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Must-have Technology for Wedding & Event Planners

technology for wedding planners

Photo of Janis from Brocade Events.ca by PhatDogVisuals.com

We have posted about Apps for Planners, Tools of the Trade, and Emergency Kits, today let’s talk about must-have Technology.  These 5 items are not just about convenience, they are essential items for running both your business and your events.

1. Smartphone with camera
It is a no-brainer to most, but there are still some planners who do not have a smartphone! You need to be accessible at all times, not just by telephone, but also by email.
Your smartphone is not just a tool for productivity, make sure you get one with a great camera because “Seeing is believing”. You can snap quick photos of set-ups, inspiration and of course your events. Videotape testimonials from your clients. Those photos and videos can be used to get you more work by posting them to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

2. Tablet
A tablet is a great, lightweight way to have a lot of the features of a laptop computer without all the bulk. Many planners like to use their tablets to store their timelines and itineraries on.
Tip: Make sure to still print all those important documents in hard copy, just in case your technology fails or the battery runs out.

3. Laptop Computer
Most wedding and event planners are on the go, on-site at venues both near and abroad. You need to stay accessible and in touch, and a laptop computer is the only way you can bring your whole office with you. Tablets are great, but they can not do everything.

4. Two-way Radio (with Headsets)
Unfortunately in some areas a smartphone is useless. For large events when your team members are going to be in different areas, you still need to stay in immediate, constant contact. A proper, commercial two-way radio will be your lifeline. They can be rented per event, just make sure to get the headsets so you can be handsfree and no one but you will hear the transmissions.

5. Mobile Multi-chargers
You need to be able to charge all that wonderful technology on the go, so a mobile multi-charger is an essential for a Wedding/Event Planner.

Danielle Andrews Sunkel of WPIC

Photo by BrockPhoto.ca

 

Danielle Andrews Sunkel is the Co-Founder of WPIC Inc.  She has been a professional Wedding & Event Planner for over 15 years and has planned events in Canada, USA, Mexico, all over the Caribbean, Ireland, Italy, etc.

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Wedding Trends -April WPIC Get Together

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by www.Avenue-Photo.ca

On Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 WPIC held a get together on Wedding Trends for 2014 at the beautiful St. George’s Golf & Country Club.

The entire event was planned and executed by WPIC’s intern, Urszula Matczak. This is no easy task, as one might imagine, and she did it with flair and grace. (Especially considering her target audience and attendees were fifty wedding planners…)

*A special thank you to our WPIC volunteers, Cindy He and Nazreen Faiz, who managed the registration table and the raffle draw.

Some of the highlights of the evening were a strolling fashion show, a trade show to meet and greet all of the vendors who particpated at the event, musical talent by the wonderful harpist Joanna Jordan, and a panel discussion about 2014 wedding trends.

The entire evening was captured on film by Enrique DeCordova Photography.

We had amazing food and service provided by St. George’s Golf & Country Club. Guess what?  The Catering and Events Manager, Jacqueline Lambert, just happens to be WPICC.  Go figure ;)

Some highlights of St. George’s Golf & Country Club:

  • Ample free parking
  • Award winning cuisine fom the Chef and his culinary team
  • Sommelier to suggest wine pairings for your courses
  • A large selection of late night stations
  • Beautiful views of the Award Winning Golf Course and the historic 1920’s Club House is stunning

 

 

www.wpic.ca

www.decordova.ca   Our wonderful volunteers, Cindy and Nazreen

 

 

 

 

Contributing Awesome Vendors:

Venue: St. George’s Golf and Country Club
Photography: Enrique Decordova Photography
Tuxedos: Andrew’s Formals
Wedding Cakes: Le Dolci
Linens & Florals: Susan Murray Luxury Linen and Decor Reatals
Harpist: Joanna Jordan Electric Harpist
Wedding Dresses: She’s So Beautiful Bridal Boutique
Hair & Makeup: Aglow By Joan – Hair And Makeup

Thank you to everyone who participated in the trade show and panel, and thank you to our wonderful WPIC Alumni  who came out to network & learn.

We hope that enjoyed the evening!

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Event industry Night at ALT Hotel in Halifax

Danielle Andrews Sunkel of WPIC

Written by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Bright colours, modern spaces, great food, throwing paper airplanes in the Halifax International airport…  What’s not to love?

