» #JustSaidYes is Here – Share With Your Couples!

Engagement season is officially here and we are excited to launch our annual campaign for couples, #JustSaidYes! The contest, held during peak engagement season, asks couples to share their engagement moment on social media with #justsaidyes and @weddingwire for a chance to win the grand prize of $10,000 towards amazing wedding vendors like you!

Last year the #JustSaidYes campaign received over 34,000 entries, 114,000 landing page visits and over 46,000 new instagram followers – that’s a lot of newly engaged couples on the hunt for their dream wedding team! This year the campaign will be bigger than ever, and will bring more couples to your doorstep.  Want to get in on the buzz? Share these simple steps so that couples can enter to win:

  1. Get engaged and snap a photo!
  2. Share the photo via Instagram or upload a photo to the #JustSaidYes website
  3. Post the photo and tag @weddingwire and #JustSaidYes to enter

Lucky winners will be announced throughout the campaign from December 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018. One grand prize winner will receive $10,000 towards their wedding team, and three monthly winners will receive fantastic prizes for their wedding and honeymoon including: a wedding dress from Allure Bridals, two sets of luggage from AWAY and a $2,500 gift card from Blue Nile. See full terms and conditions here.

Make sure to follow along to see fun engagement posts and engagement inspiration shared on social media this engagement season using #JustSaidYes.

» How to Get On Preferred Vendor Lists (and Stay on Them)

Photo by: Studio 616 Photography

This article was written by Kevin Dennis, editor of WeddingIQ.

The illustrious preferred vendor list is something that, as business owners, we all strive to be on. The exclusivity and third party validation is very appealing, not to mention the leg up it can give you against competition and the increased exposure to couples. So the question is, how do you get on it and stay on it?

I’m sharing some of my best practices for getting on preferred vendor lists and staying on them. With engagement season right around the corner, there’s no better time to start putting these tips into action for your business.

Never Ask Immediately

Asking a fellow vendor or venue if you can get on their preferred list right out of the gate is probably the biggest mistake you can make. Would you want someone you just met five minutes ago asking you for a favor? No, probably not. Once you have gotten to know them more on a professional (or even personal) level, bring the subject up in a more general way. For example, ask them how they choose who to put on the list, or how often they refresh the list. That way you are getting the intel you want without directly asking them to consider you.  

Get to Know the Other Vendors

Sit down and take a look at the list(s) you want to be a part of, and take note of the other vendors on it that you may already know or would like to get to know. The local events community is a small one, and your relationships with people can make all the difference. If you’re 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 strategy has worked for me for years, and it’s another reason why networking is so important for wedding businesses.

Don’t Take It for Granted

If and when you are added to the preferred list, don’t 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. For example, we celebrate obscure national holidays (think National Miniature Golf Day) and send funny notes and trinkets to our vendor friends that will put a smile on their face.

Don’t let the idea of trying to get on a preferred vendor list scare you. With the right approach businesses will be adding you in no time.  

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and a past national president for WIPA.

» 4 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

In honor of #GivingTuesday, check out our 4 ways to give back this holiday seasonFor busy wedding professionals, it can be hard to find the time to do any extracurricular activities. With the holidays quickly approaching, you’re likely to add shopping, baking, and hosting to your to-do list! There’s no shame in enjoying the holiday season, but it’s important to remember those who are less fortunate and in need of our help.

Since today is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to celebrating generosity and giving back, we thought we’d share a few of the ways you can give back this holiday season:

Volunteer

If you can spare some time out of your packed schedule, volunteering is one of the easiest ways to give back to the community! There are a ton of opportunities to help in your local area – every city has food banks, homeless shelters, animal shelters, youth clubs, or other organizations that could use some extra help around the holidays. There are also plenty of national charitable organizations you can look into for events coming to your area where you can donate your time.

Donate food

There’s typically no shortage of leftover food after a wedding! Instead of letting it go to waste, consider the possibility of donating it to a food bank or shelter in your area. Donating food requires little extra time on your part while benefiting many who are in desperate need. Programs like the New England NACE Feeding Our Neighbors program facilitate this process with local food rescue operations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island – learn more about the laws surrounding food donation here.

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» Attention DJs: Don’t Miss The 2015 Las Vegas DJ Show!

The Las Vegas DJ ShowWeddingWire believes in the value of education, that’s why we’re sharing details for The Las Vegas DJ Show event this coming August 30th – September 3rd!

Hosted by our association partner ADJA, The Las Vegas DJ Show is a great opportunity for DJs and Entertainers from around the country to come together to learn, celebrate and network. This year’s event will be held at Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino off of the Las Vegas strip.

To learn more about the event, check out the website with links to the full schedule, speaker details including keynotes from Michael Buffer and Darnyelle Jervey, hotel block details, and more. Plus, don’t miss WeddingWire Education Experts Andy Ebon and Alan Berg who will be featured presenters among other industry leaders and top professionals DJs.

Time is running out! Register today to save your spot.

