heref ore need t o ensure t hat t he inf orm at ion on your w ebsit e is clear and concise. Anot her m ist ake is around phot ography. Prof essional phot ography is essent ial t o t he success of a w ebsit e. I can creat e an am azing brand t hat speaks t o m y client s ideal client s how ever, if t he phot ography doesn't aline t hen it 's alm ost redundant . This is w hy I w ork w it h a close net w ork of phot ographers t hat I can recom m end t o m y client s t o ensure t heir phot ography is on brand and I w ill also not w ork w it h businesses w ho do not have prof essional phot os t o support t heir new branding. Last ly, your m essaging. Sim ilarly, t o t he phot ography issue above, t he w ords on a w ebsit e are so im port ant in att ract ing your ideal client s t o you. You need t o have t hem in m ind at all t im es w hen w rit ing your w ebsit e copy. You need t o be speaking direct ly t o t hem . Addressing t heir pain point s and bringing solut ions t o how you can help resolve t hem . Branding alone w on't equal a successf ul w ebsit e. Branding, prof essional phot ography and copyw rit ing all in conjunct ion w it h each ot her, w ill.
What st eps did you t ake t o craft t he client experience f or your ow n cust om ers? When creat ing m y ow n client experience, I t ook t he exact sam e journey t hat I t ake m y client s on w hen w e st art w orking t oget her on t heir rebrand. The very f irst t hing t hat I recom m end is t o sit dow n and w ork out your ideal client . Writ e dow n absolut ely everyt hing about t hem f rom t heir gender, t heir age range, t heir locat ion and t heir prof ession t o t heir likes and dislikes, t heir hobbies, t hey w ay t hey dress and how t heir hom e is st yled. Think about w hat m agazines t hey read, w hat shops t hey f requent and w here t hey like t o go w it h f riends. Then t hink about t heir pain point s and w hat t hey need in order f or t hem t o be solved. Once your ideal client is clear, everyt hing you do f rom your branding t o your m arket ing t o your client experience com es m uch m ore clearly. The next t hing t o do is t o w rit e dow n your processes, f rom t he m om ent a pot ent ial client enquires w it h you t o w hen your w orking relat ionship has f inished. What can you do t o m ake your process sm oot her. Are t here t hings you can aut om at e? Are t here t hings you can add in t o enhance t he client experience. This can be anyt hing f rom client gift s w hen t hey st art w orking w it h you t o f ollow - ups aft er you have w orked t oget her. I did t his w hen f irst launching m y business and it has been t w eaked on m ore t han once occasion since t hen. My client experience now is so m uch m ore ref ined t han w hen I launched t w o years ago f rom t he syst em s I use t o t he litt le t ouches I give t hroughout t heir branding and m arket ing journey w it h m e. Int erview by Meghan Ely
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Ever ything is exper ience ? 6 Steps to create WOW
in your wedding business BY EMMA ETHERIDGE
Experience. It ?s all about t he experience. At t he end of t he day, w hen all is said and done, t he only t hing t hat w e have left is f eeling and t his f eeling is draw n f rom t he experiences w e have w hen w e do anyt hing. Let ?s t ake a look at your couples. Th- ey are experiencing t he service f rom t ons of w edding suppliers all at once and t he ones t hat w ill st ick in t heir m inds w ill be t he ones t hat have given t hem an am azing experience OR a t ot ally rubbish experience. We are all t he sam e. When w e experience som et hing am azing w e t ell everyone about it and in cont rast , w hen w e have a bad experience w e do t he sam e. You have t o delight your brides. You have t o w ow t hem . You have t o be t he one t hat t hey t ell all of t heir engaged f riends about because t hen you w ill st art t o grow a business f rom ref errals w hich is w onderf ul, and you w ill f eel aw esom e because you know you are delivering an am azing experience f or your couples. The sat isfact ion t hat com es f rom t his can only help t o grow you as a business ow ner. Throughout t he art icle, I w ant you t o t hink about how you can t ake w hat you current ly do and m ake it bett er. Make it m ore am azing. Make it m ore w onderf ul. Th- e experience of everyt hing is w hat w e hold ont o. The f eeling derived f rom t hat experience, t he w ay som eone m ade you f eel. That really is t he best w ay of m arket ing and grow ing your w edding business. St ep # 1 - Feelings Think about is how you w ant your couples t o f eel f rom t he overall experience of w orking w it h you? Get t hese w ords w ritt en dow n and use t hem as part of your m arket ing and values.
St ep # 2 ? From your bride?s shoes Next , look at t he w ay your brides are buying f rom t heir perspect ive: What em ot ions are your couples f eeling w hen t hey are looking f or a w edding supplier? What is w orrying t hem about booking? How do you w ant your brides t o f eel w hen t hey enquire, book, buy f rom you? Use your ow n experiences and t he f eelings you get w hen you buy or w hen you look t o buy. If you have got m arried, t hink about t he experiences you received - good, bad and t he ugly and learn f rom t hem . Use your ow n experiences f rom your lif e now t o help shape an experience t hat really t ruly w ow s. St ep #3 ? The WOW fact or What w ould m ake your brides go WOW? List all of your ideas dow n and again, use your ow n experiences t o help t his ? w hat have you been WOWed by in t he past ? Here are just a f ew ideas: A w edding day card - say congrat s! A w elcom e pack (elect ronic or in t he post ) A litt le gift in t he post A ?Mont h t o go? eeeek!!! Message in t he post - send som e excit em ent and m ake t hem squeal!
A f reebie w hen t hey enquire w it h you ? a f ree w edding planner, a checklist , a t im et able, a how t o guide A voucher code if t hey order som et hing else f rom you Phot os of t he product in it s diff erent st ages of product ion (pst - t hese also m ake f or som e great blog and social m edia cont ent ) There are TONS of t hings you can do t o really add t he WOW fact or int o your service and you need t o t hink about w hat you can do t hat is in line w it h t he cost of t he service you are providing and t he im pression you w ant t o creat e. It doesn?t need t o be som et hing expensive or fancy unless t hat f eels right ? t he litt le t hings can m ake all of t he diff erence. St ep # 4 ? Map out your process What is t he journey t hat you t ake your couples on now ? Writ e dow n t he exact st eps you f ollow right now, t he process t hat you t ake your couples on f rom enquiry right t hrough t o delivery. St ep # 5 ? The gaps What are t he gaps bet w een t he answ ers you gave in St eps 1 - 3 and t he real- lif e experience you give your couples? St ep # 6 ? Filling in t he gaps Now you know how you w ant your brides t o f eel & experience f rom you and you can see your current process, t he next t hing is t o f ill in t he gaps. What act ions do you need t o t ake t o f ill t he gaps of your process w it h t he experience you w ant t o provide? Go back t o your WOW list .
What ext ra special t ouches can you add int o your process t hat w ill m ake your couples go ?Wow. I Was Not Expect ing That !?. A f inal point on Com m unicat ion. Never, ever, ever underest im at e t he sim plicit y of com m unicat ion w hen it com es t o creat ing an am azing experience. Oft en t im es, brides get f ed up w hen suppliers do not keep in t ouch w it h t hem so keep com m unicat ion as your #1 priorit y w hen it com es t o delivering an except ional bride experience. A sim ple em ail t o updat e t hem on t he order can be all it t akes t o w ow t hem . To sum up So hopef ully you have had som e light bulb m om ent s & can st art t o now put int o place t hings t hat w ill really w ork t o delight your couples. Doing t his w ill not only m ake t hem love you m ore, it w ill m ake you love w hat you do m ore because you w ill be doing it f rom a place of giving and a place of loving. Which can only be good right ! As ever, w orking on t hese t hings can f eel overw helm ing because it can reveal t hat t here is m ore t o be done t han you t hought how ever, I w ant t o encourage you just t o keep it sim ple. Take one st ep at a t im e. Don?t put t his off and t hink you have t o do it all in one go. You can, of course you can, or, you can decide t o m ake one change and do it . Act ion Tim e Set out t hree t hings t hat you w ant t o change, im prove or int roduce int o your business t o delight your couples. Now set a dat e w hen you are going t o do each, and t ake act ion t o m ake t hem happen. You can do t his quicker & sim pler t han you t hink. Rem em ber, you need t o enjoy t he experience as m uch as your couples. You?ve got t his! Words by Em m a Et heridge
# WEDPRO WITH KYLIE CARLSON, ENTREPRENEUR Coaching and Nur tur ing Futur e CEOs For nine years Kylie ran a highly successf ul London based w edding and event business, planning and designing event s around t he w orld f or an enviable list of high prof ile client s. Aft er selling her com pany in 2003 she m oved t o Aust ralia w here she spent a year on t he f ive- st ar resort of Haym an Island m anaging t heir onsit e event s as Operat ions Direct or. Aft er com ing off t he island she w as looking f or a change and it w as t hen t hat t he idea of sharing her know ledge by st art ing an online Academ y f or t he w edding indust ry w as born. Ten years lat er as CEO of t he Academ y of Wedding and Event Planning she m anages 6 regional virt ual cam puses across Aust ralia, New Zealand, t he UK, UAE, Sout h East Asia and Nort h Am erica. Through t he Academ y she has helped launch t he careers of over 3,000 w edding prof essionals and is a business expert f or t he indust ry. As st ar of t he Academ y YouTube Channel Kylie is also a sought aft er speaker and has now launched a brand under her ow n nam e w here she is off ering an int ensive online business school, (CEO School) f or creat ive ent repreneurs along w it h a business ret reat held in locat ions globally. What sparked/ inspired t he idea t o launch CEO School? Well, over t he last t en years I have had t he pleasure of t eaching and m ent oring just over 3,000 new w edding and event prof essionals around
t he w orld t hrough m y role as CEO of t he Academ y of Wedding and Event Planning, and over t he years I have w it nessed t he sam e f ears, challenges, conf idence issues and lack of business know ledge and underst anding in m ost of t hem . Being a creat ive ent repreneur is hard, som et im es lonely and alw ays challenging. You are good at your craft but t hat doesn?t alw ays m ean you know how t o run a business. You are in charge of everyt hing and in one day you could have answ ered enquiries, dealt w it h phone calls, sent out quot es, w ritt en a blog post , chased invoices, signed som e vendor cont ract s and creat ed som e social m edia cont ent , and t hat ?s on a slow day. Creat ive ent repreneurs are passionat e about t heir w ork, and brilliant and t alent ed at w hat ever t hey set t heir m ind t o. How ever, t he t hought of sales and m arket ing overw helm s t hem . They don?t underst and it and t hink of it as a necessary evil, but t hey never quit e conquer it . They're visual creat ives, right brain t hinkers and t hey don?t do fact s, f igures and st rat egy.
Don?t be f ooled t hough. This program is not f or t he faint heart ed and it isn?t f illed w it h f luff y, f eel good sent im ent . And if you?re looking f or a quick f ix t hen t his isn?t it eit her. It is an int ense program designed t o help you m ake a success of your creat ive business, but you have t o be w illing t o put in t he hard yards. There are no short cut s I?m af raid. If you believe you can achieve anyt hing t hen you w ill but w it hout hard w ork, dedicat ion, f ocus and sacrif ice it w ill only ever be som et hing you dream about . What do you hope st udent s w ill gain f rom t his course? What I t each in t his course w ill not only give t hem t he t ools t o build a prof it able business t hat t hey love, but it w ill t ake t hem by t he hand and guide t hem t hrough each st ep. There is so m uch f ree cont ent out t here t hat you could lit erally spend t he next year of your lif e reading t hrough t he m ount ain of ebooks, blog post s and art icles available and st ill not be any bett er off. In fact w orse st ill you could f eel even m ore conf used and overw helm ed as you are hit by m ore and m ore cont ent w it h no idea how t o im plem ent it all.
I?ve been w here t hey are, m ade t he m ist akes t hey're m aking, f elt t he sam e st ruggles and had t he sam e sleepless night s, but I have not only lived t o t ell t he t ale I have com e out t he ot her side w it h an int ernat ional business t hat covers f our cont inent s and have helped launch count less careers. So CEO School is all about helping creat ive ent repreneurs run a f un, f lexible, and prof it able business.
CEO School w ill break everyt hing dow n, dem yst if y t he business side of being a creat ive ent repreneur and m ake sense of t he jum ble of ideas in your head. Think of it t his w ay, w ould you go on a road t rip w it hout plott ing out your rout e? I doubt it . Well your business is t he sam e. You need t o plot your rout e in order t o go on t he journey and t hat is exact ly w hat I w ill show m y st udent s how t o do, st ep by st ep.
Who is CEO School f or?
Why is it im port ant f or t his program t o be collaborat ive w it h t he Facebook Group and phone calls w it h you?
CEO School is f or bot h est ablished and aspiring creat ive ent repreneurs w ho are com m itt ed t o t heir craft and w ant t o m ake a success of t heir business. It is specif ically designed f or t he creat ive indust ries and t he challenges t hey face on a daily basis. From f lorist s, phot ographers, w edding planners, cake m akers and st at ioners t o graphic designers, bloggers, videographers and everyt hing in bet w een. The w ord creat ive covers m any w ide and diverse indust ries and w e w elcom e t hem all.
Som et hing I have learnt t hrough t he Academ y is t he im port ance of com m unit y. I w at ch our st udent s t here net w orking and support ing each ot her t hrough our privat e st udent Facebook Group and it has been such an im port ant part of t heir educat ional journey. The w eekly calls allow m y st udent s t o ask t hose burning quest ions t hey have and t o get clarif icat ion on t hose t hings t hat aren?t quit e w orking f or t hem . We w ill be discussing t he w eekly t opic, w orking t hrough project s and keeping each ot her account able.