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending #ALTExpo,  an Event Industry Night at the ALT Hotel in Halifax, NS, Canada.  The evening was hosted by the hotel along with their exclusive catering partner, Kitchen Door Catering.  Happily, both the Sales Director of the ALT Hotel, Patricia Pardy,  and the Sales and Marketing Director of Kitchen Door catering, Avril Mullholland, are both WPIC Certified ;)

stilt walker from cirque halifax

Events Industry guests were welcomed to the modern Rose Fuchsia Ballroom by a stilt walker from Atlantic Cirque - Halifax holding coloured cards on ribbons.  The card you chose determined the site tour group you would be in later.  At this welcome cocktail there was an open bar and an interactive chef’s kitchen where the food was prepared on-site.

kitchen door catering chicken waffle

The offerings were an Asian Fusion (Vietnamese Pho) and Chicken ‘n Waffles with a Jack & Coke, there were plenty of passed hors d’oeuvres as well.

chicken waffles and jack and cokepho at alt hotel halifax

We were called by group to go on an experiential site tour of the hotel.  Our group started with a Top Chef Taste Challenge in one of the “Creative Rooms,” a casual lounge-style meeting room.

blindfold tasting challenge

IMG_1159

Next we played Hangman in the Ginger Conference room, where jars of brightly coloured jellybeans are set out at every meeting.

meetin groom alt hotel halifax

We headed to the colourful, high-ceilinged gym and then poolside for Jell-O Shots.

jell-o shots at alt hotel halifax

We were all a little leery when we were brought upstairs to visit the Laundry Room.  It turned out to be the highlight of the tour for many people, we got to try out their huge sheet drying/folding machine while learning about all of the hotel’s fabulous eco-initiatives.

folding machine at alt hotel halifax

Next we headed to the ALTcetera café where we were given coloured-paper and instructions on how to fold a paper airplane.  We were led up to the Airport Pedway where we had a Paper Airplane Contest in the Halifax Airport in order to show how close and accessible the hotel was for air travellers.  Brilliant!

making paper airplanes

folding machine at alt hotel halifax

Our last stop was upstairs for fresh-baked cookies and a view of one of the fabulous loft-style guest rooms.

fresh baked cookies kitchen door catering halifax

hotel room alt hotel yhz

After the innovative and highly entertaining tour of the hotel, everyone reconvened on the main floor for a night-cap.  There was again an open bar, an Atlantic Station of Fish ‘n Chips and Seafood Chowder, a Sandwich station with gourmet sandwiches grilled on the spot, and a S’mores station complete with homemade marshmallow fluff which was torched before your eyes.  Guests also got the chance to get silly and commemorate the night in the photo booth.

grilled cheese station kitchen door catering halifax

smore bar kitchen door catering halifax

ALT_1237

ALT_1326

On a personal note, it was wonderful for me to get the chance to see some of our successful Halifax WPIC Alumni.

Halifax wedding planners

Attendees of the event were all treated to a night stay and breakfast the next day.  Part FAM trip, part party, this event was fantastic.

I can honestly say, I think this was the best site visit I have ever been to.  The organizers managed to get everyone to attentively listen to all the features they wanted to point out by engaging them in activities and games.  Well Done!

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Keeping Children Happy at Your Wedding (An Interview With Children & Alumni)

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey M Events
Photo: Avenue Photo

I had so much fun putting this blog together:)  How could I not?  I interviewed 13 adorable children to get their opinions of what couples can do to make a wedding better for them, and then asked WPIC Alumni to share some of their favourite stories about working with children.

www.traceymevents.cawww.traceymevents.caSophia, 6 & Ella 4 (almost 5)Audrey, 3 (almost 4)
  Alexandros,  5                Brooklynn, 7            Sophia, 6 & Ella 4             Audrey, 3
Julian, 4Joelle, 10Brayden, 11Sierra, 6
Julian, 4                     Joelle, 10                Brayden, 11                     Sierra, 6
Daniel, 15Nicole, 10Graydon, 5www.traceymevents.ca
Daniel, 15               Nicole, 10                  Graydon, 5                     Samara, 7

 

What did you think about the CEREMONY?

