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How Not to be a Negative Nelly in the Wedding Industry

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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

Avoiding Industry Burn-out

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By: Tracey Manailescu

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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

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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!

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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!

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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.

How do you Handle Stress?

By: Tracey Manailescu

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Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

Did this wedding season seem overwhelming? Clients  suddenly demanded too much of your time and energy? Did you neglect everyone important in your life for the success of your company and couples? Wait a minute…Maybe it wasn’t them… Maybe, just maybe, it was you!

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As planners, it is in us to take charge, make sure everything is going as it should, and to be on top of everything.  However, that should not mean having to give up your entire home life routine. Your family and friends need you, too. We hear all to often about that infamous work/home life balance, and how it is so difficult to please everyone. How do you balance it all and still be a good mother/father, wife/husband, sister, friend, etc? Truthfully, there is no magic sytem to put in place, but there are ways you can deal.

I have mentioned this before…A few years ago, Danielle and I were in this exact position.  We were taking on way too much, traveling, teaching all over Canada and abroad, attending conferences and speaking at many of them, going on FAM trips, and working 12-14 hour days.  Our families suffered because of it. We were both at the point where our husbands had had enough. We had to decide what was best for us and of course, we chose our families first. We hired more instructors to teach the classes for us, we brought in interns to the office and we had to just say, “no”, to some great opportunities. Do we regret it?  Not at all.       www.wpic.ca

Here are some things to consider:

You Don’t Have to Do it All: You are not a Stepford Wife (aka: Robot). Do your children really need to be in figure skating, football,hockey, tutoring, soccer, gymnastics, AND swimming? Cut something out. Can you hire a maid, dog walker, share the driving back and forth to childrens’ activities with another parent, or give up cooking the elaborate meals all of the time?  Take a step back and re-evaluate.

Break up the “To Do”tasks. Similar to what you do with clients, break the list down (whether it is in your business or personal life) and focus on daily, weekly and monthly tasks, instead of the complete scenario. It suddenly becomes manageable, instead of completely overwhelming.

Prioritize: Take those lists and get to them. Whatever seems the most challenging and dreaded things to do, do them first!  Get them out of the way.

Delegate to Your Couples:  Put some of the ownership back on your couples (it is their wedding after all). Give some duties to the mothers. Not only will it please them, but it will make them feel connected and a necessary part of the wedding planning process. Sometimes we forget how much the parents want (and need) to be a part of this huge day in their childrens’ lives.  It is better to help guide with the direction it will go, then have them choose it on their own, right? Suggest things that their wedding party should/could be doing to help out. Having you sort through the never-ending duties and responsibilities, and then make suggestions on how to tackle them will put everyone at ease.  You can suggest a girls night-in. Ordering in from their favourite restaurant and of course, providing cocktails. The night will just happen to involve some DIY/DIT projects (*DIT is the new “it” thing to do, which stands for “Do It Together”). How can they say no?

Delegate to Your Family Members: The same thing applies for your home life as it does for your work life.  Are you pulling more weight than you should at home?  Can the children take on more chores?  Can your other half help out a bit more?  Maybe you need to sit down and have a family talk.

Consider What This Can Do for Your Business: Is it going to make you more money, or get your company media attention?  Will it open possibilities to you that just weren’t there before? If not, do you really need to add this to your busy schedule? You don’t need to take every opportunity that comes along.

Diet and Excercise: I know, I know.  You hear this all of the time.  It’s true though. Every single time I gain weight, I feel awful about myself, and my confidence goes downhill. So, I’ve just joined a new gym that’s closer to my home.  I needed to stop making excuses and get back into a routine. (Sadly, I paid bi-monthly for about 6 years at another gym that I went to sporadically at best). I’ve enlisted a friend to go with, and we are accountable to each other. I found that this helps a lot, as I can’t make excuses when she is relying on me to go with her.  Now if only I could give up popcorn…

Get a Good Sleep: I don’t know about you, but I am not at my best without 6-8 hours of sleep. I get grumpy, and have little patience for the silly things that come up on a daily basis when I am tired. I have way more patience and can face the challenges at work and home much better when I am rested.

