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

Tracey Manailescu-Danielle Andrews Sunkel-WPIC

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

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

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

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

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

 


Love & Sunshine Conference October 26-29, 2014

The Love & Sunshine Conference is all about adding tips and tricks for working Destination Weddings. October 26-29, 2014 Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  WPIC Co-founders, Danielle and Tracey will be there. .. Who else is coming?                                                                                                                      

BOGO Sale ends tonight at midnight!

Love & Sunshine Alumni

General Information:

Sunday – Wednesday. Oct. 26 – 29, 2014 Love & Sunshine Destination Wedding Conference & Expo is the premier training resource for wedding professionals in the luxury market to network with industry leaders, keep up with the latest trends and learn effective business strategies to grow in the destination wedding industry.

This one-of-a-kind learning experience is where you’ll gain a new perspective about the Destination Wedding Industry, network with like-minded industry professionals, the Conference is designed for you. The conference provides an opportunity to learn valuable tools and skillsets to plan a successful destination wedding. Attend hands on workshops and interactive lectures with experts in the field of business, social media, photography, gay and lesbian weddings, marketing, travel and tourism.

Registration includes:

 Pink Gala on Sunday night to benefit Breast Cancer awareness

 Two-days of inspiring, educational workshops and lectures from experts in the international luxury wedding & event industries

 Breakfast and Lunch on Monday and Tuesday

 Closing reception on Tuesday night

 Signature gifting and swag bags

 Opportunity to be included in Post FAM Trip to Curacao  Option of LGBT certification course*.

Speakers include: Keynote Speaker: World renowned celebrity Floral designer and wedding planner. Preston Bailey; Joy Agness; Mar Jennings; Alan Berg, Marilyn Cairo, Simon T. Bailey, Robert Schenk, Bernadette C. Smith; Richard & Julia Markel; Jacqueline Johnson; Manolo Doreste; Bill Hansen; Carmen Mesa; Jannette Alix; Shri Lildharrie


Get Inspired! 5 Blog Posts to Write After A Wedding

by Guest Blogger, Kathy DalPra, of Bride Appeal

1. Venue Review
Provide a review of the venue where the wedding was held and give your readers insight into the kind of experience they can expect there.

2. Trend Ideas
Did this weekend’s wedding feature a new trend you’ve been seeing pop up? Talk about it on the blog and give your audience new ideas to consider.

3. List Post
Have you had a few other weddings like this one that shared a similar theme, style, tradition, trend or other special element? Write a list post about it, such as “How Today’s Bride is Approaching the Wedding Cake” or “The New Father-Daughter Dance That’s Got Everyone Talking” or “Backyard Weddings Gone Luxury”. Provide a link to each real wedding post that applies to this topic with a brief summary of how each relates back to the list topic.

4. Vendor Interviews
When you’re at the event, be sure to introduce yourself to the other vendors and exchange cards. Then, follow up afterward and ask to briefly interview them about their business. Then, use these interviews to create a handful of blog posts, which could keep your blog filled with great content in between every event. Remember to keep it interesting. Brides relate to stories and inspiration so you’ll want to make sure your interview has both.

5. Real Wedding
And, of course, brides can never get enough of those real wedding posts, so remember to share the details of the event in this way too with tons of photos for eye candy.

kathy-dalpra-200

Kathy DalPra

 

Kathy DalPra is a former bridal-preneur who unexpectedly fell in love with web design and SEO. Today she helps other wedding and event professionals use their website to get more traffic, leads and inquiries so they can create a thriving business in any economy. Learn how to turn curious visitors into paying clients on her website: Bride Appeal.


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?


WPIC Certification Course at (AHTA) The Antigua Hotel & Tourism Association

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Contact:-

Tracey Manailescu

WPIC Inc. (The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Inc.)

tracey@wpic.ca

Antigua

One More Reason to Marry in Antigua

Many couples are lured to Antigua for a destination wedding due to the island’s 365 enchanting coves and beaches. Couples now have another incentive to exchange vows on the island as 14 hotel professionals will become certified Wedding Coordinators.

The Antigua Hotel & Tourism Association (“AHTA”) recently partnered with The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (“WPIC”) to offer a wedding certification class to its members.

Of the participating hotels included staff from Curtain Bluff, Galley Bay, Blue Waters and Catamaran Hotel. WPIC’s Caribbean instructor, Sue Morris, facilitated the two-day course, at the AHTA training room where participants went through instruction on the nuances of wedding planning, inclusive of tests, group work. They are required to complete a final exam that will be proctored online before they can officially use their designation “WPICC”. On successful completion, they will join a network of over 4900 hospitality and event professionals mainly from Canada, but also including other warm weather destinations such as Bahamas, Barbados, Mexico and Jamaica. The WPIC Alumni is an active membership that allows members to exchange industry information, contacts as well as cross promote their venues and territories.

