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The Not-So-Glamorous Life of a Wedding Planner, PART 2

wedding planner meme

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel and a bunch of WPIC Certified Wedding Planners

One of my favorite blog posts to date is, “The Not-So-Glamorous Life of a Wedding Planner“.  WPICers told stories about their craziest and least-glamorous times on the job, so here is Part 2.

People think being a Wedding Planner is all glamour and fluff, not real work, well let us tell you about that…

I asked our WPICAlumni community, “What have you done for a couple that you never realized would be a part of being a professional wedding coordinator?”, most of us had many examples:

  • “I made several dress holders out of garbage bags so my bride could pee in private and not require anyone to hold her dress.
  • I’ve driven the couples’ grandparents home during the reception.
  • I’ve also driven a stranded bridesmaid home after a fight with her boyfriend at the wedding.
  • Cleaning a bathroom when the venue refused to because they said the guests were too messy, LOL.
  • Written the entire MC speech and program for a very reluctant MC (the couple had no idea, still don’t).
  • I cut and plated the wedding cake for 100 guests because the caterer was used to corporate events and had never cut a wedding cake.
  • Something I never thought I would have to do: fold the napkins for the entire guest list. ” -Danielle Andrews Sunkel, The Wedding Planners

“The list goes on and on, but includes:

  • Building & Staking 180 solar lights.
  • Running guests from the reception tent to the washrooms under an umbrella all night (over 200 guests and not 1 brought their own umbrella-they used the 3 I had for the whole night.)
  • Busing tables.
  • Learning how to run a generator.
  • Cleaning a cabin for guests.
  • Finding lost items in the reception site the day after the wedding.
  • Picking up garbage and beer cans from the grounds.
  • Driving to 3 different venues the day after the wedding to collect various borrowed and rented items.
  • Making 2 trips into town to buy beer, wine and water on the father of the grooms credit card.
  • Asking guests to use the bathrooms provided and not pee 10 feet from the tent.
  • Working behind the bar.” -Ashlie Metcalf, Harmony Wedding & Event Coordinator

 

  • “Helping a catering company to cut and pass out the cake (Same catering company helped me earlier to get rid of 10,762 ants that came out of the peonies in centrepieces)
  • Folding 199 napkins into pocket folds for menus (with Gaitree, LOL!) because the venue only would put them in glasses
  • Driven a photographer home from Caledon to downtown Toronto, then he asked me out for drinks…(I said no)
  • Break up a photo shoot that the MIL set up for herself, so that the couple’s individual shots could get done
  • Hidden a couple from the parents so they could practise their first dance & have a few minutes alone, & blocked the door (I ushered them outside & told the Mother I hadn’t seen them)
  • Filled toilet paper and paper towels dispenser. I had to get supplies from an upstairs room that was supposedly HAUNTED. *My assistant refused to come with me…LOL” -Tracey Manailescu, Tracey M Events

 

  •  “Lifted up a bride’s dress during the photo shoot to place a battery operated fan underneath her dress (over and over again as they walked) to keep her cool.
  • Drove to the bride’s family house and “broke into” the house (with the permission) to get her speech
  • Checked in on a dog ring-bearer throughout the night to make sure he had enough food/water
  • Pulled a wedgie from a bride’s bum, UNDERNEATH her dress because she couldn’t reach it
  • Set up an entire wedding tent (ceremony chairs, head table, guest tables, bar, linen, cutlery, glassware and flatware, folded 200 pocket napkins) on a farm (next to a mosquito infested marsh) with an assistant who was 5 months pregnant in the middle of July
  • Ordered 150 cheeseburgers from McDonald’s and picked them up for a late night buffet
  • Cut a wedding cake with a rubber spatula on the back patio of a venue because we were evacuated for possible building combustion (needless to say the cake looked spectacular on paper plates! LOL)
  • Drove a photographers car around downtown Toronto because he decided last minute he could capture better photos if he was on the bus with the bridal party
  • IRONED satin napkins to a fold because the bride had to have a pocket fold with her slippery satin napkins
  • Went to the MoH’s hotel room (she gave me the room number, and key) to get her speech. The key didn’t work, so I had to go to the front desk to explain what was going on, thankfully they let me in. I texted the MoH when I got there and didn’t find the speech. Found out I was in the WRONG ROOM and had gone through this person’s things! Had to go back down to the front desk to get the key for the right room. [Seriously sometimes I think I could get charged for breaking and entering.]
  • Running servers from the food tent to the reception tent with a umbrella over the food so that it stayed dry, meanwhile we were soaking wet!
  • Cleared centerpieces off the guests tables as per the bride’s request so that the guests wouldn’t ‘steal them’
  • Chased a guest outside the venue to track down rented escort card holders, table number holder and napkin rings they thought they could keep!
    Oh my gosh! There are so many!” – Kim Choy, Morganley Events

“I had to find my bride’s chihuahua that was hiding in her parents basement because she wouldn’t leave for the church without a photo of her and her dog.”  Maria Sun Dela Cruz, Envision Elegance

  • “Expedited meals for 135 guests at a high-end Toronto venue
  • Ordered & paid for pizza for a band because the venue didn’t want to feed them
  • Convinced party crashers they weren’t the brother of the groom at a NYE wedding at an ultra-formal wedding (crashers were white and wore jeans, groom is a family friend and Chinese)
  • Set up an entire tented wedding while 5 months pregnant … Wait, Kim already mentioned that one.
  • Ate dinner from common dishes by the light of cell phones with 4 photographers behind the backdrop.” -Erin Bosak, Erin Bosak Weddings

 

  • “Assembled candelabras at the venue for the centerpieces – in two hours!
  • Chiseled incorrect names off an ice sculpture for the ice cream bar .” -Alessia Velocci & Daniela Voci, aVd Events Inc.