Give us a peek inside t he course, how is it diff erent t han ot her online courses? It is an 8 w eek program w it h one m odule released each w eek and a live call w it h Kylie t hat is opt ional, but as I m ent ioned great f or keeping you inspired. As it is delivered online you can st udy at hom e, at w ork, on your t rain or bus com m ut e or even in t he car, as w e provide MP3s, video lessons, t ranscript s and lot s of great PDF Handout s w it h project s you can use t o st art im plem ent ing w hat you learn in your ow n business as you go along. The beaut y of CEO School is t hat you can t ake t hings at your ow n pace, so if you?re w orking f ull t im e, planning your w edding, raising a fam ily or just dealing w it h lif e in general you never need t o w orry about m issing out or falling behind. You have lif et im e access t o t he program and t his is w here t he value really com es in as I w ill be updat ing t he cont ent regularly so you can keep com ing back and learning. We have just t w o int akes a year and places are lim it ed t o allow us t o give you a m ore personal experience and w ork w it h you m ore closely. Wit hout giving t oo m uch aw ay you w ill learn how t o: -
Ident if y your business goals so you can put an achievable plan in place Clearly underst and t he vision f or your business so you can m ove f orw ard Def ine your t arget audience so you can act ively get new client s Underst and your value proposit ion so you can use it in everyt hing you do Creat e your ow n brand st ory so you are relat able t o your client s Design an aut hent ic brand t hat allow s you t o be you Be m ore product ive so t im e m anagem ent issues are a t hing of t he past Com m unicat e w it h your audience so t hey w ill becom e loyal fans Price f or prof it so you never undersell your services again Find your ideal client so you can w ork w it h t hose w ho ?get you? St and out in a crow ded m arket place so you reach your audience Use online m arket ing so your business grow s organically
Im plem ent aut om at ed sales st rat egies t o f ree up your t im e f or ot her t hings Creat e a client experience t hat gives you am azing t est im onials and ref errals Have t he m indset of a successf ul creat ive ent repreneur so you can f lourish and grow
How do you t hink your f irst business vent ure w ould have been diff erent if you had som et hing like t his? Well I w ould have m ade a lot less m ist akes t hat s f or sure. You know w hat t hough t his w ould have been a gam e changer f or m e as it w ould have helped m e t o f ocus on t he im port ant t asks and helped m e t o t rain m y m ind in t he right w ay m uch earlier on rat her t han t aking a f ew years t o f igure it out . It s a bit like being an at hlet e if you t rain t he w rong w ay f or t oo long t hat is all your body rem em bers and it is m uch harder t o break t he bad habit . Being in business is t he sam e. Train your m ind in t he right w ay t o begin w it h and success com es so m uch quicker. Is t here anyt hing else you w ould like us t o know ? Being in business is like having a baby, it hurt s like hell, scares you t o deat h and gives you t he biggest rush of your lif e, but w it h t his program you?re not alone, as w e w ill be t here t o hold your hand and help you t hrough each st age. Int erview by Meghan Ely
"Being a creat ive ent repreneur is hard, som et im es lonely and alw ays challenging. You are good at your craft but t hat doesn?t alw ays m ean you know how t o run a business."
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CREATE PROFESSIONAL WEDDING AND EVENT TIMELINES WITH EASE
Pair ing your Real
Wedding Features with the Client
Cust om er service w alks hand- in- hand w it h public relat ions, but one of t he biggest m ist akes w e can m ake is t hinking t hat t he client experience ends as soon as t he couple says I do. Each year, Splendid Insight s consist ent ly conf irm s t hat ref errals f rom happy couples are st rong lead generat or, so if you aren?t priorit izing t he post - w edding client experience, you?re pot ent ially leaving opport unit ies (and m oney!) on t he t able. Int egrat ing real w edding subm issions int o your m arket ing st rat egies has a w ealt h of benef it s- it allow s you t o increase brand aw areness, gives your com pany t hird part y credibilit y and can pot ent ially send links your w ay. Wit h t hat being said, w e oft en f orget t hat real w edding f eat ures also elevat e t he overall client experience. Im agine you just enjoyed one of t he best days of your lif e, t hanks t o your w edding planner, only t o f ind out t hat he or she t hen t ook t he t im e and eff ort t o secure m edia placem ent f or your celebrat ion. ?We?ve recent ly st art ed t o really priorit ize real w edding subm issions,? shares Bill Tzizik of Classic Phot ographers. ?One of our t op t enet s is our com m it m ent t o cust om er service so it m ade sense t o f ill in t he post - w edding gaps by subm itt ing a select ion of celebrat ions regularly t o boogs and publicat ions. Couples just love receiving t he good new s t hat t heir w edding is going t o enjoy t heir 15 m inut es of fam .? So how do you leave your w edding PR init iat ives int o your client experience?
Exper ience BY MEGHAN ELY
Make it easy on t hem . It ?s no secret t hat real w edding subm issions do t ake a great deal of w ork, especially if you decide t o handle t hem int ernally. And even if you?ve collect ed t he appropriat e w edding day inf orm at ion and list of creat ive part ners, you?re m ore t han likely going t o have t o pull t he couple int o t he process t o help creat e a narrat ive. Bear in m ind t hat couples t ypically are recovering aft er t he w edding, t rying t o play cat ch up w it h all of t he t hings t hey t end t o put on t he back burner. So it ?s essent ial t heir cont ribut ion is easy, and it doesn?t seem as t hough you are loading t hem w it h a series of t o do?s. If you haven?t done so already, int egrat e t he subm ission process direct ly int o your current w orkf low and em brace apps and program s t hat can m ake your w ork easier. If you plan on int erview ing t he couple, ut ilize Google Form s or Wuf oo t o collect w hat you need w it h just a click of t he butt on. Try and bear t he brunt of t he eff ort s, only asking f or t he essent ials. If, f or exam ple, an edit or needs t he social m edia handles f or all of t he creat ive part ners involved, t ake on t he t ask yourself versus asking t he couple t o handle it . Honor t heir request , if reasonable Things adm itt edly can get st icky if, during t he subm ission process, t he couple st art s t o m ake dem ands. Be m indf ul of t he fact t hat t his is t he f irst t im e t hat t hey?ve been a part of t his process so t here w ill be quest ions. If t hey insist on seeing your phot o select ion and w rit e up bef ore t hey go out , t hen agree t o it . It m ay only set you back a day or t w o, and w ill give t hem peace of m ind.
If it ?s a print publicat ion, t ry t o send PDFs of t he pages, if t his is som et hing t hat t he edit or allow s. Go next st ep f urt her and m ail t hem a copy so t hey don?t have t o go hunt ing f or it . Above all, be gracious. The fact is, you are an im m ensely int egrat e com ponent t o one of t he happiest days of t heir lives. But t hat day, and t hat f eat ure, w ouldn?t have happened w it hout t hem . So be sure t o send your appreciat ion f or t heir eff ort s as w ell. Even if you don?t init iat ive t he conversat ion, t hey m ay also have ideas as t o w here t hey w ant t o subm it . Wit h t his, you?ll need t o ask yourself how im port ant t he placem ent is and how closely you w ant t o st ick t o your plans. Ult im at ely, t he client relat ionship should alw ays be priorit ized over w edding PR so if t hey have t heir heart s set on a local f eat ure, but you w ant ed t o aim f or nat ional, consider honoring t heir w ishes. On occasion, you m ay f ind t hat t he couple w ant s t o be t oo involved. They m ay insist on cert ain m edia out let s, m ake im age select ions t hat you don?t agree w it h and so on and so f ort h. Under t he circum st ances, it m ay m ake sense t o chat w it h t he phot ographer about releasing t he subm ission t o t he couple. If t hey have a specif ic vision t hat sim ply doesn?t m at ch up w it h w hat you w ant t o do, and you f ind it near im possible t o put t oget her som et hing t hat ref lect s your com pany in t he m anner you w ant , it ?s oft en a lot easier t o sim ply let t hem t ake care of it and off er support w here you can. Celebrat e! One of t he best t hings about real w edding subm issions is lett ing t he couple know w hen t he w edding has been published, so be sure t o do so w it h m uch fanfare. If it ?s online, send t hem a link as w ell as screenshot , and be sure t o t ag t hem t hroughout any social m edia post s.
Words by Meghan Ely
CREATING AN INCLUSIVE CLIENT EXPERIENCE WITH BRITTNY DRYE, LOVE INC.
Love Inc. is an inclusive, com prehensive w edding w ebsit e and digit al m agazine f or couples of all orient at ions. They are devot ed t o creat ing original cont ent , and f eat uring real w eddings t arget ed t o bot h st raight and sam e- sex couples set s t hem apart f rom ot her publicat ions in t he indust ry. In t his issue, Edit or- in- Chief Britt ny Drye expands on how t o creat e an an inclusive client experience. Why is it essent ial t o ensure your client experience is inclusive? Not only is show casing your inclusivit y im port ant f or att ract ing sam e- sex couples (86 percent are m ore likely t o w ork w it h prof essionals/ services w ho m arket t o t hem), in our part icularly socio- polit ical w orld, it ?s im port ant f or opposit e- sex couples t o know t hat w ho t hey w ork w it h shares t heir values. How can a business convey right off t he bat t hat t hey are inclusive? Using gender- neut ral language in your m arket ing copy (such as your w ebsit e, client docum ent at ion and social m edia), is a very easy and quick sw it ch t hat m any prof essionals don?t even t hink about .
What are t he best st eps t o reevaluat ing your f orm s and m arket ing m at erials? Review your m at erials and look f or any w ords t hat assum es a gender or orient at ion, such as ?bride and groom? and sw ap t hem out f or gender- neut ral verbiage like couple, soonlyw eds, client s. During a consult at ion w hat can t hey say t o convey t hey underst and t he unique challenges in planning a w edding in t he LGBTQ com m unit y? This is dependent on your part icular role, but a good rule of t hum b, w it h any couple, is t o never m ake assum pt ions. Just because t hey?re t w o brides, don?t assum e t hey?re bot h w earing dresses. Or t hat one is playing a ?groom? role (a w ildly com m on m isconcept ion t hat can cause serious insult ). Or if t hey?re groom s, t hat a bouquet w on?t com e int o play (I?ve seen so m any groom s carry gorgeous bouquet s dow n t he aisle!). Never assum e.
What are t he best w ays t o break gender based assum pt ions in your client experience? It ?s all about ret raining t he w ay you and your st aff t hink. Our m inds have been w ired t o t hink ?bride and groom? because t hat ?s been m ainst ream f or so m any years. It ?s im port ant t hat w e adapt our language t o be m ore inclusive and ref lect ive of t oday?s sw ift ly evolving w orld of w eddings. Once your m ind get s used t o using gender- neut ral language, you?ll st art t o realize just how het eronorm at ive t he w edding w orld is! How do you ensure t he creat ive part ners you are ref erring your couples t o are inclusive as w ell? Have a f rank discussion w it h t he w edding pros you regularly w ork w it h and get t heir st ance bef ore you even have a sam e- sex couple in your calendar, so t hat , w hen you are having a conversat ion w it h your LGBTQ client , you are able t o discuss a pot ent ial vendor t eam in a very organic m anner because you?ve already vouched f or t heir inclusivit y. Int erview by Meghan Ely
ELEVATING THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE WITH CATHRIN D?ENTREMONT, CD WEDDINGS
Good com m unicat ions! Nobody can do a good job if t hey only have half t he inf orm at ion. You are only as good as t he vendors you ref er! It t akes t im e t o est ablish a good relat ionship and t rust w it h vendors. My experience over t he t im e has helped m e t o screen new vendors and m ake sure t here becom e a good t eam player you have t here on t he w edding day. What are som e unique t hings you have done f or your client s in t he past ? Every client and every w edding is diff erent . It is im possible t o explain t o a new prospect ive client in w hat you w ould do t o m ake t he w edding day run sm oot hly. I clim bed a t ree t o get t he veil back dow n w hich blew off w hile w alking dow n t he aisle so t hat she had it in all t he phot os!
Int ernat ionally published f ine art w edding planner & st ylist Cat hrin D'Ent rem ont , ow ner and f ounder of CD Weddings, helps her client s discover and develop t heir vision and pairs t hem up w it h Pert h's m ost t alent ed vendors t o execut e t heir event of a lif et im e. In t his issue, she shares her insight on her ow n client experience process. How has your client experience evolved since your business w as st art ed? Oh quit e a lot ! If I com pare m yself f rom w hen I f irst st art ed t o t oday, I am quit e am azed w here I have t aken CD Weddings. As every w edding is unique one gains new experiences w hich your next client w ill benef it f rom . Over t he years I also st art ed t o def ine m y business, f inet uned it and can now give m y client s a m ore direct vision in w hat w e do and w hat w e off er. The journey I t ake m y client s on is now a m uch clearer road ? if t hat m akes sense. How ever each year I review everyt hing and t ry t o f ine t une it even m ore w it h changing t im es and t he dynam ics of my client s. You alw ays pair t he right vendors w it h t he right couple. How do you ensure t hat t hose vendors uphold your value of t he client experience?
I st ood behind t he colum n and w hispered t he w ords t o t he MC as he w as t oo drunk t o rem em ber.
I m ade t he bride spit out t he chew ing gum she w as chew ing on w ildly bef ore she w alked dow n t he aisle as t his w ould have been on t he video f or her t o see t he rest of her lif e! Maybe one day, I w rit e a book on t hose litt le m om ent s!! How does having an elevat ed level of service helped your business t hrive and succeed over t he years? St ay t rue t o your values and in w hat you like t o off er t o your client s. The level of services you off er doesn?t com e over night . You w ill grow int o it if you have t he right passion and t ruly like your business t o succeed. Keep st riving f orw ard, look f or w ays t o im prove and not only you but cert ainly your client s w ill gain f rom t his. List en t o f eedback and t ake it on board but be caref ul not all f eedback is good or right f or you. Som et hing inspires m e som ew here and I t hink:?Oh I could change t his on m y f orm s or w hy don?t I off er m y client s t his!? I st ill st art m y day aft er 14 years w it h a big sm ile and t hink I have t he best job in t he w orld! How do you st ay inspired w it h new w ays t o elevat e t he experience of t he w edding day f or your couples and t heir guest s? I love att ending conf erences and net w orking m eet ings and have been m any t im es t o t he USA part icipat ing at Engage. Surrounding yourself w it h like m inded people, sharing experiences and keep f inding w ays t o excel your ow n levels. List en t o t he f eedback f rom your client s and t ake not e. I alw ays ask m y client s t o m eet m e f or coff ee aft er t he w edding and w hen t hings have sett led back int o a rout ine. By t hen t hey had t im e t hem selves t o t hink back at t heir w edding and w ill be able t o share t heir experience w it h you and about t he vendors you have recom m ended. Int erview by Meghan Ely
cdw eddings.com .au
How to Recession Proof Your SEO Against
Wedding Blog Closures BY KATHY DALPRA
Recent ly, St yle Me Prett y announced t hat it w ill be shutt ing dow n April 30, 2018. They?ve since rem oved t his public announcem ent f rom t heir w ebsit e, so as of t his m om ent , it ?s anyone?s guess as t o t he f inal fat e of t his blog.