Make Time for Those You Love: Schedule girls nights out once or twice a month with your besties (even more if you can) set regular date nights with your signifigant other (no kids allowed), do things as a family that do not involve TV. It really helps!  It gives you a chance to laugh, let loose and just be you, not work you.

Laugh: Take time to appreciate the little things, and be around those that make you laugh and smile.

What are some things that you find helpful to deal with stress?

WPIC Goes to Couples Resorts in Negril, Jamaica

By: Tracey Manailescu

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Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

I’ve got Jamaica on my mind…Thanks to Couples Resorts!

After speaking at the Jamaica Bridal Conference and then having a booth at the Jamaica Bridal Expo (see previous blog) in Montego Bay, we were picked up by Couples and taken to Negril.  The last time we were in Negril, the roads were so windy that we needed Graval, now there is a much-improved highway, and it’s a relaxing hour and a half drive from Montego Bay.

Couples Swept Away, Negril JA

Couples Swept Away, Negril JA

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Couples Swept Away -Pro Pool

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Couples Swept Away -Vendors on the beach

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Beautiful sunset at Couples Swept Away

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Ceremony location at Couples Swept Away

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Spa at Swept Away

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Another gorgeous sunset at Couples Swept Away

When we arrived, we went straight into site visits of Couples Swept Away and then over to Couples Negril. Both are utterly charming in their own right. We had the absolute pleasure of staying three nights at Couples Swept Away to experience it as much as we possibly could in a short time frame. We were able to experience the beautiful beach, the fine dining, the bar(s), a massage at the spa, and a catamaran cruise at sunset.

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Couples Negril

Jamaica Negril pool

Pool at Couples Negril

Jamaica reception area at Negril

Reception location at Couples Negril

Jamaica Treehouse for massage Negril

Treehouse used for couples massages & private dinners for 2 at Couples Negril.

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Beach ceremony location at Couples Negril

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Couples Negril garden ceremony location

Shout out to the ladies on staff at Feathers at Couples Swept Away! They made our fine dining experience fun and memorable, and kept us laughing the entire meal.

We were able to meet with so many guests who were on their honeymoons, and who were having the time of their lives in this romantic, yet fun, atmosphere. There were also many guests that we spoke with, who were returning guests, or who were planning their next trip back already. I have to say, that I was doing the same, so that my husband and I could experience it as Couples Resorts intended. There is something about Negril that feels so right.  It is so laid back, relaxing, and yet has a fun and playful side to it. The beaches and sunsets are like nothing else, anywhere. Period. You know how some places say they are all inclusive, and for the most part they are.  Well, take a look at what Couples Resorts includes. I am NOT even kidding!!!

Couples Extraordinary Inclusions:

 

Activities & Amenities Tower Isle Sans Souci Negril Swept Away
Airport Transfers and Hotel Taxes MBJ MBJ MBJ MBJ
Exquisitely Appointed, Air-Conditioned Rooms & Suites 226 150 234 312
Telephone
Hair Dryer in Room
Cable TV
Iron and Ironing Board in Room
Coffee Maker in Room
IPOD/MP3 Docking Station in Room
Safety Deposit Box in Room
Personalized Mini Bar
Restaurants, from Gourmet to Casual 6 5 4 6
Fruit and Veggie Bar
Grill pool beach beach beach
In-Room Dining breakfast** breakfast
Bars 4 6 6 8
Piano Bar
Swim-Up Bar 2 1 1 1
Nightly Live Entertainment
Jacuzzi 4 3 4 5
PADI-Certified Scuba Dives
Snorkeling
Water-Skiing
Windsurfing
Sailing
Kayaking
Hobie Cat
Water Bike
Pedalos
Paddle Boards
Body Boards
Freshwater Pools 4 3 2 4
Lap Pool
Mineral Water Pool
Golf (Includes Green Fees & Transfer) ▲
Tennis Courts with Free Lesson * 3 astro turf (all lit) 2 hard (all lit) 4 hard (2 lit) 5 clay 5 hard (all lit)
Air-Conditioned Squash Courts 2
Air-Conditioned Racquetball Courts 2
Fully Equipped Gym, Aerobics, Yoga, Aquasize
Au Natural Sunbathing
Indoor Game Room
Complimentary Wedding Ceremony (with stay of 6 nights or more) ✤
Renewal of Wedding Vows (Pre-Arranged) ●
Complimentary Off Site Excursions
Dunns River Falls
Glass Bottom Boat Ride
Trip to Margaritaville
Shopping Shuttle
Catamaran Cruise
Trip to Popular Sunset Bar
Tour Desk
Complimentary Wifi
Spa Services ♦ ♥
Beauty Salon ♦
Gift Shop & Boutique ♦
Duty Free Shop ♦
24 hr food service, unlimited premium brand drinks, all tips and gratuities
We observe a strict no tipping policy at all our resorts in Jamaica.
✓ Included ‹ Except Atrium, Beachfront and Premier Suites. ▲ Clubs, carts and mandatory caddies not included. ♦ Available for a fee.
✤ Pre-arranged weddings incur a $250 pre-administration processing, government license and marriage certificate fee additional. ♥ Complimentary half -hour His and Her Massage available to Honeymooners and Romance Rewards benefits for repeat guests: conditions apply. * Once per stay. ** Dinner in suites.
Inclusions may be changed or withdrawn at any time, without notice.