“Having to use the Men’s room at a park wedding (not by choice)!” -Valerie Gower, The Occasion Sensation

  • “Escorted a venue security guard off the premise, as he was asking guests for food.
  • Booked a (last-minute) nail appointment for the bride as she decided to `fix`her shellac nails 2.5 hours before the ceremony. I tried to stop her, but she refused my suggestion for having my assistant and I fix her nails instead. She was willing to `sacrifice`other things for the nails…such as first look photos…
  • Confirm that there was indeed a DEAD DEER in the middle of the driving path down to the main roads.” -Phoebe Lo, Phoebe Lo Events

 

  • “Folded 100 Napkins in a very complicated napkin fold because the venue couldn’t.
  • Printed out menu cards for the couple because the printer messed up and put the wrong couples names on the menu.
  • Have made boutenirs and corsages on the spot more than once.
  • Became ‘security’ for a couple’s mother-in-law when she attempted to cause a scene disrupting the reception introductions.
  • Cleaned up Bathrooms at a venue.
  • Written a Best Man’s Speech.
  • Stepped in as the MC when the original MC got too drunk to perform his duties.
  • Stepped in as a ‘photographer’ when the hired photographer decided to leave early.
  • Assembled Guest Favours on the day-of the wedding.
  • Steamed table linen at a venue.  Etc. Etc. Etc. There is soo much.” -Denise Newell, WeDDings Jubilee

 

  • “Moved over 100 chairs for an outdoor ceremony with 2 other ladies (since the “men” asked didn’t show up)
  • got a band member to download the first dance song to play on their laptop since the person with the song didn’t have it on their phone
  • Assembled centerpieces for a reception
  • reattached fake eyelashes with a toothpick several times
  • got suckered into dancing with an old family friend of the bridal couple.
  • made a toss bouquet out of centerpiece flowers 2 mins before the bouquet toss
  • made 3 large coffee percolators of coffee for guests
  • spraying a band down with bug spray as they were getting eaten alive by mosquitoes
  • protected cupcakes from being devoured while they were being set up so the couple could see them and the photographers could get photos. Guests were trying to reach around the cake makers! ” -Amanda Kueneman, Like A Star Weddings & Events

“Running to the liquor store to replace 4 dozen bottles of wine.” -Louise Muller, Perfect Day Ventures

  • “Shaving the back of the groom’s neck because he realized, while getting dressed, that it would probably look better in pictures if his hairy back didn’t merge with the hair on his head….
  • Talking the bride out of leaving the reception in the middle of dinner… in the rain, in a very muddy parking lot
  • Washing the walls at the reception venue during set-up because they were “clean enough” despite being covered in weird brown sticky stuff….
  • Combing a rather large park trying to find a rather small broach that the bride lost at some point during photos.” -All Bandry, Ally Kat Designs

 

 

How to Look and be Great on TV and Video

look good on tv

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Everyone loves weddings, anything about weddings draws viewers in, so it only makes sense that the media calls on wedding planners to answer questions, offer tips and talk about the newest trends.  You can be called for a television interview at any time and odds are you will not have much time to prepare, sometimes only a couple of hours.

You know that saying, “The camera adds 10 pounds.”  Well its a lie.  The camera adds 10% to your body weight.  So if you weigh 100 lbs, yes the camera adds 10 lbs, but if you weigh 200 lbs you look 20 lbs heavier!! So unfair.  How you dress, stand and even where you put your hands can make you look better on camera.

Here are some important tips on how to look your best on television and video:

Posture

Sit or stand up straight.  Slouching or getting to comfortable makes you look disinterested and a lot heavier than you are.

Clothing

You must feel good in your clothes.  When you feel good, you look good.

  • Wear proper fitting clothes, nothing too big or frumpy.
  • Patterns tend to dance on the screen, so stick to solids.
  • Colours: Solid black, white and red are no-no’s. Bright colours and jewel tones look great on screen.
  • Boots look very strange on men on television.
  • A dark top with a longer jacket or vest elongates heavier people.  The heavier the person, the longer the lines of their clothing should be.
  • If you will be sitting down and wearing a skirt, pay attention to the length of the skirt when you sit.  You don’t want to be fidgeting and adjusting during the interview.
  • Men if you are wearing a jacket, unbutton at least the bottom button when you sit.
  • Your clothing doesn’t have to be expensive or designer (no one will be able to tell), but it must be clean, professional, comfortable and make you feel good.
  • Make sure your shoes are clean and polished.

before and after makeup

Hair & Make-up

Depending on the show you are on, they may have a hair and make-up person, if they don’t, you must do your own.