“Wedding was good. A little fun.” -Julian, 4

“It was kind of boring, because it was just them talking about those people getting married.” -Nicole, 10

“It was boring, but it was nice to see them get married.” -Daniel, 15

“Uncle Greg’s wedding -  I liked that it was short and didn’t cut the time for the party and the eating and stuff.” -Joelle, 10

“Lots of people were there, and I couldn’t hear Mommy when lots of people talked so much.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“I was bored.” -Sierra, 6

“It was pretty cool. Just a little bit boring.” -Brayden, 11

“It was okay, I like the second part better. (The reception)”-Ella, 6

“Ceremony? What’s that? (I explain) Oh, my favorite part was when the prince and the princess kissed.” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“It was good but I didn’t like that we were just sitting around watching.” -Alexandros, 5

“It was fun just watching them get married and the beautiful bride walking down the aisle in a beautiful dress.” -Brooklynn, 7

“It was really wet outside so they stopped talking and we got to take our shoes off.” -Graydon, 5

“It was okay?” -Samara, 7

 

What is your BEST memory of a wedding that you have attended?

“Dancing with the bride.” -Julian, 4

“Dancing!” -Nicole, 10

“The dancing and the food, especially the broccoli soup.” Daniel, 15

“Dancing with my aunt and uncle at their wedding and seeing all my cousins that I hadn’t seen in ages” -Joelle, 10

“When everyone stopped talking.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“That like, um, we went to a big thing and it had lots of food. Something that you went in, like a mansion or something. ” -Sierra, 6

“It was probably when the music went on, and everybody started dancing.” -Brayden, 11

“I loved it when they were cutting the cake and feeding it to eachother. I liked the music too, and dancing, and getting dressed up very fancy with my butterfly bracelet.” -Ella, 6

“I remember dancing with daddy on his toes. That was fun. I liked the food too…it keeps coming and coming and coming. And I really liked the cake. Cake is my favorite. I like cake.” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“My favourite part was when we were eating our dinner, and dancing with Theia Liz (the Bride) and I love when we were allowed to run around!” -Alexandros, 5

“Dancing with my cousin Sierra because we could then show off our dance moves.” -Brooklynn, 7

“Dancing! I got to wear tap shoes!” -Graydon, 5

“I got to wear my princess dress.” -Samara, 7

 

What is your WORST memory of a wedding that you have attended?

“I liked everything.” -Julian, 4

“Ceremony.” -Nicole, 10

“It was all nice.” -Daniel, 15

“Showing up with a pom pom hairstyle that made me look like smaller version of mini mouse!” -Joelle, 10 *Message from mom: “Her hair was straightened the day before and should have just been blow dried and flat ironed on the wedding day but she decided to wash it in the shower about two hours before the wedding and I certainly did not have the time to do it completely over so my sister gave her poufs!

“When everyone kept running. All the kids were running too fast, but I wasn’t running. I was just walking.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“We had to sit down and wait for the wedding girl and the wedding man to come out. ” -Sierra, 6

“Probably when we all had to sit down, and everbody had to listen to those really long speeches.  It was really boring! ” -Brayden, 11

“Those people who were talking and talking and talking…and talking! I had to be quiet for too long!” (Referring to the speeches) -Ella, 6

“I didn’t want chicken fingers and french fries! Huhhhh!  I wanted what the big people had (flaring hands)!” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“Just the sitting around at the church because it was so boring. It made me need to go to the washroom….that’s how long it took…” -Alexandros, 5

“When you don’t like the food or dessert, I was hungry by the end of the night.” -Brooklynn, 7

“The adults dancing. It freaks me out.” -Graydon, 5

“Eating the bad food.” -Samara, 7

 

What could the couple have done to make it more FUN for you?

“Have a jumping castle.” -Julian, 4

“Nothing.” -Nicole, 10

“There is nothing I can say bad about it!” -Daniel, 15

“They could have played some more kid friendly music at the reception because it was all adult Jamaican music that I didn’t know so much.” -Joelle, 10

“When the grownups didn’t have to tell their kids to not run at ‘meetings’.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“I would say put ice cream in the wedding. ” -Sierra, 6

“Certain place like a small room where smaller kids go, when speeches start or where we had to sit down for a long time. ” -Brayden, 11

“Remember when I was trying to catch those flowers? Maybe it could be a candy bouquet instead!” -Ella, 6

“Maybe a bouncy castle?” -Sophia, 4 (amost 5)

“Put play things near the dance floor so the kids can play with toys.” -Alexandros, 5

“Add a play place (bouncy castle) so all the kids could have fun together.” -Brooklynn, 7

“Make it a skylanders party with a skylanders cake” -Graydon, 5

“Have another wedding – so I could wear another dress.” -Samara, 7

 

Did you get in TROUBLE at the wedding?

