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How Not to be a Negative Nelly in the Wedding Industry

www.wpic.ca

By: Tracey Manailescu

At some point in time, I think it’s reasonably safe to say that we all have felt self-doubt, jealousy, insecure, and even animosity towards  someone else within the industry.  Not everyone is meant to be best friends, and you may not agree with some others business practices, to each his own. It is also pretty safe to assume, that you have come across instances where you were a little thrown off by a negative comment, rants on social media or have been in attendance of someone bashing another industry peer.

At WPIC inc. we hear about so many of these on a weekly basis.  Whether it is about us, our Alumni, or vendors we know. Sometimes it really hurts, while other times it makes us down right angry. Danielle and I have made it very clear that we will not tolerate or participate in gossip and slander. Heck, we even made it one of our WPIC Code of Ethics, because we feel so strongly about this negative type of behaviour. We expect all of our WPIC Alumni to abide by these ethics. While it is very easy to get into these types of conversations, think about what it looks like to those listening.  Yuck!

Gossip

“What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: “Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.” Gordon B. Hinckley

Social Media: I have unfollowed or hidden so many people in my newsfeed on Facebook because of negative posts. It’s depressing and makes me feel stressed. When I log into Facebook, I personally want to see happy posts like accomplishments, great photos from recent weddings, funny stories of things that happened to my friends and peers in the course of the day, romantic gestures, new goals and posts about cute things their kids or pets do, etc. You know, things that generally make you smile, and feel good when you see, and read them. Social media is not the place to voice your anger issues, or to trash your significant other. That is what friends, family and loved ones are for.

People tend to be generous when sharing their nonsense, fear, and ignorance. And while they seem quite eager to feed you their negativity, please remember that sometimes the diet we need to be on is a spiritual and emotional one. Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action.” Steve Maraboli 

Take the time to Get to Know Others in the Industry: Sometimes, people feel the need to talk badly, and trash others businesses because they just don’t understand what all of the hype is about. Instead of assuming, get out to events and get to know others in the industry. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that they are just like you, or might have something great to offer you and your business. It might be tips, advice or just a great conversation that can make all of the difference.

The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”  Wayne Dyer

goals

Set Realistic Goals: Set goals for yourself that are reasonable and can definitely be obtained. It might be creating a new look and feel to your company, getting interviewed in a news segment, newspaper or magazine, getting an image makeover, losing weight, getting published for a wedding or a style shoot, or booking more of your type of clients, getting hired for a destination wedding, going on vacation somewhere you have always dreamed of, attending a conference in another city or country, etc.  Whatever it is, make it a priority. Do something every day, or at least every week to help you obtain those goals. Research companies who specialize in branding, website designers that fit your style and budget, take a course, start saving 10% of your pay-cheques, put together style boards, create a vision board, and go for it!

Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.” Norman Vincent Peale

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others:  There is always going to be someone more successful, makes more money, who is smarter, better looking, more creative and more powerful than you. Deal with it! Instead of harbouring negative thoughts, why not come up with ways that you can do better, and be better. You have no idea how hard they struggled to get where they are now. Success comes with hard work and lots of trials and errors along the way.

Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt

team

Pick Your Battles: Sometimes you are put into situations where you need to work with someone you do not get along with.  It could be another member of your team, a vendor, a client’s family member or friend, etc. No one says you need to be best friends, but you do need to be courteous and professional, and put the client’s needs first. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Are they insecure, or think that you are stepping on their toes? Talk it out (in private). It might be something so little, that can be easily fixed. If it really is more, and you will never see eye to eye, then you need to figure out how you can work together and not let it ruin the wedding, event and your reputation. Try not to respond in the heat of the moment, if it’s possible. It usually leads to trouble. Sometimes it is better to just turn the other cheek. It’s sometimes hard to do, but can be worth it in the long run.

