This article was written by Kevin Dennis, editor of WeddingIQ.
This article was written by Kevin Dennis, editor of WeddingIQ.
As 2017 comes to a close, we are taking a moment to look back on the new ways WeddingWire helped you reach and connect with more couples this year. Since the vast majority of today’s couples are millennials, we’re continuously working to develop new features and evolve current offerings to help you stand out and get more qualified leads in today’s market. Each innovation was developed with the success of our wedding professionals in mind and the end goal of helping you get noticed and book more couples on WeddingWire.
3D Tours for Venues
Transform the way couples view your venue and make a stunning first impression by providing them with a real life walkthrough of your property right from your WeddingWire Storefront. A 3D Tour lets couples view your property at any time — whether they’re across town or across the globe. Interested in a WeddingWire 3D Tour? The process is easy! Sign up here.
We made it easier for couples to find the top information they’re looking for when searching for wedding professionals in your field by adding Highlights to your Storefront. Potential clients can now easily find key details about your business – including reviews, pricing, and availability – bringing you more qualified leads. Storefront Highlights is currently available for Photographers, Videographers, Venues, Caterers, and Planners. Haven’t seen your Highlights yet? Head to your Storefront to check them out!
We look forward to continued innovation and finding new ways to help you connect with more couples and grow your business in 2018!
Chances are, your clients are often seeking new, creative ways to personalize their big day and create a unique experience for their guests. According to WeddingWire’s 2017 Newlywed Report, nearly 50 percent plan their wedding around a specific theme, and almost 25 percent create a signature cocktail for their reception.
Knowing the popularity of social media and the importance of personalization in the wedding planning process, WeddingWire has joined forces with Snapchat to allow couples to personalize their Snapchat wedding filters, schedule start and end time, set their geofence and pay conveniently all in one place. Couples can now create artfully designed, custom wedding Snapchat Geofilters for their wedding events directly on WeddingWire.
We put together a brief guide so that you can share this new feature with your clients to help them personalize their wedding and delight their guests.
Quick Guide to WeddingWire’s Customizable Snapchat Geofilters
Head on over to the Snapchat geofilters page on WeddingWire to check it out for yourself!
When WeddingWire launched 10 years ago, we were the first wedding planning site to offer online wedding reviews – a revolutionary concept in 2007! Since then, we’ve continued to leverage the latest trends in technology to help wedding professionals reach today’s couples. Take a look at a few of the ways we’ve led the industry over the last decade:
Celebrate with us this month!
Share your favorite wedding throwback photos on Instagram with #WeDoTBT and tag @WeddingWireEDU for a chance to win fun prizes! Get the details here.
This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.
A year and a half ago, I spoke with a number of wedding professionals, including Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting and Marc McIntosh of the Wedding Experience, about the importance of challenging bridal bias in 2016. That is, the importance of taking an in-depth look at one’s marketing language and, as needed, looking for ways to update and reinvent one’s marketing language to be more inclusive of both brides and grooms. For some (and you know who you are), this might also include completely rebuilding your brand or business name to be more relevant in today’s marketplace.
It’s a little campaign I like to call #BridalRebrand.
After more than a year’s worth of conversations with Marc about this topic, I reached out to him for an update on the work he’s done to challenge bridal bias, refresh his brand, and continue to evolve his product. As you’ll see in our conversation below, he has taken the concept of undertaking a #BridalRebrand to a whole new level.
As you consider this update in the Wedding Experience rebranding journey (the backstory of which you can read here), I hope you’ll also consider the scale and impact with which his work impacts our industry — couples and professionals alike.
Further, I hope you’ll take note: if you are a wedding professional who markets your services through expos like the Wedding Experience, it’s incredibly important for you to recognize how any bridal bias you have in your marketing language might be interpreted and potentially draw the wrong kind of attention to your brand.
Remember: unless your services are intended exclusively for women (eg, wedding gowns), wedding marketing needs to be about “brides and grooms” and/or “engaged couples.” Undertaking a #BridalRebrand may feel daunting but it’s doable. Case in point: the evolution of the Wedding Experience.
KATHRYN: Beyond updating your general language to be more inclusive (for example, using “engaged couples” and “brides and grooms” instead of “brides”), what other changes did you make in your marketing materials?