None t he less, blogs in all indust ries shut dow n or evolve every day. In our indust ry alone, t he f ollow ing inf luent ial event blogs have eit her ceased t o post , evolved t o social- only plat f orm or close perm anent ly: -
Snippet & Ink (said goodbye Jan 16, 2018) The Prett y Blog (now social- only) The Broke Ass Bride (last post Sept 14, 2017) Floridian Social (last post Feb 18, 2016)
Why This Is Det rim ent al f or Your SEO Here?s t he t hing. Every t im e you get f eat ured or published in som e w ay on a w edding blog, t hey link t o your w ebsit e, w hich t ells search engines you are a t rust ed resource - w hich, in t urn, helps your overall SEO. Now one blog in and of it self isn?t likely t o skyrocket your w ebsit e t o Page 1, but st ack a f ew leading blogs on t op of one anot her and you?ll likely see an upw ard shift in your Google posit ion.
all. Record t he nam e of t he blog, t he direct link t o your art icle or f eat ure and any cont act inf orm at ion f or t hat blogger so you can quickly reach out if need be. Ent er in all past f eat ures and t hen keep it updat ed m oving f orw ard. So w hen a w edding blog t hat f eat ures you shut s dow n, your link dies along w it h t hem , chipping aw ay at your aut horit y and SEO value.
2. Find Out Who Is Linking To Your Feat ures
What t o Do About It
For each f eat ure, st yled shoot , art icle et c. on w hich you?re list ed as a resource, you w ant t o ident if y any w ebsit es t hat are linking t o t hat piece.
I out line all of t hese st eps in det ail by video and t ext on t he Bride Appeal blog, so I invit e you get m ore det ails t here. Here?s a quick sum m ary of w hat you can do t o recovery quickly w hen you lose links and m ent ions due t o a w edding blog shutt ing dow n. (click im age)
Make a list of all t he sit es t hat are linking t o t hat published it em and gat her up t heir cont act inf orm at ion, w het her t hat ?s t he public em ail address t hey provide on t heir w ebsit e or a link t o t heir cont act f orm on t heir w ebsit e. Record t he sit e linking t o you, t he exact page on w hich t hey are linking t o your f eat ure and w hich f eat ure t hey m ent ioned. You?ll need all of t his w hen you reach out in St ep 4. 3. Get Your Feat ures Re- Published This is t he t im e- consum ing part . It ?s t im e t o f ind a new hom e f or your f eat ures. For each individual f eat ure, consider w hich t ype of a blog has an audience t hat w ould love it ? It m ight be a nat ional niche blog t hat covers specif ic st yles or t ypes of w eddings or it m ight be a local blog t hat only publishes regional w eddings.
1. Keep a Spreadsheet of PR Feat ures First and f orem ost , st art t racking everyw here your com pany has been m ent ioned and linked t o in t he past . Every real w edding, st yled shoot , expert quot e, cont ribut or art icle and direct ory list ing - m ake a not e of it
Present your f eat ure t o t he blogs you?ve ident if ied and t ry t o get t hem t o pick up your f eat ure. Rem ind t hem t hat it ?s been f eat ured elsew here in t he past , but t hat blog is closing. (Also, m ake sure you?ve got perm ission f rom t he original blogger t o re- publish elsew here if exclusivit y w as in place.)
If t he real w edding or st yled shoot is very out dat ed, you m ight have t rouble f inding a replacem ent . In t his case, at t he bare m inim um , publish it on your ow n sit e so t hat it at least has a hom e. 4. Not if y Linking Sit es Once you get your f eat ure placed elsew here, grab your list of sit es t hat w ere linking t o t hat f eat ure. Cont act t hem one- by- one using t heir publicly pref erred cont act m et hod (em ail, f orm et c.) and not if y t hem t hat your f eat ure has a new locat ion. Provide t hem t he link and let t hem know t his w ill prevent t heir post or page f rom having broken links on it . 5. Breat he a Sigh of Relief It m ay t ake a w hile, but once your f eat ures have been published elsew here and all w ebsit es have updat ed t heir links t o t he new locat ion, your SEO should st art t o bounce back. Nat urally, t here are ot her fact ors t hat go int o how big of an im pact your rankings w ill have aft er t his t ransit ion, such as t he level of aut horit y of t he sit es w here you?ve been published, but don?t w orry t oo m uch about t hose det ails. What ?s m ost im port ant is t hat you just get published at a reasonably est ablished w edding blog so your m ent ions and links don?t drop off t he m ap com plet ely. If you f ollow t hrough, t his should m inim ize any im pact s t o your rankings and t raff ic overall. Words by Kat hy DalPra
CLIENT COMMUNICATION WITH ELIE BERCHAN, ELIE BERCHAN WEDDING AND EVENTS CREATION
personalit ies it also t eaches you how t o be prepared f or challenges t hat m ay arise. What advice w ould you give t o t hose just st art ing out in t he indust ry in t erm s of client com m unicat ion? Client com m unicat ion is t he key. It ?s alw ays crucial t o have proper com m unicat ion in order t o have a clear underst anding, and a clear im age of w here t his process is going. Alw ays be et hical even if it w ill t ake you longer t o m ake t he m oney you dream of. But you ensure st abilit y and good im age How do you recover in sit uat ions w here t here's been a m iscom m unicat ion bet w een you and your client ?
Elie Berchan is an aw ard w inning, int ernat ionally acclaim ed event creat or. He is f requent ly quot ed in new spapers and m agazines in his capacit y as a w edding expert . He is oft en invit ed t o speak at global conf erences and off ers w orkshops at Les Roches Int ernat ional School of Hot el Managem ent in Sw it zerland t o f ut ure event planners f rom around t he w orld. Elie has over 10 years' experience in t op hot el chains around t he w orld including: Arm ani Hot el, Grand Hyatt At lant a, and Raff les Dubai. In 2010, Elie f ounded Elie Berchan Wedding and Event s Creat ion t o allow his ow n creat ive f lair t o creat e t he event s t hat his client s dream ed of. What 's your num ber one rule of t hum b f or m aking sure your client has a great experience w orking w it h you? I w ould have t o say our planner- cust om er relat ionship w hich alw ays helps us underst and our client s bett er. Be a great list ener, give t hem t im e t o express w hat t hey have in m ind. You have an im pressive 10 years in hot el hospit alit y under your belt . What did you learn f rom w orking w it h client s in t hat environm ent , and how w as t hat inst rum ent al in st art ing your ow n business? Having a background in t he hot el indust ry gave m e great insight s int o t he hospit alit y indust ry. It t aught m e how t o deal w it h all sort s of individuals and nat ionalit ies, you m eet people w it h all sort s of
We t ry t o st ep back and ret race our st eps, w e apologize f or any inconvenience caused, and w e w ork on solving t he issue ASAP. What are som e w ays you can approach const ruct ive crit icism w it h a client ? It is by acknow ledging w here t hey com e f rom and underst anding how t hey f eel, apologize f or any inconvenience or m isunderst anding Having graduat ed w it h degrees in Hospit alit y Managem ent , you've learned how t o w ork w it h client s in a variet y of environm ent s. How does w orking w it h w edding couples diff er f rom ot her client s? When w orking w it h w edding couples, t hey diff er f rom ot her client s as t his is a relat ionship based on purely close cust om er relat ion, att ent ion t o det ail, several f ollow ups, you get t o know t he couple on a w hole ot her level and develop everlast ing f riendships w it h t hem . They are t rust ing you as a planner w it h t he m ost im port ant day of t heir lives, so t hey are m y favorit e t ype of client s t o deal w it h as t hey require ext ra care and caut ion.
Where do you pull your inspirat ion f rom? How do you keep your ideas f resh but personalized t o t he client you're w orking w it h? Alw ays st aying up t o dat e, att ending w orldw ide conf erences t hroughout t he year, in order t o get inspired. As f or adding our personalized t ouch t o t he client t his is w hy w e st ress on t he im port ance of cust om er relat ionship and gett ing t o know our client s so t hat w e can add t his t ouch. I basically att end m ost int ernat ional f orum s, if not I send key decision m akers in m y t eam t o learn and bring back t o t he com pany. Som e couples or client s have a vision f or t heir event but don't know w here t o st art . What do you do t o help t hem get t he ball rolling? We usually like t o set up a m eet ing in order t o get t o know t hem and underst and exact ly w hat t hey envision t heir w edding t o be like. Also, w e t ake int o considerat ion our dedicat ed t eam of suppliers t hat w e cont inuously w ork alongside and present t hem t o t he couple in order t o get a f eel of t heir w ork. Also, w e t ake int o considerat ion t he venue t hey chose, t he color of f low ers t hey like, and w e st art t o draft ideas. The f irst couple of w eeks are alw ays t he m ost conf using as t he couples need t o st art m aking decisions, and choosing t heir pref erred suppliers. Aft er t hose w eeks, t he process st art s t o get sm oot her. Anyt hing else you'd like t o share? It is probably one of t he m ost dem anding job t hat you can ever t hink of ; if you enjoy w hat you do, you w ill end up having a great t im e and appreciat e all t he sm all pieces, and at t he sam e, m ake lif et im e f riends. Int erview by Meghan Ely
w w w.elieberchan.com
Ask the Industr y Exper ts IF ONE WANTS TO ELEVATE THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE FOR THEIR BRAND, WHAT'S THE FIRST STEP HE OR SHE SHOULD TAKE?
Ceci Johnson, Founder & Creat ive Direct or of Ceci New York says... Take a st ep back and crit ique your business t hrough a hard lens. Be honest w it h yourself and ask w ould you like t o go t hrough t his experience? If anyt hing jum ps out at you as not quit e right , change it f or t he bett er. Anot her great t rick is t o have an anonym ous f riend shop your business and give you t heir perspect ive. Feedback is everyt hing! Michelle Lorett a, Ow ner & Chief St rat egist of Sage Wedding Pros says... In order t o have an elevat ed client experience, you need t o deeply underst and w hat get s t hat client excit ed. You can spend all your t im e (and m oney) in providing a unique t ouch w it hin your sales process, but if you haven't researched w hat m oves t hem , t hen it 's a w ast ed opport unit y. A great exam ple is a luxury hot el t hat provides a f rench press f or m orning coff ee. Clearly t hey know t hat t heir t arget m arket is likely bet w een t he ages of 25- 50, values prem ium coff ee, love f ood/ drink experiences, and cherishes t heir coff ee rit uals. Would t his w ork w it h t he baby boom er dem ographic? Probably not f or m ost of t hem . Julia Jackle, CEO and Co- Founder of Creat ive971 says... He/ she should be clear about t he brand vision and m essage t hat he/ she has def ined f or t heir respect ive brand, a helpf ul t ool is alw ays t he direct client input , w hich can be achieved t hrough social m edia analyt ics as w ell as a quest ion and answ er t ool. Kat e Cullen, Ow ner of Kat e Cullen says... Exam ining every cont act point you have w it h your client t o ensure t hat t hey receive helpf ul, relevant advice at each st ep. Making sure t hat you alw ays respond w it hin your set t im e f ram e - w hat ever it is t hat you st at e on your w ebsit e or em ail responder.
Q & A
Alw ays m ake your client f eel valued and appreciat ed - don't dism iss t heir w orries or issues - t hey m ay seem t rivial t o you as som eone in t he indust ry but are so m uch m ore t han t hat t o your client . Consider w elcom e gift s, or f ree advice dow nloads t o help t hem plan t heir w edding or m ake supplier choices. Tim elines and 'best pract ice' hint s and t ips are alw ays w ell received - f rom w ordings on invit es, t o an order of t he day schedule. Bruce Russell, MD/ Ow ner of Bruce Russell says... The f irst st ep is know ing your client . The next st ep is t o put yourself in t heir shoes and ident if y w it h t hem . What w ould you w ant f rom a w edding planner? It 's also im port ant t o know w ho YOU are as a brand...I learned early on in m y career t hat I am not right f or every client , and every client is not right f or m e. Harm ony Walt on, Founder of The Bridal Bar says... I t hink it 's m ost im port ant t o st art w it h w hat you w ant t he client t o know and love about your brand. What are you selling? What m akes you special, w hat 's your secret sauce, and w hat do you w ant t he client t o experience (em ot ionally) w it h your brand? Then det erm ine how you can elevat e your experience t o bett er express t hose values. That m ight be t hrough gift ing, it m ight be t hrough t he process t hey experience w hen t hey w ork w it h your com pany, it m ight be how you and your st aff dress or conduct yourselves on t he day of t he event ; it all depends on w hat you w ant t o express and w here you?re current ly falling short (if anyw here). Aleisha McCorm ack, Founder of Bridechilla says... List en t o your client s! I'm so grat ef ul t hat w e have t he Bridechilla Facebook com m unit y, because it is an inst ant resource f or m e, and som ew here I can go and bounce ideas about f ut ure t hem es and t opics w it h m em bers and get t heir f eedback. Earlier in t he year, I post ed a request asking w hat subject s Bridechillas w ould like t o hear m ore about on t he Bridechilla Podcast . Our m em bers cont ribut ed t o t he conversat ion, w hich f or m e w as a gold m ine of cont ent creat ion because I t hen w ent on t o produce podcast s and blogs t hat w ere based on t heir suggest ions. Being a Bridechilla is about f ocusing on w hat is im port ant t o you and your part ner. Looking at t he aest het ics of t he day, and deciding w hat det ails ref lect w ho you are as a couple. I alw ays keep t his in m ind w hen w orking on m y show s and f ocus on responding t o t heir needs in each show / post and blog.