“Pick your battles. You don’t have to show up to every argument you’re invited to.” Mandy Hale

Planner of the Month: Jennifer Borgh

 

 

Today we bring you the always amazing, Jennifer Borgh, to start of our 2015 “Planner of The Month”.  Jennifer is a superstar with her mad planning skills.  She is a destination guru who focuses on her specialty, Jamaica. Her passion, and no-nonsense approach has won over the hearts of clients and vendors alike. Danielle and I both book our family vacations with her, and know without a doubt that we are in good hands. She goes above and beyond for her clients, and she has a heart of gold. We are proud to introduce, Jennifer Borgh as WPIC’s Planner of the Month.

Name: Jennifer Borgh

Company: Jennifer Borgh Events

Most challenging aspect of starting your business?  Too many challenges to list.

– Finding great staff.  A lot of money was wasted over the years, trying to find the perfect team and after 5 years, I have finally put together my A team

– Balancing family, marriage and business(this is constantly a work in progress and still haven’t figured this one out)

-Dealing with people.  I am VERY lucky to have had very few bridezillas over the years, however the ones that I have had, have been emotionally exhausting.  I count my blessings everyday for the amazing couples I get to deal with and feel very lucky to have more good than bad.

Jenn Borgh1

When was your moment when you truly felt you made your company successful?  I feel this way after every wedding which is why I love my job so much.  I have been very fortunate to win several awards over the years and be published in magazines and newspapers which is always a nice reward for my hard work.

How many staff do you currently have? 4 Travel Agents plus our amazing vendors who we work very closely with.

Jenn Borgh2

Best moments/memories from one or more wedding(s)?  So many tears of joy over the years but my favourite part is when couples realize their wedding was better because they hired me.  All the money in the world can’t make up for gratitude and appreciation.

Please tell us some things you have learned over the years that have helped you grow?  Not to take things personally.  Although, it’s hard to fully ignore this fact, it has come to my attention that some people.  Not to watch my competition.  I don’t check out their websites, or follow what they do, it helps be focus on my own business and not waste time.

Jenn Borgh3

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Phew, good question.  Possibly living in Jamaica during the winter, doing what I do best.  Planning destination weddings in Jamaica!

 

 

 

Avoiding Industry Burn-out

www.wpic.ca

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Dale Carnegie

Avoiding Industry Burn-out: When do you feel most inspired and passionate about the weding industry and your business? Is it after you work with a great couple?  When you meet a FAB new wedding vendor? When you attend a Conference? Don’t you wish that you could bottle that feeling and drink from it whenever you got the ho-hums? I think everyone feels the blahs once in a while.  Competition is strong, and it’s difficult, if not down-right impossible, to feel confident and creative ALL of the time.

Being in the wedding industry comes with a ton of pros and cons. A wedding is an emotional event. There is excitement, disappointment, battles of will, family interferance, money woes, power struggles and it can be exhausting to be in the middle of it all. There are trends, venues and vendors that would have made your couples wedding so much better, but maybe they’ve already signed a contract with someone else before hiring you, or maybe they’ve decided to save money on something you know will make a ton of difference in the end and have decided to not listen to your advice (like a great professional DJ, photographer or decorator.) Sometimes you have to just suck it up against your better judgement and roll with it. It can be really frustrating!

Here are some tips to help keep your head in the game: wedding planner having coffee with couple

1. Relive Happy Client Memories. Go through photos and thank you cards from past clients whom you adored. There is just something about happy memories that make you feel all warm and happy inside. You had a part in making that wedding wonderful.

sweeping leaves and flowers

2. De-Clutter. You will be amazed at things you have tucked away for future use, things you felt bad about getting rid of from events, magazines that are out-dated, and event packages where you know you will never work at. Get a new filing system, binders, folders and storage boxes that match, are modern and make your office look good. Get rid of things you do not use and will never use. Your office is a representation of you and your company. Make it work for you.  Know where things are, and have them serve a purpose, or get rid of them. De-cluttering actually creates positive energy, calm and clarity.

3. Brand Make-Over. Have your style, clients, services offered and budgets changed since you started in the wedding industry?

*Hire a professional web designer to make your site more modern, SEO compatible and user friendly. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can even make one yourself if you know what you are doing. If you don’t, then there are tutorials to help you do it.

*Hire a photographer to get some new head shots done for your “About Me” page.