MARC: In the past, when we relied primarily on mass-appeal advertising, our message tended to focus on the white female that made up the majority of our audience. Today, there are advertising opportunities that can be narrowly targeted, including social media, online music services and retargeting ads. We can now run ads that reach, for example, only Hispanic engaged couples within a 25 mile radius of our event. This has allowed us to target specific audience segments with a message that speaks directly to them.
While our events have always been designed to be open and inviting to everyone, we didn’t do a great job of communicating that in our advertising. Through targeting, we are now able to appeal to attendees regardless of their ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. We have advertising that includes images of same-sex couples, and we were the first major wedding show producer to do so. We have also integrated images that include multi-cultural couples, and we now include models of various shapes and sizes in our fashion shows.
“I see our changes as more evolutionary than revolutionary.”
– Marc McIntosh, The Wedding Experience
K: Did you run into any roadblocks or special challenges in implementing inclusive language in your print materials vs. your digital materials?
M: We have two audiences, the couples who attend our shows and the wedding professionals who exhibit. Our changes on the attendance side were relatively easy and involved tweaks to our advertising, registration forms and show branding. The changes on the wedding professional side proved to be a bit more challenging. Our exhibitor marketing materials screamed ‘bride’ (‘hundreds of brides attend’, ‘sell to a huge audience of brides’, etc.). The word ‘bride’ was so easy to use (and overuse), and we found that simply replacing it with ‘engaged couple’, or something similar, was a bit awkward at times. Making this change required a major rewrite of our marketing materials, but I am happy with the end result.
K: As you look back, what was the single most difficult hurdle to navigate during your #BridalRebrand overhaul?
M: The biggest hurdle was deciding how we were going to change our advertising to appeal to same-sex couples. Although same-sex marriage is legal, unfortunately, it is still a controversial subject and not yet universally accepted. This is a particular concern in the more conservative markets in which we produce our events. We realized that our changes might offend some prospective attendees and exhibitors, so the challenge was to find the right balance. Once we decided to make the changes, we proceeded without hesitation.
“The best piece of advice that I can offer…is that being more inclusive in your marketing message can result in increased business.”
– Marc McIntosh, The Wedding Experience
K: What was easier to implement than you expected?
M: I see our changes as more evolutionary than revolutionary. We have always strived to be fresh and relevant, and our ‘Bridal Rebrand’ was a continuation of that process. Many of our changes were very easy, such as changing the wording on the buttons we give out at our shows. These now read ‘I’m Getting Married’ instead of ‘Bride To Be’.
K: What sort of feedback have you gotten from the wedding professionals and engaged couples with whom you work?
M: We haven’t received a lot of feedback, either positive or negative, and that is exactly what we wanted. Our attendee audience turns over every year, as people enter the market when they are engaged and leave when they are married. The result is that most are seeing our advertising for the first time and don’t notice that we’ve made changes.
That said, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of couples attending our shows, whereas in the past our attendance was overwhelmingly female. We have seen a small increase in same-sex couples, but not as many as we would like to see, so we continue to tweak our advertising to that market segment.
K: Anything else you’d like to add or additional advice you’d offer to your colleagues in the industry?
The best piece of advice that I can offer, which was my largest takeaway from all of the work we have done together, is that being more inclusive in your marketing message can result in increased business. The millennial audience, regardless of their demographic, like and appreciate businesses that are inclusive.
Editor’s Note: if you are looking for a market research resource, check out WeddingWire’s WedInsights.
This post was written by Jennifer Taylor. Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui.
So you love the wedding industry, but aren’t so keen on the responsibilities that come with owning your business…
While it may seem like everyone in the industry is starting their own business, remember that it’s entirely acceptable if that’s not in your sights. Every professional has a different path and, just because you’re not into the idea of running the show, that’s not to say you can’t be a valuable asset in the industry. If anything, many small business owners need support so there’s certainly a place for you to put your skills to good use.
On the other hand, some future entrepreneurs are simply not quite ready to launch their business, whether for financial or experiential reasons. Either way, finding a workplace in the industry will help you develop your local network and provide you with the experience to really make a name for yourself.
If you’re new to the industry, look for a company that will push you to grow as a professional and are eager to help with your career path. While searching for the very best fit, don’t limit yourself to a specialty. Even if you want to focus on event planning eventually, getting some experience with a catering company or at an event venue will provide you with some down-and-dirty experience that will help to expand your skill set.
