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WPIC Office Table Design Challenge

One Table, Three Looks

One Table, Three Looks

We decided to have some fun and have a ‘WPIC Office Tables Design Challenge”.

The rules were simple:

  1. Each person had to use the same chairs, table, glass and silverware.
  2. Each person was assigned a coloured chair flower to build their table design around.
  3. A budget of $150 to make that vision come to life.

silverware

The wonderful Rohan Laylor, of Phat Dog Visuals, agreed to let us take over his gorgeous studio in Toronto for our design challenge and he documented the whole day for us.  We had so much fun.

Now we need you to choose the winner of our challenge!

So here are the designs, we won’t reveal who is behind each one until a winner has been decided.  Check out the designs and tell us in the comments which table design is your favourite.

Table 1: Pink Flower

Chair Flower: CV Linens
Mosaic Vases: Homesense
Small Vases: Michaels
Florals: Costco
Servingware, Crystal and Silverware: Chairman Mills
Table Linen: The Linen Closet
Chairs: Detailz Couture
Photographer: Phat Dog Visuals

blue and pink wedding

Pink and Turquoise wedding table

blue and pink tablescape blue and pink wedding table

pink and blue wedding

champagne glasses pink champagne

Pink and turquoise wedding table

Table 2: Ivory Flower

Chair Flower: CV Linens
Pillows and Napkins: Homesense
Crystal and Silverware: Chairman Mills
Props: Value Village
Florals: Michaels
Table Linen: The Linen Closet
Chairs: Detailz Couture
Photographer: Phat Dog Visuals

ebony and ivory wedding

black and gold vase on chair

2V9A7191

menu card

 

2V9A7204

white chair flower

Table 3: Yellow Flower

Chair Flower: CV Linens
Florals: Costco
Silverware: Chairman Mills
Plates: Kitchen Stuff Plus
Napkins, Table Runner, Glassware: Homesense
Table Linen: The Linen Closet
Chairs: Detailz Couture
Photographer: Phat Dog Visuals

yellow and blue wedding

blue and yellow tablescape

blue and yellow wedding table blue and yellow wedding table

yellow and blue wedding

blue and yellow wedding

blue and yellow table

We need you to choose the winner of our challenge!

Tell us in the comments which table design is your favourite.

WPIC Alumni go to Nordik Spa Nature in Ottawa

Photo: brazeauphoto.com

Photo: brazeauphoto.com

WPIC Ottawa Regional Rep, Dalal Saikali of Apropos Productions put together this fantastic get together for our Ottawa WPIC alumni. What a great summary!

Take a handful of lovely WPIC Alumni.
Mix in a top beauty expert.
Drop them all off in a corner of heaven.
What do you get? Just about the most perfect mix of education, inspiration and relaxation you can imagine.

spa

WPIC alumni at Nordik Spa Nature

Mother Nature really helped us out providing great weather during July’s WPIC Alumni Regional Workshop in Ottawa, which started out with a warm welcome from the professional staff at Nordik Spa Nature. Armed with notepads and bathrobes, we got an exclusive tour of the facilities with Groups & Events Coordinator, Karine Laroque-Martineau. She showed us the ins and outs of the facilities and explained the various activities and events that the Nordik can accommodate. She also let us in on some of their future plans, which will be major game changers! Stay tuned.

