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Demystifying the Wedding Planner’s Role

What does a Wedding Planner do, anyway?

by Daniela Caputo, WPICC, Instructor for WPIC and Owner of Montreal Event Planner

Hiring the right Wedding (Planner) Professional is critical to planning your dream wedding…
(this alone can be quite stressful)

  • How does one find the right match?
  • How do you know whom to trust?
  • Where do you go for advice

Well first of all, this is not an easy task and it’s totally normal for couples to feel overwhelmed,
frustrated or confused.
It’s not like you plan a wedding every day, right?
This is all brand new to you, so be patient with yourself and pace yourself….

Here are a few tips to finding the right WEDDING PROFESSIONAL for you;
Do Your Homework. You’ll get much more out of a meeting or conversation with a
wedding professional if you do a little background homework first.

  • Spend some time on the internet or talking to friends who’ve recently been
    married.
  • Find out the average prices in your area and what services are available.
  • Get an idea of what you like and don’t like.
  • Wedding websites and chat rooms can be a great resource.
  • This way when you meet with a wedding professional you’ll be able to ask
    better questions and have an idea of what to look out for.

Meet With Them. An in person meeting is the best way to interview a potential wedding
planner. It lets you get the full experience of their personality, style and professionalism.
If that’s not possible, have a phone conversation.

Ask Questions. There are no stupid questions! Make sure you get clear, specific answers
to your questions. If you aren’t sure what something means, ask them to clarify. Keep
asking questions until you completely understand.

If the wedding planner has a problem with you asking questions, they probably aren’t the
one for you. The best wedding professionals are patient, understanding and take the time to
help you make the best choices for your wedding.

Listen. Don’t just hear the words they say, really listen. Watch the vendor’s body
language;

  • Are they confident and comfortable with their response?
  • Do they look and sound nervous?
  • Do you get a “funny feeling” about them?

Take all the sights, sounds and feelings into account along with their responses; if your gut
tells you something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.

Check References. Portfolios are hand-picked to show off the best work, but they may not
represent the “average” wedding performance. Videos are edited for the optimum
presentation. However, real referrals from satisfied clients are hard to fake;

  • Call up both client and professional references.
  • Ask questions and use those listening skills.
  • Even if they give a rave review, you’ll often be able to “read between the lines”
    if there were any issues or problems.
  • Ask around and search the internet for reviews.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau for any outstanding complaints against the
    business.
  • Weigh all of this information into your choices.

The following are MUST ASK QUESTIONS to ask your potential Wedding Professional:

How many weddings do you do per year?
How much experience do you have?

These are extremely important questions. Ideally, your wedding professional should have ample
experience specifically with weddings. Not only will they be more skilled in their craft, this also
makes them a valuable source of information and ensures that your wedding day goes smoothly.

How much do you cost?

Price is often relative, especially when you factor in experience, reputation and expert skill.
Generally, the most talented professionals have a higher price tag because they are worth it.

How much is the Initial Payment?
What specifically is included in that cost?

Because packages often vary, it’s likely that you won’t be able to compare one vendor exactly to
the next without doing a little figuring. The lowest cost isn’t necessarily the best deal; some higher
quotes include services that you have to pay extra for in other packages. Make sure you take this
into account.

What happens if I cancel?
What happens if you cancel?

Find out if your Initial Payment is refundable under any conditions. Does the wedding professional have a backup plan if something happens to them?

Do you use a contract?

If the answer is No, RUN! A contract is designed to protect both you and the wedding professional. Don’t settle for a verbal agreement that won’t hold up in court.

Are there any additional fees?

Taxes, service charges and travel fees can add up quickly. Make sure you understand exactly what
is included and if there are any other fees you’ll have to pay. This should be clearly defined in your
contract.

Do you carry Liability Insurance?

The answer you’re looking for here is Yes. This protects you in case an unfortunate accident
should occur on your wedding day. It’s also a sign that this is a reputable business; since most “fly
by night” operations don’t invest in insurance. If chosen wisely, with the right wedding vendors
you get expert help and advice…for free!

GO TO PERSON:
Don’t forget your Wedding Professional is going to be your go-to person. From answering your
wedding etiquette questions to vendor contract negotiations, this team will design, coordinate
and manage your day down to the smallest detail, saving you time, hassle and headaches. The full service wedding package normally includes:

  • Initial consulting to discuss your vision and expectations.
  • Developing your signature style based on your personality as a couple.
  • Establishing and maximizing your budget, with ongoing tracking of all expenses.
  • Creating a calendar, so it’s easy to stay up-to-day.
  • Assistance in selecting, ordering and mailing invitations.
  • Referring and scheduling appointments with vendors that meet your precise needs.
    (from venue – caterer – photographer and more)
  • Negotiating vendor contracts with your best interest in mind.
  • Securing the hotel packages for out-of town guests.
  • Review meetings with you and your groom, to put your mind at ease.
  • Finding and securing the rehearsal dinner venue.
  • Attending rehearsal, by lending support and assistance.
  • Coordinating and orchestrating all wedding day activities.
  • Taking care of all reception logistical details, from the floor plan to supervising table
    setting, name card placement, flower arrangement, distribution of payments to
    vendors etc…

WEDDING COSTS (behind the contract)
When planning your wedding you likely will go to many vendors and part of that process is
receiving quotes for each chosen products and/or services. You ask yourself; Why is there so much variation in price points? Well, there are a million answers for that but I’ll try and breakdown the most common of them…

LABOUR
Would you work at your job for free? No.  Well good… because no matter how much I love you and my career I can’t and won’t either.  I have a family to feed, a roof to put over our heads, and a life to live. If you don’t pay my time (yes, labour) than I am essentially working for free and quite frankly… I can’t afford that.