Be prepared to hear from other entrepreneurs that you should start your own business or that “you’d be so good at it!” Even though you would be great at it, that doesn’t mean it’s the right venture for your career. There are many reasons to avoid starting your own business, so don’t let peer pressure make you feel like you’re missing out.
When you do find the right place to nurture your skills, be sure to settle all of the nitty-gritty before hitting the ground running. You’ll want to determine whether you’re a payroll employee or an independent contractor – this affects your taxes significantly, so be sure to understand your role. In addition, you’ll need to know how you’ll get paid – are you making a percentage of your clients’ billables or are you paid hourly?
Once everything is sorted out, it’s time to start hustling – and hard! Just because you’re not the business owner doesn’t mean you won’t play a big role in the company, so be prepared to do everything you can to push the business to its full potential. You are an equal part of the company’s successes and failures – keep that in mind!
As you learn the ropes, don’t be afraid to ask about other aspects of the business that you may not be involved in like writing a business plan or handling all of the expenditures – this will help you understand the owner’s decisions and give you an opportunity to be more helpful along the way. It’s really the best way to become a valued member of the team, so don’t shy away from immersing yourself into the company’s culture.
Sure, getting a job is important, but getting the right job is even more important – for you and the company alike. Find a place that values your skills and will help you boost your reputation within the industry. If the first or second places aren’t ideal, keep looking!
We are pleased to announce the 2016 Weddi Awards™ winners!
The Weddi Awards™ is WeddingWire’s annual award program distinguishing exceptional businesses and individuals in the wedding industry in the categories of Professional Achievement, Customer Excellence and Innovation + Creativity. Review the full list of winners, and navigate to the award categories, then click on each award name to find out the individual winners.
All winners were announced at the Weddi Awards™ reception at WeddingWire World 2016 last week. Winners receive a trophy to showcase their win, materials to help spread the word, and bragging rights on the Weddi Awards™ website for the year!
Thank you to all those who participated in the Weddi Awards program this year through nominations, voting, judging and collecting great amounts of reviews, endorsements and traffic to great features on WeddingWire. We appreciate your commitment to success and integrity in the industry, as well as your support of colleagues and other Pros.
We look forward to continuing to evolve, expand and improve the program in the future. Stay tuned for details for the 2017 Weddi Awards™ program later this year via the Weddi Awards™ website!
The Weddi AwardsTM, WeddingWire’s latest awards program for distinguishing exceptional service in the wedding industry, has now launched the voting pages for all Weddi Award nominees!
Earlier this fall, we launched the program and accepted submissions from Pros and peers to honor exceptional work in the industry through a variety of awards in the professional experience, customer excellence and innovation + creativity categories.
To vote, visit the website and click through the award pages to find out what Pros you know have been nominated, and vote for your favorite entry for each voting-based award. Each individual can only vote one time per award (per device), so pick your winner carefully!
The top three nominees with the most votes per award will move on to the final stage of the competition, and will win a free ticket to WeddingWire World 2016 and a special invitation to our Weddi Award reception at the event where the ultimate winner as determined by our panel of 11 industry judges will be announced!
If you or an industry friend has been nominated, share the news! Email, post, and tweet with a link to their award’s voting page and ask your audience of past clients, colleagues, friends and family to vote from now through December 23, 2015 when voting closes at midnight EST. All nominees will be contacted to learn if they are in the top three per award by December 31, 2015.
For more information about the Weddi Awards™, please read our press release here.
Good luck to all the nominees!
The Weddi AwardsTM is WeddingWire’s latest awards program for distinguishing exceptional service in the wedding industry. You can submit your business or industry colleagues who deserve recognition to win!
Honor extraordinary work by submitting your business or a peer for a Weddi AwardTM in the main categories of Professional Achievement, Customer Excellence, and Innovation & Creativity. Business’ with the most total wedding reviews on WeddingWire in the US, Canada, by region, and by category will also win. View all awards on the Weddi Awards™ website, and see some highlighted awards below.
You could win:
The top three candidates for each award will receive a complimentary standard ticket to WeddingWire World 2016, where candidates will be invited to a special awards reception where winners will be announced awarded with a custom trophy (and bragging rights!). Be sure to purchase your WeddingWire World ticket now before our next price increase, and any tickets purchased by winners will be refunded.
Applications close after November 18th, 2015, so don’t wait! You can submit to as many awards as you would like, but you can only submit once per award, per business.