  • Men, use a blotting paper or some translucent powder so you don’t shine on television, you will just look sweaty.
  • Women, you do not look finished or put together if you don’t have on make-up.  Sorry you don’t.  At the very least put on concealer, mascara and lipstick.
  • If you have time, why not get your hair and makeup professionally done?  It is a business expense and well worth it.
  • Make sure your nails are neat and tidy.  Do not go on TV with chipped nail polish.
  • If your roots are showing, fix them up!

How to Talk

Speak naturally, in your normal voice.  You are not the announcer or a news anchor, so don’t talk like one.  Do not rush, and speak clearly.  Make sure you have had enough water before hand and if water is there for you don’t be afraid to drink (it’s great if you need to collect your thoughts and you should keep your mouth wet so you can speak properly.)

wpic reporter on the street

Dealing with the Microphone

Depending on the program you are being interviewed on, you will have a boom microphone overhead, be wearing a handheld lavaliere mic or holding a handheld microphone.  If there is an overhead boom microphone, you can just carry on and not worry about where the microphone is.  If you will be wearing the mic, make sure there will be somewhere to clip the microphone or else a stranger might be seeing more of you than you intended so they can hook it to your undergarments. If you will be holding a handheld, make sure it is under your chin about 6 inches from your face.  If you put your thumb on your chin and extend your pinky, that is the distance you should hold the mic away from you.

What to do with your eyes

Look at the person you are speaking to, whether it is the interviewer, the audience or the audience at home (the camera).  If your eyes are darting around or you are not looking at the person you are speaking to, you look untrustworthy.

Blink naturally, excessive blinking makes you look like you are hiding something, not blinking is unnatural and makes you look a little crazy.

You’ve heard the term, “Make love to the camera!”  Probably not the appropriate look you want to portray, but do look at the camera the way you would look at a good friend or loved one.  This will make you look more relaxed and approachable.

blond reporter

What to do with your hands

I was a commentor for The Royal Wedding on a Live Morning Show.  Later, when I watched the recording I noticed that I held my hands clasped behind my back, in a weird position in the middle of my back, the ENTIRE time.  I was mortified, it made me look two football fields wide!  I’m a hand talker and I didn’t want to wave my hands around because it is distracting to the viewers.  Instead of clasping my hands behind my back, I should have kept my arms slightly bent with my hands open naturally infront of my hips.  This is subconscious body language that shows I am engaged, open and trustworthy.

Research, research, research

You don’t want to be caught off guard, so make sure you know the topic inside out.

Be Genuine

If you don’t know the answer to something, just say so.  You will look foolish and be found out if you give false information.  That interview and free publicity could ruin you if you lie.

I know this was a lot of advice and too much to remember all at once, so the biggest take away is “Look good, feel good.”

How to help get your work featured

Media Badges

by Guest Blogger, Amy Stevenson, WPICC of EventSource.ca

An Introduction

The décor was perfect, the flowers gorgeous and the bride and groom were both stunning.  You receive all the polished photos from your wedding photographer and you know for certain, you’ve got yourself a winning blog submission that will for sure grab the attention of new clients!

So now comes the hard part: with so many media outlets out there, which wedding website, blog or magazine will work best for you?

As a blog editor, I see dozens of submissions each day. Here are my tips for finding the right media outlet and how to get your work noticed and – most importantly – published!

Be Clear on your Objective

It’s time to be real with yourself and decide on exactly what you want to get out of having your work published. Are you looking to attract new local clients? Are you looking to bolster your brand’s cachet? Perhaps you’re just starting out and you’re looking to garner the attention of other industry professionals?

Once you’ve determined your end-goal in having your work published, you can then determine the best place to start pitching your idea.  This brings us to our next point:

pink wedding dress

Research your media outlet

Sometimes we receive submissions where it’s apparent that someone does not understand what we do or who our market is. It’s likely they have submitted to as many outlets as they could find, essentially throwing their submission at the proverbial wall to see what sticks.

It certainly pays to do your homework to ensure that the media outlet to which you submit, does in fact target your desired audience and fits well with your predetermined objective.

For example, let’s say your goal is to target new clients: it would make the most sense to find local media outlets that are firmly entrenched with your desired audience. They can get your work in front of the people that are most likely pick up the phone or send an email to inquire about your services.

It’s also important to look at the styles of features they publish. If your event is a DIY wedding, it likely doesn’t make sense to submit it to an ultra, high end blog or magazine (unless of course, the DIY is incredibly impressive!).

Each media outlet will publish their requirements for submission so make sure you read that section carefully. Do you have enough photos? Do they only publish colour photos and you have mostly black and white? Submitting with the wrong requirements can cause delay and perhaps even lead to your work not being considered – even if it is otherwise fantastic!

Couple from above

It’s about the Details…

This goes hand-in-hand with reading up on the submission requirements. Once you have the technical items taken care of, it’s time to “wow” the editor.

My favourite submissions are those that include personal stories from the wedding planner, photographer and of course the bride and groom! We love to hear about the story behind the submission: what sort of stand-out features were at the event?  Were there any interesting customs or traditions?  What made the event so unique?

