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Co-Founders are Speaking at Wedding MBA and Jamaica Bridal Expo

Tracey Manailescu-Danielle Andrews Sunkel-WPIC

WPIC Co-Founders, Danielle Andrews Sunkel and Tracey Manailescu are looking forward to a busy, yet exciting time for the next two weeks.

www.wpic.ca

We are heading out to Las Vegas for a WPIC Get-Together Vegas-style on Monday, September 15th, 2014 with approximately twenty WPIC Alumni. Then we will be speaking at Wedding MBA on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 on “International Wedding Trends” at 9am. Make sure you come by and say hello to us at our double booth!

www.wpic.ca

Then, we are heading off to Montego Bay, Jamaica to speak at the Jamaica Bridal Expo Conference, where we will also have a booth for the two days afterwards at the Jamaica Bridal Expo to promote WPIC!

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We are thrilled to be heading off to Negril afterwards to experience Couples Resorts with site visits and of course, an irie time ;)

We will be taking a ton of photos and experiencing it to the fullest, so we can share it all with you upon our return.

 


Enough of the “Charge What You’re Worth” Campaign

Photo by Avenue-Photo.com

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Every conference I go to, every article I read, someone is saying, “Charge what you are worth!”  I hate to break it to you, they are just telling you what you want to hear and hoping to sell you on whatever they are pitching ( just look at their own pricing).

Your pricing needs to reflect your education, experience, level of expertise and drum roll… your market. It’s all well and good for someone to tell you to charge more money for your services, but if clients are not willing to pay that price, you are going to have to close your business pretty fast.

I have been a professional, certified wedding planner for almost 15 years, I train other wedding planners, both independent and at resorts. I am constantly learning and attend at least 10 conferences a year, I speak at half of those conferences and I have been quoted in magazines, newspapers, the radio and on television around the world. All a potential client has to do is Google my name, but when it comes time to pay for all that experience, the client couldn’t care less. I may think I’m worth my weight in diamonds, but “charging what I’m worth” just isn’t going to fly.

Even the most famous wedding planners can not charge what they are worth. Think about it, they have alternate means of making money, through endorsing product lines, partnering with resorts, paid speaking engagements, hosting television shows, etc.  If they can’t charge clients more than what the market allows, how can you?

How should you determine your pricing? Take a look at your finances; how much do you need to make in order to live comfortably, attend a couple conferences to stay educated, pay for marketing and all the overhead of running a business in a year? Once you know how much money you need to make, look at how many clients you can comfortably work with in a year. Investigate what the average rate planners of your calibre charge. That will give you a good idea of how much you need to charge and what your market will support.  By all means, go a little above the market average, but as wedding planners we know we are worth our weight in gold, unfortunately, you won’t be paid that way.


WPIC Goes to Beautiful Barbados

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by www.Avenue-Photo.ca

www.wpic.ca

www.wpic.ca

Let me start by saying that if we ever win the lottery, I am buying a vacation villa on the West Coast, specifically in Holetown, Barbados. Danielle is going to buy an apartment at The Crane. There. I said it. It is out there in the universe. Now we can move on…

We were in Barbados from May 1st-5th, 2014. Our main purpose was to speak at, and run a booth for WPIC, at the “Forever I Do Expo 2014″. What we got, was so much more. WPIC instructor, Sue Morris, surprised us at the airport and drove us to our hotel. (She then pretty much gave up her entire schedule for the rest of the week and spent time wowing us 24/7.)

We stayed at the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, which just so happens to be where our next international certification course will be held on June 19th & 20th (yes, that’s a plug). Did I mention that the Banquets & Conferences Coordinator,Janelle Cheeseman, is WPICC?

www.wpic.ca

Sue then picked us up for dinner and we went to the St. Lawrence Gap, at Apsara Samudra, which features northern Indian & Thai cusine. They can do weddings for up to 100 guests. We had the best table in the house, on it’s own level (one table only) and overlooks the ocean under the stars, and has a chandelier. Thank you so much, Marie for the amazing dinner and your hospitality!

