Its About Networking And Relationship Building
The work that goes into getting onto a preferred vendor list is all about networking and relationship building because the person who is going to put you on that list needs to have the utmost confidence and trust in youtwo things that dont happen after one cold email. So, rather than making a plan to ask a venue Owner, Sales Director, or Coordinator if you can be listed on their preferred vendor list, it is most effective to come up with a plan to really get to know them. How can you start to do that? Here are a few networking tips to help:
- Networking with intention is important, so if you dont have a relationship with the venue or pro already, write an introduction email, make it clear how your businesses and clients align, and only ask to schedule a site visit
- If you know someone who is already on the preferred list, ask for a personal introduction
- When you do have your site visit, ask questions that demonstrate the fact that youve done your research and genuinely want to learn about how you can support them
- Follow up with something of value after your visit
The local events community is a small one, and your relationships with people can make all the difference. If youre close to someone that is well connected, and they respect your reputation, they may recommend you the next time a vacancy on a preferred list comes up. This has been my secret weapon for years. Kevin Dennis of WeddingIQ and Fantasy Sound Event Services
Become A Genuine Venue Advocate
Referrals can go both ways. Support the venue on social media and in person. Being on a venues preferred vendor list effectively makes you an extension of their sales and marketing team. Venues will also value you more if you help bring in more business for them. Tag the venue in the images you share on your social media handles. Send the venue coordinator an email after you blog or tweet about them when you feature a wedding at their venue on your wedding photography blog.
What Are Some Skills Needed To Become A Successful Wedding Planner
A successful wedding planner is detail-oriented, personable, and organized. It’s beneficial for wedding planners to be comfortable collaborating with others regularly while maintaining their role as the clients’ advocate at all times. They also keep track of all the details associated with an event and work well on their own.
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Challenges To Expect As A Wedding Planner
Before leaping into a career as a wedding planner, there are some challenges you can expect, especially if you havent worked in the events industry before.
Another challenge is deciding what education you need. There are wedding planner courses, wedding industry conferences, business conferences, marketing classes, coaching and mentoring programs, and many other resources available for your wedding planner education. Take time to evaluate all the opportunities and the investment required for each of them before making a decision.
While certification in wedding planning is not required, it can give you credibility and knowledge if you do not have previous experience in the wedding industry. There is no set path to become a wedding planner. If you ask ten successful wedding planners how they got started, you will get ten completely different answers.
One final challenge you might encounter on your path to becoming a wedding planner is the financial expectations you have for this career. Most successful wedding planners have sustained a long-term career because of their passion for planning events and for helping couples plan one of the biggest days in their lives.
Successful event planners are driven by a passion for what they do, not by financial gain. Many wedding planners support themselves and their families with their wedding planning career, however, it is unusual to become financially wealthy through a career in wedding planning.
Develop A Business Plan
With education, training and experience now under your belt, youre ready to start your own business as a wedding planner! To launch a successful business, youll need to develop a strategic business plan laying out your mission, business goals, marketing plan, target audience, brand identity and finances.
One of the best ways to find success as a wedding planner is to figure out your niche. What kind of clients do you want to work with, and what do you want to become known for? For example: luxury weddings, sustainable weddings or intimate elopements. Having a clear vision for your brand and a unique selling point will help to set you apart from your competitors.
As part of your business plan, youll also need to figure out your business operations and put some systems in place to help you manage your clients. Not sure where to begin? Check out our project management software here at WedSites for Business. Our digital software provides the perfect online portal for both you and your clients, including a wedding website builder, digital checklists, a budget calculator and printable reports.
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What Are Some Drawbacks Of Approved Vendor Lists
Some couples want the freedom and flexibility to hire whatever vendor they choose, regardless of a venues approved list. This is particularly true when a venue has restrictive policies, but a couple already has their heart set on a vendor whos off the list.
Additionally, these lists can sometimes miss the mark when it comes to inclusivity. “The lists should be representative of the couples coming through the venues,” Lankford says. There are different cultures, religions, races, sexual orientations, gender identifications and more to consider. “You’ve got all these different clients coming through, so these lists should at least have a company that can cater to those different pockets.”
When couples see themselves represented in the vendor lists, it can create a sense of allyship and safety. It can also help couples feel confident that the team they hire and understand their point of view. “There are some things that, as people, we have in common, like hating COVID or loving Bruno Mars,” Lankford says. “But when we start drilling down, differences emerge. Some couples don’t want to listen to Maroon 5, and some couples don’t want to listen to Migos.”
That’s why Lankford says it’s so important for vendor lists to be inclusive of as many backgrounds and cultures as possible. “If you’re not giving couples the option of people that can cater to them, then you’re doing them and yourself a disservice,” he says.
How Can I Find Other Vendors In My Area
If you feel the approved vendor list doesn’t represent you and your partner fully, build your own list! Search for vendors in the area using the WeddingWire Vendor Directory. You can filter based on price points, availability and specializations . You can also look at pictures of past events and look at reviews written by real couples. Another approach is to use social media. Check out different Facebook groups and search hashtags on Instagram. Finally, ask your friends and family in the area who they used for their nuptials. Word of mouth is a great way to find amazing vendors.
Even if the vendors you work with aren’t able to get on approved vendor lists, one effective way to help them gain visibility is to be vocal about how great they are. Talk to your recently engaged friends or family members and tell them who you booked. Leave raving reviews on WeddingWire for other couples to see, write them a nice Google review, and post on any Facebook groups you’re in. We also recommend posting pictures on Instagram and tagging your pros. Every positive review you leave can help another couple find them.