Readers want to be drawn into the wedding and to feel as though they were there, so that they can relate and picture your submission as their own.  The more details you can provide, the more compelling an article we can write, the better the results you will receive.

What to do once you’ve been published

Getting your work published on a reputable blog or magazine is a full-on brag-worthy accomplishment! But it’s not just about opportunities; it’s about what you do with them!

To make the most of your newfound exposure, social media is your tool of choice. Your fans and followers want to hear all about your victories and accomplishments. Everyone wants to work with a winner: reinforce this fact wherever possible your fans will become more engaged with your brand (even if you’re the modest type in real life).

Most blogs and magazines offer badges and graphics you can use to display on your website or email signatures. Badges act as perpetual ringing endorsements from third-party sources – why not take advantage of them? Displaying your “achievements” prominently on your website not only looks great, but provides current and prospective clients additional reassurance that they’ve “come to the right place”.

Social Media bubbles

In Conclusion

Like any form of marketing, blog submissions are an ongoing process that can yield some pretty serious results over time. To maximize your efforts, start off right by being clear on your objectives and submitting to the appropriate media outlet. Let the publisher know exactly why your submission is so awesome by including lots and lots of details. Once published, maximize your efforts by sharing your achievements on social media and displaying a graphic on your website.

We are fortunate that our industry is chock-full of incredible opportunities. It’s how you optimize and maximize these opportunities that can be the difference between a good opportunity and a great one.

Amy Stevenson Event SourceAmy Stevenson, WPICC, lives to discover all the newest and most fabulous event and wedding trends.  Drawing from over 10 years in the industry, Amy compiles her fabulous finds daily on the EventSource.ca Blog. 

EventSource is Toronto’s leading online event planning site.  Through this, Amy connects and works with Toronto’s most talented vendors, showcasing the absolute best of the Toronto weddings and event scene!

Amy’s love for weddings is matched only by her love for animals. Amy acts on the board of directors of a charity raising funds to build a new animal shelter.

5 Things You can Do Right Now to Improve Your Wedding Planning Business

By: Tracey Manailescu

meeting new peeps

1. Surround yourself with like minded individuals:
Do you have nay-sayers in your life? Maybe it’s time to step away and move over to the other side, you know the side where people are lifting you up instead of tearing you down? People who encourage you to dream bigger, invest wiser and offer tips and guidance as to help you grow personally and professionally. Get active in professional groups (WPIC Alumni Association, MPI, ISES to name a few) to learn and communicate with people who have been there, and can offer sound advice and encouragement. Have a coffee night with some wedding pros who are interested in growing their businesses, or a veteran who is willing to listen and critique your marketing strategies, attend networking events, and open houses to see what is out there. Be open to possibilities and watch YOU grow!

As Seen on WPIC button

2. Celebrate your successes:
Share your accomplishments with people who will be happy for you.  It is so exciting to be mentioned in an article, featured in a magazine, get a glowing review from your couples, get an award, get your website, logo and business cards professionally done, register your business, selecting a company name, etc.  Whatever it is, you need to share this with people who will be happy for you. Share it on social media, on the WPIC Alumni baords, invite someone out for a drink, go out to dinner with your better half and just relish in the feeling for a little bit. You worked hard for this moment, so enjoy it!

www.wpic.ca

3. Believe in yourself: 
Everyone, yes everyone, is good at something. What is it that makes you a great wedding planner?  Are you fantastic at keeping couples within their budget?  Are you amazing at design and execution? Can you create timelines and logistics like nobody’s business? Do you have mad customer service skills? Do you problem solve and put everyone at ease? Do you take charge and keep things moving when family influences are threatening to ruin the harmony? Whatever it is that makes you stand out from the crowd, be that. Own it and build your business with it.

SMART formula written on a chalkboard

4. Know your weaknesses: 
It is impossible to be good at everything. There is always going to be someone who knows more, makes more, has more influence, and who you look up to and admire. Thank goodness for that.  Life would be pretty boring if you thought you were the be all, end all of weddings (and if you think you are, then ummm…Houston, we have a problem!). Once you know who you are and what you need to work on, go and do it! Study, watch and grow yourself. Always try to be a better version of you.

quote

5. Write it out:
All of the above mentioned points seems pretty much like common sense, right? So what are you waiting for? Go make a list of things you are good at, things you need to improve, and things you want to accomplish. Break these down into things to work on this week, this month and then this year. Thing always become much more real, and you will feel much more accountable when these are laid out in front of you. Give yourself deadlines and challenges for success. Go on, get growing!

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

Tracey Manailescu is the Co-Founder of WPIC inc. and has been a professional wedding planner for 15 years. She also owns the wedding planning firm, Tracey M Events.

You have seen her quoted in many different newspapers, magazines, on television and in Blogs giving expert wedding and business advice.  Weddings and events that Tracey has coordinated have also been featured. 

She regularly speaks at Wedding Conferences around the world.

Considerations for Hiring a Cinematographer

We are thrilled to share this beauty of an article with you! Great tips, beautiful images and talented superstars Christine & Rich are guest bloggers on our site today.