This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.
I’m feeling awfully reflective these days.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve just started the book tour for the release my new book (co-authored with photographer Thea Dodds), The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography, and that’s got me into a storytelling mood.
Or perhaps it’s because this month – May, 2014 – marks 10 years of marriage equality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In some ways, it feels like May of 2004 happened a heartbeat ago; in other ways, it has felt like a long (once lonely, but increasingly crowded and joyous) journey.
It’s also been just over 10 years since we launched our ‘gay-friendly’ directory (which we now refer to as our LGBTQ-friendly directory and which is now powered by WeddingWire), where we showcase wedding professionals – straight and gay alike – who are ready, willing and able to serve same-sex couples. More importantly, what was once a catalog of several hundred professionals nationwide has grown in size to one of over 90,000 Pros. And yes, I still get chills every time I say that.
But, here’s the thing: wedding professionals nationwide have enthusiastically signed up to serve the LGBTQ community via our wedding directory, but the majority have not yet updated their settings to reveal their sensitivity to this market.
This week, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly presented our monthly webinar, What’s Next in Tech! Sonny shared his top predictions for the future of technology – and how they may impact your business through next year and beyond.
During the webinar, Sonny shared lots of surprising tech trends, the latest exciting new technologies and how they may impact our daily lives and businesses in the future. Below are his top four tech recommendations to keep in mind as we consider what may be coming next in our technology-focused and fast paced world.
1) Change is the only constant: Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Don’t get too comfortable with your technology of today – and be sure to keep yourself and your business on par with what is happening in the technology space of today to stay competitive and tech-forward with your business. Remember, when it comes to technology, the only barrier is imagination!
2) Social expansion is on the rise: Social media can no longer be considered a fad. In the past few years, the keys to social media success have been YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. However, emerging social networks are growing fast, including Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr – and your target audiences are spending a lot of time on these sites. Consider expanding your business’ social networks to reach more new clients!
3) We are in the mobile revolution: Within the next 9 months, there will be more mobile devices than people on earth, and we are quickly shifting to a ‘mobile first’ world where people are actively opening email, searching the web and sending inquires on phones and tablets over desktops. How does your website look on a mobile device? Mobile and tablet friendly web design is crucial to business success from clients searching for you from their devices. If you haven’t mobilized your site, get started with the Mobile Website Creator tool and have an easy-to-use and visually appealing mobile business site in minutes.
4) It’s time to prepare for the internet of things: By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices. These will include self-driving cars, health-monitoring watches, smart eyewear and more. Our everyday technologies will also simultaneously ‘talk’ to one another. For example, if you get an email that your morning meeting was delayed, your alarm clock could be notified to sleep in 15 minutes later, and your commute could be adjusted for your car’s GPS to take into account a different traffic pattern automatically.
Learn more about all the emerging technology and these big four trends by viewing the full webinar! Also, all of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium Pros if you want to check out past webinars you may have missed.
Stay tuned for information about next month’s webinar: Top Business Resolutions 2014!
Kim Forrest is one of WeddingWire’s editors. She manages content creation on both WeddingWire and EventWire. Kim has been writing about weddings for nearly a decade, and has been quoted as a weddings expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and more.
For many months, we have been hard at work redesigning and revamping WeddingWire’s sister site, Project Wedding – and we are so excited to present the new and improved Project Wedding to you!
Project Wedding is a one stop shop for discovering, collecting, and sharing wedding inspiration. From real wedding photos to DIY projects, wedding dresses to décor, and lots more, Project Wedding is all about helping couples create their wedding vision. Project Wedding members can browse through thousands of inspiring wedding photos and ideas, easily create inspiration boards, and then share those boards with family, friends, and wedding professionals (like you!) to gain feedback. Members can also follow users that inspire them, including fellow Project Wedding users, our editors, and experts.
Project Wedding is a great tool for wedding professionals – and a site you should share with your couples. Your clients can easily create inspiration boards of photos that inspire them, and then share those boards with you. You’ll be able to clearly get a sense of your clients’ sense of style, color scheme, and favorite details – and provide your comments and ideas seamlessly.
Want to be published on Project Wedding? We’re always looking for amazing real weddings, as well as photos of wedding details – cakes, flowers, favors, stationery, and more! Find our real wedding submission guidelines here, or feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.