*Hire a graphic designer to create a new logo for your company. Check out Elance and 99designs

www.wpic.ca

4. Update your contracts and policies. Create templates and standard information emails about your services. Create feedback forms to send out to each set of clients after the wedding. This will save you time and make way for other things that you never had time for. *Remember to have a lawyer go over any changes that you have made to your contract.

5. Change your pricing. Maybe it is time to increase your pricing, or lower it. You should know by now who you attract to your business. Do you enjoy working with couples for “Full Planning” or are you happiest with “Partial Planning” or even “Month Of” coordination? Does your pricing turn them off? Or you getting very demanding clients who expect the world from you, but it is taking too much of your energy and patience? Maybe you need to decrease your amount of clients, and increase your pricing, which would allow you to put more effort and time into your couples. Do what feels and works best for you and your company.

never stop learning

6. Learn a New Skill. Maybe you are not so great at book-keeping. Hire one or take some courses to learn how to do it better. Take a small business course, learn from the amazing people in your own community. I am humbled by all of the talent and brilliant people within WPIC who are constantly learning, growing and offering their time and energy to help us all be better. Sign up for one of their workshops, seminars or conferences. Buy one of their books or write your own!

7. Take Care of You. Join a gym, go out for weekly coffees or drinks with your friends, go on weekly/monthly date nights with your better half, get a haircut, have a kit-kat break, buy some new clothes to suit your brand, go on a vacation. Only you know what work best of you.  Go and do that.

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

By: Tracey Manailescu

meeting new peeps

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

As Seen on WPIC button

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

www.wpic.ca

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

SMART formula written on a chalkboard

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

quote

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

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

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

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

She regularly speaks at Wedding Conferences around the world.

WPIC 2014 Year in Review

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

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

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

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

WPIC & WPIC Alumni in the Media

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

Parlez-vous Française? Hablas Español?

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

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

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

Speaking Engagements

www.wpic.ca

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

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

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

WPIC Events

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

WPIC Adminsitration Change

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

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

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

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

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

We wish you nothing but success!
Danielle & Tracey

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

From all of us to all of you!  Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays, however you celebrate, may you have safe and fun time with your family and friends!

Merry Christmas in different languages

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

From all of us to all of you!  Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays, however you celebrate, may you have safe and fun time with your family and friends!

Merry Christmas in different languages

Love Mexico 2014

www.wpic.ca

Photo by DecordovaPhoto.ca

by Kaley Campbell, WPIC Office Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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

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

Hard rock riviera maya

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

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

Photo by RobertLondon.com

Photo by RobertLondon.com

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

Centrepiece at Opening Dinner Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Centrepiece at Opening Dinner Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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

love mexico hard rock-66-6

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

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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

Photos by PixanPhoto.com

Photos by PixanPhoto.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy, Sandy, Danielle & Amanda

Nancy, Sandy, Danielle & Amanda, photo by moi

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

Photos by PixanPhoto.com

Photos by PixanPhoto.com

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

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

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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

Love Mexico 20142

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

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

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

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

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

love mexico hard rock-734

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Photo by PixanPhoto.com

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

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Photo by PixanPhoto.com

Invest in Yourself if You Want Others to Invest in You

Alan-Berg-CSP-Photo-close-upThis article was written and shared with permission, by our talented and inspiring wedding industry friend, speaker and marketing guru, Alan Berg, CSP

 

 

 

www.wpic.ca

I was giving a presentation recently and I used the phrase “Invest in yourself if you want others to invest in you”. In that case I was referring to your websites, branding, collateral marketing (business cards, brochures, etc.) and to your sales skills. Before you can expect your target clientele to invest their hard-earned money with you, especially for their once-in-a-lifetime wedding, you have to invest your time and money into earning their business.

Too often I meet someone who’s complaining that they’re not getting the clientele they’d like (usually one that will spend more for their services). However, that same company usually isn’t doing the things they need to attract, sell and service that same clientele. You see other businesses getting the clients you want, but what you don’t usually see are the behind the scenes things that got them where they are.