Considerations for Hiring a Cinematographer

By Christine & Rich Yodsukar, The Yodsukars

www.weddingprocourses.com

It can be difficult enough sifting through a seemingly endless list of photographers to find the perfect one for your client, but what about finding them their dream Cinematographer? Add to that the fact that Cinematographers vary across such a broad spectrum- from newbie to celebrity wedding filmmakers, and it’s no surprise one may find it challenge to pair their client with just the right fit.

Not sure what should be considered your deciding factors? Well, we have three areas of interest that you can use to talk to your client about that will help you nail down the best Cinematographer for your event.

Lauren and Louis (Click on photo to view on Vimeo)

Budget

Perhaps the first and most important thing to consider when finding the best Cinematographer for your client is their budget. Although in past years videography has traditionally cost far less than photography, times are changing, and rightly so. Some Cinematographers use very high end gear and spend days before and after the actual wedding filming footage for their edits. They tend to have a great deal of equipment due to the nature of videography, and their work can also require higher numbers of shooters. As a planner, you may want to consider asking Cinematographers for their pricing lists to have on hand. Find that some are hesitant to share? Even having a starting price on file can save you both time when qualifying prospects.

Style

Your clients’ style is crucial to consider when finding them the perfect Cinematographer. Are they into vintage and thrift stores? Might be best to show them videographers that shoot on Super 8 film and use heavy vintage editing. Does your client want to be the star of their own hollywood blockbuster? In this case you can direct them toward a Cinematographer that shoots in a highly stylized manner, creating a film that is less about every moment of the wedding day and more about creating a compelling story on film. As with any vendor referrals, it’s always vital to have Cinematographers with a variety of styles in your arsenal to help clients better visualize their options.

Katie and Jonathon (Click on photo to view on Vimeo)

Taste

Is your client asking for video services because they want to or because their parents want them to? More traditional videographers have a very distinct style in which they usually film the entire day from start to finish with very few cuts in the footage. This is then delivered to the client just how it was filmed with no edits, except perhaps a few fades between shots and script-y titles. In short, perfect for mom and dad, but not necessarily what the couple may want.

The emerging new school of Cinematographers are creating highly edited stories that capture the essence of the couple, and feel more like you are watching movie fit for the big screen. Ultimately, it is up to your client to decide which will make them the happiest in the end.

With so many varieties of Cinematographers out there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. By talking your client through their Budget, Style, and Taste, you will have a strong sense of who to send them to. It’s always a great idea to have a list of your preferred vendors on hand that you know and have worked with, but just remember that with so many amazing shooters out there and with ever-differing clients, it can always pay off to throw a wildcard in the bag!

Sherry and Andrew (Click on photo to view on Vimeo)

Christine and Rich Yodsukar are the power couple behind Los Angeles based Photography & Cinematography studio, The Yodsukars. They cater to luxury weddings both in the States and abroad, can be seen frequently on WEtv and OWN, and coach Photographers and Cinematographers to better their technical and business skills through their Mentoring program.

7 Business Resolutions You Need to Keep this Year

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

We look at New Years and reflect on the year that just past and the excitement of possibilities the future holds.  We promise ourselves we will do these great things this year.  We’ll work smarter not harder, we’ll win an award, we’ll get tons of business, we will become a media legend.

A lot of our “resolutions” are dreams, not goals, but here are 7 business resolutions you need to keep:

1. Move up to the next level

You need to take a hard look at your business.  Everyone has a dream for their business, you need to look at the dream and assess how far your reality is from that dream.  What do you need to do to attain that?  Dress better, get a better brand, learn a new skill, market more, gain more media exposure, get more clients, get bigger budget clients?

Everyone’s business model is different, you need to assess what defines success for you and what you need to do or change to make that happen.  Your dream needs to turn into and remain your goal.

2. Blog more

It can be hard to keep your Blog updated, trust me I know, but if you have a Blog attached to your website you need to post to it 1-2 times per week or remove it.

Keep it fresh, keep it relelvant and post things you would want to read as someone planning a wedding.  Here are some tips to get you started, “5 Blog Posts to Write After a Wedding“.

3. Keep up with Social Media

Did you know that more content gets published every day than all the information that was published before 2004 as a whole?  That is insane, but that is the world we live in.
In one month:

  • 1,350,000,000 people use Facebook
  • 300,000,000 people use Instagram
  • 284,000,000 people use Twitter
  • 70,000,000 people use Pinterest
  • 300,000,000 people use Google+
  • 60,000,000,000 views on YouTube
Source: Digital Marketing Ramblings

Your potential clients are consuming mass amounts of information on Social Media, why aren’t you front and center delivering that content?

4. Attend a conference or three

There is this weird stigma about conferences in the wedding industry.  People think that once they have earned a particular degree of clout they look weak for attending an industry conference unless they are speaking at it.  Huh?  No one, NO ONE, knows everything about weddings or the industry, you should know that you look really silly when you try to act like you do.

There are so many great conferences out there.  Even if the learning isn’t that great, the networking might be, if the networking isn’t that great, the learning will be.  If you only learn one great tip from the conference you attend, that tip will still make you smarter and you will earn more money.

