» Countdown: Top WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2013

Countdown: Top WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2013

With another wonderful year for WeddingWire and our Pros coming to a close, we’re getting a little reminiscent!

We think we talked about a lot of interesting and educational topics on our blog in 2013, but we love seeing what our Pros get really excited about. So, before you count down to midnight this evening to celebrate the New Year, check out our countdown of the top WeddingWireEDU posts based on your views, comments and shares!

10. Tech Update: Facebook Launches Hashtags

While Facebook updates are nothing new, one exciting update which could have an impact on your business exposure was unveiled in 2013: clickable Facebook hashtags! Hashtags are increasingly popular throughout social media – and have been fully integrated on most popular sites, now including Facebook. Find out how you can use Facebook hashtags for your business in this post.

9. Editor’s Note: Getting Published

Our Editor, Kim Forrest, is often asked by Pros: “How do I get a real wedding published on your blog?” It’s not an easy answer, but there are things all vendors can do to make their submissions more blog-worthy. Here are some of Kim’s top tips for getting a real wedding published on a website like our WeddingWire Network or in one of our publications.

8. Keep Your Facebook Business Page Fresh!

Facebook business pages for your business are a good way to connect with your client base and reach new audiences. However, it is important to keep your page updated with new, engaging and relevant content (but not overpost!). When it comes to social media and blogging, content and images are key! Keep your sites up-to-date with new content, and test what works for your business and what drives positive engagement. Check out these 6 ideas of engaging Facebook content for businesses!

7. Top 10 Tips to Make a Stellar First Impression

In the wedding and event business, creating a lasting and positive first impression can make or break landing your next big booking and determine how you are perceived in the industry. Knowing how to make strong first impression can be very impactful for expanding your business. This post has 10 tips for establishing a favorable first impression through your message and your body language.

6. How to Respond to a Negative Review

Reviews are key to your business’s online reputation, and it can be frustrating to get a review that you may not be satisfied with or feel you don’t deserve. Although you may disagree with the review, you need to be professional in your response. This post has some suggestions for responding to negative reviews you may receive on your WeddingWire account!

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» Happy Holidays from WeddingWire!

From our team to yours, Happy Holidays!

It’s not too late to spread your own holiday cheer! You can send your own WeddingWire Holiday Cheer eCard to your family, friends and clients with a personalized message. Simply type in your name and the email address you’d like to send the card to in our form, type your own personal message and send joy to whoever you choose!

Send your eCard > 

» Giving Thanks to Your Team

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

As the holiday season and end of the year approaches, many Pros scramble to send holiday greetings to their clients and other vendors. However, as business owners, it’s important that we remember the people who make keeping our company going: our employees, contractors and colleagues. Giving thanks to your team members for all their hard work is just as important!

Giving Thanks to Your TeamCelebrating the winter holidays with my team has always been an important part of my business’s operations. How we celebrate has evolved over the years, but it’s always been an invaluable time for celebrating our successes over the past year and enjoying each other’s company.

Here are five ways you can acknowledge your team’s hard work at any budget:

A holiday or new year soiree. I know I’d give up a lot of things in my company’s budget before I gave up our holiday party, because it’s that important for morale. A holiday party can be anything from drinks and desserts at your home or office to a fancy meal in a restaurant or hotel. As event professionals, many of us rarely get to actually cut loose at a party instead of working at it, and everyone seems to enjoy the opportunity to relax.You can also schedule ta fun start of the new year party once schedules slow down a bit and to kick the year off on a positive note.

Personalized gifts. Everyone loves presents, and choosing something tailored to an employee’s tastes and interests is a great way to show you care. When you don’t know a person very well, a gift card is always appreciated!

Bonuses. For business owners who feel uncomfortable selecting personal gifts for their team, a monetary cash bonus is a fantastic way to express gratitude (and lighten your staff’s financial burden during an expensive time of year!).

Unexpected perks. Sometimes handing out money isn’t feasible, but you can get creative with other benefits. Offering an extra day (or more) of paid vacation, allowing your team to come in late or leave early, or taking a burdensome project off someone’s plate can often be just as appreciated as something you actually buy.

A sincere “Thank you.” I believe the people who work for us know when money is really tight, or when the business isn’t as lucrative as it could be. When you genuinely can’t afford to do something tangible to celebrate, you can still let your team know you value their work, and thank them for their contribution.

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season and a fantastically successful 2014!

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» 8 Ways to be Productive During the Holidays

8 Ways to be Productive During the HolidaysThe end of the year is right around the corner, which means that the next few weeks are “crunch time” for many. It’s even more stressful with the knowledge that many people (from clients to employees, and even yourself) travel and take off work during the holidays, which means less time to get everything done!

Don’t panic. Although there may seem like a lot of expectations during the holidays, you shouldn’t let yourself burn out too quickly. Step away from the chaos and be productive during the holidays with these 8 tips:

1.  Plan early.

Even if you promise yourself you’ll be working from home or working remotely on or surrounding the holidays, you can still fall behind. Plan the days you’ll be taking off or out of the office early so that you can figure out your own timeline for getting things done.

