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Demystifying the Wedding Planner’s Role

What does a Wedding Planner do, anyway?

by Daniela Caputo, WPICC, Instructor for WPIC and Owner of Montreal Event Planner

Hiring the right Wedding (Planner) Professional is critical to planning your dream wedding…
(this alone can be quite stressful)

  • How does one find the right match?
  • How do you know whom to trust?
  • Where do you go for advice

Well first of all, this is not an easy task and it’s totally normal for couples to feel overwhelmed,
frustrated or confused.
It’s not like you plan a wedding every day, right?
This is all brand new to you, so be patient with yourself and pace yourself….

Here are a few tips to finding the right WEDDING PROFESSIONAL for you;
Do Your Homework. You’ll get much more out of a meeting or conversation with a
wedding professional if you do a little background homework first.

  • Spend some time on the internet or talking to friends who’ve recently been
    married.
  • Find out the average prices in your area and what services are available.
  • Get an idea of what you like and don’t like.
  • Wedding websites and chat rooms can be a great resource.
  • This way when you meet with a wedding professional you’ll be able to ask
    better questions and have an idea of what to look out for.

Meet With Them. An in person meeting is the best way to interview a potential wedding
planner. It lets you get the full experience of their personality, style and professionalism.
If that’s not possible, have a phone conversation.

Ask Questions. There are no stupid questions! Make sure you get clear, specific answers
to your questions. If you aren’t sure what something means, ask them to clarify. Keep
asking questions until you completely understand.

If the wedding planner has a problem with you asking questions, they probably aren’t the
one for you. The best wedding professionals are patient, understanding and take the time to
help you make the best choices for your wedding.

Listen. Don’t just hear the words they say, really listen. Watch the vendor’s body
language;

  • Are they confident and comfortable with their response?
  • Do they look and sound nervous?
  • Do you get a “funny feeling” about them?

Take all the sights, sounds and feelings into account along with their responses; if your gut
tells you something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.

Check References. Portfolios are hand-picked to show off the best work, but they may not
represent the “average” wedding performance. Videos are edited for the optimum
presentation. However, real referrals from satisfied clients are hard to fake;

  • Call up both client and professional references.
  • Ask questions and use those listening skills.
  • Even if they give a rave review, you’ll often be able to “read between the lines”
    if there were any issues or problems.
  • Ask around and search the internet for reviews.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau for any outstanding complaints against the
    business.
  • Weigh all of this information into your choices.

The following are MUST ASK QUESTIONS to ask your potential Wedding Professional:

How many weddings do you do per year?
How much experience do you have?

These are extremely important questions. Ideally, your wedding professional should have ample
experience specifically with weddings. Not only will they be more skilled in their craft, this also
makes them a valuable source of information and ensures that your wedding day goes smoothly.

How much do you cost?

Price is often relative, especially when you factor in experience, reputation and expert skill.
Generally, the most talented professionals have a higher price tag because they are worth it.

How much is the Initial Payment?
What specifically is included in that cost?

Because packages often vary, it’s likely that you won’t be able to compare one vendor exactly to
the next without doing a little figuring. The lowest cost isn’t necessarily the best deal; some higher
quotes include services that you have to pay extra for in other packages. Make sure you take this
into account.

What happens if I cancel?
What happens if you cancel?

Find out if your Initial Payment is refundable under any conditions. Does the wedding professional have a backup plan if something happens to them?

Do you use a contract?

If the answer is No, RUN! A contract is designed to protect both you and the wedding professional. Don’t settle for a verbal agreement that won’t hold up in court.

Are there any additional fees?

Taxes, service charges and travel fees can add up quickly. Make sure you understand exactly what
is included and if there are any other fees you’ll have to pay. This should be clearly defined in your
contract.

Do you carry Liability Insurance?

The answer you’re looking for here is Yes. This protects you in case an unfortunate accident
should occur on your wedding day. It’s also a sign that this is a reputable business; since most “fly
by night” operations don’t invest in insurance. If chosen wisely, with the right wedding vendors
you get expert help and advice…for free!