As part of our site visit, we had the pleasure of touring the Nordik Lodge, which you (yes, you!) can rent for a sleepover. This is no cabin in the woods, folks. It’s a fully furnished, luxurious lodge that comfortably accommodates 14 during the day, and 12 overnight. Its amenities include a private sauna, wood-burning furnace, wrap-around balcony and much more. The Alpina Lodge, a little further up the hill, also boasts a hot tub and beautiful private space where we all immediately started staging a private ceremony/cocktail area/outdoor dance floor. Kudos to Stephanie and Kiley who trudged up the mountain with wedding legs! (picture “Nordik terasse”)
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We got to experience the Nordik Lodge’s accommodations by having a makeup workshop in the boardroom/dining room, led by the talented and beautiful Melody Iafelice. Don’t let the topic mislead you. We weren’t getting our makeup done, although given Melody’s talents, that would have been a treat. Instead, she let us in on some of the secrets of the makeup artist’s world. It was incredibly helpful for us planners to get tidbits on what the ideal setup and timing is for these professionals, and to get ideas on the essential emergency kit (Melody’s Fab Five). But ultimately, those who benefit the most from this knowledge are the stars of the show: our couples. By wedding experts working together, openly and honestly, we heighten the standards of our industry. What’s good for the industry is good for me, and what’s good for me is good for the industry. Are you fed up of hearing me say that, yet? Perhaps. But it’s the truth.
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Now, I leave you with images of this incredible facility, which was conceived and continues to develop with the most admirable philosophy. Be sure to keep track of their expansion; Winnipeg boasts their first jaunt with Thermëa by Nordik Spa Nature and, as a piece of great news for our GTA Alumni, Nordik’s third project is coming to you soon.

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PS: For those of you who have been there, have you tried the Källa treatment? No? Go right now. I insist. In fact, I’ll go with you!

This One’s For The Girls -Styled Shoot by Tracey M Events

Submitted to us by WPIC Co-founder, Tracey Manailescu, of Tracey M Events

This styled shoot was previously featured on The Wedding Opera

“This styled shoot was a collaboration of some truly remarkable and talented people. Our goal was to showcase Toronto weddings and all that they encompass.

 Downtown Toronto is a mixture of cultures, customs, food, fashion and decor.  It’s exciting, romantic and lively. We tried to show this in our styled shoot with friendships from different backgrounds, blending a touch of heritage in a modern and whimsical way, and adding personal touches throughout.

The colors are bold, yet dreamy, and the overall feel was accomplished by being warm and trendy at the same time.”

-Tracey

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photo: Dave Abreu Photography

Photo: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

 

Photography: Dave Abreu photography

Photography: Dave Abreu photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Eaton Chelsea18

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

 

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

 

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Eaton Chelsea22

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Eaton Chelsea24

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Photography: Dave Abreu Photography

Concept, Design & Planner: Tracey M Events

Venue: Chelsea Hotel Toronto

Florals: DT Floral & Decor

Wedding Gown: Mori Lee from She’s So Beautiful

Bridesmaids’ Dresses: She’s So Beautiful

Paper Floral Wall: Dream Events in Paper

Chairs: Detailz Chair Couture

Cake and Desserts: Cake Glam

Cake Topper: Love Letters by Elite Designs

Hair & Makeup: Yellow Orange Salon & Spa

Videographer: Wedding Films Toronto

Linens: The Linen Closet

Stationery: Ferris Wheel Press

“Chino” the Dog Model: Leash & Paws

Block “Love” Letters: Ettridges Wedding Rentals

Models: Vivid, Michelle, Ingrid, Awa, Hannah, Ellen

WPIC Planner of the Month- Laura Scott of Tula Events

Photo: Life Creations

Photo: Life Creations

This month’s WPIC “Planner of the Month” is Laura Scott of Tula Events.  We chose Laura because not only is she a wonderful wedding planner, but she is always willing to lend a hand, and offer really great advice. She is always willing to share tips, give suggestions and always does so in a professional manner. Thank you for being so wonderful, Laura!

Name of your company and why did you choose that name? Clients and vendors ask me all the time where I came up with the name Tula Events. When I started my business it was really hard coming up with a name that I loved. I wanted something that was a reflection of me but nothing too trendy. I love tulips, as they were always the first flower to pop up in my Mom’s garden in the spring. They remained my favourite flower over the years so I decided to incorporate tulips into my company name by combining it with my first name; “tu” for tulip and “la” for Laura ~ which gave me Tula Events!

Photo: When He Found Her  Photography

Photo: When He Found Her
Photography

Opened company in what year? Tula Events opened in 2005 when I was working for a restaurant putting together their catering division. Once I got certified with WPIC in 2009 my focus shifted to wedding planning.

WPIC since? I was certified in 2009 in Edmonton Alberta, as I was living in beautiful Calgary at the time. Best decision I ever made!