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The next day we met Ms. Cheeseman in our lobby and had a site visit of Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, where I must say, had the best rum punch I have ever tasted (apparently aromatic bitters and cinnamon is the secret).

We were then whisked away on more site visits with Sue Morris to  Sea Breeze Beach Hotel, the Hilton Barbados Resort, The Crane and Bagatelle Great House. (Which all just so happen to have WPIC certified Coordinators on staff). These wedding locations are mind blowing! Each has their own charm and totally different personalities.

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www.weddingpprocourses.com

Sea Breeze Beach Hotel

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Photo: www.totallybarbados.com

On Saturday, we were speakers at the Forever I Do Expo 2014. Our topic was “Planning the Perfect Wedding”. We focused on trends for 2014 and the steps to follow when planning your wedding. Of course, we recommended hiring a WPIC certified wedding planner. We have 38 WPIC Alumni in Barbados ;)

www.wpic.ca

We had a booth to promote the next WPIC certification course, too. Our beautiful booth was designed by Renaissance Designs Inc.

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The most amazing thing we did while in Barbados, was to go zip lining at Aerial Trek. This was exhilarating! We had to zip line across 7 platforms. The staff were very professional. I highly recommend this adventure.

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There was so much that we saw and did, thanks to Sue Morris! We saw from end to end of Barbados. Now I can’t wait to go back and focus on exploring every nook and cranny of it with my family for week or month (or two). I want to swim in the ocean, have drinks on a patio (again), try some more restaurants (we went to some beautiful restaurants all just so happened to overlook the ocean), go to a nightclub and lime (relax.)

 

 

 


Must-have Technology for Wedding & Event Planners

technology for wedding planners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danielle Andrews Sunkel of WPIC

Photo by BrockPhoto.ca

 

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


Wedding Planners Dish on the Biggest Regrets from their own Weddings

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

When speaking with recently married couples they seem to always have the same regrets:

  • They wish they’d hired a wedding planner, even if it was just for the day
  • They wish they spent more on wedding entertainment
  • They wish they had spent more on photography/videography

I wondered what Professional Wedding Planners would have to say when asked the same question, so couples could learn from them.  I asked our association of WPIC Certified Wedding Planners, “What is your biggest regret from your own wedding?”  Here is what our WPICAlumni had to say:

Wedding Planner

“I would have hired a Coordinator! Confession: I’m a bit of a control freak and have a super hard time relinquishing control. If I could do everything over again, I would have hired a professional to oversee the day. It would have alleviated so many stresses!” -Christina Spring, A La Carte Event Management

“I would have hired a day-of coordinator! Had I have been more informed on what they did, I would have hired one. We had guests show up late (and I had to run to the kitchen to notify the caterers), my parents were the ones doing the last minute decor set up between ceremony and reception. My family also did the tear down at the end of the night while my friends and I were still dancing after midnight!” – Amanda Kueneman, Like a Star Wedding & Event Planning

“Yes, I am one of the unlucky professional wedding planners who is too much of a control-freak to hire her own planner…. Well, I paid the price on that one on many levels. I think this is why I feel so bad when I hear of couples that opt out of hiring day-of planners, it hits so close to home. If I had hired a day-of/month-of planner I would have prevented more than half of my stress and been able to enjoy my wedding day.” – Denise Newell, WeDDings Jubilee

“I would have taken a chill pill and tried to enjoy the planning process a little bit more. Found it very stressful taking everything on and I do this for a living. Even the planners need a planner, someone out of our circle to lend a hand, be a sounding board/therapist.” – Krista, KJ & Co. Events

“I definitely would have hired a coordinator. I couldn’t take charge of certain situations as the bride (like standing in an alcove hidden from the groom waiting for the ceremony to start).” – Nicole Marshall, Beautifully Planned Weddings & Events