Outliers

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers”, he speaks about a threshold of 10,000 hours that separates the more proficient and successful people from the rest. Whether it’s Bill Gates having 10,000 hours of computer programming time before he started Microsoft, or Yo-Yo Ma playing and practicing the cello more than 10,000 hours, the common thread is that opportunity comes when talent and opportunity collide. Of course Yo-Yo Ma has more talent than most cellists, but there are others who will never realize their potential because they’re not willing to put in the time.

Step 1: Identify the problem

I was writing this on a recent flight and it got a little longer than my regular articles, so, in this article I’m going to shine a light on the problem. Then, in my next article I’ll give you specifics and ideas on how you can choose to solve the problem you see. Let me give you the synopsis here.

  • Investing in yourself involves time and/or money. There are no free rides. When you see another business with a better website, better branding, or better sales skills, they’ve taken steps to get there. Just as you work to improve your technical skills, you need to improve your business skills.
  • What’s the first impression you’re trying to make? You can tell when someone has made their own website or designed their own business cards, postcards, etc. Others can tell when you do the same.
  • You never know from where you’re next inspiration will come. Opening your eyes to ideas outside your industry can spark ideas that you can adapt to what you do. If you only ever listen to the same voices you’ll only hear the same things. That’s why I love listening and reading about ideas that are outside my current skill set.
  • They can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist. Investing in better ad placement and bridal show booth size and placement often gets you a better return on your investment. You still need a great ad or booth design, and then sales and marketing to take the next steps, but those, too, are investments.
  • Networking is first about showing up. Showing up sporadically to networking events, with a handful of business cards isn’t going to get you a flood of referrals. People refer people they know and trust.
  • You can’t reap the benefits if you don’t first make the investment. Did I say there are no free rides? It’s worth repeating.

What we can learn from a DIY wedding

I’ve rarely met a wedding or event professional who likes the idea of engaged couples doing some of their wedding services themselves (or having friends or relatives do them). Those are usually referred to as the DIY (do-it-yourself) bride or groom. It’s not an entirely accurate phrase as they’re not doing everything themselves, only parts of their wedding. For some it’s the invitations or decorations, while for others it’s the music, photography, video or planning.

Wedding and event pros view those DIY couples as taking business away from them, but the truth is that if they don’t have the money, or more importantly they don’t see the value in hiring you, they’re not your customer and they never were. But I’m getting a little off topic here.

Self-inflicted damage

The reason you want them to hire you is because you’re the expert. You’re the one who has invested the time, money and effort to learn your service and earn the right to charge for the value you provide. If you agree with my assertion then you should also agree that it’s somewhat hypocritical to think that you can do many of the professional services your business needs better than a professional.

What are you really good at?

Do you have a degree in graphic design? Have you studied website creation and maintenance? Are you a sales and marketing expert? Some of you will answer yes to one or more of those questions, but you’ll be in the minority. Chances are you got into your business because you are skilled at something other than business, or website design, or marketing. Being a fantastic chef doesn’t qualify you to design a great business card. Being an award-winning photographer, videographer, band or DJ doesn’t qualify you to make an effective website.

The smart businesses hire to their weaknesses.

If you surround yourself with people who are good at what you’re good at, you’re just amplifying your weaknesses. Having more wedding officiants on your team won’t help you unless you are already overwhelmed with leads that you have the skills to close. Hiring more floral decorators won’t help you unless you have more work that your current designers can handle. For most wedding and event pros your inventory is time. You can only do so many weddings or events at one time. For others it’s a combination of time and physical assets. If you’re a venue, you have a limited number of rooms. If you’re a DJ you have a limited number of equipment setups.

Which came first?

If you want to expand the number of weddings or events you do, where do you start? Do you first hire more DJ’s and buy more equipment? Or, do you first invest in the infrastructure to market, sell and service those additional weddings and events? You’re going to have to do both, eventually, but especially given the longer lead time for a wedding, I would first invest in a better website, then better marketing, advertising and branding, and then, when you see that it’s working the way you want, buy more equipment and hire more people.