“No trouble.” -Julian, 4

“No. Ummm…Wait.  Yeah, because we went upstairs. The people that worked there told us to come down.” -Nicole, 10

“No!  I don’t think so…” -Daniel, 15

“No.” -Joelle, 10

“No. I was a good girl, because I am a big girl. And I didn’t touch stuff, like the cake, but it wasn’t for a birthday.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“No!” -Sierra, 6

“No. ” -Brayden, 11

” NO! Hmmmm, nope.” -Ella, 6

“Well, just once when I dropped the kneeling thing in the church. It made a loud noise. But it wasn’t my fault.” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“Actually, No!” -Alexandros, 5

“No.” -Brooklynn, 7

“Why did I get in trouble?!!” -Graydon, 5

“No.” -Samara, 7

 

Would you go to another WEDDING?

“No. I’d rather go to a playground, or toy store.” -Julian, 4

“Yeah!” -Nicole, 10

“Of course.  There’s a lot of good food and dancing.” -Daniel 15

“Yes I would, because weddings are very fun, and if I had the chance to go to another one, I would.” -Joelle, 10

“No. Just one. Because my friend Aleta (imaginary friend) doesn’t want to go.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“Yeah.” -Sierra, 6

“Yeah.” -Brayden, 11

“Yes! Weddings are my favorite!” -Ella, 6

“Yes!! Why are you asking me all these questions? Are we going today?” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“I actually would. Only if it is my wedding….oh…or, if it’s people I know!” -Alexandros, 5

“Yes.” -Brooklynn, 7

“No.” -Graydon, 5

“Yes, are you getting married?!!” -Samara, 7

Blog children at weddings

Couples stress endlessly about how to make their wedding different than anyone else’s and yet, somehow forget the little things…the children they invite :)  Children can be your worst critics or your biggest cheering squad, depending on how things are handled. It is really not difficult…

Keep them entertained, keep their hands busy and give them something to look forward to. Really, it is that simple!

Blog Ring_Bearer_Gift

Children want a children’s menu. You could be the “coolest adult ever” with a children’s buffet (Pizza, chicken fingers, hamburgers, hot dogs, taco station, build your own nachos, pasta, jello, ice cream sundae station, etc.)

Blog Children eating

If you want an adults-only reception, why not offer optional childcare for your guests? There are many professional babysitting companies for hire around the world. The cost is usually about $15-$25 per hour, per sitter. Check if your wedding venue has a separate room where the kids can hang out with pizza, movies, popcorn, craft stations, X-Box, etc.  Or, set them up in a hotel room where some of the guests are staying.

Children at weddings sneaking cake

Now for some cute and entertaining stories from some of our WPIC Alumni:

“I had a wedding that a total of 8 kids in the bridal party! The original plan was for them to walk 2 at a time down the aisle, but the bride knew that kids will be kids and just to let them do their thing. Well the first three pairs started down the aisle, then the first set of boys realized that the youngest girls were starting and ran all the way back down the aisle. This caused all the kids to run right back to the very start, and they all then proceeded to race to the altar. The guests absolutely loved it!” -Melissa Gurley of Gurley Events

“For my own wedding I was walking hand in hand down the aisle with my 22 month old daughter and she decided to b-line; so there I was chasing after her! We finally got back on track and then 2 minutes after the ceremony was over (in the Turks & Caicos heat) she decided she was NOT going to wear her fluffy tulle dress anymore! All of our wedding pictures showcase her in a diaper with sweaty curly hair. You just have to roll with it.”
-Ashlie Metcalf of Harmony Wedding & Event Coordination

“I worked with a lovely family a few years back. The flower girl threw a hissy fit just as she was about to walk down the aisle. She didn’t want to walk down the aisle with her Mum, with any of the bridesmaids, or with the bride! Who does she want to walk down the aisle with her? ME! The Wedding Coordinator! Needless to say, it was cute and fun. She made it down the aisle in one piece, and with no tears.” -Christina Spring of  A La Carte Event Management

