Sticking To The Timeline

Sep 07, 2021

How strict are you about following the timeline?  I know some planners who are so strict, it basically doesn't matter what is going on if the timeline says to do it, it is happening.  I have found that taking a different approach works really well for the guests, vendors, and overall feeling of the event.  

I do create a timeline for myself to know how long and in what order things should happen.  I also have that timeline down to the minute.  Then for the couple and some of the vendors I provide them with what I call the order of events with only the times that they need to know about.

So it may look something like this:

What I have found is I don't want many people to know when things should be happening because I like to work with the vendors, watch the guests, and have what looks like a go-with-the-flow timeline. What really is happening is if the photographer wants 10 more minutes, or the guests are board I can move something along, or if the...

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Becoming a Destination Planner

Sep 06, 2021

If you love to travel, this could be an amazing way to see the world and get paid while you work.  I have done some destination weddings and for me, our company structure, and the client load we typically have, it didn't work well for me.  Don't get me wrong, we loved the travel, we got paid well and it was a great experience.  However, our local clients required more of my time at our base office. Had I created a different structure in the beginning I could probably take more destination weddings.

The best way to start this type of service, I would recommend focusing on a certain area 1st.  Pick a location or top 3 you may want to serve.  You could for example choose Yosemite or Hawaii or the place of your choice.  Then figure out the cost of travel for you and any staff you may need. You should for sure need to travel at least 1 time prior to the wedding to set up all the details.  Then incorporate this into your planning fee. 

If you can...

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Persona Principle

Sep 05, 2021

I know many planners/coordinators who put on a particular persona when they start their business.  I believe I may have even have fallen into this trap in the beginning.  I think I and many others may have thought a wedding planner needs to be a certain type of person. So, I acted that way and then got trapped in that character. So what is the Persona Principle? Personas are fictional characters, that we create based on our idea of an image that will represent what we feel will reflect an image we want to project. Then we will use that for our service, product, site, or brand in a similar way.

Creating a persona will help you to identify and understand your client's needs, experiences, behaviors, and goals.

However, if this isn't done carefully, this can cause problems in the future because it is hard to continually put on a fake image. Then this can send a mixed message.  I think it is important to do some self-reflection into who you are and...

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Are You Priced Too High?

Sep 04, 2021

If you are asking yourself if your pricing is too high, there are most likely 2 reasons for this, but they both are still because of the same reason. Let me explain. If you are new to the business, you may want to price your services low.  It is a great way to get business and gain experience at the same time. I stand behind this principle all the way. 

So, what if you have been in business for a while you raised your prices, but you just can't book as many clients as you would like?

This has happened to me often throughout my career.  When it happened, I did a few things, offered specials and discounts just to get the business.  It did indeed work. Then after a few months, I ended up regretting giving the discounts. I and my staff ended up working really hard, I still had to pay my staff and myself and did a high-quality job, but was disappointed that I got paid less than I should have.

Analyzing this, it is obvious that I placed the negative feelings on the...

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Marketing Your Business

Sep 03, 2021

Marketing is a very confusing process in the current climate.  Branding, marketing, sales, social media, google ads, website, magazine ads, networking, expos, I could go on and on listing keywords that are spoken when talking about marketing. This is what is confusing, each of these items is separate and different from the other. So then, where do you start and where do you put your time? 

That is a good question to ask, what are you currently doing to market your business? Or are you advertising your business? You may be asking yourself, how are they different? Oh now, this is the right question.  They are very different.  Marketing is your message and how you speak your message that coneys who you are and the customers you want to serve. Advertising is the actual exercise of promoting your business and products or services through paid sources.

Here is a practical way to see that: You serve a budget-friendly client at a reduced price compared to your...

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What do you do when they won't do what you tell them to do?

Sep 02, 2021

How do you help a client that thinks they know more than you? This has been a major frustration in my career.  They may literally tell me how to plan, that they don't think they aren't going to pay certain fees vendors are charging, they don't think vendor or venue policies are fair, and they were under the impression...

I wish I was the person who could say, I told you so.  I guess I am the type that would rather steep quietly inside instead of making them feel the embarrassment. 

Even I have created policies and processes to reduce or limit these problems and some of my clients don't even want to follow them.  They feel their way of planning is better, then sure enough a few months later, they are frustrated and it feels like they blame me for it. 

Recently this happened and I guess, I had just had enough. I had a 1-hour Zoom meeting where the client and I went back and forth with their frustration about the budget being more than they wanted to...

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Expanding Your Services

Sep 01, 2021

Are you looking for ways to increase your income?  Considering expanding your services could be a great way to get more money without increasing the number of clients you take.  

When I first started out, I added a few simple items that I could rent to every client.  I started with renting votive candles.  I rented them for $1.00 each. Each wedding needed about 150 -200 candles, then I added chargers for $1.00 each. Then I added napkins. Before I knew it, I added an extra $1,000.00. 

Think of things that you can add that you may have talent in.  Can you make invitations, programs, favors, flowers, desserts, or even alterations?   It is really easy to add services because you already know the client and their taste or temperament, it will be easy to communicate with them about additions or changes. 

Today, our company includes floral, rentals, decor items, stationery, dessert stations, and some catering services. You can choose to...

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The Glamorous Life of a Wedding Planner

Aug 31, 2021

The hottest career choice out there right now is that of a Wedding Planner. For many it is easy to see it’s appeal. You get to be the star of the day or the hero if you will. Solving problems, bossing people around and making a ton of cash. It does sound amazingly glamourous. I mean, we've all seen the move "The Wedding Planner".

Although you may be able to sense my sarcasm, I have, to be honest, for me, it is a pretty amazing blessing. When I first started, Wedding and Event Planners were few and far between. Now, I have been in the wedding and event Industry now for over 30 years. I have planned thousands of events of all types, big, and small. Overall I would have to say it has been a bigger blessing than I really ever imagined.

I think it is pretty easy to see the appeal. The key is to stay in this industry long term, you need to be level headed and pretty thick skinned. As with most careers, there are many ups and downs, good times and bad times, positives and...

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Fake it 'til you make it.

Aug 30, 2021

I really hate this phrase.  What I feel like it is saying is lie to people until you don't have to.  I just don't feel like that is good advice any way you look at it.  Don't post photos and say they are yours and don't tell people you have planned a bunch of weddings if you haven't.

I know what you're thinking, "Then how do I get business?"  Easy, be honest. If you are just starting out, consider offering your services either free or at a huge discount. Trust me, you will have plenty of business.  There are a lot of couples want a little help and many want to just say that they have a "planner" to their friends.

If you take the honest approach, you can build your portfolio, get great reviews, and build your networking group.  

Think of it this way, if you get caught in a lie, you could get a bad review, bad reputation, and have an uphill battle trying to repair what you've done.  If you continue to struggle getting business,...

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Interns- Free help!?

Aug 29, 2021

 Internships, they can be career or even life altering.  Offering internships helped my business take off to a new level and have been a valuable part of my business from the onset.  I continually make improvements to our program and have found them to be one of the biggest blessings in my business. 

We offer several types of internships in our business.  At the inception of our program, I started the program out of necessity.  I needed additional staff but couldn't afford it. So, I thought it would be beneficial if I offered an internship program. It is easy to see why I would want to offer an internship program, free labor right?

It is a running thread through my company that I value people. I value our clients, our vendors and our team.  Our team, includes interns. With this in mind.  I did not want our interns to feel like they were free labor, but wanted them to feel like they were learning valuable information. Because of this I...

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