When it comes to the discussion of weddings, most people naturally envision the warm, fuzzy romantic aspects – hearts and love and botanicals, flowing gowns, and doves being released into the sky! After nearly two decades as a celebrity event and wedding planner, when somebody mentions they’re getting married, my first thoughts gravitate toward the business of pulling off this enormous undertaking. That’s where wedding planner requisites come in.
As a regular contributor to Wedding Business Magazine, a trade publication written by and for professional wedding planners, I was excited to join the discussion earlier this year on overcoming barriers to success. In the July issue, top wedding planners were asked to describe the psychology of selling to today’s couples.
Here were my thoughts…
“Two decades ago one could still argue that your wedding day was the biggest day of your life and you should spare no expense in designing an elaborate occasion rivaled only by some royal nuptials! Today, second (and even third) marriages are entirely common, matrimony doesn’t have the same religious significance, and the days of economic surplus are gone. In spite of all that, weddings are more expensive than ever, with couples willing to spend lavish amounts of money, often money they don’t really even have. So as the economy dips and dives, swirls and curls, don’t kid yourself, there is PLENTY of opportunity in the wedding biz.
Based on my experience lately, the keys to being “the one,” the planner, the florist or caterer chosen to produce a couple’s special day includes: speed! You MUST respond quickly, efficiently, professionally, and often. This is the biggest piece of advice I have. New clients want to hear from you fast initially and then with timely responses. Next, make sure you make it all about THEM. This is not about a planner’s experience or track record, but rather how that event professional is going to deliver what THEY (the client) want, when they want it.
Next, don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. I’ve found the more questions I ask, the more subtleties are revealed that deliver the most wins. Don’t just pay attention to what they say, but how they say it, tone of voice, repetition of common concerns or desires, and play to those. And whatever you do, please people, CHARGE WHAT YOU’RE WORTH. If you’re good, you can and should charge for it. I promise you, the right clients will pay.”
The Business of Wedding Planning
Ask you might, why I felt like revealing, the rather candid (gasp!) “behind-the-scenes” aspect of how I approach doing business with clients here on my Vodka & Donuts blog, when most of my posts are written, well, you know… from the drunky, dramatic, and delightful side of my brain!
Because if you can’t already tell from my other posts, I’m honest and open-book about pretty much EVERYTHING! Including all the stuff that’s probably TMI! I love what I do. I adore the creative aspect as well as the logistical stuff. But it’s still a business. A business that I’m ridiculously proud of and one that I love sharing every part of with you, my beloved clients and readers!