Photo: When He Found Her Photography

Photo: When He Found Her Photography

Favourite part of the planning process? I love putting together inspiration boards for my clients and coming up with unique ideas that represent them as a couple but also as individuals. Starting the inspiration board really does make the whole process exciting for my clients and for me. Its my favourite part of the planning process because its the whole foundation of the wedding.

Photo: When He Found Her Photography

Photo: When He Found Her Photography

Please tell us some things you have learned over the years that have helped you grow? I would say networking is what has helped me grow over the years. I have grown because of the relationships that I have made with amazing vendors around the Greater Toronto Area. I have had caterers refer me to clients, I’ve been hired by vendors in the industry to plan/coordinate their own weddings and I’ve had vendors refer me to their friends who are getting married as well. What I have learned over the years is that when I network with vendors its important to focus on their business and ask them questions about how I can help them grow. I think that is why a lot of my clients come from vendor referrals and why vendors become such great friends of mine.

Photo: When He Found Her Photography

Photo: When He Found Her Photography

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Over the past 8 years I’ve lived in Toronto, San Francisco, Calgary and back again to Toronto. I would love to say that in 5 years I hope to still be doing weddings here but I just don’t know where my husband’s job will take us; which is exciting and scary all at the same time! I do however know that I will take on more Full Wedding Planning clients, as my son is heading off to junior kindergarten this fall. I have also expanded to Muskoka, as my family now has a cottage in the beautiful region and I have established some new relationships with outstanding vendors in the area. So my hope is to plan and coordinate more stunning Muskoka weddings in the future.

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.

Get Your Destination Wedding Specialist Certification Through WPIC…LIVE!

DWC Ad

WPIC inc. will be hosting the DWC course on Sunday, August 23, 2015 at the Radisson Admiral.

Date: Sunday, August 23, 2015
Breakfast: 9:30am
Course Time: 10-6pm
(Lunch at 1pm)
Poolside Cocktail Party: 6pm

Location: Radisson Admiral ~249 Queen’s Quay West
A special room rate of $170 is available for those who wish to stay over the night prior or after the class.

Lobby_960x360Guest_Room_960x360

Cost of Course: $349CDN

Register Now! (click)

WPIC Instructor, Monica Caesar (and DW expert of Aisle Plan Your Day) will be facilitating the course.

Headshot of Monica Caesar WPIC

Topics include:

  • History of Destination Weddings
  • Who is the Destination Client?
  • Advice from an Expert
  • Where do you start?
  • Budget, Research, Places to get Married
  • Themes
  • Making the Wedding Special for Everyone
  • How to find Reputable Vendors
  • Contracts & Fees
  • Legalities & Marriage Requirements on Destinations
  • Marketing to Destination Wedding clients
  • Destination Wedding Statistics, etc.

Guest speakers:

  • Jennifer Borgh of Jennifer Borgh Events and Travel Only
  • Representatives from the Mexico Tourism Board, Jamaica Tourism Board, Barbados Tourism Board and the Bahamas Tourism Board
Designation:
Successful candidates will be certified as a “DWC” Destination Wedding Coordinator (Wedding Planners) or “DWS” Destination Wedding SPecialist (Travel Agents) and may use the corresponding initials after their name.
Requirements for Wedding Planners:
You must be certified in Wedding Planning/Coordination by a WPIC-recognized Institute.
Requirements for Travel Agents:
You must be a registered Travel Counselor/Agent.Student must be in attendance for in-person training, then you will have 3 months to complete the manual, write an on-line examination and submit a project.
For those of you already DWC or DWS, and would like to learn the latest information and in-person training, contact us at info@wpic.ca for reduced payment details.
_______________________________________________

You are then invited to a Pool Party overlooking Lake Ontario, hosted by the Radisson Admiral & WPIC, after the class!

Radisson Admiral poolradisson admiral pool

D & W Entertainment Group will provide the music for the event (You remember how amazing they were at the WPIC Kickoff!)