Videography

“I would hire a professional videographer. My wedding video disappeared right after my wedding, I have never seen it. I suspect it got recorded over.” – Danielle Andrews Sunkel, The Wedding Planners

“I would have hired a different videographer. Found mine at the Wedding Show and since I originally did not want a video, I went with him because he was very affordable. Our video is boring. Although it is not horrible, anyone could have done it. I love the same day edits- would have done something like that.” – Cendi Micor, Immortal Weddings

“I also would have hired a professional videographer.  Even if we had watched the video once, it would have been worth the investment, as I had a video but since it went for a walk into Land of the Lost while we were on our honeymoon, I’ll never have the chance to watch it. 6+ years, and it still upsets me.” – Erin Bosak, Erin Bosak Events

“I would have had a different videographer as well. We waited months and months to get the video, and it wasn’t great.” -Jacquie Swadi, One Sweet Day

“I wish I spent more time researching vendors in general but hands down I would have made a better choice on my video/photo vendor (you can’t put a price on capturing the moments of this day). I have the worst video & photos from my wedding I hate watching them as I get really upset even to this day.” – Sherisse Bhimani, The Wedding Decorators

“My biggest regret is not hiring a Videographer. I thought I would never watch the video and more likely to look at pictures. But even watching it once to see your emotion would have been well worth it!” – Jennie Dobrucki, A Divine Affair

“We chose to hire a videographer for the ceremony, and not the reception. Both my husband and I regret this because the speeches were incredibly moving, but they were not captured on film.” Hevin Anne Mueller, Story Weddings & Events

wedding party dancing

Photo by Picturesque Photography

“Looking back there was only one thing I would have done differently, I would have had my videographer stay until the reception speeches were over. He captured the ceremony but marrying into a blended family, our children presented us with a song rewritten from the Brady Bunch theme, to my husband and I, it was our most memorable moment.” – Claudia Hynes, Details by Cludia Wedding Planner

“I would have invested in a better photographer and would have hired a videographer. There were so many moments I wish were captured but weren’t. Next time I’ll do it right! ” – Carolyne Allen,  Events by Carolyne

Photography

“For my wedding I hired a friend to do the photography. At that time I didn’t realize the importance of hiring a PROFESSIONAL. That old saying, “you get what you paid for”….so true! My photos were horrible, I could have done a better job.  Now, I tell all my clients don’t skimp on the important things, like photography, memories will fade but the photos will last a lifetime!” – Tracy Nolan, First Comes Love Weddings & Floral Design

“I would have taken the time to meet with a few more photographers to make sure they were the right match for us. We had a very tight budget and went with what we could afford. We liked their photos on their website so we thought everything would be fine. I’m not sure what it was, but I didn’t find our photos to be as nice as others, I even re-edited some of them myself, and we didn’t seem to jive well with the photographer. ” – Janelle Berard, Janelle Nicole Weddings

“As much as I adored my photographers (and love most of my photos) I wish they were a little more attentive (or I had an assistant coordinator keeping an eye on how we looked).” – Amanda Kueneman, Like a Star Wedding & Event Planning

“My Photographer who was a part-timer got called by his full time job to go to India on business 2 weeks before my wedding and sent his apprentice instead. She was horrible and I didn’t get any wedding photos of Merrill and I that were not blurry. In hindsight, I should have immediately hired someone else once I found that out. Even with only 2 weeks notice.” – Denise Newell, WeDDings Jubilee

“My biggest regret – not preparing a Must Have Photograph List for our photographer! Family and friends we hadn’t seen in eons (and won’t ever again!) were at our wedding and we didn’t get photos with them! Our consolation prize – we had instant cameras on every reception table, so each guest is in at least one photo – but not with us!” – Valerie Gower, The Occasion Sensation

“I would have hired a better photographer. Photos were hit or miss and she missed many great shots! The best piece of advice I have ever gotten and now use on my clients is ‘hire the best photographer you can afford’.” – Jennifer Borgh, Jennifer Borgh Events