WPIC at Jamaica Bridal Expo 2014

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

Danielle and I were invited to speak at Jamaica’s Bridal Expo “Wedding Conference” on Friday, September 19th, 2014 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Montego bay, Jamaica. We presented, not one, but two seminars at the conference. We were in wonderful company amongst the other speakers (as seen below).

We were then invited to “Brides Night Out” at Robbie’s Kitchen which was by invitation only, in honour of the 10 couples who won a trip to Jamaica from Brides Magazine.

We also had a booth in the trade show of the Jamaica Bridal Expo on September 20th & 21st, 2014 to promote our WPIC certification course taking place in Jamaica on January 17th & 18th, 2015 at Couples San Souci.

I have to say we were treated like royalty by the amazing team of Executive Producers: Kathy Ann Everhart, Jo-Anne Paxton and Peter Shoucair J.P.  I cannot say enough about their warmth and kindness, as well as the utter professionalism they each showed throughout the entire weekend. Thank you. It was so appreciated! Not only did they work hard, but they made it look effortless with over 80 exhibitors, daily entertainment, fashion shows, a live wedding onstage, a wedding cake competition at the Jamaica Bridal Expo on the Saturday and Sunday.

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Photo: Max Earle

Photo: Max Earle

Jamaica Robbies Kitchen party 2014

Ms. Shoucair, Tracey Manailescu, Jo-Anne Paxton, Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Jamaica Robbies Kitchen Sign

Robbie’s Kitchen

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Moet & Chandon Champagne

Jamaica Robbies Kitchen party Tom & us 2014

Tom Curtain, Tracey Manailescu, Joy Agness, and Danielle Andrews Sunkel

We also ran into WPIC Alumni, Jennifer Borgh in Jamaica, too.  Actually we didn’t run into her, we were lucky enough to be treated out to dinner by her at none other than Robbie’s Kitchen the night we arrived.  How funny is that? Good thing we enjoyed it, because we were there two nights in a row!  This lady always makes it fun ;)

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Another highlight for me, was when I was asked to be a judge for the Cake Tasting competition. You bet I said yes!  Can you say “yum”?

www.wpic.ca

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Whoo hoo! I was asked to judge the Cake Competition at the Jamaica Bridal Expo!

Some of the amazing booths at the Jamaica Bridal Expo:

Jamaica Bridal Expo Sharon Saint T Bair

Sharon Saint T Bair Event Designer and Consultant

Jamaica Bridal Expo Luxe Booth

Luxe Event Design -Showtime

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Tai Flora Services Ltd.

Wedding Planner Plus Jamaica

Wedding Planner Plus Jamaica

Moet & Chandon Champagne

Moet & Chandon Champagne

Jamaica Bridal Expo Photodayz Booth

Photo Dayz Imaging Lab

We were given oceanfront suites at Iberostar Rose Hall and the service and staff were so friendly and accommodating.  My awesome housekeeper, “Naudia” even helped me pack up the beach balls in bags for our seminar on the Friday morning.