“I love when there are kids at the wedding and in the wedding party – they add memories.  There’s been a few “cute” photo ops too… in the church a guest’s child was lying in the aisle while the ceremony was going on and he was watching the fans on the ceiling, and entertaining himself for the hour ceremony. The best one was when an out of province B&G got married in Collingwood and when I asked they said kids were invited BUT that during the dinner and speeches they would be having their own party (which we also set up and had 3 sitters with them – their ages ranged from 3 months – 10 years old about 8 of them)  After the first dance the kids came back and we had the sitters choreograph a dance for the B&G – WE made a BIG fuss over it with a huge introduction and lights and loud music on their entrance and then they all danced for the B&G ….. It brought tears to the Bride’s eyes and made this wedding which was more than 4 years ago a very memorable one for not only me and my team but all the guests.  Small miracles BIG BIG MEMORIES!” -Debbie Savic of Fresh Occasion Coordination

“At my brother’s wedding, our nephew, who was 2 at the time, was the junior groomsman. I gave him and the junior bridesmaid a little nudge to get them started, and the walk up the aisle went well for the first few feet, and then he wanted to come back to me instead of walking up to his Mom like we rehearsed. It turns out he had put his toy helicopter in the pocket of my dress, and wanted it with him. Once he had it, he ran to the junior bridesmaid, and happily walked up the aisle holding her hand with the helicopter in the other hand.” Erin Bosak of Erin Bosak Events

“My sister’s wedding, our nephew (5 at the time) was a holy terror. He refused to go down the aisle, and his dad ended up carrying him down – kicking and screaming all the way. He finally calmed down when he joined the rest of the bridal party… but he became the star of the show and added tons of cute “awwwwws” and giggles to an otherwise dull ceremony! Kids make the best entertainment!” -Sharon Kawano of Kawano Decor & Design

“The couple’s 5 y o nephew was the ring bearer.  He got up & said he wanted to sing a song for the bride and groom.  We turned off the music & the boy belted out this country song for the bride & groom to dance to.  I thought he was going to sing a couple lines, but nope, he sang the whole song & insisted everyone dance while he sang.  It wasn’t planned & was really cute.” -Danielle Andrews Sunkel of The Wedding Planners

“My brother/sister-in-law wanted my 3 year old daughter in their wedding. She did great at getting down the aisle, sitting quietly through the ceremony but afterwards when pictures were to be taken – she was done. She has the “evil eye/I’m gonna kill” look in all the wedding pictures. She didn’t want to be in them & made sure we’ll remember that day always. LOL!” -Nicole Marshall of Beautifully Planned Weddings & Events

 

 

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WPIC Planner of the Month -Bernadette Sousa

Interviewed by: Tracey Manailescu
WPIC Planner of the Month: Bernadette Sousa of Serendipity & Co. Inc.
Photo: jcpimentel.com

Photo: jcpimentel.com

We are so proud and happy to share Bernadette Sousa’s story with you.  Bernadette is a WPIC graduate and has some incredibly exciting news to share.  She is celebrating her 100th wedding with her company,  Serendipity & Co. Inc.
A huge and heartfelt congratulations to you and your team, Bernadette :)
Most challenging aspect of starting your business?

The most challenging aspect  I had to overcome in starting up my business was the fact that I had been suffering from fibromyalgia for quite some time and was unsure on the toll this business would take on me.  I had been a stay at home mom for about 18 years and starting this  hobby business, balancing out family and clients was definitely going to be a new challenge for me. Thankfully with the help of my awesome assistants and having the flexibility with the hours and days that I work, I have found the way to balance it all.

Bernadette single
When was your moment when you truly felt you made your company successful?
I measure ” success” by my client base and not by profit margin, after all I was about to launch into this business for the passion of it. I also realize that success can come and go, some years you may have many weddings on the books yet the following year not so much. I live by the motto of ” you’re only as good as your last wedding” However, with that being said, there’s been a few key moments where it sinks in that Serendipity & Co really has become a recognizable wedding planning company.  First in January 2013 when two of my weddings were featured in Elegant Wedding Magazine! Last November when I realized that 2014 would be the year I would celebrate 100 weddings and launched my ” Who will be our 100th Bride” contest.  Most recently during a wedding show, while standing at my booth, several Brides-to-be approaching me and asking me if I was Bernadette of Serendipity, followed by the ” oh my god! I have to have you at my wedding!”
 