Holly Poult er & Susannah of Revelry Event s say... To get t he basics right you have t o put yourself in t he couples' shoes. A couple have hired you as t heir planner because t hey know how litt le t im e t hey have, how st ressf ul t hey are f inding/ have f ound it and how m uch t hey don't underst and about
perspect ive. At w eddingsonline w e regularly visit our w ebsit e and t ry and view everyt hing as a client w ould, and f rom t his experience w e are const ant ly able t o review t he m echanics of t he w ebsit e, w hat w orks and w hat doesn?t , t o keep t hings f resh, helpf ul and, m ost im port ant ly, user- f riendly.
planning t heir w edding. So it 's our job t o f ill in t he gaps f or t hem , ant icipat e t heir
Try t o underst and f ully w ho your client / bride is, and let t hem dict at e how you w ork.
needs, and underst and t he psychology and em ot ions as w ell as t he logist ics of
This should inf orm everyt hing f rom your logo design and general t one of voice, t o t he
planning a w edding.
event s you att end and t he social plat f orm s you use t he m ost .
Lot s of brides enjoy having a w edding planner because it 's som eone t o gush t o
Jane Riddell, Ow ner and Creat ive Direct or of Planned f or Perf ect ion says...
about t heir w edding w ho t ot ally get s it (especially if t hey don't w ant t o sound like a w edding bore t o t heir f riends!) so it 's a basic part of t he client experience t o f eel like t hey have a f riend t hey can vent t o and get excit ed w it h. Ot her w ays t o elevat e t he client experience can be t o t ake t im e t o do or share litt le t hings out side of your scope of w ork, w hich you know t he couple w ill appreciat e. Gift list suggest ions, discount s you've f ound f or t hings you know t hey w ere
Est ablish yourself as an indust ry aut horit y, people buy people in t he w edding indust ry, so let client s know w ho you are t hrough t ransparency, share your experience, know ledge and expert ise, but also be honest , be prof essional, be kind and be you! Meryl Snow, President of Snow St orm Solut ions says...
int erest ed in, a cont act here or t here t hat doesn't f it w it hin your brief t o sort out but
I believe t here are six sim ple rules a w edding couple w ant s w hen w orking w it h your
w ill be helpf ul t o t hem nonet heless. Going above and beyond litt le and oft en can be
m ore eff ect ive and a lot cheaper t han doing som et hing like sending a branded w elcom e gift t o each new couple. People love t o know t hey are gett ing bang f or buck, so a planner w ho goes t he ext ra m ile t o m ake sure couples are equipped w it h inf orm at ion and never f eel overw helm ed can leave a last ing im pression w hich leads t o great t est im onials and ref errals.
1. To know t he t rut h. 2. To be list ened t o. 3. To get clear explanat ions. 4. To f eel im port ant . 5. To avoid being em barrassed.
Elie Berchan, Ow ner of Elie Berchan Wedding and Event s Creat ion says...
6. To be part of t he process.
I t hink t he f irst st ep t o be t aken is t o t ruly underst and w hat t he client 's w ant s and needs are. t he f irst t hing t o accom plish w ould be, t o be able t o im plem ent w hat t he couple needs t o have at t heir w edding, as t his w ould be t he f undam ent al part of t he w edding. Secondly, w e w ould im plem ent w hat t he client w ould w ant t o have in t heir
WHAT'S YOUR 'MUST HAVE' TOOL/ RESOURCE FOR YOUR BRAND'S CLIENT EXPERIENCE?
w edding, in order t o t ruly sat isf y our client s. Britt ny Drye, Edit or- in- Chief of Love Inc. says... Know your client and m arket place. This m ay sound obvious, but it 's easy t o cat er t o
Christ ina Farrow, President and Co- Founder of Aisle Planner says...
w hat w e see is popular am ongst ot hers on social m edia, and w e lose sight of t he act ual people w ho are paying f or our services. Do a deep dive int o your local
One of our favorit e it em s is our personalized t hank you cards w e send t o every new
client ele and learn t he m et hods and plat f orm s t hat w ork best f or t hem .
cust om er. There is a bit of irony in a t ech com pany w ho is st riving t o t ake planning off of paper t o t he cloud chooses hand w ritt en not es as a w ay t o say, "Thank You".
Nikki Rut herf ord, General Manager of w eddingsonline says... It ?s so im port ant t o t ry and f orget everyt hing you know about your brand and your business, as diff icult as t hat m ay be, so t hat you can look at everyt hing f rom a f resh
It ?s a litt le t hing, but it is an im port ant one t hat allow s us t o add t hat personalized t ouch t o our relat ionship and let t hem know t here is a real person here at AP w orking hard f or t hem .
Caroline Khoo, Creat ive Direct or of Nect ar and St one says... The t ool t hat I love t o use t he m ost f or m y client 's experience is a "m oodboard". The com m unicat ion is via em ail or social m edia and t he present at ion are eit her on pow erpoint f or exam ple or Pint erest . It allow s t he client and t he brand t o w ork t oget her t o underst and t he needs, look, f eel, t hem e, colour et c f or t heir event . Ideas are able t o be t eased out and expect at ions are able t o be discussed so t hat t he client f eels com f ort able and conf ident . Clarif icat ion is ext rem ely im port ant in t his process so em ail and phone conversat ions are very im port ant as part of t his experience and process. Dalia MacPhee, CEO of Dalia MacPhee says... St rong w eb presence is key, bot h w it h eCom m erce and social m edia. I f ind t he social m edia aspect crucial as it allow s direct com m unicat ion w it h t he consum er, gives t hem a voice t o be heard and creat es a t w o w ay conversat ion. Obviously t he online st ore port ion is equally im perat ive w it h online purchasing being w hat it is t oday. In addit ion I f eel a branded app w ill be t he f ut ure of our client experience and a very im port ant resource f or us. Susana Est eves Pint o, Ow ner of We are The Dest inat ion says... Tim e. Having t he t im e t o observe, t o t hink about each client prof ile, it s needs and perks, and t hen, based on t hat t hinking process, provide t he best solut ion w it hin your m eans and skills. Jon'll Boyd, CEO of Com plet ely Yours Event s says... My m ust have t ool is w hat I like t o call "A Com plet ely Yours (CY) Mom ent " t hat I usually incorporat e on t he day of t he client s event or w edding. It 's alw ays a surprise t o t he client but t he m om ent t ypically involves som et hing personal or cust om based on a det ail or fact t hat t hey shared w it h m e during our planning process. For exam ple w e recent ly had a couple t hat absolut ely loved Disney because it played such a big part in t heir relat ionship, so on t he day of I surprised t hem w it h em bellished cust om chargers t hat had t he Disney cast le airbrushed on it in t he m iddle w it h t heir nam es and w edding dat e on t he back. They w ere so surprised and over t he t op excit ed t hat t hey w ouldn't even allow t he cat ering t eam t o place t heir dinner plat es on t op of t hem t o eat ..haha! Now t hat 's love! Juliana Rodriguez, Market ing Execut ive of Scarlett Ent ert ainm ent says... Scarlett Ent ert ainm ent ?s ?m ust have? resource f or our brand?s client experience is our in- house specialist t eam . Our agency f ocusses on creat ing and m aint aining st rong
ongoing client - agency relat ionships. Building, m aint aining and st rengt hening our
My m ust have t ool f or m y brand's client experience is Google Drive. I have m y budget
client relat ionships is t he best approach: it 's w hat get s w edding planners and brides
spreadsheet s and quest ion f orm t hat m y client s are const ant ly f illing in as w e are in
and groom s t alking about our brand and keeps t hem , t heir f riends and
t he planning process. I check in daily t o see if t hey have any new quest ions t hat I
acquaint ances com ing back t o us w hen t hey require unique ent ert ainm ent f or
can w ork on and answ er f or t hem .
w eddings or f or corporat e event s as w ell as all im port ant w edding fairs. Our expert s? prof essionalism and personal and hum an approach is w hat m akes us m eaningf ully connect w it h our client s. Having a specialist t eam t hat w orks closely w it h each and every client t o underst and exact ly w hat t hey?re t rying t o achieve is one of our core values. Our key t ool is our st aff. Our expert s can off er prof essional
Terrica, Chief Wedding Planner and Designer of Cockt ails & Det ailsÂŽ says... Technology! Wit h client s doing a m ajorit y of t heir planning and com m unicat ing f rom t he palm of t heir hands, m y w orkf low consist s of event m anagem ent t ools and resources t hat goes right along w it h t hem !
advice and support . Wit h proven record of delivering successf ul w edding ent ert ainm ent experiences, our in- house t eam is also in const ant cont act w it h
HOW CAN YOU MAKE SURE YOUR CLIENT EXPERIENCE IS MILLENNIAL- FRIENDLY, GIVE THAT THIS GENERATION IS DOMINATING THE WEDDING CLIENT BASE?
prof essionals in t he w edding indust ry t hat help t hem provide usef ul insight t o our client s. Christ ie Osborne, Ow ner of Mount ainside Media says... I m ake sure w hat ever plat f orm s I am using, w het her it 's GoogleDocs or Survey Money or a CRM, t hat I t ake t he t im e t o set up t he cust om branding on t he plat f orm so everyt hing looks and f eels like m y brand, f rom m y cont ract s t o m y paym ent port al t o
Pauline Brookes & Clara Em anuel, Co- Founders & Direct ors of Moderna Media Lt d
m y project m anagem ent docum ent s.
Lisa Gat enby, Ow ner of French Flow er St yle says...
The m illennial experience is all about connect ion, bot h online and off. We t hink you
Curat e is soft w are designed f or f lorist s. Not only is a huge t im e saver f or m e on a business level, but it also allow s m e t o creat e prof essional proposals f or m y client s w hich include lot s of im ages and also links t o m ood boards and ot her docum ent s. The proposals are dow nloadable or reached via a link . I f ind client s like t his as t hey can access t he det ails anyw here, any t im e.
can m ake your business st and out by off ering m illennials t hat t ouchst one so t hey can have t heir w edding becom e m ore of a branded event - w het her t hat ?s t hrough helping t hem develop a f un w edding hasht ag, or helping t hem f ind a designer t o creat e a snapchat f ilt er f or guest s t o use during t he recept ion, or even just creat ing a live video link so f riends and fam ily w ho are far aw ay can st ill be a part of t he celebrat ions. We recom m end checking in w it h your couple t o see how m uch of a
Pam ella Dunn, CEO of Pam ella Dunn Event s says...
digit al f oot print t hey w ant in t heir w edding.
A t hirst f or innovat ion t hrough const ant research, t ravel advent ures, and int erior
Im an El- Huni, Managing Direct or of Part y Social says...
design plat f orm s ensures our designs are const ant ly evolving and no t w o event s are ever t he sam e.
When you say m illennial you are t alking about t he m ost plugged in generat ion w e have ever seen and t hat m eans being present in t heir space. We are on t he relevant
Social m edia is undeniably t he great est resource f or our client s, our t eam and t he
social m edia plat f orm s and are alw ays looking t o see how w e can f urt her im prove
brand. Sharing incredible im ages of our w ork and designs put s us in f ront of our
our reach and engagem ent t o t his key dem ographic.
ideal client and builds t rust , cem ent ing st rong cust om er relat ionships. Chezelle Rodriguez, Dest inat ion Wedding Specialist & Consult ant of CD Weddings says...
Sandra, Founder & Creat ive Direct or of gett ingm arriedinit alyÂŽ says... Millennials are st rongly inf luenced by t echnology and innovat ion. Their generat ion is act ive on social net w orks and, t heref ore, expect s t o speak w it h t he com pany
t hrough digit al m edia, dem anding an int egrat ed seam less experience regardless of t he channel. When it com es t o cust om er service t hey require high experience st andards expect ing a com pany t o get back t o t hem w it h answ ers t o t heir quest ions w it hin an hour, if not inst ant aneously. If a brand engages w it h t hem on social net w orks t hey are m ore keen t o becom e a cust om er. They expect int rigue f rom a brand and high level of personalizat ion. This is especially t rue f or t he w edding
Jane Riddell, Ow ner and Creat ive Direct or of Planned f or Perf ect ion says... Est ablish yourself as an indust ry aut horit y, people buy people in t he w edding indust ry, so let client s know w ho you are t hrough t ransparency, share your experience, know ledge and expert ise, but also be honest , be prof essional, be kind and be you!
indust ry w here personalizat ion is a m ust ..
Zainab Alsalih, Founder & Managing Direct or of Carousel Event s FZ LLC says...
Est her Kefaloukos, Ow ner of Conf ett i Fair says...