GO TO PERSON:
Don’t forget your Wedding Professional is going to be your go-to person. From answering your
wedding etiquette questions to vendor contract negotiations, this team will design, coordinate
and manage your day down to the smallest detail, saving you time, hassle and headaches. The full service wedding package normally includes:

  • Initial consulting to discuss your vision and expectations.
  • Developing your signature style based on your personality as a couple.
  • Establishing and maximizing your budget, with ongoing tracking of all expenses.
  • Creating a calendar, so it’s easy to stay up-to-day.
  • Assistance in selecting, ordering and mailing invitations.
  • Referring and scheduling appointments with vendors that meet your precise needs.
    (from venue – caterer – photographer and more)
  • Negotiating vendor contracts with your best interest in mind.
  • Securing the hotel packages for out-of town guests.
  • Review meetings with you and your groom, to put your mind at ease.
  • Finding and securing the rehearsal dinner venue.
  • Attending rehearsal, by lending support and assistance.
  • Coordinating and orchestrating all wedding day activities.
  • Taking care of all reception logistical details, from the floor plan to supervising table
    setting, name card placement, flower arrangement, distribution of payments to
    vendors etc…

WEDDING COSTS (behind the contract)
When planning your wedding you likely will go to many vendors and part of that process is
receiving quotes for each chosen products and/or services. You ask yourself; Why is there so much variation in price points? Well, there are a million answers for that but I’ll try and breakdown the most common of them…

LABOUR
Would you work at your job for free? No.  Well good… because no matter how much I love you and my career I can’t and won’t either.  I have a family to feed, a roof to put over our heads, and a life to live. If you don’t pay my time (yes, labour) than I am essentially working for free and quite frankly… I can’t afford that.

OVERHEAD
Offices cost money. If your chosen vendor works from home that costs money as well. If we travel to you, to your vendors, go out on sourcing trips, or site visits. It’s ALL overhead. Overhead are the fixed costs associated with running our business that you, as the client, have to help pay in the long run…

RENTAL VS PURCHASE
Rental rates are most often cheaper than purchase price but can still be expensive depending on the product. Swarovski crystal is much more expensive than glass. Likewise different items cost different amounts. The longer a vendor owns said object the less valuable it becomes (as it builds wear and tear).

CREATIVE PROCESS
This one is tricky but for people, like myself, who are ‘creative’ our ‘product’ is our creativity.  There is a dollar value associated with our time, our efforts, and our creativity for our clients.  Inspiration boards, custom designed centerpieces, invitations, unique design, etc… all are
examples of the creative process. People are often confused or frustrated by paying for an ‘intangible’ item but in the end my ‘intangible’ creative brain evokes the emotion, creates the design, and sculpts your wedding into a work of art. What’s that worth to you?

TRUCKING & DELIVERY
Gas prices suck! There I said it! However, running a business means having the ability to travel and shipping costs, trucking costs, setup, teardown, etc… are all part of that. When gas/travel prices go up – often so does the quote in correlation to what we’re seeing in raising costs elsewhere.

QUALITY OF PRODUCT
You can (& some people do) have their weddings for next to no budget. Personally, I’m delighted they can do it! However, I know the sacrifices that they have to make in order to do that. Quality product does not come cheap. Let me explain … it rarely comes cheap. There are exceptions to every rule of course. If you want premium product be prepared to pay premium price.

REPUTATION & EXPERIENCE
Along with reputation and experience comes knowing your worth. Anyone with a solid reputation in their industry and the experience to back it up earns more. It’s like a corporate ladder for the self employed. When we start out, we probably did pro-bono or at-cost work, but that very quickly shows a very negative bottom line and doesn’t work. Those who want to get better in their Industry know that they have to produce outstanding work – consistently. This means attending conferences, tradeshows, seminars and yes, producing beautiful weddings ALL THE TIME.

SUPPLY & DEMAND
Those with great reputations & experiences levels are also the most sought after and thus demand drives pricing structures as well. Likewise, if I am a company of one or even two people and you sign with us you are guaranteeing my personal services thus making it impossible for anyone else to book my services for your date, this in turn makes me a solid commodity for the first who hires me for my services.

Now that you ‘KNOW’ where the costs come from doesn’t always make it easier to comprehend?
Isn’t knowing better than not knowing?

Photo by ChristinaEstabanPhotography.com

Photo by ChristinaEstabanPhotography.com

For nearly three decades, Daniela Caputo and her company Montreal Event Planner has been the go-to authority, because of her wealth of experience and expertise.

She has developed a reputation for professionalism in various aspects of planning, from client services and project management to marketing, event execution, negotiations and sourcing, putting her at the forefront of event planning in Montreal and beyond.