How many staff do you currently have?
I now have 8 girls on staff. 6 fully trained, 2 interns and 4 out of the 8 are WPIC certified. Ideally I will be working towards having all my assistants  become WPICC!
Best moments/memories from one or more wedding(s)?
I have truly been blessed with so many wonderful memories over the course of the past 7 years. But a few that stand out. The wedding of Sarah and Victor in August 2012. Portuguese Songstress ( as I like to call her) with California boy! Sarah very well known in the Portuguese community with a wedding that would be covered by the Portuguese media  The whole day was pretty much a dream. Despite how many weddings I had already planned or coordinated, I was wowed by the hour. Her special Tribute to her deceased Father. Standing in the middle of the dance floor, holding her mother’s hand while listening to a song she recorded as a little girl with her mother and looking over at each of the 4  projection screens where images of her Father looped. Then dancing with 4 key male figures in her life.  That moment was spectacular!
Another moment where I just felt so proud to be a part of it was when another one of my Bride’s who is a performer, wrote and performed a song to her ailing father as he sat is his wheelchair. The amount of love felt in that room, not a dry eye to be found.
As a whole, every one of my weddings has had an ” unforgettable moment” be it with their vows, their first dance as the Groom serenades his Bride…Speeches…All I can say is I love my job and wouldn’t change anything!
Photo: JulianMoniz.com

Photo: JulianMoniz.com

Please tell us some things you have learned over the years that have helped you grow?
Although my tag line says ” Close your eyes, tell us what you see” I can never say ” I can do a wedding with my eyes closed”! Each and every wedding is a blank canvas. No matter how much experience you have, I look at every wedding as my first. I learn that you can never be too cocky  and that  you are certainly as good as your team, not only with your assistants but with the vendors you network with.
I try very hard to make conferences but with my busy schedule, it is very hard. I look to my ” wedding bibles” , professionals that have been in the business longer than I have to keep me grounded and informed of trends. I also have my mentors within the WPIC alumni and thank God for them as sometimes I send them a ” help” message or email and they are always there to help me out with advise or referrals!
 
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
My new 5 year plan is to celebrate my 200th wedding sometime before 2019 while still rocking my stilettos!
On a serious note, having to deal with a major life crisis last year and suddenly becoming a single Mother, life took quite the turn. The business suffered tremendously and the fate of Serendipity & Co Inc was uncertain. However, Serendipity is like my child. I gave birth to it 7 years ago, I have nurtured it and just like any Mom, you don’t abandon your children.  When in crisis, you just pull up your socks and work harder. Once again, realizing that we were on the brink of coordinating our 100th wedding, I knew that Serendipity & Co’s fate was to continue well into the future, to grow and be stronger than ever before! With a fresh attitude, lots of ambition , a passion for weddings and a fabulous group of assistants, Serendipity & Co looks forward to a fabulous 2014 season and to our 100th wedding on June 28, 2014!
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How to Manage “A & B” Wedding Invitation Lists

Headshot of Danielle Andrews Sunkel of WPIC

Written by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Couples often have to cap the number of guests they invite to their wedding.  It could be a matter of how many guests they can afford to entertain, how many people the venue can accommodate or just their personal wishes.

If they want to invite more people than the guest count allows, they will need to have an “A & B List”.  The most important thing about an “A & B” list is that guests never know they are on the “B” list.  All guest need to feel equally welcome. Typically wedding invitation go out to invited guests 6-8 weeks before the wedding, instead, your clients need to send the invitations to the first round of guests 10-12 weeks before the wedding.  As each “No” response comes in (and No’s usually arrive first), your couple can send out an invite to the next person on the list.  The guest still gets the invitation 6-8 weeks before the wedding, so their will be no hurt feelings.

a and b list invitation infograph

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Wedding Samples in a Box, Delivered Monthly!