Millenials are m ore about experiences t han anyt hing else. So w e f ocus on t he bride
Ensure t hat your Inst agram is up t o dat e w it h current and w ell posit ioned, perf ect ly present ed im ages and hasht ags as t his is t he f irst port of call f or m any m illennials looking f or inspirat ion f or w eddings and all ot her event s. No m att er w hat service t hey are looking f or. We have also f ound t hat m any go t o Pint erest so pinning pict ures and creat ing boards is key as w hen you w ant t o show t hem som e exam ples being able t o send t hem t o have a look at som et hing on t heir phone is a m ust ! Michelle Anderson, Direct or of Com plet e t he Look says... My client experiences are designed t o encourage a sense of relaxat ion, conf idence, and provide indust ry relevance in every design and event I have t he honour of being apart of. I believe t hat by regularly educat ing m yself about w hat is happening in our w orld, our indust ry and ot her creat ive avenues I am able t o creat e a unique personalised experience t hat is m illennial- f riendly and allow s m e t o rem ain on t rend
and groom?s journey t o t heir big day ? w e know t hat f or t he experience t o be m em orable and pleasant , t he journey has t o be pleasant . We t ake t he st ress out of t he process f or t hem . I have alw ays believed, bridezilla?s are m ade, not born. No bride st art s out being a bridezilla, but if you don?t give her t he proper att ent ion, and m ake sure t he journey is pleasant , you m ight end up creat ing one. It is also vit al t o have t he ent ire experience of planning, designing, and creat ing t he w edding a posit ive experience f or all t hose involved: The bride, groom , fam ily, our t eam , vendors and suppliers. We creat e an air of posit ivit y and it perm eat es. Sara Burnett , Ow ner of Burnett 's Boards says... It all com es back t o com m unicat ion - if you can allow m essaging on Facebook, or w hat ever plat f orm , t his is going t o convert m illennials fat her t han f orcing t hem t o f ill out a cont act f orm and t hen w ait ing f or your reply. Sarah Alm ugham is, General Manager, Founder & Co- Ow ner of Q8 Planner says...
and pushing t he boundaries f or new ideas. First , asking about t here likes and dislikes. Second, know t heir level of expect at ion Kevin Mint araga CEO and Co- Founder of Bridest ory says... We see t hat m illennial couples are very concerned on visual m att er and t hey are rely on t heir gadget now adays. Theref ore, w edding prof essionals are encouraged t o creat e an online port f olio or m anage t heir social m edia account w it h beaut if ul visual
and t ry t o go over it . Third, t ry as m uch as possible t o be creat ive and regenerat ing. Never com m it t o one st yle of planning or designing, t here f or your client w ill be eager t o see your w ork. ChloĂŠ At lan, Founder and Direct or of Aava Wedding says...
cont ent t o engage t he new generat ions. The m ost im port ant asset is t o st ay aw are of t he last t rends. And it hasn't been In addit ion t o t he visual m att er t rend, creat ing a m oodboard or w orking w it h
easier since t he appearance of social net w orks such as Inst agram , Pint erest ... 16
w edding concept or / st ylist w ill help couples achieve t his beaut if ul w edding. In order
years ago, w hen I f ounded m y com pany, t here w as no such t hings as "w edding
t o respond t his t rend, w e have personal w edding consult ant called Hilda as an
t hem es", client s decided if t hey w ant ed a m odern or rom ant ic w edding, t hat 's it .
expert t o help t heir w edding planning and m ake t heir dream w edding com e t rueTry t o underst and f ully w ho your client / bride is, and let t hem dict at e how you w ork. This should inf orm everyt hing f rom your logo design and general t one of voice, t o t he event s you att end and t he social plat f orm s you use t he m ost .
Wit h social net w orks, it becam e easier t o get t he inspirat ion f rom w eddings around t he w orld. The m illennial generat ion, w hich uses social net w orks on a daily basis, has t o f eel t hat w e're on t he sam e page, using t he sam e t ools t o discover t he diff erent possibilit ies in t erm s of w edding design.
Diploma in Flor al and Event Styling
DO YOU LOVE WORKING WITH FLOWERS? BECOME A FLORAL DESIGNER WITH THE ACADEMY Our f loral design course is t he only one of it s kind in t he w edding indust ry and is led by f loral pro Dee McMeeking w ho w ill t each you how t o com bine your love of design, f low ers and st yling ready t o launch your business as a Floral & Event St ylist . You w ill learn how t o use f low ers as cent repieces, design t ablescapes, use inspirat ion boards, and learn t he f ine art of f loral and event st yling along w it h t he business side of t hings show ing you how t o price and sell your services, curat e im ages on Inst agram and build a client base by creat ing a st rong brand.
To f ind out m ore cl ick here t o visit our w ebsit e and choose your local region
# WEDINSPIRE WITH DAVID MERRELL, AOO EVENTS?
Current ly w e have a 25,000 square f oot design w arehouse and product ions st udio in nort h Dow nt ow n LA, w hich f eat ures a com pet e w orking/ m et al shop f or cust om builds, f ull f loral depart m ent , f ull lines of f urnit ure and props f or event dĂŠcor, live show product ion st aff t hat handles cust om show s, galas and t he ent ert ainm ent and branded m essaging att ached t o it , and w e do it all under one roof under t he t ag now of ?Live Event Design and Product ion? f irm . This is a very unique of inf rast ruct ure and set of expert ise t hat att ract s a cert ain t ype of Fort une 500 client elle. I see you have a st rong set of core values, how do t hose lend it self t o t he overall experience a client has w it h you and your t eam?
Since it s incept ion in 1989, David E. Merrell, CEO & Creat ive Direct or of AOO Event s, has t aken t he event indust ry by st orm . Wit h a nam e synonym ous w it h cutt ing- edge and innovat ive event design and product ion concept s, Merrell has t ransf orm ed t he m arket and capt ivat ed audiences w orldw ide. For over 25 years it has been David?s philosophy t hat ?All special event s t ruly dem and a cust om ized approach in order t o f ully achieve t he client ?s vision and purpose.? It is t his vision, passion, and dedicat ion, t o each and every client t hat has inevit ably led David E. Merrell and AOO Event s, t o becom e one of t he m ost sought - aft er producers w it h a grow ing list of Fort une 500 and int ernat ional corporat ions f or product launches, corporat e event s, celebrit y- att ended f undraisers, and int im at e w eddings. Tell us a litt le bit about AOO and how you got st art ed in t his business? St art ed m y business back in 1989 as a cat erer and grew up in t he business as a f ull service cat erer. At t he t op of m y ?cat ering career?, is w hen 9- 11 happened. As an ow ner of a large cat ering operat ion w it h no business com ing in, I had t o radically change direct ions and choose t o go t he rout e of event design and product ion, and drop t he cat ering port ion of t he business. This allow ed AOO t o evolve int o t he com pany it has becom e t oday.
I?m post ing our core values here as it is t he basis f or w hich w e t ry guide all of our decisions, and t hose of our em ployees. This does perm eat e t he very f iber or our com pany, our belief s, our out com es. Every em ployee is m anaged w it hin t he param et ers of t he core values. We also t each t hem t o t hink of t heir responsibilit ies and opport unit ies w it h t he lens of t he core values. It is also explained in det ail t o our client , in order f or t hem t o underst and w hat w e are all about . I believe t he core values GREATLY att ribut e t o our st ellar product and reput at ion, and I w hole heart edly believe every em ployee in our organizat ion w ould agree w it h t hat st at em ent . We believe in int egrit y, prof essionalism and fairness w it hout com prom ise. We believe relat ionship, part nership and collaborat ion are our t op priorit ies. We believe in a global, educat ed and f orw ard t hinking view of event design. We believe in consist ency in product and excellence in delivery of every det ail. How do you ensure w it h a large t eam t hat everyone is t aken care of and has t he sam e level of service? The core values are essent ial f or t his, as it gives t he com m on philosophical basis of how w e conduct ourselves and deliver t he AOO product . We also m anage all project s t hrough t he t eam w ork concept .
Our unique com pany inf rast ruct ure (having a f loral depart m ent , a cust om build depart m ent , live show product ion depart m ent , et c. you have t o engage each depart m ent t he sam e w ay each t im e or t hat depart m ent cannot keep up w it h t he varied request s). If you cannot f ind a w ay t o em brace and w ork w it hin t he inclusionary f ram ew ork t eam , you w on?t ult im at ely have a place w it hin our organizat ion. We also have a propriet ary product ion inf orm at ion syst em t hat everyone is t rained t o use exact ly t he sam e w ay, in order t hat at any m ore w e know exact ly w here a cert ain product ion is current ly f inding it self. It allow s up t o pick up w here anot her person leaves off at any m om ent , w hich is m ajor piece of m ind w it h juggling so m any cust om , high prof ile event s at t he sam e t im e. It m akes us easily scalable f rom a product ion st andpoint . Design st ill t ends t o be m ore cent rally based, versus com plet ely de- cent ralized point of view. We f eel it is im port ant f or a design f irm t o have a clear point of view in design aest het ic, even w hen t he jobs vary in deliverables and w e m ust be adapt ing our client s essence and int ent ion w hen designing. What advice do you have w hen it com es t o ensuring one's st aff is 100% consist ent across t he boards w hen it com es t o a brand's client experience expect at ions? The answ er in t he past quest ion about consist ency sum s it up. What ever syst em you adapt , everyone m ust be on t he sam e page, or it doesn?t w ork. You have heard t he expression ?one rott en apple spoils t he lot ?. . . t his is absolut ely t rue. If everyone isn?t on t he sam e philosophical page and underst anding of t he business and it ?s deliverables, t hen t hat individual can bring everyt hing dow n.
"Yes, it is im port ant t o have a very good product ion and t o deliver on all t he expect at ions of t he client . . . but liking and t rust ing t he experience w it h t he vendor part ner you w ork w it h w ill bring t hem back EVERY SINGLE TIME."
Is t here anyt hing you do day- of t hat lends it self t o t he overall experience w it h w orking w it h your com pany? One t hing w e t each our producers is t hat you w ill att ract all bees w it h honey. If you are t o w ork w it h sub- vendors, f loor m anagers, beverage capt ains and securit y, t hey w ill bend over backw ards f or you IF you t reat t hem w it h respect , com plet e open com m unicat ion, and it does help if t hey like you. You w ill get everyt hing done quickly and eff icient ly, you w ill have new ?cheerleaders? signing your praises f rom every angle of t he indust ry, and you w ill have ent husiast ic event part ners t hat w ill w ant t o m ake you a success. So m ake f riends w it h. . . com m unicat e openly. . .and be clear on your expect at ions. How has your client experience changed or evolved over t he years? I have realized over t he years t hat it is t he single m ost im port ant reason t hat client s w ill repeat business w it h you. Yes, it is im port ant t o have a very good product ion and t o deliver on all t he expect at ions of t he client . . . but liking and t rust ing t he experience w it h t he vendor part ner you w ork w it h w ill bring t hem back EVERY SINGLE TIME. What w ould be your t op client experience t ip f or our readers? A com prehensive post product ion m eet ing w it h t he client w it h m eaningf ul quest ions and provable f ollow - up on im provem ent w ill w in a client over and over and over. For corporat e client s, t he benef it is a client f or t he long t erm . For t he social client , t he benef it is an ent husiast ic salesperson f or t he long t erm .
# WEDPROMO When you?re busy w orking w it h client s, do t hings in your business w ork like a w ell- oiled m achine or is it a w hirlw ind w here you?re f orgett ing t hings and w ast ing t im e searching f or t hem w hen you realize you had t his ot her t hing t hat needs your att ent ion t hat pulls you in a com plet ely diff erent direct ion? If your client syst em s aren?t st ream lined you?re adding unnecessary st ress ont o yourself and delivering a less- t han- great experience t o your client s. This isn't just about client experience, I see a lot of w edding prof essionals neglect t heir syst em s and t hat result s in t hem not m arket ing consist ent ly. When t he w ell of leads runs dry, t hey panic and t ry everyt hing at once, w hich never w orks. Inst ead of putt ing yourself in t hat posit ion, st ream line and syst em at ize your st rat egy so t hat it ?s quick and easy t o im plem ent . You could even hand it over t o a t eam m em ber or a VA if it ?s syst em at ized and docum ent ed! A syst em is sim ply a process t hat you use t o com plet e a t ask and can be as sim ple as a checklist . Your syst em s are w hat keeps your business running sm oot hly. If you have st ream lined syst em s, your business runs like a w ell- oiled m achine. If you don?t have st ream lined syst em s set up, it can really slow you dow n. For exam ple, how do you schedule init ial consult at ions w it h pot ent ial client s? Do you rew rit e t hat em ail or use a t em plat e? Do you send t hem t o a t ool like Calendly t o choose a dat e & t im e or do you go back and f ort h over and over via em ail?
Client Systems BY HEIDI THOMPSON
Do you only do consult at ions on cert ain days so you can bat ch t hem or is it all over t he place? You already have syst em s in your business even if t hey aren?t opt im ized or st ream lined. That m eans you have a lot of opport unit ies t o t ake your t im e back! Syst em s m ay not seem sexy but t hey give you your t im e back, and t hat m y f riend, is super sexy. The f irst st ep t o providing an incredibly client experience is act ually m apping out t he process and w hat needs t o happen w hen. From t here, you can look at w ays t o aut om at e pieces and m ake t hings easier bot h f or you and f or your client . There are a lit any of t ools you can choose f rom but m any of m y client s choose a t ool like Dubsado, Aisle Planner, or Honeybook t o st ream line t heir client experience. The im port ant t hing t o know about t hese t ools is t hat t hey can st ream line and aut om at e processes but if you don't already have a process you t ake client s t hrough, don't st art buying soft w are yet . Take t he f irst st ep t oday of w rit ing dow n w hat happens at each st ep of t he process and how you can m ake t hat f eel seam less and easy f or your client . When you m ake t hings easy f or a client , t hey w ill w ant t o share t hat w it h people. This principle is exact ly w hy I t ell so m any people about m y t ax preparer. She m akes doing t axes sim ple and easy and I love her f or it . You can't aut om at e and st ream line w hat doesn't exist , so sit dow n t oday and act ually m ap out t he st eps of your client process and look f or opport unit ies t o m ake t hings easier or w ays t o m ake t hem f eel special. Words by Heidi Thom pson
Vint age Aft ernoon Tea St yled Shoot by Lucy Rot chell Wedding Design The shoot w as based on a vint age aft ernoon t ea concept w it h part icular f ocus on t he idea of a garden part y. The grounds of Mirf ield Monast ery are breat ht aking and w ere t he perf ect sett ing. Lace, past els, dreamy f lorals and t ast y t reat s set against t he gorgeous greenery of t he m onast ery
The Shoot Team : -
St ylist / planner - Lucy Rot chell Wedding Design St ylist assist ant - Em ily K Weddings Phot ographer - Em ily Olivia Phot ography Cake/ all it em s on t ea t rolley - Whit e Rose Cake Design Dress - Alison Jane Bridal, Mirf ield Flow ers - Flow ers at 180 Hair & m ake up - Carys Cat herine Make up Art ist Tea t rolley - Yorkshire Rose Wedding Hire Ring - The London Vict orian Ring Com pany Crockery & books - The Vint age House That Could Props (t able/ chairs/ glasses) - Pam ella Dunn Ribbons - Kat e Cullen Balloons - Sw oon Balloons St at ionery - By Moon And Tide Model - Marika Zukovska Venue - The Mirf ield Monast ery
grounds really brought t he t hem e t o lif e.