As I always say, “You dont’t know, what you don’t know.” ;)

5. Master a new skill

Further to the point above, everyone can learn a new skill and you will only be better for it.  Learn about Google Adwords, learn how to create great Vlogs, learn the language of your favorite Destination Wedding spot, how to create a great website, learn how to fix cakes, learn how to sew, how to take great photos for your portfolio, learn how to attract media.

Just learn, learn, learn!

6. Keep better books

It is a fact of business: to have a good business you have to keep good books.  You should be in complete control of your finances and you need to know what is happening with your business.  There should never be surprises and nothing would be worse than getting a tax bill for $10,000 at the end of the year when you were completely unprepared and oblivious to it. By not keeping good books, the only person you are hurting is yourself.

7. Get media attention/professional accolades

No one is going to beat down your door for quotes or to present you with accolades.  If you want it, you have to go get it.

If you want more media, prepare a kick-butt Media Kit and send it out to every outlet you want to be featured in, send out real wedding features, build amazing styled photoshoots and go after your goal.

If professional accolades and awards are something that is important to you, make sure you are worthy of them and enter the categories.  I’m not talking about the popularity contests that are based on how many of your friends click their vote everyday, I’m talking about real industry awards that acknowledge all of your hard work and dedication.

Some people could care less about media attention or professonal accolades, but if it is something that is important to you, be worthy and go after them!

I’m sure you have noticed that every resolution I have listed means a lot of hard work from you.  Any successful person will tell you they achieved their success through blood, sweat and tears.  Success does not just fall in your lap (as so many believe), it is the result of hard work, sacrifice and dedication.  Anything that matters always is ;)

Photo by Avenue-Photo.com

Photo by Avenue-Photo.com

Danielle Andrews Sunkel is the Co-Founder of WPIC Inc. and has owned The Wedding Planners since the year 2000.

She doesn’t just preach, she walks the walk, and talks the talk.

Danielle is regularly featured in magazines, in newspapers, on Blogs, on television shows and speaks at Industry Conferences. A true believer in education, she attends many conferences every year, constantly learns new skills and best of all, she shares what she learns to make us all better and more successful.

WPIC 2014 Year in Review

From the WPIC Co-founders, Tracey Manailescu & Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Photo by HazelR.com at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami

Photo by HazelR.com at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami

Each year, we provide a re-cap of all that has happened in the world of WPIC, and there is always a lot.  2014 was no exception.

WPIC & WPIC Alumni in the Media

WPIC Wedding Trends Todays Bride articleWe are so proud of our WPIC Alumni.  From awards, magazine features, television shows and news spots, they have received so many accolades and an amazing amount media attention this year.  Here are just a few highlights as we can’t possibly fit all of the accomplishments of our many alumni in this post:

Parlez-vous Française? Hablas Español?

francaise espanolWe had our wedding planner course translated into French and Spanish to better accommodate our international students.  More languages will be coming shortly.

Nous avons eu le programme de planificateur de mariage traduit en français pour mieux accueillir nos étudiants internationaux.

Teníamos nuestro programa planificador de la boda traducido al español para acomodar mejor a nuestros estudiantes internacionales.

Speaking Engagements

www.wpic.ca

In The Nation Newspaper for the our speaking engagement at the Forever I Do show in Barbados

This year we spoke at international wedding conferences, conventions and symposiums including:

  • The Mississauga Total Wedding Show “Tips for Planning a Great Wedding”
  • Forever I Do in Barbados about “Planning the Perfect Wedding”
  • Wedding MBA in Las Vegas about “International Wedding Trends”
  • The Jamaica Wedding Professionals Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where we delivered two seminars about, “International Wedding Trends” and “Practices of Successful Wedding Professionals.”  

WPIC Events

There were tons of learning and networking opportunities provided to WPIC Alumni through out the year:

WPIC Adminsitration Change

www.wpic.caWe have had big changes within the WPIC administration office, we said “Goodbye” to, Kim Choy, who has moved on to a wonderful position as Event Co-ordinator for another company, and said “Welcome” to our new Office Manager, Kaley Campbell.

Kim was with us for over 5 years, since she was an intern at WPIC Inc.  Her full-time start coincided perfectly with our move to our head offices in Markham, so it felt like she was with us from our new beginning.

We had 427 applications for Kim’s job!  We went over each resume with a fine-toothed combed, narrowed the applicants to 10 interviews and when it felt like we were not going to find that “perfect fit”, we got one more resume.  We were impressed by Kaley’s experience as an Adminstration Assistant and her degree in Marketing.  When we met her, we knew her go-getter, bubbly personality was perfect!  After checking her references (as soon as she left our interview), we hired her within the hour.

Kaley fit in quickly and has already worked on a conference and accompanied Danielle to Mexico to represent WPIC!

2015
In 2015, we are looking forward to providing opportunities and supporting alumni who are willing to constantly better themselves.  We never stop learning, improving, and reinventing ourselves and WPIC as the market demands.  We truly believe that the best way to keep the wedding industry strong, is to share knowledge and best practices so that ALL wedding professionals are properly educated.  We are stronger and better when we work together.