This event will be featured on the EventSource.ca blog, as well as professionally photographed by WPIC’er Yan Zhou of A Vision Studios

Deadline to Register:
August 16, 2015

 

Continuing Education classes for Wedding Pros that won’t take too much time or break the bank!

woman taking online course

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

At WPIC we strongly believe you are never finished with your education.  There is always something new to learn and a better way of doing things.

Here are a few Continuing Education classes to help you be the best Wedding Professional you can be, that won’t break the bank or take too much of your valuable time!

man sketching

Sketching or Creative Professionals

Being able to communicate your vision to clients and other wedding professionals is a wonderful and very necessary tool.  There is an one-hour introduction to sketching class taught by Mary Phan and offered through Brit +Co for the amazing price of $19.99USD!  Or you can attend the full class in person for $349 through The Sketchbook Series.

woman decorating cakeCake Decorating

Being able to properly fix a wedding cake mishap is something every Wedding Planner should know.  Luckily there are inexpensive cake decorating “The Wilton Method” courses offered by Wilton at your local Michael’s store!

blogger photography

Photography for Building Business

We all know how visual our wedding clients can be.  Having an attractive Blog or Instagram account with lots of eye candy, are a couple ways to attract new clients.  Improving your photography skills can take as little as 45 minutes through another great course via Brit & Co, Photography for Bloggers.

flower arranging

The Basics of Floral Arranging

You should be able to create a boutonniere or corsage in a pinch, or even fix a bouquet.  Within four weeks and an investment of only $125, this  online class from Nicole’s Classes will teach you the basics including a hand-tied bouquet, flower arranging, wedding head wreaths and more.

Never. Stop. Learning.

 

I wish I knew this before starting my business – Wedding Pros give advice

When starting your business or starting in a new field, there are so many questions and often no one to ask. At WPIC we provide our alumni with a free association so they can share best practices, network with their peers and get answers to the questions they have.

We asked our WPICAlumni what advice they wished they could give themselves when they were just starting out and these wonderful Wedding Pros shared their advice.

twins business advice

What do you wish you could tell your former self?

“I’d tell myself that when you own a business, wedding planning is only about 25% of the job. The rest of the time you are marketing, building websites, blogging, education yourself, talking to media,re-educating yourself, networking, taking care of the business side, etc, etc.”
-Danielle Andrews Sunkel, The Wedding Planners www.theweddingplanners.ca

“Being in a bridal show or magazine doesn’t mean you’ve made it. Within the first two years of owning my business, I thought it was important to be in bridal shows and magazines. I started signing up for mini bridal shows within the Durham Region and smaller pockets just outside the GTA as well as smaller magazines based out of Durham. These shows and magazines that I had spent a fortune on did absolutely nothing for me. In the first few years I think it’s much more important to focus on the processes that you will run your business with, a really great website, and social media to get your name out there. You could be at the largest bridal show in Toronto, but if your name isn’t recognized among their friends, or you don’t have great testimonials on your website, they won’t book with you.”
-Kim Choy, Morganley Events www.MorganleyEvents.ca

“Along with getting educated in event planning, one should also study other areas of how to run a business, which includes accounting, marketing, customer service, administration, event trends, and sales. Having an amazing support team at home, and at work, is a must to survive the demanding role of a wedding planner.”
-Hevin Mueller, Story Weddings & Events www.story-weddings.com

  • “I did not realize that after going to art school I would need to go to business school to learn how to sell my art. I would have told myself to study a bit more about business practises instead of learning them the hard way. But such is the path of the plucky optimist dreamer.
  • Another thing is that if you are too scared to go into business on your own, do not take on a business partner just to share the risk and workload. Hire staff or experts for each division of your company that you are weakest at. If you are a good match and complement one and inspire one another then proceed ONLY WITH A PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT. It’s basically a prenuptial! To build a proper business plan is to include what will happen when it fails or if you grow apart and not together in your vision for the company or priorities in life.
  • The other thing I would have told myself is to get your accounting practises straight and make sure you put all your taxes, CPP, RRSP, savings, education, promotion and reinvestments into your business away each month with your gross income. It’s nice to get that big pay check for thousands, but do the math and realize that it is gross and not net and you might only be able to pay yourself hundreds after the bills are all paid. Many creative types are not naturally good with money so I had to learn some of these lessons the hard way and now my policies are airtight and bulletproof which allows me to confidently take on the my dream clients. Yah!
  • Oh and having a partner that understands you is of paramount importance if you are going to succeed without burning out over the years!
    If you are going to go back and start over, just don’t forget to put the crystals in the time machine!”
    -Sam Fleming (aka DJ Efsharp), Evolved Entertainment www.evolvedentertainment.com