# WEDDIGITAL WITH ANDY KUCHNER, THE WEDDING BIZ
Wit h an ext ensive run as one of t he m ost celebrat ed event ent ert ainm ent com panies in t he indust ry right now, Andy Kushner is no st ranger t o t he w orld of w eddings and t he icons w ho have led t he w ay. Wit h t his in m ind, Kushner launched t he podcast The Wedding Biz and t oday, he shares how he's shaping his list ener's experience t o st and out in t he com pet it ive m edium . What is t he st ory behind how The Wedding Biz podcast got it s st art ? I ow n a m usic business, called Andy Kushner Ent ert ainm ent Design, in w hich m y t eam and I cust om - design experiences f or lux w eddings using t he em ot ionally im pact f ul t ool of m usic w it h m ost ly com pany- ow ned and produced cover dance bands and ot her act s. I oft en w ork w it h w onderf ul planners, designers, and t he like and have had t he benef it of experiencing f irst - hand a variet y of st yles of t he best in t he business. My f irst such experience w as w orking w it h Colin Cow ie on t w o w eddings f eat ured in his book, Ext raordinary Weddings. The w orld of podcast s is exploding as a hugely eff ect ive m edia plat f orm and I f ound t hat t here w ere no w edding show s t hat consist ent ly conduct ed in- dept h int erview s w it h t he icons of t he indust ry. And so, I decided t o st art one m yself. I f eel very grat ef ul f or t he quick rat e of grow t h and success The Wedding Biz is enjoying t hough am very excit ed about t he w ays in w hich w e are planning t o f urt her build our sense of com m unit y. It ?s all about providing educat ion and inspirat ion f or t he passionat e people w ho devot e t heir t im e and energy t o facilit at ing and celebrat ing t he love w it hin a couple.
How do you ensure your podcast st ands out f rom an increasingly com pet it ive m arket ? We have a unique connect ion w it h our guest s, and every int erview is conduct ed live in- person, allow ing us t o bring out a m ore aut hent ic st ory and t o go deeper t han is t ypical in t radit ional m edia plat f orm s and out let s. Also, our background in ent ert ainm ent allow s f or a special and engaging perspect ive in t he w ay t he podcast is conduct ed and subsequent ly present ed. And w e have big plans com ing soon t o enable our audience t o part icipat e and gain even m ore insight !
t he part icipat ion of a variet y of w edding indust ry pros but also t o f urt her creat e a st rong sense of com m unit y am ongst our list eners and t o provide m ore educat ional and inspirat ional t ools t o help t hem reach t heir personal and business goals and dream s. What do you hope your list eners t ake aw ay f rom your podcast ? We hope t hat our list eners are not only ent ert ained and inspired, but t hat t hey also f eel t hey?ve f ound a w ay t o connect w it h t heir icons our indust ry leaders - in a w ay t hey?ve never had t he opport unit y t o bef ore.
You are highlight ing t op- t ier luxury w edding pros- how do you det erm ine w ho is t he best f it f or t he podcast ?
Is t here anyt hing else you w ould like t o add?
Each guest needs t o be considered an indust ry icon - som eone w ho is consist ent ly sett ing t he st andard f or t he luxury w edding and event s indust ry. We have a very curat ed list . Event ually, w e also plan on being t he go- t o source f or f inding t he next generat ion of such iconic st at ure.
This is one of t he m ost pow erf ul w ays f or indust ry pros t o keep t heir st ory alive. The podcast is evergreen and our list eners are list ening t o not only t he m ost recent episodes but all of our previous episodes. There is not hing m ore excit ing t han being a cat alyst in elevat ing t he w orld of w eddings and event s t hrough st oryt elling.
How do you t hink t hat having t he luxury w edding pros lends it self t o t he list ener experience? This is an indust ry f illed w it h t he best in t he creat ive business celebrat ing lif e?s m ost em ot ion- f illed m om ent s. They set t he st andard f or our indust ry and are an inspirat ion t o t hose not only w it hin t he f ield but beyond it as w ell. They are t he quint essent ial prof essionals at creat ively sharing a st ory, a concept , and ult im at ely being inspirat ional. How has your podcast evolved since you got your st art ? I f eel so grat ef ul t o have a laundry list of t he best in t he business being excit ed t o give t heir t im e t o share t heir st ories, w hich includes being open, aut hent ic, and vulnerable. I now have a t eam consist ing of bot h a brilliant m arket ing and social m edia direct or and edit or and pow erf ul podcast indust ry consult ant . On May 15t h, w e w ill be celebrat ing our f irst year and can barely cont ain our excit em ent as t o t he upcom ing plans t o not only increase
t hew eddingbiz.com
13 Things to Include in the Venue Building Process that Vendor s Will Appreciate BY LINDSAY LUCAS
# WEDVENUE Codes, perm it s, elect ricit y, and w at er m ains - oh m y! No doubt you have your hands f ull w it h just gett ing w alls up on t his big, beaut if ul dream of yours. My guess is you?re eit her praying you survive const ruct ion or you?re dream ing of all t he prett y design elem ent s you can im plem ent . Hello, t uft ed linen sett ee! In eit her scenario, you don?t w ant t o be looking back saying ?I should?ve, w ould?ve, could?ve,? so here are 13 t hings t o include w hen building a w edding venue t hat vendors w ill t hank you f or. Im plem ent all or pick and choose w hat w orks best f or your space! Any of t hese upgrades w ill im press vendors and have t hem recom m ending you t o pot ent ial client s. 1. Give vendors a room , or at t he very least a t able, t o eat dinner t hat ?s st ill w it hin earshot of w hat ?s going on. 2. Light is t he very best gift you can give vendors. Whet her it ?s an overall light and airy space or sim ply a bridal suit e f illed w it h as m uch nat ural light as possible, all vendors - f rom phot ographers t o m akeup art ist s - w ill be so appreciat ive. 3. A secure st orage area. This room needs t o be close t o t he m ain recept ion area and have a securit y code. Phot o and video t eam s need a secure area t o st ore t heir gear t hat can easily be accessed during t he event w hen t hey need t o sw it ch out a lens or t w o. This room can also be ut ilized by a bride, coordinat or, or f lorist t o st ore em pt y invent ory boxes. Since it has a code on t he door, you can easily change t he code oft en t o keep it secure. 4. Adequat e pow er f or light ing, sound, and AV equipm ent . Enough said!
5. Phot ogenic space t o display bouquet s. Bouquet s f or bridal part ies are usually delivered st raight t o t he bridal suit e and since t his room is t ypically occupied w it h 10+ girls all gett ing hair and m akeup done at t he sam e t im e, you can bet it looks like a t ornado (or t en) have w hipped t hrough t here. Sim ply hang som e prett y, f loat ing shelves f or f loral bouquet s and ot her det ails t o sit and be phot ographed. 6. Loading/ unloading considerat ions. First , m ake sure t he area is easy f or large vehicles t o get t o. The door t o t he kit chen should have plent y of parking in order f or t he cat erer?s box t ruck t o backup and unload. If possible, have double doors t hat do not have t he m et al bar in t he m iddle; t he lives of DJs and bands w ill be m ade easier w hen t hey?re unloading t heir heavy equipm ent . Have ram ps f or cart s. Any doors used f or vendor access should be covered. Mot her Nat ure has a t endency t o f lex her m uscle w it h a dow npour right as f lorist s are unloading delicat e f loral arrangem ent s. If it ?s in t he budget , have a concret e parking lot or at least a concret e drive. There?s not hing w orse t han t rying t o roll large equipm ent across loose gravel. 7. Open cooler t o st ore cakes and f lorals. Trust m e, t his w ill com e in handy m ore t han you?d t hink! 8. Accessible kit chen sink t o dum p w at er and rinse t hings like rent al f lat w are and vint age china. 9. A w ow - fact or bridal suit e. Make it large enough t o accom m odat e t en or m ore girls, m ore out let s t han you t hink you need, large m irrors, lot s of nat ural light , count er space f or hot irons, low back chairs, racks or hangers t o hang gow ns, a designat ed t able or count er f or f ood, and t ry t o m ake sure it is m inim ally yet t hought f ully decorat ed. 10.Reserved parking spot s f or phot o and video t eam s. Weddings t hat have t heir cerem ony off- sit e present a litt le bit of a challenge t o vendors. Due t o t he t im ing of t hings, m ore oft en t han not , t he phot ographer and videographer are t he last people t o arrive t o t he
recept ion and are t he f irst people w ho are needed inside. By t he t im e t hey arrive, all parking spot s are t aken by guest s and t hey?re left circling t he block t o f ind a space and t hen are racing t o m ake it in t im e f or t he f irst dance. Be gracious and give t hem a reserved parking spot on t he f ront row. 11. An ice m achine t hat t he cat erer and bart enders can share. 12.When creat ing your cerem ony space, here are som e t hings t o keep in m ind. In addit ion t o guest seat ing, m ake sure it is large enough f or a 5- 6? cent er aisle. There should be plent y of space f or side aisles t hat vendors or guest s w it h crying children can easily access. There should also be plent y of space in t he back f or DJs or live m usicians. 13.For an out door cerem ony sit e, have a covered area f or DJs or m usicians t hat is out of direct sunlight and shelt ered f rom t he w eat her; rain or st rong w inds are not f riendly t o ent ert ainm ent . Keep in m ind t hat vendors are happy t o give t heir t w o cent s w hen asked. A good w ay t o cult ivat e a great relat ionship w it h your chosen vendors is t o ask t hem f or t heir input and let t hem know you value and appreciat e t heir advice! Words by Lindsay Lucas
EDUCATING CLIENTS WITH CAVIN ELIZABETH, PHOTOGRAPHER & AUTHOR
Cavin Elizabet h is a m odern st yle w edding and port rait phot ographer based in San Diego, CA. Aft er com plet ing a Mast er?s degree in Int ernat ional Relat ions w hen I w as 21, Cavin realized t hat serving her brides and groom s w as t he only job t hat m ade her f eel incredibly f ulf illed. It w as t hen t hat she t ransit ioned f rom part - t im e t o f ull- t im e w edding phot ography and she hasn?t looked back since. Cavin?s w ork has been f eat ured on St yle Me Prett y, 100 Layer Cake, Green Wedding Shoes and Ruff led. She?s recent ly shared her insight w it h InSt yle, The EveryGirl and Bridechilla, am ong ot hers. Cavin recent ly published her f irst book, A Bride?s Guide t o a Pict ure Perf ect Wedding, w hich gives couples t he t ools t o plan t heir w edding w it h phot ography in m ind. The easy- t o- f ollow book f ocuses on t he t hree m ajor com ponent s of t he w edding t im eline, guiding brides f rom t he planning m ont hs t o t he Big Day it self, and t he days f ollow ing.
a year of doing t his, I t hought it w ould be a great idea t o t urn m y resources int o a book t hat w ould be easy t o f ollow and inspire brides. What is your client experience like f or your ow n w edding phot ography business? How has it evolved over t he years? I consider m yself t o be a very hand- on w edding phot ographer. My goal is t o get t o know m y couples as w ell as I can so t hat I can phot ograph t hem m ore aut hent ically. My couples t ruly appreciat e t his and it m akes t hem m ore t rust ing of m e and relaxed in f ront of t he cam era. I also f ind it very im port ant t o send m y couples helpf ul resources such as guides f or t he engagem ent session, how t o choose a great gett ing ready room , and ot her pieces of inf orm at ion t hat w ill bett er prepare t hem f or phot os and t each t hem how t o creat e t he m ost ideal sit uat ions f or phot ography. My client s love how m uch I help t hem w it h phot ography- relat ed plans as w ell as ot her aspect s of planning, such as personalized planner and f lorist ref errals. When t hey are properly educat ed on all t hings phot ography, t hey ult im at ely give m e a bett er canvas t o w ork w it h and t hey underst and and t rust m y advice and suggest ions. I believe t hat t he reason w hy I have such happy client s is because I not only give t hem beaut if ul phot os - I also t ake t he t im e t o get t o know t hem , send t hem gift s, educat e t hem , set proper expect at ions, and provide a prof essional and enjoyable experience. Over t he years, t his has becom e st ronger and m ore ref ined and has result ed in raving review s and incredibly sat isf ied client s.
What lead you t o w rit e and publish your f irst book, A Bride's Guide t o a Pict ure Perf ect Wedding?
How does your book facilit at e t he client experience f or ot her w edding prof essionals?