OVERHEAD
Offices cost money. If your chosen vendor works from home that costs money as well. If we travel to you, to your vendors, go out on sourcing trips, or site visits. It’s ALL overhead. Overhead are the fixed costs associated with running our business that you, as the client, have to help pay in the long run…

RENTAL VS PURCHASE
Rental rates are most often cheaper than purchase price but can still be expensive depending on the product. Swarovski crystal is much more expensive than glass. Likewise different items cost different amounts. The longer a vendor owns said object the less valuable it becomes (as it builds wear and tear).

CREATIVE PROCESS
This one is tricky but for people, like myself, who are ‘creative’ our ‘product’ is our creativity.  There is a dollar value associated with our time, our efforts, and our creativity for our clients.  Inspiration boards, custom designed centerpieces, invitations, unique design, etc… all are
examples of the creative process. People are often confused or frustrated by paying for an ‘intangible’ item but in the end my ‘intangible’ creative brain evokes the emotion, creates the design, and sculpts your wedding into a work of art. What’s that worth to you?

TRUCKING & DELIVERY
Gas prices suck! There I said it! However, running a business means having the ability to travel and shipping costs, trucking costs, setup, teardown, etc… are all part of that. When gas/travel prices go up – often so does the quote in correlation to what we’re seeing in raising costs elsewhere.

QUALITY OF PRODUCT
You can (& some people do) have their weddings for next to no budget. Personally, I’m delighted they can do it! However, I know the sacrifices that they have to make in order to do that. Quality product does not come cheap. Let me explain … it rarely comes cheap. There are exceptions to every rule of course. If you want premium product be prepared to pay premium price.

REPUTATION & EXPERIENCE
Along with reputation and experience comes knowing your worth. Anyone with a solid reputation in their industry and the experience to back it up earns more. It’s like a corporate ladder for the self employed. When we start out, we probably did pro-bono or at-cost work, but that very quickly shows a very negative bottom line and doesn’t work. Those who want to get better in their Industry know that they have to produce outstanding work – consistently. This means attending conferences, tradeshows, seminars and yes, producing beautiful weddings ALL THE TIME.

SUPPLY & DEMAND
Those with great reputations & experiences levels are also the most sought after and thus demand drives pricing structures as well. Likewise, if I am a company of one or even two people and you sign with us you are guaranteeing my personal services thus making it impossible for anyone else to book my services for your date, this in turn makes me a solid commodity for the first who hires me for my services.

Now that you ‘KNOW’ where the costs come from doesn’t always make it easier to comprehend?
Isn’t knowing better than not knowing?

Photo by ChristinaEstabanPhotography.com

Photo by ChristinaEstabanPhotography.com

For nearly three decades, Daniela Caputo and her company Montreal Event Planner has been the go-to authority, because of her wealth of experience and expertise.

She has developed a reputation for professionalism in various aspects of planning, from client services and project management to marketing, event execution, negotiations and sourcing, putting her at the forefront of event planning in Montreal and beyond.

Daniela is regularly featured and interviewed in industry publications such as The Event Planner magazine.  Given her expertise and reputable success, Daniela was invited to teach various courses on event planning at as well as speak for a number of school boards.

Daniela  joined the WPIC team of Instructors in 2014.

5 Tips for Improving Your Wedding Business

by Mary Swaffield, WPICC of Mary Elizabeth & Co.

It’s something we all strive to do, day in and day out: improve. We want to be better than we were last week, last month, last year. We want to be better than our competition (there is nothing wrong with that!) and better FOR our clients. Improvement is what keeps us motivated.

It can also burn us out. But we’ll get to that. First, here are my top 5 tips for improving your wedding business.

1 – Set goals
Oh c’mon, you knew that was coming! However, this really is proven to be the most effective way of improving yourself and your business. The trick is to do it right. Here are some considerations for each goal that you set.

  • Timing: Is this a short term or long term goal? Break it down even further: I set goals for this week, this month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 3 years and 5 years.
  • Purpose: What is the purpose for each goal? Does it tie into your overall vision for your company over the long term? Understanding the purpose behind your goals will go a long way towards helping you accomplish them.
  • Metrics: Is your goal measureable? How will you know when you’ve achieved it? It’s critical to put some very specific metrics behind each goal so that you are able to analyse how close you are to accomplishing it as you go along.
  • Efficiency: Is your goal a smart use of your time? Sometimes I feel that we set what I call “busy goals” – goals that make us feel productive in our businesses, but don’t actually help us to improve in areas that are substantive and tie into our overall business strategy.
  • Immediacy: What can I do TODAY to get closer to achieving each goal? When you make your to-do list every day, match each task up to a specific goal that you’ve set. You’ll be surprised to see how much you actually accomplish towards your goals each and every day.

Now…Write them down. Yep, you knew that was coming too. Write them down, and keep them where you can see them and review them often.
Find an accountability team. I love Mastermind groups. My Mastermind group is constantly challenging my goals and pushing me to work towards them week after week. They keep me accountable and humble. Revisit your goals often – they can and will change as your business evolves. And most importantly – CELEBRATE your accomplishments. Whatever that means to you – for me, it usually means a night off and a bottle of wine!