Danielle Andrews Sunkel of WPIC

Written by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Okay, how fun is this?!  Cool wedding samples, in a pretty box, delivered to your door every single month!

studio wed box contents

Photo: StudioWedBox.com

The folks at Studio Wed Box spend all month curating new & fun wedding items and then send them off with some wedding wisdom.

studio wed box contents

Photo: MySubscriptionAddiction.com

Intended for the betrothed, I signed up for this last week to receive at the WPIC Offices, we are all excited.  The cost of an annual subscription is $29.99/month.  I figure we will get great items for our emergency kits and we will discover new products to tell our couples about!

A similiar company is The Bride Box, which sends a different themed-box each month for $35.

the bride box contents

Photo: TheBrideBox.com

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The Low Down on Initial Meetings

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by: Avenue Photo

Initial Meetings are the “getting to know you” moments where you, the wedding coordinator, and the couple meet and decide if you are a good fit.  There is no charge for this meeting.  (It is NOT a Consultation.)

Typically these face to face meetings take place after a couple has seen your website, blog, some form of advertising, or were referred to you by someone, and decided to email or call you to discuss the possibility of hiring you for their wedding. Hopefully your website and blog will tell potential clients a bit about you and your personality. Your branding should speak to your target couple and attract like minded individuals. From that initial contact, you will set up a face to face meeting to get to know each other, where they can hear more about what services you provide, experience you have and if your personalities match. You want to learn more about what ideas, cultural aspects if any, hopes and what type of budget they have for their wedding. The initial meeting should take about an hour.

www.wpic.ca

To do:

  • Arrive 15 minutes early to get comfortable and settled, get your table, perhaps get a tea and have things in place to lead the meeting.
  • Turn off the sound on your cell phone.  Your full attention must be given to  the couple.
  • Shake hands.  Always shake with the right hand in a firm handshake.  Look the person in the eye while you are shaking their hand.
  • Give your business card. Always use two hands to present and receive a business card. (When receiving a business card make sure that you look at the card before putting it away in a safe place to show respect.)
  • Listen.  What are their likes/dislikes? What do they need help with?  What are they excited about?
  • Take notes.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Show your emergency kit, portfolio and talk about the services you offer.
  • Show that you are interested in their plans, and excited for them.
  • Have a contract (with a stamped envelope) ready to give to the couple.

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What not to do:

  • Talk about yourself the entire time.
  • Give away tips, vendor referrals and advice without a signed contract and initial payment.
  • Discount your services. If you don’t believe in yourself and your value, why should anyone else?
  • Check your emails, look at the clock, or take phone calls during the meeting.
  • Chew gum or go out for a smoke break.
  • Make unrealistic promises or flat out lying, to get the couple to sign.
  • Badmouth other vendors or past clients.

Sometimes, in, or after the initial meeting, you may get that feeling in your gut that you are just not a good match for each other.  Everyone has their “trigger” that sets them off and sends alerts to your brain.  For me it is hand-holding or very needy clients.  Some people can’t work with  third party involvement such as a very involved sister, best friend or mother of the bride or groom, while others might say, “no way” to indecisive couples.

If you know your trigger, then make sure you are paying attention to the signs for them in your initial meeting so you don’t get stuck in a very uncomfortable working relationship from now until their wedding. If you feel this way, you can bet that your clients do, too.

Or else…

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What should you do?  Be honest.  Let the couple know that you don’t feel you would be a good fit and ask if they would like you to reach out to your WPIC Alumni within your Association to find a better match.  Then go back and revisit your branding, and look into how you can change it to attract the couples you do want to work with.

Hopefully, you are a good fit for each other, and they will sign and send the contract along with payment to you, so you can begin working together for their upcoming wedding :)

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Controlling the Conversation

consulting with bride

Haley Evans of From Menus to Venues

Photo by Playful Moments Photography

by Haley Evans, WPICC, From Menus to Venues Wedding and Event Planning in St. John, NB

Good customer relations are all about making the customer happy. In order to help your couples find the products and services that they are looking for, it is important to investigate and fully understand all of their needs. You can do this by asking a series of probing questions to get an idea of what the couple is looking for and then make appropriate recommendations. In order to do this, you must keep in control of your conversation.

It is extremely important to control the conversation when making a sale. If you don’t control the conversation, here is what might happen:

  • You may end up spending far too much time with one couple who might not necessarily be interested in purchasing your product or service. This can cause you to neglect other potential customers.
  • The customer will have trouble making a decision and will likely end up giving you the dreadful “I need to think about it” answer. This is often because the customer feels overwhelmed.