Daniela is regularly featured and interviewed in industry publications such as The Event Planner magazine.  Given her expertise and reputable success, Daniela was invited to teach various courses on event planning at as well as speak for a number of school boards.

Daniela  joined the WPIC team of Instructors in 2014.

5 Tips for Improving Your Wedding Business

by Mary Swaffield, WPICC of Mary Elizabeth & Co.

It’s something we all strive to do, day in and day out: improve. We want to be better than we were last week, last month, last year. We want to be better than our competition (there is nothing wrong with that!) and better FOR our clients. Improvement is what keeps us motivated.

It can also burn us out. But we’ll get to that. First, here are my top 5 tips for improving your wedding business.

1 – Set goals
Oh c’mon, you knew that was coming! However, this really is proven to be the most effective way of improving yourself and your business. The trick is to do it right. Here are some considerations for each goal that you set.

  • Timing: Is this a short term or long term goal? Break it down even further: I set goals for this week, this month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 3 years and 5 years.
  • Purpose: What is the purpose for each goal? Does it tie into your overall vision for your company over the long term? Understanding the purpose behind your goals will go a long way towards helping you accomplish them.
  • Metrics: Is your goal measureable? How will you know when you’ve achieved it? It’s critical to put some very specific metrics behind each goal so that you are able to analyse how close you are to accomplishing it as you go along.
  • Efficiency: Is your goal a smart use of your time? Sometimes I feel that we set what I call “busy goals” – goals that make us feel productive in our businesses, but don’t actually help us to improve in areas that are substantive and tie into our overall business strategy.
  • Immediacy: What can I do TODAY to get closer to achieving each goal? When you make your to-do list every day, match each task up to a specific goal that you’ve set. You’ll be surprised to see how much you actually accomplish towards your goals each and every day.

Now…Write them down. Yep, you knew that was coming too. Write them down, and keep them where you can see them and review them often.
Find an accountability team. I love Mastermind groups. My Mastermind group is constantly challenging my goals and pushing me to work towards them week after week. They keep me accountable and humble. Revisit your goals often – they can and will change as your business evolves. And most importantly – CELEBRATE your accomplishments. Whatever that means to you – for me, it usually means a night off and a bottle of wine!

​2 – Stop the quest for perfection.

This one was and still is HARD for me. My business is my baby, and I want to do everything I can to ensure it is as perfect as it can be. But perfection is a HUGE roadblock when it comes to efficiency. And efficiency usually creates more time and energy for focusing on the things bring more business your way. If you are spending 2 hours working on the layout of a template that is internal and your client will NEVER see, you are being inefficient and it’s costing your company money. There are cases where perfection is in the best interest of your business – doing a styled shoot, for example – and cases where it can be the death of you. Make sure you have a clear strategy when it comes to determining when perfection is appropriate in your business. I usually filter things through three lenses: a) does the effort I’m putting into this provide value for my client? b) will the effort I’m putting into this translate into additional profit? c) will the public be seeing this (and therefore does it affect my brand identify?). If I can’t answer “yes” to at least one of these, then I have to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and focus instead on just getting things done. Sometimes “good enough” is actually good enough!

3 – Don’t live in a bubble

The wedding industry is massive and at times overwhelming. There are endless wedding inspiration blogs, wedding information blogs, wedding shops, wedding shows, wedding organizations… whew! It’s crazy, and AWESOME! But I do find that sometimes it helps move you forward when you step out of the bubble and spend time networking with and learning about other industries. You might be surprised if I told you that some of my most successful business strategies came from attending conferences and webinars on things like home building, interior design, and social media. I’ve learned so much about pricing, advertising, client care, software, promotion, fashion, blogging… the list goes on! all from stepping outside of the wedding industry and always thinking “how can I apply this lesson to my business”?? Get out there and make connections and always be open to lessons for your business that aren’t directly related at first glance.

4 – Always be marketing

Gone are the days of so-called “passive marketing” when you could put up your website and wait for the phone to ring! There is way too much competition out there now, and Brides/Grooms (customers) are extremely savvy when it comes to doing their research. Having a good website isn’t good enough – you won’t get heard in the noise. My business coach once gave me a great piece of advice: he said, your time should be divided into two areas: marketing for new clients and taking care of current clients. Having a detailed and strategic marketing plan is what will help you stand apart from your competitors and ensure that you are consistently receiving inquiries. You should be ACTIVELY marketing your business every single day. Schedule time to focus on it – with continued and consistent attention, you will see a dramatic increase in your inquiries within weeks. So many planners focus on what to do when you have clients… which is very important, of course! But if you don’t focus on what to do to GET clients, what to do when you have them isn’t going to matter much because you won’t have any.