​2 – Stop the quest for perfection.

This one was and still is HARD for me. My business is my baby, and I want to do everything I can to ensure it is as perfect as it can be. But perfection is a HUGE roadblock when it comes to efficiency. And efficiency usually creates more time and energy for focusing on the things bring more business your way. If you are spending 2 hours working on the layout of a template that is internal and your client will NEVER see, you are being inefficient and it’s costing your company money. There are cases where perfection is in the best interest of your business – doing a styled shoot, for example – and cases where it can be the death of you. Make sure you have a clear strategy when it comes to determining when perfection is appropriate in your business. I usually filter things through three lenses: a) does the effort I’m putting into this provide value for my client? b) will the effort I’m putting into this translate into additional profit? c) will the public be seeing this (and therefore does it affect my brand identify?). If I can’t answer “yes” to at least one of these, then I have to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and focus instead on just getting things done. Sometimes “good enough” is actually good enough!

3 – Don’t live in a bubble

The wedding industry is massive and at times overwhelming. There are endless wedding inspiration blogs, wedding information blogs, wedding shops, wedding shows, wedding organizations… whew! It’s crazy, and AWESOME! But I do find that sometimes it helps move you forward when you step out of the bubble and spend time networking with and learning about other industries. You might be surprised if I told you that some of my most successful business strategies came from attending conferences and webinars on things like home building, interior design, and social media. I’ve learned so much about pricing, advertising, client care, software, promotion, fashion, blogging… the list goes on! all from stepping outside of the wedding industry and always thinking “how can I apply this lesson to my business”?? Get out there and make connections and always be open to lessons for your business that aren’t directly related at first glance.

4 – Always be marketing

Gone are the days of so-called “passive marketing” when you could put up your website and wait for the phone to ring! There is way too much competition out there now, and Brides/Grooms (customers) are extremely savvy when it comes to doing their research. Having a good website isn’t good enough – you won’t get heard in the noise. My business coach once gave me a great piece of advice: he said, your time should be divided into two areas: marketing for new clients and taking care of current clients. Having a detailed and strategic marketing plan is what will help you stand apart from your competitors and ensure that you are consistently receiving inquiries. You should be ACTIVELY marketing your business every single day. Schedule time to focus on it – with continued and consistent attention, you will see a dramatic increase in your inquiries within weeks. So many planners focus on what to do when you have clients… which is very important, of course! But if you don’t focus on what to do to GET clients, what to do when you have them isn’t going to matter much because you won’t have any.

5 – Keep Learning

I’m a firm believer that you can never have too much education. Whether you are attending conferences, seminars, reading business books, participating in workshops, taking e-courses, researching online… no matter the platform, when you keep learning, you are constantly increasing your value to your clients AND you are challenging yourself to continue improving. There are endless options out there and the benefits are too numerous to even list when it comes to opportunities for taking your business to the next level. Not only that, I find that when I seek out new opportunities for learning, it keeps me motivated – it keeps that spark lit. It is far too easy in this industry to burn out. Believe me, I’ve been there! But when you have a mastermind group to cheer you on, or spend an evening each week learning about floral design, or attend a conference and go to even one of the dozens of inspirational sessions, it will keep you moving forward and most importantly, it will keep your passion for your business alive and well. Set a goal (see #1) to dedicate 3-4 hours each week to learning something new or learning how to improve what you already do. You’ll be amazed at the result. And be prepared to invest to achieve this! Ensure that you include professional development/education in your business budget each year, and start setting aside a small percentage of your earnings to allocate towards it. I recommend 4-5% be put aside – it will accumulate quickly and you’ll be on a plane to your first conference before you know it!

Above all, the most important aspect to improving your business is to have a little bravery and a lot of faith. Don’t be afraid to take risks, to ask for help, to invest in yourself. And you have to believe! One of my favourite sayings is “leap off the cliff and believe you’ll grow wings”. When you give yourself and your business the tools to succeed, it’s easy to have the (sometimes blind) faith that is so critical when it comes to moving forward. You can do it!!! Go, be unstoppable!

Mary Swaffield is a Wedding Business Coach who provides creative & strategic marketing for Wedding & Event Professionals, through her company Mary Elizabeth & Co.

Branding Your Business – The Importance of Standing Out From the Crowd

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

By: Tracey Manailescu

*As seen on the Event Source blog.

We all know the basic fundamentals of having a brand; a great and easy to navigate website, tagline and logo, competitive pricing, valuable services, etc.

You are your business, and your business is you and it’s time to take it a bit further. By being authentic, having a presence on social media, knowing your target market and giving good customer service, you are creating a brand that you should feel great about.

brand

Be your Authentic Self:

The best way to be authentic with your customers is to be true to your brand.

You need to be communicating your brand clearly, consistently and continuously.

Believe it or not, it‘s actually not that hard to stand out from the crowd.

We all have our own way of doing things based on situations and experiences that we have had over the course of our lifetime. The things that we believe in, the way we handle difficult clients, tricky situations, deadlines and customer service. It all comes down to our own individual strengths and weaknesses. Take a good hard look at both of these things, and put your strengths into play. Not so sure about what your strengths and weaknesses are? Ask your past clients, good friends, trusted family members and industry colleagues what they see as your best attributes, skills and things you need to work on. Keep in mind that you don’t want just anyone to be ripping you apart; this is supposed to be eye-opening and helpful, after all. After they have chewed you up and spit you out, really think about it and listen to what they have to tell you, and make changes as you see fit.