We had a wonderful time and look forward to next time, Jamaica!

WPIC Does Las Vegas & Wedding MBA 2014

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

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WPIC’s Co-founders (Danielle and I) led a seminar on “International Wedding Trends” and ran a double booth with some amazing helpers (Kim Choy, Daniela Caputo, Sue Morris) to promote WPIC and our Wedding Pro Workshops at Wedding MBA in Las Vegas this year. *Also a special mention to Kristy Sherwood and Sara Long for helping us set up our booth.

Some of the highlights that we touched on in our seminar were naked cakes, hand-painted cakes (and we even had real examples) thanks to the amazing and talented peeps at It’s a Piece of Cake, string art for table numbers, clay bouquet pieces, Colour blocking with bridesmaids dresses, dip-dyed wedding dresses, the crazy McDonald’s weddings phenomena in Hong Kong, and mini beach balls which we threw out into the audience to end our seminar.

Also wanted to give a shout-out to the Linen Closet for supplying our pillows and table runners. Wedding MBA collage

There were over 2800 attendees in attendance this year! Unbelievable.

Wedding MBA class photo

We managed to squeeze in some fun (of course) with a WPIC Get-Together with 17 WPIC Alumni from Canada, Barbados and the Bahamas. We went on a 3 hour tour with 24-7 Limousines in an armoured truck around Las Vegas to Little White Wedding Chapel, a private tour of Caesar’s Palace wedding hot spots, a stop at the infamous Las Vegas sign, and ended the evening with VIP entrance to Coyote Ugly.

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WPIC Alumni

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WPIC Alumni in Las Vegas

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WPIC Alumni

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Photo courtesy of: Kim Choy

 

We witnessed a vow renewal at A Little White Wedding Chapel, and WPIC Instructor, Daniela Caputo had step in to save the day when the couple didn’t understand the Officiate because she didn’t speak French (the couple were from France).  Daniela jumped in to save the day by translating the entire Vow renewal ceremony :)  Talk about being in the right place at the right time…

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Photo credit: www.imaginestudioslv.com

Photo credit: www.imaginestudioslv.com

 

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*All photos were taken by Tracey Manailescu, unless otherwise noted.

 

 

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.

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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!

www.wpic.ca

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.

 

Consider a Destination Wedding in Canada: Mont Tremblant, Quebec

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Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Tracey Manailescu

Born and raised in Canada, it always amazes me what our big and beautiful country has to offer.

We have mountains, oceans, beaches, fine dining, celebrity chefs, night clubs, theatre, summer sports, winter sports, etc. Every province and territory has something unique and special to offer. For wedding couples, the possibilities are endless.

I’ve just come back from a fabulous family week’s vacation in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, and we are already planning to go back for our winter vacation. (Eeek!  The cold, winter sports and I just don’t mix. However, I am willing to give it a go.) We stayed at the Fairmont Tremblant, and  I would happily stay there again, in fact I am quite certain that we will…

I took the opportunity to request a wedding site visit (of course) with Frederic Jean, who is the Manager, Catering & Conference Services. Let’s just say, he is awesome! You cannot go wrong with the location, or the staff. It is set up, and styled, like a ski lodge. Take a look at some of the photos to see for yourself!

Frederic Jean, Manager, Catering & Conference Services

Frederic Jean, Manager, Catering & Conference Services

fairmont tremblant water view

Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

MT Fairmont in activity section

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

Gorgeous place for a ceremony and/or cocktails, don't you think?

Gorgeous place for a ceremony and/or cocktails, don’t you think?

I seriously would love to work with a couple for a wedding during the winter time here, or a WPIC event.

PhotocCourtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

This entire Village is beyond perfect for a wedding weekend with friends and family. It is entirely family-friendly and actually geared towards a family experience. Picture it with a hot toddy station, maple syrup on a stick, outdoor heaters and s’mores, etc.

Did I mention that the chefs are extremely creative and willing to work with most ideas that you throw at them?