» Educational Opportunity for Planners: ABC Conference

Attention Wedding Consultants and Planners! Have you registered for the annual conference from our partner the Association of Bridal Consultants? Enjoy two full days of education with industry speakers, networking and fun in sunny Orange County, CA this November 8-10th.

Learn more about the California Dreamin’ conference and save your spot here! Additionally, WeddingWire members can save and get a ticket for $595 with promo code WWABC for an extended time, now through July 30th. There are also Expo opportunities available, should your business want to showcase your services to top Wedding Consultants.ABC Conference 2015

Questions? Email Dena Davey at corp@bridalassn.com to learn more!

» It’s Official: WeddingWire Acquires GayWeddings.com

WeddingWire and GayWeddings.comWe’re ecstatic to announce the acquisition of GayWeddings.com, the pioneering wedding planning resource for same-sex couples!

From the day both companies opened our respective doors, WeddingWire and GayWeddings.com have shared a commitment to providing needed resources to all couples. Since January 2011, we’ve partnered with GayWeddings.com to develop a rapidly-expanding online database of over 120,000 wedding professionals who serve same-sex couples. Now, we’re happy to transition from partnership to acquisition to seamlessly extend the mission of both brands.

GayWeddings.com will continue to empower engaged couples and LGBTQ-friendly wedding professionals as part of the growing WeddingWire family of brands in the weddings and events category. Kathryn Hamm, President of GayWeddings.com, will continue on as Publisher to help guide the tools and resources provided for both Pros and engaged couples. And with Pride Month officially underway, there’s no better time to celebrate our union and raise a glass to an LGBTQ-inclusive wedding market!

Wedding and event professionals on WeddingWire can opt into the GayWeddings.com directory to show that they are ready, willing, and able to serve LGBTQ couples. Pros can also get up-to-date information, education, and resources to help them serve same-sex couples and understand the latest updates in marriage equality.

Same-sex weddings have been transforming the way wedding professionals think about their businesses and how engaged couples think about executing their wedding vision. We look forward to continued growth in creating a positive and helpful wedding planning experience for all couples and their wedding professionals as they plan the biggest day of their lives!

For additional information, please visit our Press Release.

» Special Offer for Members of IAPWO

IAPWO-LOGO-1500We are excited to announce a new special offer for members of The International Association of Professional Wedding Officiants (IAPWO). The IAPWO is a global membership organization committed to supporting professional wedding Officiants and their businesses, with members receiving education, tools, benefits and more as they commit to upholding the standards of excellence for their vocation.

IAPWO members receive a special 15% discount* off of Featured and Professional premium advertising listings for new and lite members of WeddingWire. Along with an upgraded business listing on WeddingWire, premium members also receive access to industry leading business management and client management tools, a dedicated Customer Success Rep, free educational webinars and more!

To learn more about IAPWO, check out their website and educational articles today.

*This discount is valid for IAPWO members only. 15% off discount applies for Featured & Professional Officiant listings only, and just for new business. No other discounts or offers may apply. Discount expires on 12/31/15. Some exclusions may apply.

» Promote Your GayWeddings Listing with a Custom Button

We’re excited to announce new GayWeddings.com custom buttons you can add to your website or blog to showcase your service to same-sex couples! Get started promoting your GayWeddings listing and boost your Storefront traffic by adding your button today.

Get your button by following our step-by-step instructions!

  1. Choose your button design from our four badge options
  2. Enter your GayWeddings Storefront URL, which you can easily grab from your WeddingWire account under the Networking tab
  3. Paste your GayWeddings Storefront URL into the form to get your custom code
  4. Add the code to your business website or blog, and your button will appear!

GayWeddings listing badgesLooking for more? You can also add a Wed We Can badge on your website or social media accounts, and show your support of all couples by joining in the #WedWeCan social media campaign.

Have additional questions? Learn more about our partnership with GayWeddings.com, get instructions on how to opt-in to the directory (open to all WeddingWire professionals), and learn how to customize your GayWeddings.com profile image. Plus, you can always contact support@weddingwire.com with any of your account needs!

» Support Marriage Equality with #WedWeCan!

Support Marriage Equality with #WedWeCan!

On, April 28th, 2015, the United States Supreme Court will begin to hear cases on the matter of marriage equality from four states: Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. The cases have been consolidated under the name of the Ohio case, Obergefell v Hodges, and will test two questions: whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage and whether states have to recognize the same-sex marriages of other states.

Currently, same-sex marriages are legal in thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia, and the status of marriage equality is on stay pending appeal in seven additional states where the constitutional bans were overturned.

We’ll be watching and waiting for a decision from the Court into May or June, but in the meantime we would like to invite our community of wedding and event professionals to show your support for marriage equality and join our Wed We Can movement!

Wed We Can was developed from the partnership between WeddingWire and GayWeddings.com, the leading niche-based wedding planning resource and boutique, dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. The campaign represents our shared investment in and commitment to the unions of all loving couples, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Today, we’re unveiling a new logo for same-sex marriage supporters to share across their favorite social networks. We invite you to share images of what love means to you with the hashtag #WedWeCan, and help us make history as one movement that stands for marriage equality and a commitment to be inclusive of all couples!