Admin Manager of the AHTA, Anthea Watkins, confirmed that the training was long overdue and that it was offered in response to the request of the AHTA membership. The next class in Antigua is expected to take place in 2015, but interested persons can attend any classes scheduled in the Caribbean at the AHTA discounted rate. Information on classes are listed on the WPIC website – www.wpic.ca/form

About WPIC

The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (“WPIC”) is the only in-class Wedding Coordinator’s Certification Institute in Canada. The course consists of group work, in-class lectures and Industry-related guest speakers followed by 2 weeks of home-study. Students are graded based on their in-class work, success on 3 tests and a final exam.

WPIC alumni have opened their own full and part-time businesses, or found employment with Catering Companies, Resorts, Golf and Country Clubs and Bridal salons

Alumni Association

On successful completion of the course students have access to conferences, continued learning and networking through their lifetime membership to the Alumni Association of more than 4900 Certified Wedding Coordinators.

 

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WPIC International Certification Course in Antigua 2014

www.weddingprocourses.com

WPIC certification course on July 8th & 9th, 2014

Wedding professionals of Antigua and Barbuda:

WPIC is working with the Antigua Hotel & Tourist Association (AHTA) in July to bring you the WPIC certification course on July 8th & 9th, 2014.

Register at: www.wpic.ca/form

 

 


Sue Morris: WPIC “Planner of the Month” June 2014

By: Tracey Manailescu

Today we have a Planner of the Month who is very special to us at WPIC. She has a heart of gold, and is unbelievably kind. Don’t let that fool you though, she is also incredibly business savvy and an ultimate professional. She gives her all to the events & wedding industry. Some things that really stand out to us is her attention to detail, and the way she listens. She offers great advice and will kick your butt when you need it most. She is one of our amazing instructors, Sue Morris of Soulmates Barbados & Essemm Events.

www.wpic.ca

Sue Morris, WPICC Photo: Daylight Photography – Narada Thorington

barbados- sue

www.wpic.ca

Photo: Compliments the Nation Publishing Company Ltd.

www.wpic.ca

Photo: Compliments the Nation Publishing Company Ltd.

Favourite weddings?
Harold & Noreen Hoyt – 2004 – It was Harold’s 3rd marriage and Noreen’s first. He was the Editor of the largest newspaper in Barbados and my first “celebrity” wedding. 400 guests and while it was a great success, I was so inexperienced. NB they just celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Jasmine & Chris – 2007 – I could write a book from this wedding alone, but the highlight was getting a call from the father of the groom who insisted that I move the wedding (over 300 guests) from Lion Castle Polo estate to another venue because a tropical storm was heading to Barbados. This was about 72 hours BEFORE the wedding.

Karen & Femi – 2012 – My last wedding that I planned (I have since changed my business model so that I am handling sales and business development and not the coordination) Beautiful wedding with cultural tapestry from West Africa, Scotland, Barbados, England… Pouring rain, stately plantation house, jazz band, touching speeches… My wedding coordination swan song ;-)

www.wpic.ca

Photo: Magical Moments – Steve Cumberbatch

www.wpic.ca

Photo: Magical Moments – Steve Cumberbatch

Most challenging aspect of starting your business?
Trying to figure out how to make a sustainable living from just weddings (haven’t found the answer for that yet but working on it!)

When was your moment when you truly felt you made your company successful?
I have had some milestones of success with my corporate business, Essemm Events, but I still feel I have a ways to go for getting Soulmates Barbados to the point of calling it a success.

How many staff do you currently have?
2 full-time office/accounts; 3 contracted independent planners (2 are WPIC certified!); about 15 casual staff who I use for both the wedding and corporate events

Best moments/memories from one or more wedding(s)?
Too many, but currently it is receiving glowing tributes about my team and the positive service experience they have. It is very fulfilling watching your team grow.

Please tell us some things you have learned over the years that have helped you grow?
Develop and invest in your team. You are only as good as your last event. I really believe in niche marketing and Not trying to be all things to all people. I think focusing on a demographic that mirrors my personality helps me to attract those types of clients to the business.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Teaching lots of WPIC classes. Remarried (LOL). Still actively working in the events industry, but hopefully in areas that I could never even predict at this moment!


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.


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

Photo by Avenue-Photo.com

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

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

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

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

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

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