5 – Keep Learning

I’m a firm believer that you can never have too much education. Whether you are attending conferences, seminars, reading business books, participating in workshops, taking e-courses, researching online… no matter the platform, when you keep learning, you are constantly increasing your value to your clients AND you are challenging yourself to continue improving. There are endless options out there and the benefits are too numerous to even list when it comes to opportunities for taking your business to the next level. Not only that, I find that when I seek out new opportunities for learning, it keeps me motivated – it keeps that spark lit. It is far too easy in this industry to burn out. Believe me, I’ve been there! But when you have a mastermind group to cheer you on, or spend an evening each week learning about floral design, or attend a conference and go to even one of the dozens of inspirational sessions, it will keep you moving forward and most importantly, it will keep your passion for your business alive and well. Set a goal (see #1) to dedicate 3-4 hours each week to learning something new or learning how to improve what you already do. You’ll be amazed at the result. And be prepared to invest to achieve this! Ensure that you include professional development/education in your business budget each year, and start setting aside a small percentage of your earnings to allocate towards it. I recommend 4-5% be put aside – it will accumulate quickly and you’ll be on a plane to your first conference before you know it!

Above all, the most important aspect to improving your business is to have a little bravery and a lot of faith. Don’t be afraid to take risks, to ask for help, to invest in yourself. And you have to believe! One of my favourite sayings is “leap off the cliff and believe you’ll grow wings”. When you give yourself and your business the tools to succeed, it’s easy to have the (sometimes blind) faith that is so critical when it comes to moving forward. You can do it!!! Go, be unstoppable!

Mary Swaffield is a Wedding Business Coach who provides creative & strategic marketing for Wedding & Event Professionals, through her company Mary Elizabeth & Co.

What’s in Your Emergency Kit?

www.weddingprocourses.com

Photo: www.avenue-photo.com

By: Tracey Manailescu Emergency Kit from Bottles and burbs Photo: Bottles and Burbs

Bridesmaids dresses bursting at the seams, groomsmen with bad breath, an obsession with clean hands, a bride who didn’t work in the wedding shoes, don’t worry.  We’ve got this! There hasn’t been a wedding that I have coordinated, that my Emergency Kit was not used.  It is invaluable to your couple, your wedding party and to you, as a wedding coordinator. My bag has a strap on it so it can be brought everywhere that I go with ease. It has different compartments to keep things organzied,  and has a cooling bag inside of it to keep an ice pack.  The most used items in my kit are a butane lighter and band-aids.

The butane lighter is great for lighting hard to reach candles in votive holders if the Decorator leaves before they need to be lit for guests entering the reception area, and the band-aids are great for the wedding party who haven’t worked in their wedding shoes. band aids butane lighter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some uses of items in Tracey M Events emergency kit: *Items may change at any given wedding

Hairspray/Static Guard: Bridesmaids dresses may cling in all of the wrong places. Spray a little static guard on the inside of the dress and, BAM, all is good! These two items seem to be interchangeable. A tip that I leaned from a dancer was to spray static guard or hairspray on the bottoms of the shoes (that don’t have treads on them) will make the soles slip proof. I used this trick for a Mother of the Groom one time, and she was freaking out. She couldn’t believe how well this worked!

Sunscreen: Sometimes couples forget to put sunscreen on before the makeup is applied, or just in general for all of those outdoor photos. Nothing worse then a sunburn:(

Evian Spray: This is great to refresh the entire wedding party! It’s also great to touch up the makeup.  Smudges and fine lines that may appear after all of that smiling and those tears of happiness. It won’t ruin the makeup and will make you picture perfect again. (Just use a q-tip or makeup pads/sponge to correct what needs to be touched up and removed.)

Advil/Tylenol: We have both for the simple fact that each does different things to different people. (*Please note that it is in original packaging, with the date of expiry clearly visable and checked before each wedding.) We can tell you we have it, take it out of our emergency kit, but then we have to place it on a flat service, unopened container, and let you open it yourself to take the Advil/Tylenol.

After Bite: We can’t stop you from getting bit or stung from all of those pesky bugs out there, but we can definitely give you some relief with After Bite spray.