“My only regret was not hiring a really amazing photographer. We decided to try and save money in this area and looking back I would have spent the money for a top photographer.” – Alexandra McNamara, Blush and Bowties

DJ/Entertainment

“I would have paid for a better DJ. I won a package from a local radio station that included a photo booth so I just hired a DJ from the same company, I thought it was the right thing to do because they donated a package worth $1000 and I didn’t think it would be right to bring in another company to do the DJ part. My guests liked him but I did not.” – Ashlie Metcalf, Harmony Wedding & Event Coordination

“I wish I knew the proper questions to ask when hiring a DJ so I could have picked someone else. We wanted an upscale non-cheesy, no silly game wedding (which we communicated to him verbally, but not on paper), and our DJ decided to do an Elvis impersonation contest with the guests in the middle of the dance party :s I am still trying to erase it from my memory.” -Janis Martinello, Brocade Events

“I also would have gone with a better DJ – I really wanted a great dance party & it went the opposite.” – Nicole Marshall, Beautifully Planned Weddings & Events

“I would have gone with my gut and changed the DJ I hired! After I hired him, I saw him work my friend’s wedding four months before mine. He was highly interactive and performed his MC duties in a 3-ring-circus sort of voice, and was very controlling — when he ran a kissing game and people were shouting out answers, he repeatedly tried to reinforce the rules (isn’t the point just to get them to kiss anyways? Who cares if the wrong table answers!). At that time, we discussed changing vendors due to the egomaniacy, but we had no games, and we had our own MC, so we didn’t think this level of presence would happen because it wasn’t necessary, so we still kept him on board. Well he had a huge ego. Yelled at my photographers, played music I specifically asked him not to, and was rude to my mother. At least 15 people came up to me during my wedding to tell me how rude he was to them (don’t put your drink there, don’t talk when I’m trying to announce something, going around individually and impatiently telling people to sit down for speeches). When we left at the end of the night, the on-site coordinator asked us, “If you could change any one thing about your wedding, what would it be?” And my new husband and I answered in unison, ‘The DJ!’ ” – Jennie Barrie

Venue

“Although I loved my venue, the reason I chose it was to be fair to our families and their travel time. If I had to do it over, I would’ve just done it where we initially wanted to, Niagara-on-the-lake, because the travel time wasn’t as big of an issue as we thought it was.” – Denise Newell, WeDDings Jubilee

Unfinished wedding venue

April’s wedding venue, with unfinished floors

“I definitely would have went after my venue over what was done for the hall. I was told 2 weeks before the wedding (because we went in to see the hall with my mother-in-law) that renovations would be finished before my wedding and there wouldn’t be any problems. When I got to my hall that morning to start decorating with family and friends, the hall was a DISASTER!! It was all gyprock, and beams and holes and nails.. it was AWFUL. Thankfully I had good friends and family to help do what we could for the hall. Again… it still looked awful. And we were already after paying (in full) and had nothing reimbursed to us (which to me was still in reno mode).” April Hogan, The Wedding Woman

Timing

“I would have allotted more time in between the ceremony and reception to hang out with my bridal party.” -Julia Pringle, Once Upon Your Day

“I would have allotted more time for photos of just my husband & I. Between the ceremony & reception we wanted to get so many photos with friends & family members and only got a few good ones of the two of us! I also really love when couples get “first look” photos before the ceremony, and I wish we would have done them.” – Merridyth Marshall, Custom Elegance

“The biggest regret I guess would have been not putting up a polite signage at my dessert/cake table asking my guests to eat the dessert at the dessert time or after I cut my cake.  My cupcakes and macaroons were GONEEEEEEEEEEEE in 20 minutes (literally as guests are taking their seats). I was disappointed to not have anything left before making my grand entrance, lol.” –  Jessie Huang

Thank You Speeches

“I would write my thank you speech, and make my husband do the same!  I had so many other things on my mind, I completely forgot about my speech, then decided to wing it, until my husband went on some crazy rant, by the time he finished I was laughing too hard to say anything other than ‘Thanks!'” – Melissa Gurley, Gurley Events