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Be Patient Thoughtful And Always Follow Up
Like building any relationship, earning the trust and confidence from a wedding venue or another pro takes timeso it is important to invest your energy into the ones you really care about and to be patient. Good things are usually worth the wait and getting onto preferred vendor lists is certainly a good thing.If and when you are added to the preferred list, dont get too comfortable. Several places will update theirs at least once a year, and if they barely remember who you are or have been in close contact with someone else, you can easily be replaced. Small gestures can be a fun and creative way to keep your business at the top of their minds. Kevin Dennis
Want to refine your marketing plan to make sure you are getting all the wedding inquiries you need? Learn more about how to get more wedding leads and put these strategies to work.
What Are The Benefits Of Working As A Wedding Planner
Wedding planners enjoy a flexible schedule and have the opportunity to meet and work with interesting people. They’re in charge of planning events that couples and guests remember for the rest of their lives, which is a motivating factor for most planners. They can also work on large-scale projects from start to finish, which can be rewarding.
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Type Of Vendors Covered
Most wedding vendors are eligible for a vendor insurance policy. These include wedding planners, caterers, florists, , videographers, musicians, DJs, and bands, in addition to specialty vendors, such as stylists, food stand owners, photo booth operators, etc. Any vendors serving alcoholic beverages are not covered under most traditional vendor liability policies.
How Much Do Wedding Planners Make
Your wedding planner salary will depend greatly on your location and experience but Payscale reports the national median is $41,418 per year.
According to Orwat, here are some annual salary ranges wedding planners can expect:
- As a side gig: $5,000-$10,000
- As an experienced full-time planner in a major city: $75,000-$200,000
- As a full-time planner in a rural area: $25,000-$75,000
When she was new to the game, Colhouer determined her rates by speaking with established wedding planners in her area. They charged $3,000-$5,000 per wedding, so she decided to charge $2,000 for her first one. Once she had a few under her belt, she charged $2,500.
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Get Your Work Published
Having your weddings, , and events published online and in print is a great way to gain traction with your wedding planning business. Not only do you get potential leads from engaged couples who read the publication, you can gain trust and jump start your reputation by promoting the fact that you have had your work published.
There isnt a right or wrong way to . Try out different tactics until you find what brings you the most business. Keep in mind that building relationships with venues and vendors takes time to show a return on investment. Once those relationships are established and you become a trusted planner in your market, these relationships can provide you with referrals for years to come.
Continue To Learn Throughout Your Career
You never stop learning in this business. Continue to educate yourself on new trends and techniques throughout your career by attending workshops, classes, or seminars. Keep up-to-date with wedding trends through magazines, blogs, and social media channels. It’s also wise to attend industry trade shows, which can help you connect with new brands and products. It’s always beneficial to stay updated on the industry to ensure you provide the best possible experiences for your clients.
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How To Become A Wedding Planner: The Definitive Guide
Do you always get excited when your friends are getting married, only because you want to help plan the wedding?
Do you dream of the day that you will walk down the aisle, just so you can pick the colors, theme, and flowers that you want?
If this sounds like you, then a career as a Wedding Planner may be just what you are looking for.
Where Do I Find Potential Clients For My Services As A Wedding Planner
Online resources like wedding planning forums on social media groups offer the opportunity to network with other professionals in this field. Some planners also join associations that specialize in their local area. Attending wedding shows is an excellent way to find clients who are actively looking for wedding planning services and to network with other vendors. These events typically occur in major cities across the province and country, so some travel may be necessary to attend them.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salariesâ âmayâ ââvaryââ âdependingâ âonâ âtheâ âhiringâ âorganizationâ âandâ âaâ âcandidate’sâ âexperience,â âacademicâ backgroundâ, âandâ âlocation.â
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Find The Tools You Need To Be A Successful Wedding Planner
For this section, lets take a look at a hypothetical scenario. Imagine that two people order the same dresser from an online furniture company. It arrives at their houses in three boxes, and there are about a dozen bags of screws, nuts, and bolts. Person A has a toolbox with a hammer, screwdriver, drill, and much more. Person B has nothing but their hands and some super glue. Which person is going to be more efficient in putting together the dresser?
When it comes to growing a business, it isnt much different. Thats where Social Tables comes in. Our software can help grow your business in a variety of ways, and its used by professional wedding planners and DIY brides alike all across the world. Get started by checking out our free 3D wedding design software.
We researched several companies that offer similar services, and ultimately found Social Tables to be the best fit for us, wrote Kate Turner of Kate & Company. At any given time we could be working on over 100 different layouts. Social Tables offerings and customer service are second to none and thats why they are the best fit for Kate & Company and our family of businesses.
Additional useful wedding planning tools and software include Wedding Spot, Joy, WeddingWire, Carats & Cake, and Zola.
Write A Detailed Business Plan
If you’re starting a wedding planning business, hopefully, you’re already a good planner and this step should come naturally to you. You’ll need to write a business plan before you can get your business up and running. You can use a business plan template or business plan software to make the process easier, but there are some specific things you should be sure to include in it, no matter how you write it.
You should include a summary of your business in the plan as well as a market analysis, a detailed list of the products and services you’ll offer, your marketing and sales plan, your financial plan and projections, and more. Think of your business plan for a roadmap that will lead you through the early stages of building your business and making it profitable.
Your business plan should also include some of the vendors and any other businesses you plan on working with. During the first year of starting her business, Kaden Dean focused on developing such relationships. It was a challenging first year, but I spent the time introducing myself to the local wedding vendors so I could find people to recommend and work with. I set the groundwork for my business and established myself.
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