» 2016 Wedding Business Goals: How Are You Doing?

In our 2015 Annual Vendor Survey, six thousand of our WeddingWire Pros gave us some insight into their biggest pain points and business growth priorities in 2016. Now that the busy season is coming to a close, how are you doing in reaching those goals?

Data from our survey suggests that venues (including rehearsal dinner venues) and catering professionals tend to work in larger corporations with larger employee counts and annual revenues – so we’ve broken out the data for this group separately from the rest of the service categories available for couples to account for the difference in available budgets.

Check out our interactive graph below to see how you measure up against your peers, and read on for more context on each goal.

Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Santa Barbara

This week, wedding professionals gathered at The Riviera Mansion for WeddingWire Networking Night Santa Barbara!

At the Networking Night, Santa Barbara pros had the opportunity to enjoy a historic venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local industry statistics and how to better reach engaged couples through social media presented by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Katey McBurney.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Santa Barbara board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

And finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Lynee of Pure Joy Catering!

WeddingWire Networking Night Santa Barbara
WeddingWire Networking Night Santa Barbara
WeddingWire Networking Night Santa Barbara
WeddingWire Networking Night Santa Barbara Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Napa

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Silverado Resort & Spa for WeddingWire Networking Night Napa!

At the Networking Night, Napa pros had the opportunity to enjoy a picturesque venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local-industry statistics and how to better reach engaged couples through social media presented by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Katey McBurney.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Napa board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

And finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Sharon of Napa Valley Custom Events!

WeddingWire Networking Night Napa 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Napa 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Napa 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Napa 2016 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Foundry by Herban Feast for WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle!

At the Networking Night, Seattle pros had the opportunity to enjoy a unique, gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local-industry statistics and how engaged couples make their purchasing decisions from WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Click here to check out the photo booth pictures from Drunken Pixel Photo Booth!

And finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Emily of Mle Jayne Photography!

WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Portland

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Aerie at Eagle Landing for WeddingWire Networking Night Portland!

At the Networking Night, Portland pros had the opportunity to enjoy a gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local-industry statistics and how engaged couples make their purchasing decisions from WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Portland board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to MaryAnn of Simply Beautiful Cakes!

WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre for WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary!

At the Networking Night, Calgary pros had the opportunity to enjoy a gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about our approach in Canada from Regional Manager for Customer Success, Megan Hayes, and get tips on how to handle tough pricing questions from WeddingWire Education Guru and industry expert Alan Berg.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Jess of Jess Cockburn Photography!

WWCalgary_1

WWCalgary_2

WWCalgary_3
Continue reading

» How to Get the Most Out of Networking Events

Pro to Pro Insights

Leila Lewis, photo by Valorie Darling PhotographyThis post was written by Leila Lewis of Be Inspired PR. As a business school graduate from Santa Clara University, Leila (Khalil) Lewis’ career began in publishing, where she worked in marketing and editorial roles for business and lifestyle publications. Since transitioning into the wedding business in 2004, Leila has over 10 years of wedding marketing experience under her belt, and is the industry’s go-to for wedding public relations services, brand development and business consulting.

Whether you have an established business or if you’re just starting out, networking is crucial for your company to thrive. Networking can be intimidating and nerve-wracking, but with the proper tips, you can definitely take advantage of any networking event. You want to come in confident, make your mark, and guarantee that they will remember you.

  1. Do your research.

How to Get the Most Out of Networking EventsNever go into a networking event blind. You don’t need to necessarily deep dive to find every little detail, but definitely do some background research to find out the background of the company hosting the event, who will be there, what type of features the event will have to maximize networking, etc. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to prepare some conversation starters. It may seem awkward and unnatural at first, but the more you have these in the back of your head, the more prepared you will feel when you meet up with someone new.  You never know who you are going to meet, and you want to guarantee that you make a solid impression.

  1. Shake out the nerves and be confident.

When you get to the event, you may feel nervous (which is normal!), but don’t let it affect you to the point where you just freeze. You’re here to maximize your business and meet people that will only help you. The more confident you feel, the more you will succeed at these events. Take a couple of deep breaths, shake it off, and walk in and network like boss. You’ve got this!

  1. Just do it.

Do a quick scan of the room, find the person you want to talk to and just do it. You have about five seconds to go start that conversation before you begin to overthink it or worse, allow someone else to beat you to the punch. This is all about creating those new connections and you want to take advantage of these opportunities.

  1. Be genuine and keep it real.

Yes, you have the prepared conversation ignitors, but make sure to keep it natural. These connections could help build lasting relationships and give you the ability to collaborate in the future. Be genuinely curious about what they have to say and learn more about them.  Continue reading

» How Big Should Your Wedding Business Get?

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

I’ve had several conversations recently with established wedding professionals that were reconsidering their business size. Rather than looking for ways to get bigger, they were downsizing – on purpose. The most recent business was an entertainment company downsizing from a staff of 6 down to just the owner. I’ve heard this from planners and photographers, and other wedding pros. There are many reasons feeding this particular DJ’s decision, from wanting to simplify his life to being able to spend more time with his family. It’s what’s right for him and his family.

How Big Should Your Wedding Business Get?What’s right for you?

The only vision of your business that matters is yours. From however many weddings and events you do to how much money you make, the goals and targets you set should be your own. There’s no magic number that’s right for everyone in your market and category. Just as with the example above, there’s more to your decision than just money. I once had a wedding pro tell me that he wanted to do 250 weddings per year. I asked him why 250? He said that he felt it would present him as more successful to his peers. The problem with his strategy was that he was taking on lower-dollar, lower-profit business to increase his volume. While his total number of weddings was going up, his bottom line wasn’t. He’s since backed away from that and is happily doing fewer weddings.