“I didn’t do a speech because I was afraid I would cry. A decision I still regret. A wedding is the perfect opportunity to publicly honour your friends and family and express your love and gratitude to them. And if there are a few tears, that’s OK.” – Christine March, Imprint Wedding Design & Coordination

Wedding Dress

“I would have gone with a less traditional dress. I wanted black or some black and did not go with that.’ – Cendi Micor, Immortal Weddings

“I would have had two dresses! My dress was so big that it made it difficult to dance well with a partner, i would keep the same dress for the ceremony and reception but i would get a shorter dress to dance! Plus I love short wedding dresses!” – Roxane Aubin, Evidement Weddings

Asking for Help

“I wish we had hired/delegated a family member to do the day-after stuff (pick-up decor and rentals from the venue, drive all over the city returning things to the groomsmen, picking up our gifts etc.) It really killed the first day of being husband and wife, fortunately we were off the next day for our mini moon.” – Jillian Turner, Confetti Co Weddings

“I would have delegated the day after tasks to family so everyone wasn’t running around first thing in the morning trying to load cars and check out on time.” – Sara Drummond-Ghetu, Taliyah-Love Weddings

Hair & Make-up

“I would have been a little more fussy at the salon. My hair was nothing like what I wanted it to be and not at all like the trial. Very disapointing but I didn’t want to be a “bridezilla” and decided to let it slide. Every time I look at the pictures, I still regret it.” – Janelle Berard, Janelle Nicole Weddings

“I wasn’t really happy with my bridal look, so I would change the way my hair & makeup looked.” – Malvina Pelleriti, Brilliant Weddings

Decor

“I really wished that I had chair covers and asked about the length of the table linens. I really loved the venue (Millcroft Inn) with its stone walls and rustic charm but the chairs almost looked like office/banquet chairs and the linen wasn’t long to the ground so it exposed the table legs. Every time I look back at the reception photos I could kick myself for not spending a little extra to make the room perfect.” – Laura Scott, Tula Events

More than anything, I think it boils down to: Hire a professional Wedding Coordinator!  They have learned from experience, so they know how to make your day the best it can be!

-Danielle

 


5 Tools for Wedding Planners

5 tools for wedding planners title pic
by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Here are some tools that every wedding planner should have in their arsenal:

1. Pantone Color Guide
Get the exact shade your couple is looking for. Where to buy

pantone color fan

2.Miss A Kit
This multi-tool has everything: screwdriver, knife, scissors, bottle opener, nail file, corkscrew, needle and thread, safety pin, perfume vial, etc. Where to buy

Miss A Kit Multitoolmiss a multitool open

3. Mini e-kit
When your regular Emergency Kit is too big or inappropriate, place it nearby and grab this little In a Pikle kit to have all the essentials at hand.

in a pikle e kit in a pikle contents
items for in a pikle ekit

4. Spray Paint
I did a blog just on the many uses of spray paint for wedding planners.  Every paintable item in our office has been at least three different colors.  Never pass up the perfect item because it is the wrong color, just change the color!
krylon spray paint

5. Evian Spray
The item in my emergency kit that I use at every single wedding!  Buy the 3-packs, they are the perfect size, then mist away.  Spray the couple and their attendants during the photoshoot, before the reception, after they have been dancing.  It revives their makeup, cools them down and refreshes them.
3-pack of evian spray

 


2013 WPIC Year in Review

A message from Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, Co-Founders of WPIC Inc.

WPIC Cofounders Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Photo by Brock Photo

2013 was a year of growing pains, amazing highs, tough lows, success and accolades.  This year marked the 10th Anniversary of WPIC and we celebrated by launching our on-line course, so that our core course would be more accessible to our International Students.

WPIC Events
We’ve had a lot of great events this year for our Alumni.