A large num ber of blogs and books exist t hat educat e ot her phot ographers. My f ocus has alw ays been on educat ing couples on phot ography and very f ew phot ographers are doing t his in com parison. For m any years, I have blogged 3- 4 educat ional art icles f or brides t o help t hem plan t heir w edding w it h phot ography in m ind. Aft er close t o
My book not only educat ed couples on t he relat ionship bet w een w edding plans and phot ography, it also has t aught vendor readers w hy phot ographers need t he right light , t he perf ect am ount of t im e, et c. When vendors are aw are of w hat phot ographers need t o do t heir best w ork, t hey can t hen advocat e f or such needs t o t heir ow n client s. This
is great f or couples w hose phot ographer isn't as involved in client - educat ion! Wedding prof essionals w ho read m y book w ill also gain inspirat ion f or how t hey can provide a m ore hands- on experience f or client s and educat e t hem on t heir ow n prof ession.The m ore vendors can educat e client s and m anage t heir expect at ions, t he happier t heir client s w ill be. What advice w ould you give w edding prof essionals w ho w ould like t o incorporat e m ore bridal educat ion int o t heir ow n client experience? Most conversat ions I have w it h vendors about client educat ion reveal t hat t he vendors have no idea w here t o st art . My suggest ion has alw ays been f or t hem t o t hink about t he m ost com m on quest ions couples ask, as w ell as t he biggest pain point s t hey have w it h client s (i.e. client alw ays w ears f rum py and ill- f itt ed clot hing t o t he engagem ent sessions or doesn't underst and w hy vendors need t o be f ed during dinner). Take t hese t opics and begin w rit ing blogs or PDFs about t hem . You w ill answ er t heir quest ions bef ore t hey have t o ask and t hey w ill appreciat e you f or it Addit ionally, if you t ake t he t im e t o educat e t hem on com m on pain point s, you can prevent t hose f rom happening. For exam ple, I give m y client s ext ensive guides on w hat t o w ear f or t heir engagem ent sessions and t heir clot hing has dram at ically im proved and looks m uch m ore st ylish and ref ined. My client s love t hat I help w it h t his because oft en t hey don't know w here t o begin. I now have happier client s and a prett ier port f olio. Educat ing couples is alw ays a w in- w in, w hich is a very m ot ivat ing reason t o st art incorporat ing t his int o a business! What are t he f irst st eps you recom m end a w edding prof essional t ake should t hey decide t hey'd like t o publish a book? As m ost vendors are very busy, I recom m end t hat t hey t ake t he book- w rit ing process slow ly. Aut hors should begin w it h an out line of everyt hing t hey'd like t o include in t he book and t hen edit t hat out line.
If t hey w rit e one chapt er per m ont h unt il t hey've com plet ed t he f irst draft and t hen edit a chapt er a w eek, f or exam ple, it w on't be overw helm ing! Organizat ion and self- discipline help w it h t he process, so vendors should f ind a syst em t hat has st ruct ure and ensures t hey're achieving book m ilest ones on t im e. Is t here anyt hing else you w ould like t o add? Underst and t hat aut hors don't m ake m uch m oney off of books, so t heir prim ary goals should be successf ully achieving t he book's purpose and gaining aw areness about t heir business. If som eone w rit es a book t hat speaks t o t heir brand and provides value f or t he readers, t his is m uch m ore im port ant and f ulf illing t han t urning a huge prof it w hich is ult im at ely unlikely f or books. Int erview by Meghan Ely
w w w.cavinelizabet h.com
Love Stor ies BY SAM LLOYD
It ?s not a yarn, t o say t hat engaged couples, looking f or t he perf ect venue, like a good st ory w it h a happy ending. They like seeing pict ures shared by guest s on w edding days, reading phot ographers? blogs and hearing about a good w edding at a popular w edding venue. If t hey are going t o ?st alk? a venue, an expression I oft en hear couples use now, it is ideally locat ed, near t o w here t hey live or by one or bot h of t heir parent s hom es, and even t hough ?everyone or som eone t hey know has got m arried t here?, t hey w ill st ill add it t o t heir list of venues t o view, as t hey are reassured t he venue w ill deliver t heir w edding. Why? Because it resonat es w it h t hem . They are not looking f or som et hing new. The t rut h is t hey are looking f or a venue t hat has t he right narrat ive, t hat is a good f it , w here t hey can conf ident ly w rit e t heir ow n love st ory on t hose sam e st airs, sat at t hat sam e t op t able or dancing on t hat sam e dance f loor. Im port ant and w ell- know n fact ors in deciding on a w edding venue, include; it s locat ion, it s f riendly st aff (bot h in person and t hrough review s), it s price, and it s pict uresque grounds and/ or view s, f or t hose all- im port ant phot os. So w hen I?m w orking w it h venue ow ners w ho have not yet est ablished t heirs as t he ?local go- t o venue?, I st art by analysing t heir w ebsit e narrat ive, t heir m arket ing collat eral, list ening t o how t hey give show arounds, reading t heir review s and f eedback f rom booked couples (but just as im port ant ly, t he ones w ho didn?t book), t o ident if y w hat ingredient s are m issing in t heir st oryt elling, t hat are perhaps blocking sales. My aim is t o ident if y w hat could elevat e t heir business.
My second st age is research. I look at t he local com pet it ion t o t ry t o ident if y w hat st rengt hs and w eaknesses t he rival venues have. Then I look at t he hist ory of t he client ?s venue. This m ight include t he st ory of t he building, w ho lived, w orked and visit ed t here and if t he business has been t rading f or a w hile, w ho has got m arried t here (and t hey don?t have t o be fam ous). Event ually, I w ill t ease out a love st ory t hat is unique t o t hat venue t hat , ideally, em phasises t he posit ives t he ot her venues are unable t o deliver. Then, t o engage w it h couples, m y f inal st age is t o ret ell t he venue?s st ory, and just like any good bedt im e read, it m ust : -
t ake couples on an em ot ional journey, but it m ust be aut hent ic, t rue, fact ual, personal, creat ive and inspiring be m em orable (as couples are going t o look online at lot s of venues bef ore m aking, on average, only 5.7% enquiries of t hose venues) illust rat e w hat t he venue st ands f or and so resonat e w it h couples. This is especially necessary t o com pet e in t he noise of t he digit al m arket place, bearing in m ind t hat t he m ost popular t im e f or w edding planning is aft er w ork and in t he evening (63% of couples use t his t im e t o do t heir research and plan t heir w edding)
provide t he t ools and backdrop t o enable couples t o deliver t heir perf ect w edding include recom m endat ions, as couples rank endorsem ent s f rom f riends and fam ily as t he m ost valuable source of recom m endat ion (71%) have good review s and t est im onials f rom suppliers, not only on social m edia but in art icles, bot h online and in t he press ? as couples love reading about ot her client s? experiences as it builds t heir conf idence.
The goal of m arket ing is t o inspire, w het her it m ot ivat es change, encourages t he buying of a product , service or draw s people int o your venue. The venue ow ner?s desired out com e, or invest m ent , in t he end, drives t he direct ion of t he st ory. But if a venue t ells a good, t rue, honest st ory, it can lead t o bookings and so can im prove revenue as couples? f eel an em ot ional t ie. You can incorporat e st oryt elling int o your business in m any w ays, but you need a sw eet spot , w here t he couples needs are m et by your product or service. Then suddenly, t hey yearn t o be part of your experience or t o show off your product t o ot hers. All your m arket ing m at erial needs t o t ell t he sam e st ory ? t his includes your w ebsit e, blogs, social m edia post s et c. How ever, each requires a diff erent approach, as t he key t o successf ul st oryt elling is know ing w hich aspect of your st ory t o share on each channel, each requires considerat ion ? your m arket ing st rat egy. To be a good st oryt eller, you need t o list en t o your audience, so you can underst and t heir values and belief s and you m ust be prepared t o rew rit e your script w hen your sit uat ion or t rends change, t hat w ay you w ill ensure a t rue and last ing rom ance. Stats with the kind perm ission of The UK Wedding Report 2018 Words by Sam Lloyd
HOW TO WOW YOUR CLIENTS
calm ing and a good neut ral arom a. Off er a specialt y drink w het her t hat ?s a glass of w ine or selt zer w at er. Add in f resh f low ers t o your st udio or m eet ing space. St udies have show n t hey put people in a bett er m ood and lead t o closing m ore sales.
BY LANE? RICHARDS, WEDDING PRO COACHING
When m y rent al com pany w orks w it h st yling client s, w e build som et hing special int o t heir design. It m ight be a piece of f urnit ure or a sm all det ail t hey m ent ioned early on. You can do t his leading up t o w edding day as w ell. If you?re not in regular cont act , send t hem a ?checking in? em ail or call t o see how t heir planning process is going. When you give t hem m ore t han expect ed, t hey?ll rem em ber t hose det ails.
I rem em ber t he f irst t im e I w alked int o a high- end spa. I w as im m ediat ely greet ed by a host w ho off ered m e a hot herbal t ea and a hand m assage w it h t he m ost soot hing scent ed lot ion. But it w as even bef ore I spoke t o anyone I knew I had ?arrived.? Calm ing m usic w as playing w hile lit candles set t he m ood f or a relaxing environm ent . It w as t his f ull experience t hat t old m e I w as going t o get t he ult im at e pam pering. The spa st aff m ust have had count less hours of hospit alit y t raining as even t he w ay t hey spoke f elt diff erent t han m ost ot her spas. Their w arm and w elcom ing dem eanor relaxed m e t o t he core. They m ade every care I had m elt aw ay as I w as sw ept off int o anot her w orld, even if f or a f ew hours. And you know w hat ? I ended up upgrading m y package, spending w ay m ore t han I had planned because it w as w ort h it . It w as t here t hat I learned a valuable lesson about how t o serve client s. It ?s not only about t he product or service you off er but t he f ull experience. From t he m inut e, you f irst m ake cont act unt il t hey are w alking out t he door (or dow n t he aisle). So, w hat can you do t o WOW your client s? Let ?s t ake a closer look at how you can craft a luxury client experience. Tailor t he Experience t o Your Client Client s w ant t o f eel t hat you care about t hem beyond t he t ransact ion. Take t im e t o set t he right environm ent . Cat er t o as m any of t he senses t hat you can. Such as a scent ed lavender candle as lavender is very
Surprise Them !
Make a Great Last ing Im pression You w ant t he last im pression you have w it h your client s t o end on a posit ive not e, even if t hings during t he w edding didn?t go as planned. Follow up w it h a personalized, handw ritt en not e no m ore t han one w eek aft er t heir nupt ials. You can even ext end t he experience by sending t hem an anniversary card w it h a phot o f rom t heir special day. It doesn?t have t o be som et hing over t he t op. The fact t hat you rem em bered and put in t he eff ort is key. The bott om line is t o alw ays t reat your client s how you w ant t o be t reat ed. List en out of a place of curiosit y so you can hear t he clues t hey?re dropping. This is one of t he biggest days of t heir lif e. Show you care, and go above and beyond and t hey?ll be raving fans f or lif e!
Lane?Richards is the m ultidisciplinary entrepreneur and creative genius behind Som ething Borrowed Portland. In 2017 Lane?started Wedding Pro Coaching; offering m asterm ind business coaching and educational program s to wedding industry professionals looking to navigate - and succeed - in the crowded wedding industry.
HOW YOUR BUSINESS CAN THINK LIKE DISNEY BY MICHELE SCHWARTZ, MODERN JEWISH WEDDING?
What do your cust om ers w ant t hat w ill keep t hem com ing back? I know w hat you?re t hinking. ?Aft er t he w edding, t here isn?t a reason f or t hem t o com e back!? Sett ing aside t he fact t hat 51% of w eddings m ight not last ? I recent ly heard a phot ographer w ho in her f irst cont act w it h t he couple f ollow ing t he w edding rem inds t hem t o schedule a f irst anniversary port rait session. Brilliant ! I?d be w illing t o bet she is t he f irst phot ographer her client s consider f or pregnancy, new - born and fam ily port rait s t oo. Where in your client lif e cycle are you creat ing opport unit ies f or f ut ure business? How are you cont inually diff erent iat ing yourself f rom com pet it ors t o m ake cust om ers w ant t o choose you again and again?
Everyone is a Guest , w it h a capit al ?G.? All t he em ployees are Cast Mem bers. And just like creat ing t he w edding of your client s? dream s; everyt hing at Disney is a show. How does Disney consist ent ly achieve raving review s t o t heir 24/ 7/ 365 event ? They are const ant ly asking, answ ering and evaluat ing t hese f our quest ions. What are you current ly doing t o m ake your cust om ers f eel uniquely valued and special? Upon boarding any Disney Cruise Line ship each and every guest is greet ed w it h a personal w elcom e and a st anding ovat ion f rom m em bers of t he crew. When you conf irm your reservat ions t o visit Walt Disney World you get t o personalize m agic bands. They arrive in t he m ail bef ore you leave f or your vacat ion. When you check in at your resort hot el t hose sam e m agic bands becom e your t icket s, room keys and cashless paym ent syst em . Anyone w ho has ever att ended t he luxury w edding conf erence, Engage, know s a large part of t he planning and t im eline includes gift ing opport unit ies. Where in your client lif e cycle are your st anding ovat ions, chances f or personalizat ion and gift ing opport unit ies?
Disney doesn?t even com pare it self t o ot her t hem e parks. In fact , Disney doesn?t even call it self a t hem e park. All of t heir parks are ?Resort s,? conveying so m uch m ore t han a day at Six Flags. Disney doesn?t apologize f or it s higher price point , inst ead it w ears it like a badge of pride. You w ill get t he best service, m em ories t o last a lif et im e and experience rides no ot her t hem e park can off er AND you w ill be charged a luxury price. When your visit is over you w ill say, ?It w as w ort h it !? What do you excel at ? What m akes you st and out ? Where in your branding are you com m unicat ing t hose diff erences t o your audience?
What st ory are your cust om ers t elling about your organizat ion? Is t hat t he st ory you w ant t old? When you go t o t he Disney World w ebsit e you are assault ed w it h t he w ords and im ages of a m agical vacat ion. Peek in on any of t heir social m edia account s and t he st ory is t he sam e. Disney?s branding is m aking it easy f or us t o t ell t he st ory of Popcorn, Firew orks, Disney Charact ers and fant asy Cast les. Luxury w edding planners like Andrea Eppolit o recognize a brand st ory ext ends beyond your w ebsit e and social m edia t o you. Every t im e she st eps out side her door she is a living and breat hing exam ple of her brand. Do you com m unicat e t he st ory you w ant t old about your business?