Social Media:

Social media can be an excellent source for branding, and a great tool for marketing your business to the wedding and events industry. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, blogging and Google+ are available free to you to share your products, services and personality with existing and potential clients. Use them to show glimpses of what goes on in your business and what you do on a regular basis with the use of photos, things you discuss, your comments, and interact with your followers. Share positive feedback from past clients, show photos of you with your clients, photos of yourself and your team working at a wedding or event, share exciting news about your company, share behind the scenes photos at weddings and events, etc.

*70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles than ads.

Know Your Target Market:

Who are your clients? You need to know who you are talking to with your marketing. What age are they, what is their average household income? Where do they live? What are they willing to spend on your service or product? What is their style? Everything you do with your business should be aimed at them. You need to understand your target market and be able to give them what they want and need. When you know and understand this, then you can look at where these potential clients are looking online and off, to find your type of services.

Give Good Customer Service:

This should be your company’s priority. Our businesses are built on personal interactions and client expectations. The best advice I can give on this subject is to put yourself in the position of your clients. What would make you feel good about working with your company? Are you making your clients feel special, that they are important to you, and that you care and are passionate about your service? Are you listening and finding a solution to their concerns and problems? If you have had complaints in the past, did you own up to the mistakes? Did you learn from them? What can you do to ensure it doesn’t happen again? Be professional, prompt, know your industry and product, under promise and over deliver, understand what your clients want and need from you, listen, and make sure you understand exactly what it is they want from you, and make your clients satisfaction a priority.

**70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.

 

Source: *Ann Handley http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227379

**Mckinsey http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/the_moment_of_truth_in_customer_service

Find the Marketer in YOU!

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Photo by Decordova Photography

By: Kaley Campbell, WPICC and WPIC Office Manager

marketing plan

Find the Marketer in YOU!

Overlooked Marketing Tips Boost Your Company’s’ Presence Online and Offline

  • Only write content that serves a purpose. While writing a blog, social media post, posting photos, updating your website, make sure the information is directly providing a service to potential clientele.  Whether it is posting information for the purpose of reflection, education, entertainment, to showcase talent, even just to start a conversation; make sure you are posting for a reason.  Pointless posts with no follow ups go nowhere and are easily skipped over.  Post what you would be interesting in seeing.
  • Switch it up. If your social media plan has you posting tips and business information, ALL the time, lighten it up with photos or videos. Repost things you find interesting and that still are relative.  Choose posts that show you have a personality as well, and this will make you more relatable.
  • Industry partnerships. This is HUGE in the Wedding Professional World. The more your work is showcased; the better chances your work will be exposed to your target market.  Connect with businesses that are in your field and compliment your business, and see if they do any featuring on their social media or website.  A lot of companies use outside materials for blogs, shoots, or inspiration, and this is a fantastic way to be showcased.
  • Apply for business awards in your field. There are TONS of business related awards awarded every year in every sort of industry, APPLY, APPLY, And APPLY! These awards will allow you to be on that company’s registry, and it makes your company look even better. Some clientele focus solely on credentials, and this is a way to stay on top of the game.
  • Charity donations. This is one that I would consider a win-win situation.  Donate your time, service, or products to a local charity event.  Not only will your company be shown in the best light, you get exposure to a wide variety of people in your area.
  • Most small businesses survive off of word of mouth alone. Boost this. You’re putting your time and effort into making your clientele’s wedding a success, gaining their trust, and creating the most magical day possible. Capture everything and ask for feedback.  Use testimonials to your advantage.  Also, create a referral plan where friends and family of previous clientele can have a discount on your services.
  • Don’t overlook the power of a well-made business card. You are professional creators of stunning events; don’t lead your business off on the wrong foot by releasing material that doesn’t reflect your talent or creativity. Also, make sure that your branding and style mirrors your company.  Misrepresentation is all it takes to lose clients.
  • Set aside a set amount of time every day on all social media platforms just to “like”, “retweet”, “comment” and “follow”. This is the time to get conversations going online, not to sell your service.  This is the time to show that you are dedicated and active online and are interested in people for more than just business purposes.
  • Be seen at the “must attend” events. Showing that you are an active business professional at different seminars and functions will really make your business stand out.  Don’t over-look the power of networking.  You never know what will come from just basic conversations, and treat everyone like you would a high profile client.

 

 

Canadian Weddings: The ULTIMATE Destination

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Photo by Decordova Photography

By: WPIC Office Manager, Kaley Campbell

Canadian Weddings: The ULTIMATE Destination

The wedding venue: Arguably the most important detail of the wedding planning process. I, for one, will always remember the setting and the feeling of a wedding and look back at pictures to see the beauty around the day.  A lot of brides will look for destination weddings to get the perfect setting, however here in Canada; we have so much hidden beauty that will captivate any attendee.

