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Keeping Afloat in the Wedding Industry (When You Feel Like You Are Drowning)

By: Tracey Manailescu

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Photo: Avenue-Photo.com

It is hard to stand out  in the wedding industry whether you are a wedding planner, photographer, designer, cake decorator, venue, wedding salon, tuxedo store, makeup artist, DJ, band, etc.

The same can be argued for any industry though. Just think about real estate agents, stock brokers, lawyers, models, doctors, police, nurses, actors, etc.

No matter what field you are in, there is competition and always someone who knows more, has more experience, and has more talent. Stop worrying about what your competitors are doing all of the time, and do what feels right for you.

Networking, attending conferences, attending open houses to see what new products or services vendors have to offer, spending money on targeted ads (print or online), a professionally made website, upgraded business cards, a booth at a wedding show, sponsoring your services, better SEO presence, etc. can all help get you on the right track.  When you invest in yourself and your company, you can’t help but grow as a person, and as a business owner.

However, if you did all of the above you would run out of time, funds and your sanity very quickly. You just can’t do it all!

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What to do?

  • Pick a few things that resonate with you. It needs to be things that are key to making you feel better about yourself, your image, your passion and what your message to the wedding world is clearly all about.
  • Be open to change.
  • Update and upgrade your skills.
  • Be clear and concise with your branding.
  • Target the market that you fit into.
  • Stop feeling guilty.
  • Keep educated and informed.
  • Spend your money wisely.
  • Keep track of your expenses.
  • Attend industry events & conferences that actually relate to what you are in need of learning or reaffirming.
  • Take a step back, and take a deep look into your business from an outside perspective.
  • Survey your couples, industry friends, WPIC alumni, and family. Ask for feedback about what you could have done better, find out what they think that you did (or do well) and make the appropriate changes where you see fit.
  • Keep your personal life and home happy. Stay healthy, join a gym, get walking, eat better. Go shopping for new clothes or shoes, get a new and fresh haircut, play with your kids, go on a weekly or monthly date night with your better half. Learn to do something you have always wanted to do like painting, cooking classes, learn a language, go dancing, etc.  Strive to be happier, and you will be!

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On a personal business note:

We, at WPIC have really looked into what our graduates and industry friends are asking for, based on feedback from surveys, and conversations. We  looked long and hard at where our money goes, and where we advertise this year. We have had to say no to some amazing opportunities and experiences, because it just doesn’t fit into our vision. We looked at our Google analytics, read our class surveys,  and made an informed decision about letting some of our staff and ads go that are no longer working for us. Yes, it has left some hard feelings, but in the end, this is what is best for us, and WPIC at this time.

We feel good about our decisions and look forward to seeing some of our ideas take shape and grow.

Get Noticed at Networking Events and Conferences (in a Positive Way)

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

Being in the wedding and event industry, you will be attending networking events such as company launches, open houses, WPIC get- together’s, conferences, and upgrading your skills with courses and job specific training on a regular basis. Sometimes attending these things can be intimidating, and make us feel uncomfortable. Reasons for this could be that you don’t want to go alone, not knowing who will be there, not knowing what  to say to attendees or vendors, feeling awkward standing by yourself, wondering if people are judging you, etc. I think we all have gone through this at one time or another. Is that going to stop you? It shouldn’t.

Here are some tips that I have found to be beneficial, and might help you through these difficult moments:

Dress professionally: This will instantly give you confidence. You know you are dressed the part of a professional when wearing a business appropriate outfit. This means no micro-minis, clothes that make you bulge over, running shoes, flip flops, low-cut blouses or pants that are too tight, etc.  Females should have hair and makeup in place, too. Whether you like it or not, first impressions DO matter. A traumatizing experience that I had not so long ago, was with my hair. My hair always looks the same, so I decided to straighten it for a change.  It takes a really, really long time to straighten my hair, especially since I am not used to straightening it. It took even longer than expected, and I had a bus to catch that was going to the event and I only was able to straighten a little more than half of my hair. Really. Humiliating, I know.  So, I had no other option but to grab an elastic and run down to the lobby of the hotel to catch the shuttle bus so I could make it on time.  Luckily, after quite a few laughs from some fellow WPIC’ers they got together and helped me put my hair into a super cute hairstyle, which somehow got me compliments all night long!  LOL! Next time, I will give myself plenty of time for this type of thing.