Light Bulb: For Jewish weddings it is much easier to break a light bulb then to break a glass wrapped in cloth.  “Mazel tov!” We have actually had a light bulb shatter minutes before heading down the aisle at a wedding ceremony, and had to scramble to get a replacement from cleaning staff at a venue.  Now, we carry an extra, just in case :) The list goes on and on…Chances are though, it’s in our emergency kit!

Real Wedding- A & J

WPIC Cofounder, Tracey Manailescu shares a real wedding with us from her wedding planning company, Tracey M Events

*This wedding was previously featured on Event Source:

Jennifer Troietto and I had the pleasure of working with Amy & Joe on their “Night Club” themed wedding at the beautiful Winona Vine Estates. We still can’t believe how easy going and accommodating Mizzy and his staff were. A special thanks to Studio Chris for the photos. The venue was transformed inside and out by the talented Lynn Sousa & team of Classic CreationsWedding Decor. This couple’s wedding truly embodied what family, love and friendship is to us. There was so much love and happiness in every aspect of the day. Amy & Joe’s first priority was making their guests feel welcomed and beyond loved. They made sure to include their children and family in everything they did.

“Hi Tracey, I want to thank u very much for everything u have done for me!!! Sorry it’s that late but I have been crazy busy with the moving and new school and new life…Lol! Hope you guys are great and I hope to see u soon…maybe you can come for a barbeque one weekend…Xo xo xo”

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

A beautiful Romanian Orthodox ceremony, complete with chandeliers and doves took place on the grounds where the staged area was draped. They even thought to have umbrellas and fans at every chair for the sun and heat. A string trio was playing for the guests after the ceremony while the wedding party and couple went for photos.

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: Tracey's cell phone

Photo: Tracey’s cell phone

Photo: Tracey's cell phone

Photo: Tracey’s cell phone

Photo: Tracey's cell phone

Photo: Tracey’s cell phone

A&J35B

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

A&J36B

At the reception the guests were greeted by the couple and a great photo booth set up by BEN best entertainment network  at the entrance with a gorgeous blinged out 5×7 frame to keep the photos as a keepsake. A & J photobooth

Jennifer Troietto & Tracey Manailescu of Tracey M Events

Jennifer Troietto & Tracey Manailescu of Tracey M Events

When they went inside the ballroom an open bar, and a double martini luge along with a deluxe antipasto bar greeted them.

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Ummm…Did we mention the brides FAB shoes?

www.studiochris.ca

www.studiochris.ca

Live bands playing tradionional Romanian folk and modern music entertained everyone, along with a DJ playing club hits, that kept everyone on their feet all night long.

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

A bridal capture took place until the groom had to pay off the captures, two wedding dress changes, and then Brazilain Samba dancers came in and shook the place up even more.

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Guests were then asked to step outside, where sparklers were handed out for the cake cutting, and then a fireworks show amazed everyone.  This wedding was every Eastern European girls’ dream come true!

www.studiochris.ca

www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

The food was incredible and seemed never ending! Take a look at what was on the menu (these photos are only from the antipasto station):

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Photo: www.studiochris.ca

Deluxe antipasto bar Shopska salad Filet de sole served with chefs red pepper risotto Grilled long bone veal chop served with yukon gold, smoked gouda and bacon pave with a bundle of seasonal vegetables Platter of chicken al limone Rasberry sorbet with fresh berries Sweet table including wedding cake Fresh fruit and pastries Midnight buffet We are so happy to have been a part of Amy & Joe’s wedding. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and love!

Tracey M Events Tracey with Amy and Jow

Keeping Your Sanity During Wedding Season

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

 

By: Tracey Manailescu

shutterstock_233116015 (2)

Typically wedding season is at it’s best from May-October.  All of the months meeting with clients and vendors prepping, organizing, and planning has come to this. Hopefully you are organized, and have kept client files to keep everything in order so that you can focus on the next steps. Depending on how many clients you, and your company, have taken on for the season can really make a difference in how the next several months are going to play out for you.

Some things that I have learned over the years:

You Are Not Alone. Since you are WPIC certified (you’re not?  Hmmm. What are you waiting for?) you have access to over 5000 wedding professionals in your WPIC Alumni Association from all over the world who have been there, and done that.  Ask questions, ask for advice.  Get together for coffee, or attend a WPIC get together (they always have professional development in mind). Find out what has worked best with your peers in similar situations. Need another assistant at the wedding? Well then you know where to go.