Atlantic Canada:

Of course I will start this one off by highlighting one of my favorite places in the entire world: Atlantic Canada. I have attended so many stunningly beautiful weddings here, and I can’t wait to share with you the magic of this place. Decor: You do not need to worry as much about decor when you have the Oceans’ beauty as your backdrop.  You cannot drive for more than a few hours in any province without hitting a beach or oceanfront views.  Many people choose to have an outdoor wedding and use this to their advantage. Beaches are not the only outdoor options.  These four provinces are lined with caves, waves, cliffs and peaks to create a completely different feel. The Maritimes have some of the most sought-after golf courses in the world, which provides luxury and elegance, if that is what you are looking for. Atlantic Canada is bordered with all different types of lighthouses, all that provide a deep sense of history while being pretty enough to make any wedding a knock-out. Atlantic Canada is also often seen as the “it” place to be for any Celtic weddings.  With the gorgeous landscape, the greenery, and with the scenic beauty and charm overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, these provinces are the perfect destination for your Celtic-tied wedding..  Another trend that is on the up and up, are weddings that take place in rustic barns, highlighting the natural beauty and pulling a lot of nostalgic heart strings.  Atlantic Canada is filled with clay roads, red cliffs, rocky points, ponds, harbour fronts, coal mines and more; a venue for everyone. But, you better know that with any traditional maritime wedding, you should prepare for the homemade drinks to be flowing and a big feeling of “home” as part of the spirit.

Maple Syrup

Quebec/Ontario:

The province of Quebec offers so much culturally, historically, and sensually. Sensually, this is the destination for the couple who wants to showcase food like no other. Quebec is one of the major destinations in Canada for the food connoisseurs, and as we all know food is a major part of the wedding celebrations.  There are tastes that are only found here, from traditional poutine to the Maple Bush, any one would be excited to attend a Quebec-based wedding.  Quebec offers so much more as well.  Famous landmarks such as the Ice Castle, The battlefields of the Plains of Abraham, buildings from the 17th – mid 19th century, or Mont Royal; there is a piece of Quebec that interests us all. Quebec would definitely be a top contender as the perfect setting for a wedding in any season.  With romantic cobblestone walkways, heritage homes, colorful cafés and new-age feels, this might be the destination to fit your wedding. Ontario has one of the biggest tourist attractions; Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls brings in over 12 million people a year to see its absolute glorious beauty. There are casinos, restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife right on scene, overlooking this world wonder. Ontario also offers the CN tower, Parliament Hill, and the Rideau Canal for unforgettable wedding locations.  However, the standard sight-seeing scenes are not only what Ontario has to offer. Weddings in Ontario are getting creative with their venues.  Vineyards have been a popular choice, but now breweries are on the rise.  Ontario has a lot of local breweries that offer amazing architecture and a rugged beauty. Ontario also is hosting amazing weddings with panoramic views of the city. Venues are popping up everywhere, capturing the heart of the city, and the bright lights and polished city.

The Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rockies

Western Canada:

Western Canada offers a completely different feel / geography then Eastern Canada. Western Canada has so many natural beauties to draw in every type of couple.  Ice fields provides a blank terrain of pure ice backed by mountain views, Killer whale watching expeditions showcase nature in such a pure form,  and storm watching is becoming a trend to capture the impeccable photos desired. Western Canada is host to a lot of different wilderness resorts, polar bear adventures, hot springs, and more. Besides the impeccable landscape that these western provinces have to offer, there are other trends that are found in this area of Canada.  Like in Eastern Canada, barn weddings are a common trend that’s on the rise. A different trend, however, is full elaborate flower gardens. Garden weddings provide such an elegant grace to any ceremony.  The Canadian Rockies are a common and exquisite back drop for Alberta’s wedding revenues.

“We’re big on socials and having weddings be big parties to celebrate with family and friends. We’re known for the province that spends the most on weddings and for good reason; we have a short season of warm weather so when it’s nice we’re out, we want to have fun, and we want everyone else to as well! We love our tent weddings, backyard weddings and also our pub and restaurant weddings. We like to get back to our roots with good old German and Ukrainian comfort food and we’re all in for late night snack and sweets tables. Our weddings are all about the experience and being with the people you love.” – Amanda Douglas owner of Amanda Douglas Events

Hot Air Balloon

Northern Canada:

The natural beauty of Northern Canada is one that you cannot find anywhere else.  The Northern Lights are one of the main attractions. The sky lights up in a beautiful haze of colors, creating an exclusive look for any wedding photo. The Northern Territories also provides a different living experience with the Aboriginal cultures.  Northern Canada offers beautiful old Inukshuk, Dog team traveling, small intimate communities, sculptures, print artists, tapestry, Aboriginal celebrations, unique music,  and more.  Some of the more popular wedding trends that are found in the Territories are getting wedding photos on or with hot air balloons overlooking the beautiful terrain, getting married in the famous igloo church which captures the whole feel of the celebration, or having your guests fly into the venues on float planes.  This destination is the perfect place for adventuring couples that want to do a wedding like no other.

 

 

What’s in Your Wedding Emergency Kit?

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Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

By: Tracey Manailescu Emergency Kit from Bottles and burbs Photo: Bottles and Burbs

Bridesmaids dresses bursting at the seams, groomsmen with bad breath, an obsession with clean hands, a bride who didn’t work in the wedding shoes, don’t worry.  We’ve got this! There hasn’t been a wedding that I have coordinated, that my Emergency Kit was not used.  It is invaluable to your couple, the wedding party and to you, as a wedding coordinator. My bag has a strap on it so it can be brought everywhere that I go with ease. It has different compartments to keep things organzied,  and has a cooling bag inside of it to keep an ice pack.  The most used items in my kit are a butane lighter and band-aids.