Too many people try to model their businesses after others they see or, as with the previous example, they try to chase an arbitrary number. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring for more, just be sure to do it for the right reasons and get all of the facts. From the outside, other businesses often seem smoother and more successful than they really are. A common analogy is of a duck, gliding smoothly across the water, while it’s paddling like mad under the water. That happens a lot on social media, as we see a skewed view of people and businesses. Their triumphs are plastered for all to see, while their failures never make it to their posts and tweets.

What’s the right number?

If you’re currently doing 25 weddings per year and you want to get to 50, how are you going to get there? If you only want to personally do 25 weddings, who’s going to do the rest? Are you already getting so many leads that you’re turning business away? If not, then you’ll need to get more leads, which means increasing your marketing, advertising, and networking efforts. If you’re getting multiple leads for the same days, then you can’t double your number of weddings unless you staff-up. One person can’t be in two places at once.

Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids

Yesterday, wedding professionals gathered at Noto’s Old World Italian Dining and Banquet for WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids!

At the Networking Night, Grand Rapids pros had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, and listen to an educational presentation by WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and gorgeous photos from the evening (as seen below). If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the incredible event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Loren of YoloEventPics!

WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids 2016 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at the Gem Theatre for WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit!

At the Networking Night, Detroit pros had the opportunity to enjoy a historic venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, and listen to an educational presentation by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Megan Hayes.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Trevor of Me + Him Photography!

WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit 2016 Continue reading

» Have You Registered for Wedding MBA?

Have You Registered Wedding MBA?Don’t miss three exciting days of presentations and seminars from top-notch wedding professionals and favorite industry experts at Wedding MBA this October 3-5th in Las Vegas!

Did you know you can save extra on your ticket just by being a WeddingWire member? Register using this special link to save an extra $20 on the current ticket price (please note your discount will be applied when you complete checkout).

What can you look forward to at Wedding MBA?

  • An entire first day  filled with specialty content covering a variety of categories. There will be Wedding Venue Seminars, Photobooth Seminars, Decor Seminars, Florist Seminars, and many more! Attend the sessions to learn from your peers.
  • Many WeddingWire Education Experts will be in attendance, such as WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, who will be presenting his own talk, “Wedding Cashers,” on making more sales in less time. Alan’s other presentation, “Word Up,” will discuss ways to optimize your website text. You can also hear from WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm on “Serving Same-Sex Couples: The Real Story”, and Meghan Ely on “One for the Money: Ten Ways to Boost Sales Without Discounting.” Plus, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly has three main stage sessions you won’t want to miss.
  • WeddingWire is excited to have our booth, annual party, and to sponsor a Happy Hour as the closing celebration for the event Wednesday evening! We can’t wait to show you what fun surprises we have in store this year.

The event will be here before we know it! Don’t forget to register now and save on your ticket before the next price increase on Saturday, June 25th.

» 10 Best Practices for Communicating with Millennials

10 Best Practices for Communicating with MillennialsSuccessfully communicating with Millennials can sound like a daunting task if you aren’t familiar with their heavy reliance on mobile devices. After all, Millennials are the “mobile generation”: everything they do or want to do can be done on-the-go. They have around the clock access to email, news, social media you name it, they can do it!  So how do you possibly get their attention in a time when there are literally thousands of modes of interaction? The key is to understand three of the most popular (and efficient) ways Millennials are interacting with the world around them: texting, email, and social media.

To give you an idea of just how “mobile” this generation is, consider this: Millennials spend an average of four hours and 22 minutes on smartphones each day, and 87% of millennials have their smartphones on them at all times. According to the same data, 80% of Millennials said that the first thing they do when they wake up is check their smartphone, and 60% said that they believe everything will be done on mobile devices in the next five years. Looking at your audience specifically, engaged couples spend 30% of their time planning their weddings on mobile devices each week. The world is shifting to become much more mobile-based, and it’s essential to adapt your business’s marketing strategy accordingly. Is your business catering to these individuals?

If your answer is no, don’t worry. By following a few simple mobile etiquette tips and adjusting your current marketing strategy to account for this mobile generation, you’ll be equipped to successfully communicate with Millennials via email, social media, and even text messaging.

Email

  1. Make your emails mobile-friendly. According to the 2016 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, about 70% of WeddingWire consumer emails are opened on mobile devices, which demonstrates how important it is that all of your business’ emails can be opened from a mobile device. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg refers to this practice as “mobile end-to-end,” which means that the Millennials who are constantly on-the-go can access your content on a desktop or mobile device and enjoy the same experience.
  2. Don’t get lost in the (inbox) crowd. Once you reach your client’s email inbox, it’s important to direct them to your email amidst the hundreds of others they’re probably receiving. To do this, use a short, descriptive subject line that grabs their attention and provides all of the important information. This strategy is crucial for a generation that often weeds out emails based merely on the subject lines.
  3. KISS. This acronym – Keep It Short and Simple – is the golden rule for your email content. Millennials’ time is precious; they’re a busy generation with very little time to read through lengthy boring content. So once you’ve grabbed their attention with a catchy subject line, make your emails concise and exciting. Use images and large font to engage your clients, and be sure to keep the message short enough so you don’t lose their interest.
  4. Respond ASAP. Remember to respond as quickly as you can, because besides being courteous, doing so lets your clients know they are important. Our data suggests that most couples expect to hear back from a vendor within 24 hours, so aim for that at a minimum.

Continue reading