Some of the most caring and compassionate people that I have ever met, are in my WPIC family. Thank you for being there to listen, to offer tips, teach me new ways of doing things,  and to show support.  It’s an incredible feeling to know that you have my back.

Life doesn’t stand still for anyone. My biggest regret to date, is how much time I missed with my daughter when she was little before she went to school.  I was too busy focusing on clients, their weddings, and the growth of WPIC.  I can’t go back in time to fix this, but I can certainly make sure that I don’t make the same mistakes again. There is nothing more important to me than my family.  Nothing. Everything I do, and every decison that I make, is with them in mind.

As wedding professionals, we are invited to so many different events, grand openings, FAM trips, vendor appreciation nights, dinners and conferences etc.  While I consider myself extremely fortunate (believe me, I really do), there has to be a time to stop and think about is this something that I need to go to,or be a part of,  instead of just want to? That is why I made the decison to only take on what I can handle.  For me, I will only take on 2-3 wedding clients a year.  This way my couples are getting the best of me with my time and energy, and in return, I  am giving them the best that I can, too.

smell the roses

Stop and Smell the Roses: Take time to just breathe, and take in the beauty all around you. Lilacs are out in full force right now. They are my absolute hands down, favourite smelling flower in the world! I was driving to work last week and literally pulled over, and got out of my car to walk up and smell them on someone’s front lawn. It sounds so cheesy but it put a huge smile on my face.

When is the last time you went to the gym, went to a movie, went for a girls night out, had coffee with a friend, or went on a date night with your better half?  If you are just too busy, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate, and think about your priorities.

Get Better Organizational Systems: There are so many great apps, calendars, programs and sytems to make your life easier. (Remember to keep your receipts, and claim the expenses on your taxes.) They make your work life easier and better for your clients. Need skills in a specific area?  There are so many webinars, seminars, self-help books, night classes and online classes available to you. Ask around, or just google it!

Photo from: The Inspired Room

Photo from: The Inspired Room

Make Your Office Space Yours: Make your office space yours, by making it visually appealing to you. Buy a new desk, chair, computer or shelving units that suit your style. Get some new file folders, binders, pens. Love that new blinged out tape dispenser and pair of scissors? Get them.  When things are organized around you, its proven that you feel more relaxed and calm.

It can be as simple as decluttering. Clean out your office space.  I just did this. How much crap can one person have? It’s kind of embarrassing to think of all of the things I had in my drawers and shelves that I thought I needed at the time. (I threw away 3 garbage bags, by the way.) I am amazed at how much more room I have and how much cleaner it looks. I had a row of outdated photos in frames on top of my desk that eerily reminded me of my grandmother’s house. What the hell was I thinking? We have had our office for 5 years, and I haven’t changed them up.

I went to Indigo last week and got so wrapped up in all of the amazing stuff that was available.  It took me 2o minutes to decide on a mug and a journal.  For real!  There are so many choices to make your space your own.

time management

Time Management: This is a biggie.  You know all of that time that gets wasted when you start surfing Pinterest and instagram or Facebook? Why not dedicate certain amounts of time to social media, writing blogs, researching vendors, working on client files, etc? You will be amazed at how blocking off time during your day for certain activities helps keep you on track. I am always so surprised when I see how much time I have spent looking at pretty table tops, florals and ideas for weddings when I don’t keep track of it. Ughhh…

I hope you all have a FABULOUS wedding season!

Do you have any tips and tricks that have worked for you over the years?  Please share in the comments section below.

Five Lessons Learned in My First WPIC Certified Year

poonam

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Poonam Saini, WPICC of P.S. Eventful

Five Lessons Learned in My First WPIC Certified Year

When I decided to become a wedding planner, there was one thing I knew for certain: I need to be certified. After all, you wouldn’t call yourself a lawyer without receiving a LL.B. right? To me, a WPIC certification meant necessary credibility and invaluable education.

Last June (2014), I took the plunge and dedicated 22+ hours in one weekend (or three months via correspondence) to begin my journey to becoming a Certified Wedding Planner. The hours may sound daunting at first, but in actuality one weekend (and two weeks afterwards) is hardly a tough commitment to make in gaining your WPIC certification. As I look back, it was the best decision I made to start my career as a Wedding Planner.