The butane lighter is great for lighting hard to reach candles in votive holders if the Decorator leaves before they need to be lit for guests entering the reception area, and the band-aids are great for the wedding party who haven’t worked in their wedding shoes. band aids butane lighter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some uses of items in Tracey M Events emergency kit: *Items may change at any given wedding

Hairspray/Static Guard: Bridesmaids dresses may cling in all of the wrong places. Spray a little static guard on the inside of the dress and, BAM, all is good! These two items seem to be interchangeable. A tip that I leaned from a dancer was to spray static guard or hairspray on the bottoms of the shoes (that don’t have treads on them) will make the soles slip proof. I used this trick for a Mother of the Groom one time, and she was freaking out. She couldn’t believe how well this worked!

Sunscreen: Sometimes couples forget to put sunscreen on before the makeup is applied, or just in general for all of those outdoor photos. Nothing worse then a sunburn:(

Evian Spray: This is great to refresh the entire wedding party! It’s also great to touch up the makeup.  Smudges and fine lines that may appear after all of that smiling and those tears of happiness. It won’t ruin the makeup and will make you picture perfect again. (Just use a q-tip or makeup pads/sponge to correct what needs to be touched up and removed.)

Advil/Tylenol: We have both for the simple fact that each does different things to different people. (*Please note that it is in original packaging, with the date of expiry clearly visable and checked before each wedding.) We can tell you we have it, take it out of our emergency kit, but then we have to place it on a flat service, unopened container, and let you open it yourself to take the Advil/Tylenol.

After Bite: We can’t stop you from getting bit or stung from all of those pesky bugs out there, but we can definitely give you some relief with After Bite spray.

Light Bulb: For Jewish weddings it is much easier to break a light bulb then to break a glass wrapped in cloth.  “Mazel tov!” We have actually had a light bulb shatter minutes before heading down the aisle at a wedding ceremony, and had to scramble to get a replacement from cleaning staff at a venue.  Now, we carry an extra, just in case :) The list goes on and on…Chances are though, it’s in our emergency kit!

Real Wedding- A & J

WPIC Cofounder, Tracey Manailescu shares a real wedding with us from her wedding planning company, Tracey M Events

*This wedding was previously featured on Event Source:

Jennifer Troietto and I had the pleasure of working with Amy & Joe on their “Night Club” themed wedding at the beautiful Winona Vine Estates. We still can’t believe how easy going and accommodating Mizzy and his staff were. A special thanks to Studio Chris for the photos. The venue was transformed inside and out by the talented Lynn Sousa & team of Classic CreationsWedding Decor. This couple’s wedding truly embodied what family, love and friendship is to us. There was so much love and happiness in every aspect of the day. Amy & Joe’s first priority was making their guests feel welcomed and beyond loved. They made sure to include their children and family in everything they did.

“Hi Tracey, I want to thank u very much for everything u have done for me!!! Sorry it’s that late but I have been crazy busy with the moving and new school and new life…Lol! Hope you guys are great and I hope to see u soon…maybe you can come for a barbeque one weekend…Xo xo xo”

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

A beautiful Romanian Orthodox ceremony, complete with chandeliers and doves took place on the grounds where the staged area was draped. They even thought to have umbrellas and fans at every chair for the sun and heat. A string trio was playing for the guests after the ceremony while the wedding party and couple went for photos.

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: Tracey's cell phone

Photo: Tracey’s cell phone

Photo: Tracey's cell phone

Photo: Tracey’s cell phone

Photo: Tracey's cell phone

Photo: Tracey’s cell phone

A&J35B

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

A&J36B

At the reception the guests were greeted by the couple and a great photo booth set up by BEN best entertainment network  at the entrance with a gorgeous blinged out 5×7 frame to keep the photos as a keepsake. A & J photobooth

Jennifer Troietto & Tracey Manailescu of Tracey M Events

Jennifer Troietto & Tracey Manailescu of Tracey M Events

When they went inside the ballroom an open bar, and a double martini luge along with a deluxe antipasto bar greeted them.

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Ummm…Did we mention the brides FAB shoes?

www.studiochris.ca

www.studiochris.ca

Live bands playing tradionional Romanian folk and modern music entertained everyone, along with a DJ playing club hits, that kept everyone on their feet all night long.

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

A bridal capture took place until the groom had to pay off the captures, two wedding dress changes, and then Brazilain Samba dancers came in and shook the place up even more.

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Guests were then asked to step outside, where sparklers were handed out for the cake cutting, and then a fireworks show amazed everyone.  This wedding was every Eastern European girls’ dream come true!

www.studiochris.ca

www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

The food was incredible and seemed never ending! Take a look at what was on the menu (these photos are only from the antipasto station):

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Deluxe antipasto bar Shopska salad Filet de sole served with chefs red pepper risotto Grilled long bone veal chop served with yukon gold, smoked gouda and bacon pave with a bundle of seasonal vegetables Platter of chicken al limone Rasberry sorbet with fresh berries Sweet table including wedding cake Fresh fruit and pastries Midnight buffet We are so happy to have been a part of Amy & Joe’s wedding. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and love!

Tracey M Events Tracey with Amy and Jow

Keeping Your Sanity During Wedding Season

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

 

By: Tracey Manailescu

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Typically wedding season is at it’s best from May-October.  All of the months meeting with clients and vendors prepping, organizing, and planning has come to this. Hopefully you are organized, and have kept client files to keep everything in order so that you can focus on the next steps. Depending on how many clients you, and your company, have taken on for the season can really make a difference in how the next several months are going to play out for you.