Go big, or go home

When I started my speaking and consulting business I bought a new iPad. The Apple website said they would engrave something on it at no extra charge. I thought for a while about it, pondering over whether to put my name or company (too hard to sell or give away later), or some other phrase. Then, it came to me. Big things come to those who think big, so I had them engrave “Go big, or go home” on the back. Practice what you preach. Don’t just talk about being the best. Back it up by taking steps to get there.

Don’t expect immediate results

There are very few switches you can flip to get instant results. That’s tough-love for a society that treasures instant gratification. You can’t make a great website in a day. You can’t learn a new skill in a day. Buying better online ad placement might help you get more clicks to your website right away, but if you haven’t already improved your website, you’ll be wasting those impressions. Don’t be discouraged. Decide what you want and then make a roadmap to get there.

It’s not for me to say what’s right for you. I help my clients achieve their goals, just as you help yours have their vision of their perfect wedding. Thanks for taking your time towards being the best you that you can be. In my next article I’ll delve a little deeper into some of the things you can do, to invest your time and/or money, to move your business in whatever direction you’d like.

alan berg

 

Wedding Show Case Study and Tips for Making it Successful

Amanda
By Amanda Douglas, WPICC of Amanda Douglas Events

Our Bridal Show Design

With this bridal showcase, myself and my creative partners took on a different approach then the norm (or what’s normal on our area) and wanted to put together two different looks and price points for the brides attending.  We know that each bride comes with a different set of expectations, budget, and of course style, so we wanted to bring together one colour palette done in two very different ways.

For the high-end look we decided to go with dark rich tones that could be translated into summer, spring, winter or, fall (if done right). We went big (but not high) with the centerpieces and decided to go with the ever popular rectangular table. We decided to add tones of gold, bronze, rose gold, lots for purple, lush greenery and touches of beautiful baby pink and fuchsia.

For the low-end table we decided to take the same colour palette but do it in a lighter theme. We went with a light beautiful champagne matte satin tablecloth, lighter dishes (similar to what would come standard with any venue), but still running with the touches of gold, lots of beautiful purple tones, more whites and some greenery. You’ll notice that for this table we went with the more traditional roundtable, which most venues have standard. Some venues you have to pay to bring in rectangular tables, or extra if you want to do square tables (as it takes two rectangular tables put together to make a square). Usually this requires getting more linens as well, because most companies order to size the standard tables.  We went with lower simpler arrangements on this table, but tried to bulk up the table and spread the theme throughout with the candles, small decor pieces, and of course the fun wooden table number. AD Menue and table AD Menue AD Model HE AD HE Model and florals   AD HE Chair decor

Pricing (high end table):

Florals: High table: floral centerpieces ($350), chair swags ($80/pair), & candles (rental $2.50 each) =$450 per table
Stationery: Gold Foil Invitation – $5.75 Reply Card & Envelope (with address label) – $2.40 Accommodations Card – $1.50 Outer Envelope (with printed addresses) – $2.50 Custom Wax Seal – $2.75 Ceremony Program – $3.25 Menu – $1.50 Table Number (hexagon shape on a dowel) – $6 Place Card (with gold leaf detail) – $3.50 Total Cost for Stationery (based on a quantity of 100) = $2,375

AD Large menu AD LE table AD LE TTable and Chair AD LE florals up close AD LE Model

Pricing (low end table):

Florals: Low table: floral centerpieces ($150), chair swags ($100/table) & candles (rental $2.50 each)= $275 per table
Bridal bouquets (model) $250, wax flower $125, roses $200)
Stationery: Invitation – $2.50 Reply Card & Envelope (with address label) – $2.35 Save-the-Date Postcard – $1.75 Premium Outer Envelope (with printed addresses) – $2.20 Painted Envelope Liner – $1.75 Menu – $1.50 Wooden Table Number (with gold leaf detail) – $9
Total Cost for Stationery (based on a quantity of 100) = $1,295 OR Substitute the premium envelopes for the complimentary white and omit the envelope liner and address printing for a total cost of $830.