 

www.wpic.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

The five lessons I’ve learned in my first year as a WPIC Alumni:

1) Utilize the WPIC Alumni Boards
Aside from giving you a certificate, WPIC also gives you a priceless tool to utilize as an alumnus: the boards! This is a forum exclusive to alumni members where you can seek advice, connect with fellow planners, and find volunteer/paid positions. As soon as I became part of the alumni I spent HOURS reading old threads which allowed me to gain tons of insight into the world of wedding planning (stuff you just can’t find in a textbook!).

2) Volunteer with WPIC Alumni
Everyone has to start somewhere…and chances are you may not have a paid opportunity as soon as you obtain your WPIC certification. Before seeking my own clients, I decided to volunteer with two fellow planners. The allowed me to get a first-hand look at what exactly the role of a wedding planner entails (and ease my nerves!). Volunteering was incredible because it allowed me to build a relationship with fellow planners who now hire me for paid positions.

never stop learning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Education is Key
As a wedding planner, you wear many hats. You need to constantly educate yourself on things such as wedding trends, what flowers are in season, types of invitation paper, wedding dress designers…the list goes on and on and on! There’s tons of webinars, conferences, networking events, etc. to keep yourself in the loop so be sure to stay educated! (My particular favorite this past year has been The Wedding Professionals Workshop where I was inspired by the incredible Diann Valentine).

4) Stay within Industry Standards
If you’re not already a wedding planner, you’ll soon learn the value of the hours you dedicate to the business and the time you take to grow your skills. Don’t undermine the wedding planning industry by charging less than industry standards. It’s easy to feel the need to make a few quick bucks, but in the long run, you’re doing a disfavor to yourself and the rest of us planners.

5) Know Yourself
As a wedding planner, you have to be able to sell YOURSELF. And in order to do that, you better know what you’re selling! Be aware of your weaknesses, but highlight your strengths. For example, don’t call yourself a wedding stylist if you’re weak in design! It’s a small industry and your reputation counts. You are your own brand after all.

Seriously Helpful Tools for Selecting Your Business Name

 

www.weddingprocourses.com

Photo: www.avenue-photo.com

By: Tracey Manailescu

Selecting your business name may be one of the hardest things a start up company will do. Whatever you choose, it needs to invoke a feeling within yourself and others, and be able to attract the right clients to your service. We are talking about weddings, of course, but it really can apply to any business. This name will be associated with you in the business world so make it a good fit.

Whats-in-a-Nme

Who Is Target Market? What type of couples are you trying to attract? Who do you want to work with? Budget, high-end, DIY, second marriages, LGBT, romantic, celebrities, etc. Think of 2-3 words that relate to your target market. What nouns and adjectives will best describe your target market?

Ask for Opinions from Friends, Family and Industry Peers: Your family and friends know you best. Ask them what words come to mind when they think of you and what type of clients they think you would work best with.

Is the Name Easy to Remember and Easy to Spell? Will people be able to remember your business name after hearing it? Will they be able to quickly search for it online without thinking twice? If it’s difficult to spell or in another language, then it may put a barrier in your way. Is it similar to another company’s name? If so, then it may just give the other company a leg up in a search. Is it a spin on spelling? FlowerZ, WeddingsZ may put you at a disadvantage right away.

All of the Good Names are Taken: Wrong. Stop being lazy and start being creative. Did you know that there are approximately 1,025,109 words in the English language? There is no need to make your name similar to someone else’s. Here is a great website specifically for finding “Adjectives Describing People and Personal Qualities Vocabulary Word List”: enchantedlearning.com  I love this!

 

Good-Name-Bad-Name

Hire a Copywriter: Seriously. There are companies that do this for a living, and it doesn’t have to be only for big corporations. You can work with them to get the right name for your company that invokes what you are trying to accomplish.

Availability? Check social media, domain searches, registries, look for both .ca or .com or wherever it is that you live in the world. A thesaurus can help out when there is another name that you love, but is too similar to someone else in the same industry. Did you know that there are some companies that will help you search for domain names based off of keywords that you select, and they are FREE?

Namemesh.com  dotomator.com  unique-names.com

Good luck! Do you have any other tips or suggestions? Please share below.