Controlling the conversation doesn’t necessarily mean talking more; it means having a focused discussion about the couple’s needs. It is only when we fully understand what a potential customer needs can we recommend an appropriate solution.

The easiest way to start a valuable discussion with a customer is to ask open-ended questions which will allow you to get more than a one-word answer. Open-ended questions start with words like “what”, “how”, “why”, “when” and “where”.
For example:

  • What is the most important element of your wedding?
  • How do you want your guests to remember your big day?
  • Why haven’t you considered having a summer wedding?

This type of question will get your customers talking and give you an idea as to what they are looking for.

Once you get a rough idea as to what your customers need, you can start to really show you understand by asking more focused close-ended questions. This type of question usually only requires a one or two word answer. Close-ended questions often start with words like “do you…”, “have you…”, “are you…”, “is that…” etc.
For example:

  • Have you considered hiring a band to play during the ceremony?
  • Are you going to have real flowers in the centerpieces?
  • Do you prefer silver or gold?

Close-ended questions help clear up specific needs or wants and confirm that you understand what the couple desires.

The key to customer service is helping your customer find exactly what they are looking for. Sadly, not all couples know exactly what they are looking for when they come to us! Asking a combination of open and close-ended questions not only benefits you from a sales point of view but will help the customer zone in on what it is they want. Once the customer see’s that you understand their needs, closing the sale will be a breeze!

Haley Evans is the owner of From Menus to Venues Wedding and Event Planning, which is a proud part of Natasha’s One Stop Wedding Shop – a one stop showroom for special events.  Haley is also the  WPIC Regional Representative for St. John, NB.

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WPIC Kickoff 2014

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by www.AvenuePhoto.ca

“Fearless in 2014″ was the theme!

Our WPIC Representatives really out did themselves with this event.  Kudos and a HUGE thank you to Meagan Eagles, Dawn Fillion and Amy Stevenson.  These ladies worked their butts off to make this even a memorable night for all of us. We truly appreciate all of the details, relaxed atmosphere and the thoughtfulness that went into it all.

*The Eaton Chelsea pulled it off without a glitch. Great staff and a great location.

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

We had a gigantic list of sponsors that helped make this night so wonderful. Whether it was the entertainment, venue, sweets, decor, florals, games, slo-mo photo booth, snow cones, chip station, fortune teller, fascinators, swag bag items, prizes or speakers, we appreciate it all, and thank you!

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Carnival games?  You betcha ;)

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

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Here are some photos of our amazing WPIC alumni. We were so happy to see everyone who came out to network, learn and just unwind.

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

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The Eaton Chelsea did an amazing job of keeping us fed with vintage circus themed food such as a pretzel station, pulled pork station, mini corn dogs, hot dogs, vegetarian chile, reuben sandwiches, chick pea curry, mushroom ragout, bacon ragout, freshly made hot yukon gold potato roasti and a dessert station.

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Our keynote speakers of the evening were WPIC’ers Michael Coombs and Jennifer Maxwell.

Mike spoke on the subject, “Pride. Perseverance and Fear.” He gave some insight into where he came from , how he turned around negatives and how it all helped him be who is is now. Support from family and believing in yourself will get you, and keep you on track. Personal anecdotes always endear the audience, and Mike’s speech was just that.

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Jennifer spoke about, “Standing in the Face of Fear”. A funny & warm hearted discussion about not being afraid to change things up in your career to get you on the path you are supposed to be on.  Lists, lists and more lists will keep you organized and on the straight and narrow. Never be afriad to amke mistakes as that is how we learn. Never give up!

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Oh yes, we had entertainment.  The incrdibly talented team from A2D2 gave two performances, a strolling cupcake station,and a clown that stole my popcorn and brought back even more then I had lost, got to love that;)

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Below are photos of some wild, whacky and gorgeous fascinatiors created by WPIC Alumni, Aimee Alabaster of With Abandon. I loved that we were able to pre select the fascinators that we wanted to wear for the evening.  Danielle bought hers right after the night ended, and I have 2 orders on the go right now!

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photos are all courtesy of the dynamic duo: Jono & Laynie. You both were so easy to work with and we happily recommend you to all of our Alumni and their couples!

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

 

 

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