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» Expanding Worldviews, Serving Modern Couples

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.

Expanding Worldviews, Serving Modern CouplesI didn’t plan on becoming a professional in the wedding industry, let alone a same-sex wedding expert. I had only wanted to marry my partner at a time when this was still uncommon; and, then, I had only wanted to help my straight mom with the business she had founded in 1999 in response to our wedding.

But I’m also an educator and a social worker with an entrepreneurial spirit at heart and, like my mom, I recognized the gap in the wedding industry. There were couples who wanted to affirm their life-long relationships and there were initially very few resources at all. Now, thankfully, there are more than ever and attitudes and service capabilities have improved, but my experiences within the wedding industry have also opened my eyes to its other glaring omissions: people of color, diverse representation of ethnicity and religion; grooms (whether straight or gay!), etc.

As a result, I’ve wanted to inspire more dialogue and introspection beyond the question of how wedding professionals are serving same-sex couples. And, because of the education needed for the emerging LGBTQ wedding market, I believe our industry and its professionals have an opportunity to re-examine everything we are doing and update the habits that no longer serve us, let alone the modern couples who need our services and support.

I have found an incredible partner in the WeddingWire team, who have engaged in these conversations in their business considerations has in the implementation of their industry leading tools and educational opportunities for wedding professionals and engaged couples. And our conversations led to the creation of a forward-thinking panel discussion at the recent WeddingWire World 2015 conference in Washington, DC.

We are pleased to present a recording of the full conversation I enjoyed with Ross Oscar Knight, international photographer and photoculturalist from Atlanta, GA; Bree Ryback, founder of Capitol Romance, LLC and editor of its popular Washington DC-based planning blog; Bethel Nathan, owner of the San Diego-based Ceremonies by Bethel; and Kyle Mihalcoe, Regional Manager of Customer Success at WeddingWire.

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» Twist In Alabama’s Effort To Delay Same-Sex Marriage

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.

In perhaps one of the most surprising twists along the road to marriage equality, Alabama’s state officials have outpaced even South Carolina officials on the resistance to accept marriage equality scale.

A federal judge in Alabama recently overturned its marriage ban, paving the way for same-sex couples to marry. The decision was stayed, pending appeal, but the Supreme Court of the United States refused to uphold the stay, thus allowing couples to marry.

Even so, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, an established controversial figure in the conservative moment, refused to budge. He introduced confusion into the state asking probate judges not to marry same-sex couples. The result was that some counties did; some didn’t; and some didn’t issue any licenses to any couples.

But, Alabamans who do not support marriage equality weren’t done yet. On Tuesday, two anti-LGBT groups filed a complaint in hopes of putting a stop to marriage. The response of Justice Roy Moore and his benchmates?

According to Freedom to Marry, “the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling in an ‘emergency petition for writ of mandamus,’ brought by two private groups who oppose the freedom to marry in Alabama. In the ruling, the Court ordered a temporary halt to probate judges in Alabama from issuing marriage licenses, aside from probate judge Davis in Mobile, who was specifically ordered to stop enforcing Alabama’s harmful ban on marriage between same-sex couples.”

The ruling, from which Justice Moore has recused himself, left folks scrambling today to understand whether or not same-sex couples could apply for licenses.

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» Majority of Wedding Pros Support Same-Sex Marriage

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.

The latest headlines surrounding gay marriage of late have centered upon the notion of religious liberty and freedom of speech. In sum, there are a minority of wedding professionals who say that they should not be compelled to accept same-sex couples as clients because of their personal (and/or religious) beliefs.  And that opposition, as expressed by a handful of wedding professionals who are turning down same-sex couples and facing media and/or a legal backlash), is occupying most of our news feeds.

Majority of Wedding Pros Support Same-Sex Marriage. Period.Interestingly, a recent survey by the AP-GfK reported by US News & World Report found that more Americans favor marriage equality than oppose it, but “roughly half” of their respondents felt that “wedding professionals should be allowed to deny service to same-sex couples for religious reasons.” It’s an attitude that, quite frankly, is not surprising in light of the spirit of the founding of our country around the notion of religious liberty. The question I wished that the poll had as follow up is: “Even though you think that a business should be allowed to deny service based on your religious beliefs, would you prefer that those professionals would “do the right thing” and not discriminate?”

I think it’s also worth pointing out another survey that has gotten less play, but offers an intriguing context and perspective. In the fall of 2014, the Pew Research Center released it’s finding that 42% of African-Americans surveyed reported that they support same-sex marriage; a lower number than Caucasians surveyed (53%). But, when asked if “wedding-related businesses should be required to serve same-sex couples,” a majority of African Americans (61%) said that wedding-related businesses should be required to serve same-sex couples (only 45% of Caucasians surveyed said similarly).

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