Some things that I have learned over the years:

You Are Not Alone. Since you are WPIC certified (you’re not?  Hmmm. What are you waiting for?) you have access to over 5000 wedding professionals in your WPIC Alumni Association from all over the world who have been there, and done that.  Ask questions, ask for advice.  Get together for coffee, or attend a WPIC get together (they always have professional development in mind). Find out what has worked best with your peers in similar situations. Need another assistant at the wedding? Well then you know where to go.

Some of the most caring and compassionate people that I have ever met, are in my WPIC family. Thank you for being there to listen, to offer tips, teach me new ways of doing things,  and to show support.  It’s an incredible feeling to know that you have my back.

Life doesn’t stand still for anyone. My biggest regret to date, is how much time I missed with my daughter when she was little before she went to school.  I was too busy focusing on clients, their weddings, and the growth of WPIC.  I can’t go back in time to fix this, but I can certainly make sure that I don’t make the same mistakes again. There is nothing more important to me than my family.  Nothing. Everything I do, and every decison that I make, is with them in mind.

As wedding professionals, we are invited to so many different events, grand openings, FAM trips, vendor appreciation nights, dinners and conferences etc.  While I consider myself extremely fortunate (believe me, I really do), there has to be a time to stop and think about is this something that I need to go to,or be a part of,  instead of just want to? That is why I made the decison to only take on what I can handle.  For me, I will only take on 2-3 wedding clients a year.  This way my couples are getting the best of me with my time and energy, and in return, I  am giving them the best that I can, too.

smell the roses

Stop and Smell the Roses: Take time to just breathe, and take in the beauty all around you. Lilacs are out in full force right now. They are my absolute hands down, favourite smelling flower in the world! I was driving to work last week and literally pulled over, and got out of my car to walk up and smell them on someone’s front lawn. It sounds so cheesy but it put a huge smile on my face.

When is the last time you went to the gym, went to a movie, went for a girls night out, had coffee with a friend, or went on a date night with your better half?  If you are just too busy, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate, and think about your priorities.

Get Better Organizational Systems: There are so many great apps, calendars, programs and sytems to make your life easier. (Remember to keep your receipts, and claim the expenses on your taxes.) They make your work life easier and better for your clients. Need skills in a specific area?  There are so many webinars, seminars, self-help books, night classes and online classes available to you. Ask around, or just google it!

Photo from: The Inspired Room

Photo from: The Inspired Room

Make Your Office Space Yours: Make your office space yours, by making it visually appealing to you. Buy a new desk, chair, computer or shelving units that suit your style. Get some new file folders, binders, pens. Love that new blinged out tape dispenser and pair of scissors? Get them.  When things are organized around you, its proven that you feel more relaxed and calm.

It can be as simple as decluttering. Clean out your office space.  I just did this. How much crap can one person have? It’s kind of embarrassing to think of all of the things I had in my drawers and shelves that I thought I needed at the time. (I threw away 3 garbage bags, by the way.) I am amazed at how much more room I have and how much cleaner it looks. I had a row of outdated photos in frames on top of my desk that eerily reminded me of my grandmother’s house. What the hell was I thinking? We have had our office for 5 years, and I haven’t changed them up.

I went to Indigo last week and got so wrapped up in all of the amazing stuff that was available.  It took me 2o minutes to decide on a mug and a journal.  For real!  There are so many choices to make your space your own.

time management

Time Management: This is a biggie.  You know all of that time that gets wasted when you start surfing Pinterest and instagram or Facebook? Why not dedicate certain amounts of time to social media, writing blogs, researching vendors, working on client files, etc? You will be amazed at how blocking off time during your day for certain activities helps keep you on track. I am always so surprised when I see how much time I have spent looking at pretty table tops, florals and ideas for weddings when I don’t keep track of it. Ughhh…

I hope you all have a FABULOUS wedding season!

Do you have any tips and tricks that have worked for you over the years?  Please share in the comments section below.

A Recap of the Wedding Professionals Conference in Calgary

Attendees of Weddign Professioanls Conference in Calgary

by Kaley Campbell, WPIC Office Manager

Hotel_Arts_2

The Hotel Arts is one of the most stunningly edgy hotels in all of Calgary, and of course this was the perfect choice for Danielle and Tracey to host the Wedding Professionals Workshop. This two day workshop was not the average workshop, this workshop targeted Alberta’s finest wedding professionals. The room glittered with the stunning décor from Alberta Event Design Studio, and the classic beauty set the scene for the educational experience about to take place.

(Photos taken by f8 Photography)

Wedding Conference Swag bag

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Day one started off with a bang. Alberta’s own Lynn Fletcher gave a step by step breakdown of a high end luxury wedding planned by her and her team. Lynn took us through the nitty-gritty details, not sparing the uncomfortable happenings which occurred during the high profile event. This was an AMAZING learning opportunity for new planners who might not be familiar with all the handlings of day-of coordination. It also was fantastic for the majority of wedding planners, who might not have had the experience with dealing with multi-million dollar events. Lynn Fletcher dazzled us while she educated us.

lynn fletcher lynn fletcher

Lynn Fletcher

Next up was Bernard Callebaut. Bernard is an outstanding chocolatier with such a courageous story in the ups and downs of business. Bernard told his story from the ground up, how he became who he is now. His story dipped into his time on “Dragons Den”, and finding his new identity under his new brand of “Papa Chocolat”. For anyone owning their own business, or considering owning their own business, Bernard’s session really showed the challenges one may face, especially in the Calgary area.