Vendors:

Planning/DesignAmanda Douglas Events
Floral DesignOak & Lily 
StationeryRobin Egg Blue Design 
Hair – Randi
MakeupTwo Chicks & a Bag of Makeup 
DressBliss Bridal 
LightingEvent Light 
Linens & ChairsPlanned Perfectly
Model – Emily Belbas
PhotographyWinnipeg Wedding Photography Collective

The Pros and Cons of Being in a Wedding Show:
I think it’s safe to say that everybody knows being in the wedding show is a ton of work.

There’s the expense of paying for your booth, and the design of the booth, and of course all of the stationery, brochures, and signage you need to get. Not to mention, we all want a new outfit for such a special occasion. But even with all that expense, I definitely wouldn’t list that as a negative or con.

A good bridal show is always an investment, not an expense. One thing to look at is what are your goals going into a wedding show? Are you doing it simply for brand recognition; maybe you’re new in the industry and you just simply need to get your name out there? Or are you going in it to book directly from that show? The starting point would be establishing what you want to get out of the show. That will help you hugely in deciding what show is right for you and how big you should go with your booth. If you’re like me, there are multiple different shows you can pick from in your area. I would start looking at the larger wedding shows, and maybe for your first year of business simply just attending the show to see what it’s like.

Pay attention to what the brides around you are doing, which booths/vendors they’re engaging with, and the overall feel, atmosphere, and stress level in the show. If you’re noticing a lot of people but not much engagement and your goal is to book off of the show, maybe that particular show isn’t the right one for you. In any case I would always suggest attending a few shows before deciding which one you want to be a part of. It really helps to see what the standard is, who sets the bar and how high, and it really gets your creative juices going on what you might want to do in your booth and how you want it to look when the time comes.

There are definitely many more pros than cons to being in a wedding show, BUT you need to make sure you’re utilizing the show, networking opportunities, and marketing experience at your disposal. Being in a wedding show is a great place to get your name out there, to meet new vendors, and maybe put a face to the name of the vendors that you’ve heard of many times.

Definitely plan a little bit of time, get somebody to watch your booth, and go meet some people that you’ve been meaning to meet.  Also, make sure that you utilize the vendor and bridal email lists that most wedding shows offer you. It’s a great way to get your name in front of the brides one more time.

Every time I’m in a wedding show I’m definitely inspired, challenged, and want to build more with my company. You could get really discouraged seeing that maybe you’re not at the place as some other vendors are, but try taking the other angle. Try and focus on what you could do more, what you could design better, put together more professionally, and simply take it as a learning experience. That is a huge pro in putting yourself out there and being in a wedding show.

We all see those TV shows of vivacious, outgoing, and personable wedding planners. Not all of us started out that way, in fact most of us don’t. I myself am an introvert by nature, so being bubbly and outgoing is something that I’ve had to work on over many years.

Being in a wedding show is also a great pushing point to get you outside your comfort zone. Nobody likes doing it, but it’s something that we all need to do.

After going to wedding shows, looking at all the other vendors’ booths, now we highly suggest getting down to the nitty-gritty. Maybe you’re not ready to invest that money into your company yet, or maybe you just missed it by a little bit and all of the deadlines have passed. It’s not too late to start thinking about what you could do for next year.

Take some time to challenge yourself and create an inspiration board of a booth that you would create if you had the chance.  Maybe have a few really great ideas, get them down on paper, do some drawings, and get your creative juices going so that when the opportunity comes up and you find the right show for you, you’re ready to move. Maybe by that time your designs are a little out of date, and not in trend anymore. That’s okay because you have the wheels greased and you’re ready to go. Creating something new will be that much easier.

On a closing note, it’s important to remember that you’re not in it alone. There are many vendors that want to work with planners because usually planners are the ones that create the most beautiful booths.  Approach local vendors in your area that you know can accomplish your style, design, and esthetic and that you, in turn can represent well. In a lot of cases many companies will donate their services and supplies to be a part of your booth. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and approach different people, but be sure you go about it in a professional way; with an inspiration board and ideas in hand. This is a great way, when starting out, to get your name out there and show that you mean business.