We wish you nothing but success!
Danielle & Tracey

Weddings on the High Seas – Carnival Cruise Ship Weddings

shipboard_wedding

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

I recently had the opportunity to learn about weddings aboard Carnival Cruise Ships first hand, on a family trip aboard the Carnival Glory.

Disclaimer: This trip was not paid for by Carnival Cruise lines, I am just reporting my findings from a personal trip. ;)

One thing I love that Carnival Cruise Line offers, is the room decorating.  Your couple can have all of their guests’ rooms decorated for Debarkation (like Lynn St. Jean, of Carnival Cruise Line, surprised my kids with):

carnival decor1

or if one of the guests is celebrating a special occasion.  I got our room decorated for my husband’s birthday, complete with a chocolate gluten-free cake:

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Having a cruise ship weddig means that you get to enjoy 4-7 days with all of your guests rather than just one night.  You get to visit multiple ports and there is no shortage of fun for every one at every adventure level.

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You are also guaranteed a gourmet meal every night.  You and your guests can choose whether you want to spend a little time together, or all your time.

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You can choose to have your wedding on the boat or in one of the ports, but remember, Cruise ship weddings have unique challenges:

  • what if there is bad weather and the ship can not dock in the location your couple bought their wedding license?
  • Ship Time and Local Time are two very different things, you must always run “Ship Time” if you don’t want to miss the boat, literally! That can make scheduling tricky as you need to always keep the two times in mind when booking vendors and making arrangements for the wedding.
  • How do you get around 24-72 hour residency requirements? (Many Caribbean islands have special circumstance licenses that can be purchased for cruise ship weddings but these must be arranged and paid for well in advance of the wedding)

If the wedding is taking place on the boat, keep in mind:

  • no outside professional photographers will be allowed
  • the couple can not provide their own cake server and knife (considered a weapon)
  • the couple can not bring on/take off any flowers in any of the ports (so the bride won’t get to keep her bouquet)
  • fresh flower petals, bird seed, confetti, etc may not be used
  • no outside food or drink is allowed on the ship (that includes favours, alcohol, candy, cake, etc)
  • the boat must be docked (and the marriage license be for that port) in order for the ceremony to take place

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Carnival has 5 different Wedding Packages available:

carnival wedding packages

 

Love Mexico 2014

www.wpic.ca

Photo by DecordovaPhoto.ca

by Kaley Campbell, WPIC Office Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

What a week.  Flying back into Toronto after an amazing week in Riviera Maya was more than a dose of reality.  I could be seen at the airport with a winter jacket, a maxi summer dress, and a brand new outlook on destination weddings, especially to Mexico.  Love Mexico had outdone themselves, again, and definitely showed us wedding planners, travel agents, and everyone else in the industry what Mexico has to offer.

Touching down in Mexico around 11am, I was greeted by the lovely Mexican climate and about a dozen WPIC members.  For me, this was the first time I had met the majority of these ladies, and I instantly felt welcomed.  After our bags got searched and we got questioned why in the world we brought so many candles and pens to Mexico, we were off on our Olympus shuttle to the Hard Rock in Riviera Maya.

Hard rock riviera maya

After all of us piled out of the shuttle, there was a ton of staff there to greet us with big smiles and welcomed us to the resort.  Our check in consisted of fruity drinks, excellent spreads of food, and a well decorated lobby. We were given some Love Mexico Swag, our room keys, and the afternoon to rest up before the meet and great.  And by rest, I mean the afternoon at the swim up bar with a great stage show and getting acquainted with my fellow WPIC ladies.

That evening we had the chance to check out the Young Leaders Pre Cocktail, which was held at the Heaven Lounge.   It was a great chance to mix and mingle over cocktails, before the main meet and great started.  The main welcome Cocktail happened in the lobby where we registered. You could find collections of travel agents and planners finding people they haven’t seen in quite some time and it had the feel of a high school reunion, but with better food and without the drama.

Photo by RobertLondon.com

Photo by RobertLondon.com

Our first Mexican feast followed, and what a feast it was.  This was my first real Mexican meal, and it did not disappoint.  The meat was well seasoned and cooked, and the buffet style set up allowed us to get what we would like, and leave the food that we couldn’t pronounce.  After this meal we all found ourselves over at the Heaven lounge where we all had more drinks, a few shots, and a ton of laughs.

Centrepiece at Opening Dinner Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Centrepiece at Opening Dinner Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Day 2 came way too early, but with all the information that was to come we needed to start this early.  We woke to sun shining in our patios, and if everyone else did the same as I did, I started my day with room service and a soak in the Jacuzzi. We all met at 8 am for breakfast at the convention centre, and the sweet, sweet coffee that was aplenty. I know I wasn’t the only one needing it.

