Once you have learned the ins and outs of wedding planning, it is time to start networking like crazy. If you have never attended many weddings, now is the time to make the most of any invitations and study each event with a critical eye. What went well? What could have been done better?
You will also want to vet various vendors, so do not be afraid to network at these events and get the details. Whenever you are out and about, collect business cards and think about the ways that you could use a reliable person for X task. We discovered the most fantastic hotel and caterer during a fun brunch cruise recently that we never would have known existed had we not enjoyed the food so much and asked questions of the cruise manager.
Your spreadsheet of contacts will soon start to swell, as well ideas for menus, flowers, cars, formal wear rentals, and more. Do read reviews and pay attention to word of mouth. Price does count too, but any red flags should be paid attention to as well.
Your business as a wedding and event planner will only grow as your reputation for organizing successful events starts to grow, so be very careful who you do business with. Sadly, we have tried to support our friends in their business endeavors in the past, and been let down. Their excuse always seems to be that since we were friends, they did not really think we would mind if they cut corners.
We did mind. Very much. If anything, you should go out of your way to impress friends and family even more than complete strangers, so that people will take you seriously in your new business and rave about it to others.
Once your studying and fact finding is well under way, you will also want to take care of the more formal aspects of opening a business. These tasks will include:
*registering your business
*writing a business plan
*creating a website
*creating a budget
*creating your payment policies and procedures
*outlining your marketing strategy
*setting up an efficient home office
*gathering ideals into files and books
*creating a scrapbook of your successful event
*creating a website for your business
*creating checklists, fact sheets, your database of contacts, and more.
You may feel as if there is no space to store anything in your home, but make the most of the space you have for your home office for meetings. The rest of the room should be designed with practicality and storage in mind.
Once you are ready to start taking on clients, it will be time to market your business. Online marketing will draw attention to your business. Free information such as articles, reports on how to have your dream wedding, and tips for brides-to-be, will help position you as an expert and attract clients.
Social media marketing will also be key-after all, there will be a lot of people at a wedding, and all of them can pass along the word about what a great time (or not) they had at a wedding you helped organize.
Offline marketing will be invaluable too. For example, you can contact local caterers and partner to promote each other. You promote their catering services to your clients and they can promote your wedding planning services to theirs. Word of mouth is a great marketing tool that should not.
Being organized and having a great attention to detail will be two of the most important personal qualities that you can possess. You might also want to specialize in a particular type of wedding. You might wish to specialize in outdoor venues, become a Vegas wedding planner, and so on. Make the most of your local contacts, or alternately, become a destination wedding specialist for a couple of popular destinations, or a cruise wedding specialist.
You will find that you might not have as many clients as a wedding planner who will take just any client, but you can also rest assured that you are doing a great job with a wonderful wedding package which has been tried and tested on various brides and guests.
Being a wedding planner requires a great ability to plan and execute. You must be organized, efficient and of course a good salesperson. It also pays to be very patient because some brides can be difficult. Being able to work with them and forge a mutually beneficial relationship takes a little extra skill but the rewards are that they will be happy to recommend you to others and word will spread about your skills.
A steady stream of happy customers is the best way to stay in business successfully, but a wedding planner is one of the jobs which is most dependent upon customer satisfaction, so be sure to do your research and be proactive about problem solving, to help brides have a great day no matter what their budget or the weather.