Wear something that stands out: This is a great conversation starter and something I just do 99% of the time. It could be as simple as a statement necklace, a fun pair of socks, a great tie, a fun hair-clip or mini fascinator, fedora, a great pair of shoes, purse, whatever. It just eases people into a conversation. I know this works first hand, because whenever I see someone with something unique at an event, I most often stop them and tell them I like it, and it most often turns into a short but sweet conversation.

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Get out of the corner: Sure it is always easier to stand back and watch, but it’s much more fun and easier to communicate if you get in the middle of where the action is. Take a deep breath, hold your head high, put those shoulders back, and go for it.

Have an elevator speech: Be prepared for people to ask you about your company. Be able to explain what you do, and why you do it in about 30 seconds. Example: “My name is Tracey Manailescu. I am the Co-founder of  WPIC. We train and certify wedding coordinators from all around the world, and we are brought down to resorts to train their wedding departments, as well as run a Wedding Association for our members. Currently, we have upwards of 3900 alumni.”

Ask questions of the people you are speaking with: This is a BIG pet peeve of mine. I can’t count how many events I have been to where someone corners me and talks non-stop about themselves and what they have been up to, about personal problems, etc.  Then they leave, or I excuse myself because I can’t take one more second of it, without having once been asked a single question. This is such a turn-off! Don’t monopolize someone’s time when everyone in attendance is there to make the rounds, meet contacts, make small chit chat, etc.  If you want to have one on one conversations then make an afternoon date for coffee, a drink, or plan a phone call.

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Bring business cards: Be prepared to exchange business cards with those you speak with. It helps others to remember your name and company as well as showing them that you are serious about your business. When you take a business card from someone, it is always best to accept it with both hands and look at it so the other person knows you have actually paid attention to them.

Perfect that handshake: Practice on friends and family members. Remember that you should always be shaking with your right hand.  Keep it quick and firm.  If you have a tendency to have sweaty palms, then a good trick is to keep your hands full with a drink, an appetizer, handouts, or something similar.

Focus on the person you are speaking with: This means don’t be looking across the room scanning for your next victim. Pay attention to the person you are with. Live in the moment. Keep eye contact (just not in a creepy way…)

Keep in your own personal space: There is nothing worse than a close talker.  We all fear that  eventually we will get backed into a corner, or flat against a wall with these people. If YOU are the close talker, then prepare yourself, and ensure that you keep at least 2 steps away from the person you are speaking with. Imagine an invisible divider. I am quite certain that close talkers know who they are.  The look of panic and effort to get away from you should be your clues.

Two drink maximum: Please don’t be that guy! You know the one who slurs, trips and makes obnoxious comments in the name of alcohol. This is not a night out on the town at your favourite bar or night club. Yes, absolutely have a drink or two to calm those nerves, but there is no need for any more then that at a work related event. I can give you an example of just this…At an event in Mexico last year I was given 2 tequila shots.  I felt relaxed and happy. I fully admit that my alcohol tolerance level is not very high. So when, a group of people from a hotel with a high interest in working with WPIC came to speak with us, and they asked the waiter for another tequila for us to ‘salut’.  Well, I know better, but I did it so as not to insult anyone, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Something humiliating happened to Danielle during the conversation, and I lost it. I couldn’t compose myself, and had tears streaming down my face with laughter. They said their goodbyes, and we have never heard from them since. 100% my fault.

This list should get you off to a great start.  If you have any tips that have worked for you, please share them in the comments section.

WPIC Goes to Beautiful Barbados

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by www.Avenue-Photo.ca

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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?

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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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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 ;)

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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.)