The first official WPIC Event was the “WPIC 2013 Kickoff” planned by our current Regional Representatives.  128 WPIC Alumni attended Rennaissance by the Creek.  There was a live band to dance to, a DJ, a panel of professionals providing business advice, a vendor fair, chances to learn and to let your hair down and have fun.  Read more about the event here.

photos from WPIC 2013 Kickoff event

In September, WPIC held a working shot extravaganza.  An event for WPIC Alumni to get professional photos in gorgeous wedding set-ups.  We took over Paletta Mansion and transformed 6 areas into dream weddings.  Each room was professionally designed and had a professional photographer assigned to the space.  Many of these set-ups will be featured in wedding magazines in 2014 including Elegant Wedding MagazineThe Wedding Planner GTA and Bride and Groom.  One of the photoshoots has already been featured on the Poptastic Bride Blog.

WPIC Paletta Mansion event

In November, we held a Mexico Wedding Specialist Certification event for our WPIC Alumni.  Not only did attendees get the chance to learn about all the amazing places Mexico has to offer their clients to get married, but also the ways they can improve their businesses by bringing weddings to Mexico.  The event included networking with Alumni, Mariachis, a Mexican buffet, networking with key Mexico partners, seminars from Hard Rock, Velas and Palace Resorts, a Specialist Certification Seminar from the Mexico Tourism Board and two inspiration Mexican wedding set-ups.  These set-ups will be featured in wedding media, such as Elegant Weddings, in 2014.  Read more about this great event here.

WPIC Mexico Wedding Specialist event

All photos by Bicoastal Images

 

The Weducation Business

Many companies are trying to sell education to wedding planners, but as always WPIC is still heads above the crowd.  We have kept our course the best by never being complacent, we never stop adding and updating.  We are now on our 14th edition of the WPIC text book.  It is bigger and better than ever.  Our after-class support leads the industry in that we provide unbelievable continuing education opportunities to our members, for FREE.  We invest tens of thousands of dollars every year to advertise WPIC Certified Wedding Planners, maintain our free member alumni boards and provide support to our past students, again at no cost to them.  Our dedication to helping our past students succeed has never waivered and we have witnessed unbelievable success from our past students.

This year past students have received several awards, much media attention and best of all, great success.  The face of our Alumni has evolved to a more modern, polished professional.

In order to provide the best to our students and alumni, this year we have:

  • updated the WPIC text book to be the most modern possible and provided all updates to all our past students
  • written many professional development articles on the WPIC Blog and on the WPICAlumni forum
  • promoted WPIC in multiple media outlets through interviews and sharing events
  • advertised the value of working with a WPIC Certified planner in many media outlets
  • added to our international recognition through speaking at several international wedding conferences in Mexico, the USA and Canada
  • created several strategic alliances and partnerships with large companies

In the New Year we will:

  • continue to support our alumni with education and opportunities for business growth
  • completely overhaul the Destination Wedding Coordinator course
  • continue to increase accessibility and support for International students
  • continue our fabulous partnerships which provide unbelievable opportunities for our alumni
  • work smarter, not harder

 State of the Wedding Industry
This year we saw a lot of formally successful wedding businesses close their doors.  These businesses were from every facet of the wedding industry: decorators, dress boutiques, tuxedo rental stores, wedding planners, DJs, photographers, magazines, etc.  Those who did survive, reinvented themselves, fine-tuned their business image and several added different services to their repertoire.

The face of wedding couples has changed.  Couples value guest experience over showing off, quality over bling.  This is exciting for wedding professionals as we are able to be more creative.  Entertainment has become very important to our couples, as has the quality of food.  The little details that wedding planners have always loved, are now a necessity to our couples.  Weddings are all about telling the story of our couples.