Michele Schwartz began her career in hotels and weddings at Walt Disney World. She is a published author and highly sought- after speaker, with a degree in Com m unications from the University of Texas at Austin. Michele is the creator and editor- in- chief of The Modern Jewish Wedding where she shares her expertise in Jewish wedding design, fashion and culinary trends. She has also recently expanded into consulting with creative partners in the event industry to assist them in their blogging, social m edia efforts and developing a winning custom er experience. She is also a m em ber of the goMagic team helping others experience the Disney Magic in person.
w w w.t hem odernjew ishw edding.com
3 Simple, Cheap Ways to Prevent Legal Disputes + Refund Requests BY CHRISTINA SCALERA
# WEDLEGAL Have you ever gone int o t he bat hroom at a fancy resort or rest aurant , st art ed t o w ash your hands and realize? t he soaps a litt le, uhhhhm m m ? off ? Not hing t hrow s m e off fast er t han a sit ch like t his. My m ind is t hinking, ?You?re charging $45 f or a st eak but can?t aff ord t o ref ill your soap w it h w hat ?s act ually on t he label?? It ?s a sm all, and m aybe a litt le snobby, observat ion f rom m e- - but it illust rat es a f ew larger issues t hat apply t o any of us att em pt ing t o creat e a cust om er experience. Issue #1: You?re overprom ising and under delivering. First of all, surprise and delight us as cust om ers. Don?t pull a bait and sw it ch! There?s not hing f un about pum ping som e uber- luxe soap w it h a prom ise of goat ?s m ilk and baby?s butt sm oot hness int o your hand only t o be hit w it h t he realizat ion t hat it ?s act ually t hat super cheapo orange junk t hat is only rem iniscent of t he school nurse?s grody inf irm ary. Or w orse, dish soap! Ew w w w w. Lesson: Purposely under- prom ise your cust om ers w hat you?ll be providing, t hen att em pt t o deliver at least a litt le m ore t han t hat and t hey?ll be less likely t o com e at you w it h ref und request s (or law suit s!). A good exam ple of t his is Jam es Wedm ore?s ?$1000 cookie.? When he sells a course at t his price point , he sends every cust om er a cookie. Som e people have even w ritt en back t o him t o t ell him t hey w ere going t o request a ref und but got his cookie and reconsidered! It doesn?t t ake m uch t o over deliver. A cookie, st icker or high- f ive via em ail is enough.
Issue #2: You?re not t aking care of t he cust om ers you already have. To cont inue using t he exam ple of t he soap in t he rest aurant , I am already t here, consum ing t he rest aurant ?s f ood and enjoying it s at m osphere (unt il t he soap t hing, t hat is.) The rest aurant has already done all t he hard w ork- - t hey?ve creat ed a f ood product I?m int erest ed in consum ing, st ood out f rom all t he ot her opt ions I had t o eat t onight and beat en t hem and gott en m e in t heir doors t o seal t he deal. But w it h t his one litt le t hing- - t hey failed t o t ake care of m e as a cust om er t hey already have. Lesson: Make your current client or cust om ers f eel loved on. This helps t hem t o rem em ber w hy t hey chose you, w hich leads t o great er t rust . When your cust om ers t rust you, t hey are less likely t o raise issues or allow t hings t o escalat e t o a point w here one of you needs t o f ire t he ot her or pull out your cont ract t o batt le it out . Pay att ent ion t o t he litt le t hings, and don?t be af raid t o hum ble brag about it you f eel like your eff ort s go unnot iced. For exam ple, I recent ly had a client w ho w as allergic t o f luoride at recent get t oget her, and I f elt f ine casually m ent ioning I?d paid f or w at er t est ing t o m ake sure she w as com f ort able. She appreciat ed it and f elt super loved on; I earned a litt le bit m ore of her t rust w hen she knew I had her back, even w hen she w as t oo busy t o t est f or som et hing t his im port ant herself. Issue #3: You don?t clearly def ine w hat ?s expect ed of your client s (or vice versa). If you don?t set t he rules w it h your client s or cust om ers, such as w it h a clearly def ined ref und policy, cancellat ion policy or t im eline w hen t hings w ill be delivered, your client is going t o be f illing in t he gaps f or you. When you fail t o m eet t heir m ade- up, som et im es ridiculous st andards, t hey w ill be upset and t his can lead t o problem s.
Lesson: Set a quot a. I usually record a brief video personalized t o t he purchaser t o explain w hat t o expect and w hen, and a w ay t o get in t ouch w it h m e. It t akes about 60- 90 seconds of m y t im e, and est ablishes m e as t he leader t hat t hey w ill look t o f or guidance (as opposed t o Facebook groups, online f orum s, Google searches, et c.). Creat ing a great cust om er experience doesn?t need t o eat int o your t im e or prof it s- - it just needs t o connect w it h t he cust om er on a personal level, and est ablish eit her t rust or underst anding w it h t hem . Words by Christ ina Scalera
CHERISHING MEMORIES WITH KATIE DOHERTY AND PHILLIP VAN NOSTRAND, LA ROUSSE SHOPPE
La Rousse Shoppe is a collect ion of heirloom glass phot o boxes f or nost algic print phot o ent husiast s but at t he heart of t he brand, lies t he co- ow ners' desire t o elevat e t heir client experience. In a t im e of digit al m em ories and short att ent ion spans, t he La Rousse Box celebrat es m om ent ous occasions and off ers a last ing, t act ile experience w it h t hought f ully designed boxes m ade t o display cherished phot os. Tell us a litt le bit about how La Rousse Shoppe got it s st art . La Rousse Shoppe st art ed in lat e 2014 w hen Kat ie Dohert y w as looking online f or som et hing prett y t o put her w edding print s in. She had a vision in her head of som et hing m ade of glass and m et al, like an old jew elry box, but in t he dim ensions of a phot o print . She looked everyw here online, on Am azon, Et sy, Google, et c, and just couldn't f ind a product t hat exist ed. So, t aking a cue f rom a passive incom e podcast she w as list ening t o, she w ent t o alibaba.com and f ound a m anufact urer in India t hat w orked w it h m et al and glass. They m ade her a sam ple box and f rom t here she purchased 50 boxes and st art ed an online shop, hoping ot hers w ould like her vision as m uch as she did.
How did t his successf ul side hust le im pact your phot ography businesses? I t hink f or bot h of us, it gave us t he ext ra incom e t o help pay our rent s and cruise t hrough t he slow er m ont hs in t he w edding w orld w it h som e st able incom e. Not only t hat , but bot h of us use t he boxes as gift s t o our client s, w hich has given our businesses added value. Last ly, it has increased our presence in t he indust ry, m aking us each leaders in som e sm all w ay. How have you seen it help ot her phot ographers and t heir client experience? Our boxes are a huge com ponent t o m any phot ographers out t here. We know so m any phot ographers w ho use our boxes on a regular basis w it h t heir client s (eit her as gift s, a part of t heir package, or up- sells), and t hey all say t he sam e t hing: "Our client s love your boxes!"
Why do you t hink t he client experience is so im port ant w hen it com es t o phot ography and t he w edding indust ry? Client experience is t he lif eblood of a phot ographer's business. If you t reat your client s w ell, t hey w ill absolut ely t ell t heir f riends, yelp, The Knot , and t he w orld about you. And if you don't t reat t hem w ell, t hey w ill also t ell t heir f riends, review sit es, et c about you. Make sure you t reat each client like a VIP, and your business w ill cont inue t o survive and t hrive. Phot ography is alm ost 100% a ref erral business, so m ake sure you act accordingly. How did you m ake your cust om er experience elevat ed f or La Rousse? We pride ourselves at La Rousse w it h st ellar cust om er service. Any issues w it h delivery, broken boxes, or general dissat isfact ion is im m ediat ely and w it hout quest ion responded t o w it h a replacem ent unit . We respond as fast as possible t o all cust om ers, and w e love gift ing people w it h litt le bonus gift s w hen w e can. We t reat our cust om ers like real people, and w e alw ays w ant t hem t o be as happy as possible. What w ould be your t op t ip f or elevat ing t he client experience? The cust om er is alw ays right , no argum ent s. Gift people w it h surprises occasionally, f or no reason at all. Set syst em s in place t o ensure t hat responses are quick and t hought f ul. (Those are t hree t ips, sorry!) Int erview by Meghan Ely
ELEVATE YOUR CLIENT EXPERIENCE WITH THE WORKFLOW BY MONICA NACLERIO, AMALFI SOIREE As w edding planners and lady bosses, one of t he biggest challenges w e face is cert ainly t o m aint ain a const ant qualit y st andard, w hich allow s us t o have a st rong, consist ent and coherent brand im age in any sit uat ion, even w hen w e are t ired or nervous. Hard t hing t o do, considering t hat a w edding is an event in w hich st ress and accident s are alw ays around t he corner! So, w hat t o do t o be sure t hat our client s have a rew arding and sat isf ying experience in every phase of t he process, f rom w hen t hey click on our sit e f or t he f irst t im e unt il t he day aft er t he event ?
Doing business, on t he ot her hand, m eans building relat ionships, and t he w ork f low support s us in t his t ask, allow ing t o save t im e w hile elevat e t he client experience. A w orkf low is som et hing m ore t han a To Do List . It not only includes t asks, sub- t asks and act ions t o delegat e, but alsoconsiders also t im ing, com m unicat ions w it h t he client , collat eral docum ent s, f ollow ups. HOW TO CREATE AN EFFICIENT WORKFLOW When you decide t o creat e your w orkf low, rem em ber t hat it is a process based on your w ork but f ocused on t he client . Consider w hich pat h you w ant t hat your ideal client s do w hen t hey approach and connect w it h you, evaluat e all t he possible w ays of int eract at ion and w hat st eps t o t ake t o guide t hem in t he process of buying bef ore, and creat ive lat er. 1. Ident if y t he phases or sect ions in w hich t he cont act w it h t he client occurs, f or exam ple: Inquire Process, Booking Process, Creat ive Process, Wedding Day, Post Wedding. 2. Writ e all t he t asks and subt asks f or each sect ion, if necessary by draw ing a sm all diagram in order t o bett er visualize all t he processes. Evaluat e w hat t he client 's response w ill be t o your st im ulus and how t o act accordingly. For exam ple, f or t he Inquire Process: Client act ion: Request inf o via f orm
THE ANSWER IS WORKFLOW
Wedding planner: Sending e- brochure
Paraphrasing Wikipedia, a w orkf low, "consist s of an orchest rat ed and repeat able patt ern of business act ivit ies, and can be represent ed as a sequence of operat ions in order t o com plet e a job."
Does t he cust om er answ er t he em ail? Yes: Plan a phone call / m eet ing; NO: Sending f ollow - up
Theref ore, a w orkf low is a series of int erconnect ed st eps developed t o sim plif y and st andardize t he w ork. Sim plif icat ion and st andardizat ion are t he t w o key w ords, because a consolidat ed process w on't only help you opt im izing and speeding up your w ork, but it w ill also allow you t o st ay organized, im prove your eff iciency and serve your cust om ers in a bett er w ay.
3. Design using t im eline and deadlines. Writ e t he t asks in t he order in w hich t hey are t o be done. For exam ple, schedule t he f ollow up aft er 5 days f rom sending t he f irst em ail, if you don't receive a reply. 4. Creat e m ail t em plat es and collat eral docum ent s such as quest ionnaires, pricing guides and brochures as support t he w orkf low.
THE BENEFITS OF THE WORKFLOW Designing a w orkf low is a great eff ort , but it w ill rew ard you in t he long run. It allow s you t o eff ect ively m anage your client s w it h a great saving of t im e, and t he consequence t hat you can put yourself on act ivit ies t hat really add value t o your brand. It allow s you t o opt im ize your w ork and m inim ize t he eff ort s f or a m ult it ude of repet it ive, boring and energy- draining t asks, such as answ ering and sending em ails. SHARE THE WORKFLOW Once you've def ined your w orkf low, it 's t im e t o share it w it h your st aff. To do t his you need t o creat e a PLAYBOOK, w hich is a guide on how t o do t hings. I st rongly recom m end you, in order t o aut om at e m ost of t he st eps, t o use an ext ernal CRM (Cust om er Relat ionship Managem ent ), like Honeybook, in com binat ion w it h Aisle Planner. It w ill sim plif y your lif e!
The Publisher s The Int ernat ional Academ y of Wedding & Event Planning is t he global hom e of 7 online cam puses, each off ering, f lexible and int eract ive courses, f or passionat e individuals w ant ing a career as Wedding & Event Planners, St ylist s and Designers. We are also deeply com m itt ed t o helping individuals w it h a desire t o launch t heir ow n businesses and are proud t o have been part of t he business success of m any of t he w orld's Wedding & Event prof essionals. When you st udy w it h t he Academ y, you can st udy f rom anyw here in t he w orld, it 's as sim ple as connect ing w it h a Cam pus nearest you.
SOME ADVICE... The biggest risk of w orking w it h a w orkf low is t o m echanize t he int eract ions w it h your client s. In order t o avoid t his, def ine your Brand Voice, set t he t one of t he relat ionship and let t he client s know t hat t hey are t alking w it h a hum an, not a robot ! Be f riendly and personal in your m essages, even if you're w rit ing a t em plat e t hat w ill be sent t o dozens of diff erent people. Also, be ready t o t ear off t he rule and skip a f ew passes if necessary. Aft er all, t he im port ant t hing is t hat your w ork adds value t o t he lif e of t he client .
Monica Naclerio is the founder of Am alfi Soiree. Before attending the UK Academ y of Wedding & Event Planning, she has spent over 8 years working in hospitality, com m unication and visual arts.
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It doesn’t seem possible that we are already onto the second 2018 issue of the magazine, but we are and I can promise you its a good one. Ou...
Published on Apr 25, 2018
It doesn’t seem possible that we are already onto the second 2018 issue of the magazine, but we are and I can promise you its a good one. Ou...