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Mary Swaffield, of ME & Co, packed in eight of her very own “business boosters”- educating everyone from experience. Mary spoke of networking, finances, technology, and personal “do’s and don’ts” out on the field. Mary is so passionate and driven about the Wedding Industry, and it transferred seamlessly into her seminar.

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We had a spectacular lunch!

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Next, Rhonda Couchigian was up. Rhonda Couchigian, founder of Rayce PR and Marketing, flew in from her firm in Las Angeles to share her knowledge in Marketing and PR within the Wedding Planning Industry. This was an intense session with so much fantastic information and tools shared to all of the attendees of the Wedding Planners Workshop. There wasn’t an empty notepad in the room.

Rhonda Couchigian of Rayce PR Ashley Morton at WPIC Wedding Pro Workshop

Rhonda Couchigian

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Following Rhonda, the fabulous Diann Valentine was up to speak. Diann Valentine is a wedding and event interior designer, author, TV host, speaker, and more. This inspirational, successful, business woman got up and showed what it takes to not only book the luxury client, but to sustain a business of luxury clientele. When Diann speaks, everyone listens. She is a power house in this industry and leads by example.

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Last but not least, two of my personal favorite business women in the Wedding Industry got up to speak about the (shocking!) wedding trends of 2015. Danielle Andrews Sunkel and Tracey Manailescu, co-owners of WPIC and the producers of the Wedding Professionals Workshop, put together the perfect closer to the day. They spoke about the trends that are happening around the world. These trends not only were trends that a lot of us have never heard of, there were trends that made majority of us gasp out loud. Outrageous trends that both Dani and Tracey have seen in person. I loved it.

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Day two of the Wedding Professionals Workshop was all about Destination Wedding Planning. Danielle and Tracey had Monica Caesar, the owner of Aisle Plan Your Day, come in to teach the very first live rendition of WPIC’s Destination Wedding Course for both the Wedding Planning professionals and Travel Agents. The DWS/DWC course has only been offered online prior to this day, so it was brand new concept for everyone. Monica’s expertise and absolutely wonderful teaching methods left us all feeling filled with knowledge and the drive to dive into this field. We were also all dazzled by our guest speaker, Jaime Valdes-Riench, who is both a seasoned Travel Agent and Destination Wedding Specialist. Jaime spoke about all of the little details of partnerships between Planners and Travel Agents, and some of the key points you need to look for in the industry.

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Both days of the Wedding Professionals Workshop brought amazing business professionals from all different fields of the Wedding Industry together, to learn more and to share experiences. Thank you to all participants, it was absolutely lovely meeting all of you and I hope to see you again at an upcoming event or workshop!

How to Become a Wedding Planner

wpic certified wedding planner

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

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

It’s easy to become a Wedding Planner, but it takes time, education, experience and perseverance to become a successful one.

Its important to know that over-night success does not happen in the Wedding Industry. Clients aren’t going to bang down your door just because you register your business and set-up a website. It will take at least 1 1/2-2 years before your business will be able to sustain you as your primary income and that is only if you really market yourself and persevere.

Education

WPIC students in classThe first step to becoming a Wedding Coordinator is education.  Not only do you need to know Bride and Groom Psychology, Event Management, Coordination, and Day-of problem-solving, but there are many laws and regulations that Wedding Coordinators need to be aware of.  As well, you need education in what you can and should expect from vendors, their contracts and their expectations of you.  You need to know about different religions, their requirements and ceremonies, wedding etiquette, budgeting, as well as business and marketing in the wedding industry.

We, of course, are proponents of The Wedding Planners Institute of Coordination’s Wedding Coordinator Certification Program.

A true Wedding Professional knows that their education is NEVER finished, so consistently attending workshops and yearly Wedding Industry conventions and conferences is a must.

Inspiration

You can never have enough inspiration.  Constantly immerse yourself in the world of weddings.  Watch all the television shows, movies, read the magazines and attend the wedding tradeshows.  Find out who the major players in the wedding world are, read their Blogs, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Networking

www.wpic.ca

Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Get to know your local key wedding players, go see the venues, meet the vendors.  You can never know too much about your local market.

Become a member of a professional association.  This association should offer additional and extended learning and training opportunities, a job shadowing or volunteer program, networking opportunities, as well as business information and a network of support.  We operate the “WPICAlumni Association”, it is 3500 members strong and membership is FREE with WPIC Certification 😉

Experience

Through your association you should be able to gain experience by working with an established wedding planner by volunteering your services on the day of the wedding.  In return, you will gain priceless hands-on experience and learn invaluable tips and tricks of the trade.

Be Professional

wedding planner in officeOnce you have gained your WPIC certification and gotten some hands-on experience you can begin to set-up your business.  Remember that everything about you and your business needs to be professional. Walk the walk, and talk the talk. Use proper business etiquette in all that you do. Dress professionally and appropriately.  Be what you picture a Wedding Planner to be.

The Wedding Industry is a very small world and Word of Mouth can make or break you.  So remember to stay ethical, treat your clients well, always give 110%, play nicely with others and give other Wedding Professionals the respect they deserve when you are working together.