Some examples of specialty items on the menus are: Abitabi Pearl Caviar, Laurentian Cheese Platter, Maple Crumble, Guinea Fowl, Deer Tataki with Horseradish & Basil, Fresh Trout Tartare with Strawberries & Black Tobiko.

Fairmont Tremblant "Chic Shack" set up on the patio

Photo courtesy of: Fairmont Tremblant -Winter “Chic Shack” set up

Want an amazing example of customer service going above and beyond?  This hand-drawn card was left in my room from Frederic. Love, love, love it!

Hand drawn note after site visit from Frederic

Hand drawn note after site visit from Frederic

Not hooked yet? Well let me show you some other things we feel in love with in Mont Tremblant. Go on and picture it with loved ones for a wedding celebration, Quebec style. There is a Catholic Church right in the Village (a 2 minute walk).

Chapelle Saint-Bernard right in the Mont Tremblant Village

Chapelle Saint-Bernard right in the Mont Tremblant Village

Chapelle Saint-Bernard right in the Mont Tremblant Village

Chapelle Saint-Bernard right in the Mont Tremblant Village

We booked some day trips directly through the Mont Tremblant website. We did the mountain luge 6 times, went hiking, swimming, rafting, horseback riding, rented a boat and went fishing on three different occasions. There is so much to do!

Imagine doing some of these things with a wedding group?

For those who want a grown-up experience, there is the Casino close by, as well as a night club and a bar, conveniently located in the Village along with pubs and fine dining. MT Collage rafting Rafting falling

We explored nearby Saint Jovite since it was the Jazz Festival. In Saint Jovite we fell in love with a restaurant called, “Antipasto“, and went to it 3 times. Heck, we tried almost everything in the Village too, between lunches and dinners.  (Next time we might get a room with a kitchenette…No, we probably won’t, but it is an option.)

MT Restaurants with patios 2

MT Restaurants with patios

MT More restaurant with fountain

Spag & Co in the Village

Spag & Co in the Village

Whether it is summer or winter, the activities and breath-taking scenery will make for amazing wedding photos and video.

*This blog is written solely on my experience in Mont Tremblant, and was not endorsed or paid in any way by the Fairmont Trembant.

10 Ways to Get More of “Your Type” of Clients

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

www.wpic.ca

People tend to look for companies that have similar values, ideas and personalities. It is no different, if not even more important, that you connect with your wedding coordination clients. There is nothing worse (for either of you) then being stuck in a contract for up to a year (or possibly more) with clients that you cannot stand. There is no way that you will have their best interests at heart, and there won’t be a sense of trust between you, either. Respect needs to go both ways. Of course you want to do everything in your power to make this the best wedding ever, but you need to set your boundaries and not be a walking/talking door mat. This means have set working hours, know your limits and be able to express them, you also still be able to live your personal life amidst working with your couples.  This is huge.  Remember to keep some balance in your work and personal life. Your friends and family need you, too. How do you narrow it down, and get your type of client? Everyone has an ideal image of the type of couple that they want to work with, and you also know who you don’t. Everything you do should be geared towards your dream couple.

1. Invest in your Company: Invest in what makes sense to you. Get “weducated”. Most people reading this article are WPIC certified. Bravo!  Within the WPIC Alumni Association and networking events you can pick your alumni’s brains for advice, feedback and ask questions. Ask what they think of your website, logo, ad, etc. Be prepared for honest and blunt responses. Attend conferences & seminars around the globe. Not only will you learn from the speakers, but you will get to network and get out of your comfort zone in hopefully some really great locations (blog, tweet, Instagram and Facebook about your experience while you are there, and when you get back home). Sign up for webinars, attend workshops and courses that have meaning and relevance to what you need to know more about.