Our 2013 Speaking Engagements

WPIC Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel on stage at Congress of Weddings

WPIC’s Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel on stage day 2 at the Congress of Weddings & Events

This year we spoke at international wedding conferences, conventions and symposiums including: Latino Americano Congresso de Bodas de Destino in Guadalajara, MX (our Blog here), Wedding MBA in Las Vegas, and Love Mexico in the Riviera Maya.  Our seminars focussed on Practices of Successful Wedding Professionals, Destination Wedding Professionals, and the intricacies of Destination Wedding Planning.  On a local level we spoke at several colleges to students considering a career in the event industry.

Travel and Conferences
It is no secret that Mexico holds a special place in our hearts and we have focussed a lot of our attention there this year, showing our alumni the amazing opportunities this country offers them and their Destination Wedding clients.  We toured haciendas and event spaces in Guadalajara, Tequila and Guachimontones this past summer.  Read about our experiences here and here.

We also attended the BizBash conference in South Florida (our Blog), Engage!13 at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina (our Blog), and the Cancun Bootcamp.  These conferences provided us with opportunities to meet wonderful peers in the industry.

International Seminars

Palace Resorts Wedding Dept

The newest WPIC-certified Palace Resorts Wedding Team

This year we held training in Barbados and in Mexico.  We trained the Palace Resorts Wedding Team for the third time!  Students travelled from Mexico, Italy, Norway, Japan and all over the Caribbean to attend our classes.

Media
WPIC, Danielle and Tracey were interviewed or featured in many media outlets this year, including but not limited to: Reader’s Digest, MacLean’s Magazine, Bride and Groom Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, MSNTravel, Poptastic Bride, Dab Wedding (Europe), Beautiful Beginnings, etc.

We have already conducted several interviews that will be released in the new year, including a full page article written by Danielle and Tracey to be published in the 2014 Winter/Spring issue of Today’s Bride.

2014
In 2014, we are looking forward to growing WPIC even more, providing countless opportunities to alumni who are willing to constantly better themselves, supporting them in making couples’ dreams come true, creating enduring working relationships and seeing even more of our big, beautiful world.

We never stop learning and we are just as committed to sharing our knowledge now, as we were 10 years ago.  We truly believe that the best way to keep the wedding industry strong, is to share knowledge and best practices so that all professionals are properly educated.  One decade down, many more to go ;)

We wish you nothing but success!

Danielle & Tracey


Palace Resorts Gets WPIC Certification…Again!

By: Tracey Manailescu

WPIC certifies wedding department at Palace Resorts 2013

WPIC certifies wedding department at Palace Resorts 2013

Danielle and I had the immense pleasure of meeting the newest members of Palace Resorts Wedding Department this past week in Cancun.  We can’t even begin to say how wonderful this group of women are. Smart, kind, funny and they sure do know their wedding business inside and out!

This is the fourth time that WPIC has been asked to certify the wedding department at Palace Resorts. Each time, we jump at the chance.  Not only because we get the chance to stay at Moon Palace, but because we feel at home each time we are there.

The friendly staff, beautiful property, great food, beautiful rooms and pool/beach area are all part of what makes Palace Resorts shine. (We love it here so much in fact, that we brought our families on a personal vacation last spring, so they got to see what all of the fuss was about…LOL!)

These ladies shared their knowledge and experiences with us, and we shared ours. We are so very proud to have them a part of our WPIC Alumni, and can confidently recommend them, and happily send wedding couples to Palace Resorts knowing that they are in good hands.

We love the fact that Palace Resorts has changed their wedding packages to allow couples to show their personalities, by choosing what they feel represents them best. They work with some great suppliers to bring a wide variety of linens, charges, chairs, cakes, florals etc.  Don’t be afraid to shake things up!

You can view some wedding ceremonies in their gallery.

Photo Courtesy of: Expedia.com

Photo Courtesy of: Expedia.com

Some items that are available to enhance your couples weddings:

Mariachis, soloists, Mexican duo, trios, jazz quartet, fireworks, circus show, fire shows, crystal curtains, illuminated mushrooms, Led lamps, hanging and floating Chinese lamps, fire torches, beautiful light up dance floors and horse drawn carriage rides.

