Toll-Free 866-836-4617 | Email:info@WeddingProCourses.com

How do you Handle Stress?

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

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!

www.wpic.ca

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

www.wpic.ca

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

www.wpic.ca

Couples Swept Away -Pro Pool

www.wpic.ca

Couples Swept Away -Vendors on the beach

www.wpic.ca

Beautiful sunset at Couples Swept Away

www.wpic.ca

Ceremony location at Couples Swept Away

www.wpic.ca

Spa at Swept Away

www.wpic.ca

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.

www.wpic.ca

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.

www.wpic.ca

Beach ceremony location at Couples Negril

www.wpic.ca

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.

www.wpic.ca

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

www.wpic.ca

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 ;)

www.wpic.ca

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

www.wpic.ca

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

www.wpic.ca

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

www.wpic.ca

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.

www.wpic.ca

WPIC Alumni

www.wpic.ca

WPIC Alumni in Las Vegas

www.wpic.ca www.wpic.ca

 

 

www.wpic.ca

WPIC Alumni

www.wpic.ca

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…

www.wpic.cawww.wpic.ca www.wpic.ca

Photo credit: www.imaginestudioslv.com

Photo credit: www.imaginestudioslv.com

 

www.wpic.ca

*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.

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!

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

www.wpic.ca

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?

Instagram can be Instagood for Your Business

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

What is Instagram?

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.” Wikipedia

How to create an account: It’s easy. Really. Download the Instagram app on your phone. Enter your email and choose a password.  When you have signed up for your Instagram account, edit your profile and add your company name, a photo of you or your company logo, and your url. You can also add a small blurb about you and your company. Find people to follow and get followers right away by clicking on the button to add your Facebook friends that have Instagram accounts. They should follow you back.

Do you have a personal and a professional Instagram account, or do you lump it into one? I just have one. There are so many debates about this but I try to keep it related to my world which consists of weddings, conferences, travel, eye candy and some random family & pet photos. It sounds a bit eclectic, but that kind of fits my personality.

How often should you be updating your Instagram?  Update it when you have something interesting & wedding/design worthy to share. Over posting is going to turn people off. (Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to hide someone’s posts yet like on Facebook, but you can block someone from seeing your posts. Go to their account, it’ll still show that they are following you, but they won’t be able to see your posts. Go to that person’s page. Click on the button in the top right corner, beside their username.  “Block User” button in RED will come up,  click on it, and they will no longer see your photos or get notifications from you.

What photos should you share on your Instagram? Show your followers work that you have done, shows photos of couples & their weddings that you have worked with/on, shares a glimpse into your wedding company & you (and your team) on site visits, planning meetings with vendors, cake tastings, catering tastings, share what inspires you, what you are capable of, share when you attend conferences and courses, share your magazine ads or wedding show booth, show your office, desk, files, any badges you have received for getting in publications, any products that you offer, etc. Consider this a free way of advertising yourself to potential clients. This being said your followers should be able to see a little bit of you in your posts, too.

Contests can get you get more clients, likes and comments on your Instagram Hold contests for your local followers or potential clients. Who doesn’t like free stuff, right? Some ideas are to add a wedding related photo and have followers guess what the photo is, where it is, have followers provide captions for your post, etc. for a prize. (A prize could be movie passes, a gift card for a date night to a local restaurant, etc.) Have a contest for couples to share their engagement photos with you to win one of your services

Example: #Lovebirds, share your engagement photo with us to win a 2 hour Consultation with ****** Prize valued at $200. Add photo and tag #WPICwearengaged When you like or comment on peoples posts, they are much more likely to reciprocate.

What is the deal with #Hashtags? Hashtags are key words. When you add a hashtag that is relevant to your Instagram post and someone is searching for something specific, your photo and account will “pop up”. This is a chance for those people who checked you out to “follow” you (this translates into  increasing your followers).  Examples: #romance #GTAweddingplanner #WPICcertified #weddingcake etc. Try to not over use the #’s though. It is recommended to use 1-3 #hashtags with each post.

Add video: Share some exiting moments or highlights of a wedding or event, or a “how-to” segment in a short video, so your followers can feel more connected to you. Click here to see Instagram’s tips about adding videos.   www.wpic.ca

 

Some Instagram Statistics:

Instagram launched in 2010 and currently has  7.3 million daily users worldwide

Most posts happen on a Thursday, but Sunday is the most effective

Instagram is available in 10 languages

55% of users are women, 45% are men according to Social Times

34% of users are aged 25-44 according to Social Times

www.wpic.ca

Some Groovy Apps for iphone and Androids:

If you want to add some “awesome-sauce” to your photos, why not try some of these apps to increase the look and feel of your photos? (Some are free and some are a small fee.)

Aviary for touch ups, frames, stickers, etc. (Free)

PhotoWonder lets you edit, makes you skinnier, removes acne, add makeup, add cool effects, make collages, and change colour saturation. (Free)

A Beautiful Mess has some filters to change your photos up, but the best part are the fun borders,  text options and hand-drawn doodle overlays. (Cost is .99 cents)

Snapseed red eye filters, saturation, cropping, and anytime you want photos to pop. (Free)

Overgram So many great fonts to add text to your photos (Free)

Facetune corrects small facial imperfections like wrinkles, whitening your teeth, get rid of blemishes, enhance your eyes and lips. (Cost $2.99)

Bubbleframe  Create photo bubbles with your photos (Cost $1.99)

FuzelPro lets you create animated collages.  What?  Yup. Click on the examples from their site to be amazed! (Cost $1.99)

8mm A whole bunch of cool effects for shooting vintage videos, and lets you add dust, scratches, flickering frames, light leaks and more vintage effects to your films(Cost $1.99)   Share some of your favourite apps in the comments section with us!            

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

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

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!

www.wpic.ca

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!

www.wpic.ca

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.