2. Believe in Yourself: (Take the Quiz in this section!) Confidence is imperative. No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t have confidence in what they do or can do for their clients. If you are feeling unsure of something, then that is exactly what you need to fine tune, and get cracking in your learning sphere (see topic above). “Get your learning on.” Most of us in the wedding industry are Type A or at least  B+ personalities. That means we like to organize, take on challenges, problem solve and make decisions and we expect it to work out in our favour. See this article to read about 25 Things That People With Type A Personalities Do and then take this quiz to see if you are a Type A or a Type B personality. www.wpic.ca

3. Advertising: Are you doing any? Where?  Are these places that your dream couple would be looking? If not, then why bother?  You should be putting your marketing $ where your dream couple would be looking for you. Example: If you want to be working with more LGBT couples, then get in front of them at the Pride Parade (yes, get on the events committee) . WPIC Alumni get special rates with some amazing companies. Don’t forget to check www.wpicalumni.com before you place an ad somewhere.  Chances are that we might have negotiated a special rate for you ;) www.wpic.ca

4. Giving Back: Is there an organization that touches your heart, or an industry event that you would like to be a part of? Sign up on the volunteer committee and get some more experience, as well as getting to know some new people who may be in need of your services at a later time, or who can give you a great reference down the road. Not only will you feel good about yourself, but you are gaining experience and showing others what you are capable of. It’s a win/win situation. Assist one of your WPIC Alumni in need of help at a wedding.  Chances are those same people will help you out when you need it.

5. Network online: Join meetup groups, Twitter chats, Facebook  groups, forums, and anywhere else your dream clients are  to get yourself noticed. Something that has been proven over and over, is when WPIC Alumni network and keep active within the WPIC Alumni Association many opportunities are born from connecting and helping each other out.

6. Reach out to Friends and Family: Who knows you best? That would be your friends and family. You should have a business Facebook page, but why not post something wedding related on your personal Facebook page once in a blue moon, just to remind people that you have availability and who you are, and what you do.  It’s smart to do this at peak engagement times such as holidays, and again once or twice during wedding season, as they might know someone who is in need of a “Month Of” wedding coordinator. *1:3 Canadian couples get engaged between December and February according to Weddingbells. *65% of weddings happen between June and September (again from Weddingbells) www.wpic.ca

7. Reviews from Past Clients or Vendors: This is your best word of mouth and free advertising. EVER. After you have worked with a couple, or a vendor ask them for a review of your services. You should be doing this anyway, so that you can improve your customer service. Send a survey or questionnaire to them find out ways to improve your business, ask what they wish you had done, what they liked about working with you, the best part of the wedding day, and if they have a testimonial that you can share on your website, or another place that you advertise online. Try to implement changes in your company based on the feedback. *If it is for your website then try to add a photo taken of you with the couple on their wedding day to add to the legitimacy of it. Share the love from your clients. www.wpic.ca

8. Change Can be Good: If you are running ads in magazines or online ads, are they the same ad from a few years ago?  Maybe it’s time to change it up. Do you need a new logo? Is your “About Me” page the same as it was a few years ago? In need of spicing it up a bit? Read this article I wrote a few weeks ago. What about your personal photo? Do you look the same? Is your website in need of an upgrade? There are so many templates that you can purchase for minimal costs and do it yourself, or hire someone to make it everything you envisioned to welcome potential clients to get a first glimpse of you and your company. Go through your website and ask some of your trusted sidekicks to read it over, too. Can you change some of your wording to reflect your message to be more modern and personal?

9. Blog: Do you blog regularly? 1-2 times a week is best. It’s a great way to get your message out to potential couples as well as improve your websites SEO. You choose the content, style and topic. You can’t get more specific then that to reach your dream couple. Give tips, advice and show your expertise and how you would handle certain and specific situations by speaking directly with them. Showcase your specialties and what you can do for them.  Make them see how you will save them time, money and alleviate stress by hiring you. customer service

10. Customer Service: Are you getting back to potential clients and current clients quickly? This means within 24 hrs. Are you listening to what your clients wants and expectations are? Are you showing your knowledge and love of weddings, when you speak with them, or when they read your blog, or even look at your website? Do your clients feel that you care and have their best interests at heart? Your clients want and need to feel that you will implement their ideas and expectations for their wedding. They also want to feel a connection with you. This means communicating with them and keeping them involved in the process (unless it is a couple that really doesn’t want to be involved with decisions). Staying calm & collected, having a sense of humour, showing confidence and problem solving skills will go along way in difficult situations. Always remember that you are a professional. If you are having trouble thinking of how you can do this better, think about a time you were “wowed” by someone’s customer service skills.  What made them stand out?