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Kitzia Morelos, Co-Producer of Love Mexico. Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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Araminta Castillo, Co-Producer of Love Mexico. Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

We started our day in a huge room that had beautiful linens, a grand stage, and amazing décor.  Our morning started with hearing from the Mexico tourism board, and moved into hearing from Tracy French, Elyse Elkin, and Frank Maduro.   All three talked about the wonders of Mexico, and how to get the most while booking a destination wedding.  Frank specifically talked about the Hard Rock and showed us its style with engaging videos and lively stories.  Next we had a panel discussion about how to best engage your clients with destination weddings lead by my good friend Nancy Barkley and answered by Lili Anciola, Sarah Prease, and Sam Combs. Our next panel explained why to go to Mexico for your destination weddings and how to best sell the value of “you”. This was led by Jane Custer, and had Tracy French,  Brenda O’Neale,  and Elyse Elkin speaking.

Photos by PixanPhoto.com

Photos by PixanPhoto.com

Next we moved right into our appointments with the Mexican suppliers, AKA: the HUGE room filled with booths that were captivating, interactive, and some even had great giveaways.  It was hard to move from one booth to the next because each vendor had its own captivating spell making you want to check out each location personally.

Lunch was served in the lively Verve Ballroom, and was decked out top to bottom like a Mexican fair.  This included some of the staff dressing up in Mexican celebration attire, beautiful colors, and fake mustaches. It made the lunch feel even more authentic.

The Love Mexico Producers presenting thoughtful gifts to Association Presidents, Lisa Sheldon, David Wood & WPIC's own, Danielle Andrews Sunkel. Photo by PixanPhoto.com

The Love Mexico Producers presenting thoughtful gifts to Association Presidents, Lisa Sheldon, David Wood & WPIC’s own, Danielle Andrews Sunkel. Photo by PixanPhoto.com

We then travelled back to our seats from the morning, and listened to Ed Cotton, Lisa Sheldon, and David Wood speak about partnering wedding planners with travel agents and how this could be the key to success, followed by a quick presentation on Los Cabos.

After that some of us went back to our prescheduled appointments, and some of us found ourselves back at the pool.

Nancy, Sandy, Danielle & Amanda

Nancy, Sandy, Danielle & Amanda, photo by moi

6:30pm came and we all packed on buses and headed over to the Barceló Maya Beach Resort where we were greeted by the most stunning lobby, and a heard of bongo players.  It was rumoured that some members of Love Mexico were even falling in love with the good looking drummers.  The drummers personally escorted us in a roundabout way to the Captain Morgan bar, and huge buffet. Barceló also offered free henna to our members, and also there was photo op booth.  This was such a nice touch, however with so many Love Mexico participants; the lines were a little too long.  They definitely made up for this with the amazing array of food, and fantastic all inclusive trips given out to some lucky guests.

Photos by PixanPhoto.com

Photos by PixanPhoto.com

After dinner we all piled back on the buses and headed back to the club.  WPIC members could be spotted all over the dance floor, at the bar, and especially dancing it up in the pool until early hours in the morning.

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7 am was a tough wake up call, for some more than others. But up we were and back at the conference centre with bread and coffee to soak up the shenanigans from the night before. Tatiana Byron started our day with an amazing presentation on marketing and profiling the average brides’ habits.  Lakis Charalambous then spoke about Olympus Tours and Cherie Ronning about networking.  We went back to finish up with the suppliers, and headed right out to the beach and the pool.

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Our lunch was served at the Ipanema Restaurant, and we went right into a Hard Rock Riviera Maya site inspection.  This was a little disappointing to some, after the lively presentation the day before from Frank that talked about all the luxury rooms that Hard Rock has to offer, but the rooms didn’t end up on the tour.  However the Hard Rock in itself is anything but disappointing.  From the pools to the staff, it is amazing top to bottom.

Love Mexico 20142

We then dove right into some networking via the pool party, and everyone trailed away to get ready for the real party:  The 70s party.

Unfortunately we are missing about 10 people here, but here is a photo of some WPICers in our finest 70's attire.  Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Unfortunately we are missing about 10 people here, but here is a photo of some WPICers in our finest 70’s attire. Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Walking through the lobby it was quite clear I was the first one in my attire, and I got tons of awkward stares and even some pictures with some guests.  But this just made the experience all the more enjoyable.  Stepping back in time with our crazy get ups, we all met over at the conference centre for an amazing supper, and the best party starter: Big Party Orchestra.  If the drummer didn’t get you with his looks, the band definitely did with their personalized variations of popular music.  We danced until we heard the club calling our name, and then we danced at the club late into the night.

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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Photo by PixanPhoto.com

The next morning was both a happy and sad one.  Getting to the airport in our dresses and beach attire, and getting off the plane to a winter storm surge in Toronto was not the most favorable feeling, however coming home with all the information that Love Mexico provided and the new connections I have made, made the trip’s experience irreplaceable.  Love Mexico has provided me with a brand new outlook to destination weddings, especially in Mexico, and has provided me with all the tools and contacts needed to plan any sort of Mexican destination event.

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

A special shout out to all of the Love Mexico employees. I have never seen such passionate and dedicated staff, (besides myself of course: P), that made this experience the amazing one that it was.

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Photo by PixanPhoto.com

How to Plan a Destination Wedding

Here are some great tips about planning Destination Weddings from our friends Couples Resorts!

Did you know?

As of January 2015, all Couples Resorts on-site Wedding Coordinators will be WPIC Certified.

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