Planner of the Month: Jennifer Borgh

 

 

Today we bring you the always amazing, Jennifer Borgh, to start of our 2015 “Planner of The Month”.  Jennifer is a superstar with her mad planning skills.  She is a destination guru who focuses on her specialty, Jamaica. Her passion, and no-nonsense approach has won over the hearts of clients and vendors alike. Danielle and I both book our family vacations with her, and know without a doubt that we are in good hands. She goes above and beyond for her clients, and she has a heart of gold. We are proud to introduce, Jennifer Borgh as WPIC’s Planner of the Month.

Name: Jennifer Borgh

Company: Jennifer Borgh Events

Most challenging aspect of starting your business?  Too many challenges to list.

– Finding great staff.  A lot of money was wasted over the years, trying to find the perfect team and after 5 years, I have finally put together my A team

– Balancing family, marriage and business(this is constantly a work in progress and still haven’t figured this one out)

-Dealing with people.  I am VERY lucky to have had very few bridezillas over the years, however the ones that I have had, have been emotionally exhausting.  I count my blessings everyday for the amazing couples I get to deal with and feel very lucky to have more good than bad.

Jenn Borgh1

When was your moment when you truly felt you made your company successful?  I feel this way after every wedding which is why I love my job so much.  I have been very fortunate to win several awards over the years and be published in magazines and newspapers which is always a nice reward for my hard work.

How many staff do you currently have? 4 Travel Agents plus our amazing vendors who we work very closely with.

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Best moments/memories from one or more wedding(s)?  So many tears of joy over the years but my favourite part is when couples realize their wedding was better because they hired me.  All the money in the world can’t make up for gratitude and appreciation.

Please tell us some things you have learned over the years that have helped you grow?  Not to take things personally.  Although, it’s hard to fully ignore this fact, it has come to my attention that some people.  Not to watch my competition.  I don’t check out their websites, or follow what they do, it helps be focus on my own business and not waste time.

Jenn Borgh3

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Phew, good question.  Possibly living in Jamaica during the winter, doing what I do best.  Planning destination weddings in Jamaica!

 

 

 

Avoiding Industry Burn-out

www.wpic.ca

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

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

www.wpic.ca

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.

Defining the Role of the Wedding Coordinator

Danielle Deebankby Danielle Deebank, WPICC of Dreamstyle Weddings

I’m often surprised at the reaction I get when I explain what I actually do to couples, vendors and any industry professional for that matter. There are a lot of planners and coordinators around, and although some of the structure is similar throughout our companies, there are varying levels of service provided, and that’s ok. We all have a choice in how we operate. But it’s no wonder clients tend to be a little confused with our role.

As business owners it’s our responsibility to educate our clients and vendors on what roles we play. There are many different price points and many different levels of service. I have had many experiences where there may be some resistance from other vendors that are used to playing a particular role throughout a wedding day; and have heard many stories of coordinators that stand in a corner just watching the timing for the day. Put the clipboard down every once in a while! Our job is being an advocate for our clients, it’s doing the little tasks that they shouldn’t have to do themselves, it’s making the couple and their families feel less overwhelmed because the details are taking care of. Oh the stories I could tell of the unexpected weird things that I have had to do!!

Educating the client:
Every client has a different need and a different expectation of us. It’s our job to manage those expectations. From the beginning your client should have a clear definition of what you do/don’t do. Often times it’s easier to lay out the “don’t do” items, because once their wedding day hits we naturally just do whatever is needed to make their day perfect.

The most laid back couple may think it’s not a big deal if something doesn’t happen quite as planned, but you add up all the little things and that will quickly change. These couples may be the same one thinking they don’t need a coordinator but when situations arise you can guarantee that they are probably re-thinking that. By educating everyone on what we do it allows potential clients to see value in our services.

When we start asking the right questions and filling in the gaps couples quickly see how we can help.

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Educating the vendors:
This can be challenging! Some vendors have never worked with a planner/coordination before; others may have had an unpleasant experience. Regardless, we have to remember that our clients chose to have us play this role. We are the voice of our client on wedding day. It’s our job to ensure timing is kept, details are taken care of and vendors are also meeting our client’s expectations. There should never be resistance between your vendors. We need to create a wedding team, we were all hired with the same goal in mind, to make their wedding day unforgettable.

Educating the industry not only clearly defines our roles but working with the right vendors can expand your network and lead to a successful business. Using this team of industry professionals not only makes your job a little smoother on wedding day but also ensure that you have a team that will work well together and create and am amazing unforgettable stress free day for your clients.