I think we have seen almost all of these items at one time or another at events we have attended at Palace Resorts.  We can’t wait to see what comes next…


Goals are Dreams with Deadlines

Headshot of Danielle Andrews Sunkel WPIC

Photo by BrockPhoto.ca

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

As most wedding business owners wind down after the 2013 wedding season, the smart ones are starting to plan their 2014 season.   The break between wedding seasons is a time to assess this year and set goals for yourself and your business for next.

Everyone has a dream of what they want their wedding business to be, goals are just dreams with deadlines.  Setting and achieving your goals is a wonderful exercise that’s builds your confidence and helps you appreciate yourself and your efforts.  It is a very empowering task.

Assess
In order to set goals, you need to assess your needs and skill set:

  • What worked for you this year, what did not?
  • Did you enjoy working with all of your clients?  If not, why not?
  • Did you have time for loved ones?
  • Did your systems and policies work for you, or do you need to tweak them?
  • Did you feel you were paid appropriately for the services you provided?
  • Is there a skill you feel you are lacking?
  • Do you feel you have all the business tools you need to be truly successful?
  • What marketing avenues were most successful for you?
  • Did you network and meet other vendors that will improve your business?
  • Are you surrounding yourself with the right people?

SMART formula written on a chalkboard

Setting goals
Put your goals down on paper and make sure the goals you set are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

Specific
Saying, “I want to grow my business” is way too vague.  You need to narrow your goal and make it specific.  How do you want to grow your business; Do you want to work with more couples? Larger budgets? Make more of a name for yourself? Add personnel? Move into a commercial office?

Measurable
Great satisfaction comes from achieving one’s goals. Your goals need to be concrete and measurable so you know if you have achieved it, whether or not it is achievable or if you need to do more work in order to achieve said goal.

Achievable
Establish at the outset whether or not your goal is even attainable or just a pipe dream.  Is it reasonable that you can attain this goal with determination and hard work, or would this goal only be attainable with luck or a miracle?  If your goal is not something you could ever reasonably attain, it is going to hurt you and zap your momentum and confidence rather than bolster you.

Relevant
Why did you set this goal?  Is it going to help you or your company in the grand scheme of things, or is it just something that would be fun?

Timely
How are you going to be accountable for this goal?  How long are you going to give yourself to achieve it?  Will it take many steps, should it be broken down into smaller goals?  How will you know that you have achieved said goal?

Accountability
In order to truly work at your goals you need to be accountable.  Make sure you write your goals down on paper (or print it off), don’t just save it in a file on your computer or Smartphone.  Give yourself milestones and deadlines and reward yourself when you have achieved your goals.

At the end of the year, look at your goals and reassess them, are they still relevant, how did achieving those goals make your business better.  And then start all over again.


Time for Wedding Pros to Plan their Business Reboot

Headshot of Danielle Andrews Sunkel WPIC

Photo by BrockPhoto.ca

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

There is a reason most Wedding Conferences happen in November.  Yes, it is usually the slowest month of the year for weddings, but more importantly, it is the month that the wedding industry renews itself.

Each year we are faced with a new industry, couples get engaged, enter our industry then they marry and leave our industry.  Wedding professionals do not benefit from year-over-year recognition, once a couple is married they are done with us, but it is exciting in that we get the chance to reinvent ourselves and our companies every year, allowing us to stay current and on-trend.

Most engagements take place between November and February, 70% to be exact.  (That is why all the Wedding Shows happen in January and February.)

engagement ring being offered

November is the time to regroup, rebrand, update and make any changes you want to make to your business, because its a whole new market come December!  Now is the time to start planning that reboot so you can implement those changes in November.

sweeping leaves and flowers

So take this chance my colleagues, update that logo, upgrade your website and make it mobile-compatible, add all those photos of the weddings you worked on this year and remove any outdated photos, put up a fabulous new headshot of yourself and make sure everything is modern.  Write new copy for your website and any advertising materials.

Renew, rejuvinate and refresh!

successful wedding planner