“I wish I knew more about effective online marketing strategies prior to starting my business. I honestly believed that because of my large network, it would be pretty easy to get the momentum going and create buzz around my business and website, but now I realize the time commitment of creating good content on my blog and staying relevant across all social media platforms. This is a job all by itself! It takes a lot of time and effort to create a strong brand, and you have to spend a lot of time evaluating your advertising campaigns to figure out what works for you – it isn’t just about getting people to visit your website, it’s about getting the right people – your ideal clients – to visit your website AND to reach out and contact you.”
-Alisha Chadee, Whim Event Coordination and Design www.eventsbywhim.ca

“The number of forms and contracts you’d need to create! Planning is only easy when you have your 1001 forms made and ready to be used, and when you have a workflow set to manage incoming opportunities!”
-Nasreen Faiz, Rangeen Weddings and Events www.rangeenweddings.ca

“Saying no doesn’t mean you’re a jerk.”
-Suzzette Patten, Exquisite Occasions www.exquisiteoccasions.ca

  • “I wish I’d known that I was going to have to face negativity and scoffing from friends and family who thought that this was going to be a hobby business for me. I wish I’d known that I was going to have shut out their negative voices and turn up my own positive voice to drown them out.
  • I wish I’d known that life/work balance is largely a myth in the first few years of starting a successful business. When I did figure that out, I wish I’d known that there would eventually come a time where some of that balance could be restored.
  • I wish I’d known that the more successful I’d become, the fewer “friends” I’d have, and the more people would talk about me behind my back. I also wish I’d known when this started to happen that ultimately it didn’t matter, as long as I stayed focused on my business and my clients.
  • I wish I’d known that perfection, while in many ways a positive trait in this industry, can also be crippling. I spent too much time worrying about “perfect” when “good enough” would have done just fine, especially in regards to internal projects that had nothing to do with clients or event partners. Save your “perfect” for clients, always.
  • I wish I’d started tracking my time earlier in my business. Once I did, it made an enormous difference to how I worked with clients and how I charged, as well as who I marketed to.
  • I wish I’d known to brand my business based on my target market, not on my own personal preferences. This was a mistake that caused me to have to re-brand in year 2, which cost a good amount of money.
  • I wish I’d known that although this industry requires very little in terms of start-up costs, there will always be a need to re-invest in your business. In hindsight, I would have saved up or taken out a bank loan at the beginning in order to allow me to breathe a little easier at the start.
  • I wish I’d known that my time = money. I struggled for many years to do everything myself, because I thought it would be cheaper than paying someone else to do it. However, those were hours that I could have spent marketing and growing the business. Choosing to work with a business coach in my 4th year made a huge difference in this regard – I no longer had to problem-solve every issue on my own and I took his advice and outsourced many tasks, which allowed me to devote more time to bringing in more clients.
  • I wish I’d had systems and templates and a solid business model in place before I started working with my first client. Instead, I created them on a “need” basis and was constantly torn between spending time with my clients and spending time trying to create a process within my business to be more efficient and organized.’

-Mary Swaffield, Mary Elizabeth & Co. www.maryelizabethandco.com

“Perfection is a myth, don’t become obsessed with it and don’t sell it to your clients. True perfectionists know there will always be something to improve.”
-Gaitree Shivnauth, Plan My Day Weddings + Events www.planmydaynow.com

“I would tell my former self. Never allow others to haggle you on your pricing to secure a booking. Value your creativity and hard work and others will too. Be true to your craft. Don’t settle. Hard lesson learned but worth it.”
-Sandra Colaire, We Coordinate This www.WeCoordinateThis.com

“Before starting up my business, I wish I knew just how much patience organization, and planning is involved in setting up a company. From registering, to insurance, to logos, website, and templates and forms. It’s a lot of work, slow going at times, but oh so worth it!”
-Amanda Kueneman, Like A Star Weddings & Events www.likeastarweddings.ca

“I wish I knew how many phone calls and e-mails I’d receive in regards to marketers trying to sell me ad space, social media strategies or SEO packages. I’ve learned to block calls from people who call more than twice!”
-Poonam Saini, P.S. Eventful. www.pseventful.com

  • “I wish I would have known about the amazing resources out there for planners/business people:
    www.youtube.com/channel/UCRh…yXFhGmm_zlAT7A
    www.marieforleo.com/
    leanin.org/book/
  • A word of wisdom: “Pick the people you want to have in your every day life. Make sure you pick people that inspire, uplight, challenge and encourage you. This might be online, in person, or via the WPIC or another group in your area. You might get a lot of people that see the light of your success and will want to take a little bit of it for themselves (I don’t blame them, it’s appealing) but surround yourself with like-minded people and a support team that understands you, your goals and cheers you on. Don’t be afraid to ‘weed people’ out”
  • Something I learned very quickly when I started out:“Confidence is key. If you can’t make your clients feel secure in hiring you, or in you skills when working with you you’re 1)Not going to close any deals, and 2) you won’t make them feel that peace-of-mind that we all want our clients to feel on there wedding day and throughout the planning process. As soon as you master radiating confidence you’ll do a whole lot better.”

-Amanda Douglas, Amanda Douglas Events www.amandadouglasevents.com

“I wish I could have told my former self to stop COMPARING. When I started, I felt I was JUST a needle in a haystack and no one will ever find me in a sea of creative fishes. I was scared people will judge me because I might not be good enough. BUT eventually I just had to get down and boogie to my own style and approach. It turned out to be an amazing journey. I haven’t stopped boogie-ing since.”
-Maria Chi, Peppermint Weddings www.peppermintweddings.ca

“How to know my worth and the value I bring to clients! Don’t undervalue yourself!”
-Kristine Carr, Kristine Carr Wedding & Events www.KristineCarr.com

“I wish I knew… That you are only as smart as the research and the resources you can find and that exist. If a topic doesn’t exist, why not take the time to study and become an expert. Who knows, others might be quoting you some day!”
-Carmelina Karas, The Wedding Planner Magazine, www.weddingplannermag.ca

Get Inspired! 5 Blog Posts to Write After A Wedding

by Guest Blogger, Kathy DalPra, of Bride Appeal

1. Venue Review
Provide a review of the venue where the wedding was held and give your readers insight into the kind of experience they can expect there.

2. Trend Ideas
Did this weekend’s wedding feature a new trend you’ve been seeing pop up? Talk about it on the blog and give your audience new ideas to consider.

3. List Post
Have you had a few other weddings like this one that shared a similar theme, style, tradition, trend or other special element? Write a list post about it, such as “How Today’s Bride is Approaching the Wedding Cake” or “The New Father-Daughter Dance That’s Got Everyone Talking” or “Backyard Weddings Gone Luxury”. Provide a link to each real wedding post that applies to this topic with a brief summary of how each relates back to the list topic.

4. Vendor Interviews
When you’re at the event, be sure to introduce yourself to the other vendors and exchange cards. Then, follow up afterward and ask to briefly interview them about their business. Then, use these interviews to create a handful of blog posts, which could keep your blog filled with great content in between every event. Remember to keep it interesting. Brides relate to stories and inspiration so you’ll want to make sure your interview has both.

5. Real Wedding
And, of course, brides can never get enough of those real wedding posts, so remember to share the details of the event in this way too with tons of photos for eye candy.

kathy-dalpra-200

Kathy DalPra

 

Kathy DalPra is a former bridal-preneur who unexpectedly fell in love with web design and SEO. Today she helps other wedding and event professionals use their website to get more traffic, leads and inquiries so they can create a thriving business in any economy. Learn how to turn curious visitors into paying clients on her website: Bride Appeal.

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