2.  Communicate the schedule.

Communicate your schedule with other coworkers or employees with details on your availability while you may be “out of the office.” Also be sure to communicate any closures or time restraints to your customers so they know when they can expect to hear back from you. Consider including basic details on your availability and the best way to get in touch in an email auto-reply and your voicemail.

3.  Create to-do lists and prioritize tasks.

Now that you know your schedule, create your to-do lists. Make sure to prioritize your tasks – there are tasks that are important and urgent as well as tasks that are important but not urgent. Know the difference and prioritize that way! Checking tasks off your list will be satisfying and will help you relax.

4.  Don’t multi-task.

Work on one project at a time rather than several at once. You should have created your to-do list in the step above, so go down this list one project at a time until you’ve hit the end of the must-dos. Working on several projects at once may lead to none reaching full completion.

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» Increase Your Storefront Traffic for the Holidays

Increase Your Storefront Traffic for the HolidaysWith engagement season upon us, it’s important for wedding and event professionals to increase the traffic coming to your Storefronts or websites to generate more revenue! But it’s also the holiday season, which means engaged couples have a lot of other things on their minds.

You likely see fewer inquiries, reviews and other activities in your account during the holidays. How do you keep couples coming to your Storefront even when they’re focused on impending holiday travel and plans?

Below are several things your business can do to increase your Storefront traffic during this tough time of year!

  • Promotions: Deals are a great way to drive more interest, especially during this time of the year when everyone one is looking for a good bargain! Get the attention of potential clients by giving them a better deal for a limited time. Use your social media pages and email to alert your audience of any promotions you establish.
  • Gifts: Tis’ the season of giving! Consider giving a free gift to clients who book you during the holidays! This is similar to a deal, but instead of offering a discount, you can make your packages more appealing. Try offering a free gift that they’ll want to use in their wedding planning! Your gift could also come in the form of a gift certificate for other services you provide.
  • Host a party: What better time to network, connect and book clients than with a holiday party? A holiday party with food, drinks and even raffles could help build awareness of your brand. Just remember to provide guests with a business card and other materials that tell them how to find out more about your business!
  • Give back to those in need: Think about ways you can give to your community! Not only will you help someone in need, but you’ll also earn a lot of goodwill for your business. Use our Love. Write. Feed. program as an example – pledge a donation amount for a certain action your clients can take.

These four ideas will help you continue to bring in business over the holidays, despite the holiday distractions! What strategies have you tried in years past? Let us know in the comments.

» Announcing WeddingWire Love. Write. Feed.

Announcing WeddingWire Love. Write. Feed.WeddingWire is excited to announce our newest charitable endeavor, Love. Write. Feed. For every vendor review written about your business, WeddingWire will donate $1 towards a warm meal to feed those in need this holiday season. We invite all newlyweds to review their wedding vendors on WeddingWire – each review we receive through the end of the year will provide an average of 4 meals for a neighbor in need.

The donation will go to one of our food bank partners within the region where the vendor is located. Our donation goal is $10,000 – that amount would mean we’d be able to donate 41,600 meals across our food bank partners! That’s a big number that could really help a lot of people in need during the holidays.

How can WeddingWire Pros help?

Though it’s the newlyweds who’ll need to write reviews, our WeddingWire Pros can also help us reach our goal by requesting reviews from their newlyweds! Not only will these reviews help us raise money, but you’ll also be helping your business gain recognition through our awards programs:

  • Each new review means you’re working towards a higher level in our WeddingWire Rated program, so can earn updated badges that show off your stellar reputation.
  • The higher quality reviews you receive, the closer you are to winning a Couples’ Choice Award, recognizing your business as within the top five percent of wedding professionals on WeddingWire who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism!

The WeddingWire Review Collector makes it easy for you to collect reviews from past clients by sending a personalized email, creating a unique URL or using our customizable ‘Review Us’ button! There’s no easier way to collect and showcase your reviews all in one place.

By requesting reviews from your past clients, you’ll be helping us to get one step closer to reaching our donation goal. Stand out from your competitors and spread holiday cheer by collecting reviews before the end of the year!

Request Reviews Today >

» WeddingWire Education Experts Give Thanks

As 2013 draws to a close with Thanksgiving already upon us, we’ve been thinking a lot about what we’re thankful for as a company.

WeddingWire is first and foremost thankful for all the wonderful wedding and event professionals who choose to use WeddingWire to help manage and promote their businesses! We love helping our Pros learn more about effective strategies and tools to grow, and we’re always on the lookout for new resources to help you be even more efficient! Thank you all for the amazing feedback and support over the past year.

We’re also thankful for our wonderful Education Experts who contribute their expertise and help bring an added point of view and expertise to our educational offering. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re all getting together to reflect on this year and talk about what we’re all thankful for.

Here’s what our Education Experts are thankful for this year!

WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg“I’m thankful for the passion and generosity of the wedding and event professionals I am privileged to meet and work with this, and every year. You share your frustrations and triumphs with me. Without you attending my presentations, reading my articles and listening to my webinars, I’d be talking to myself… a lot. So, thanks for listening. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for caring. Your success is my success. Let’s keep reaching higher, together.”

Alan Berg, North America’s Leading Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events

WeddingWire Education Expert Christine Dyer“I’m most thankful for the 18,000 brides and wedding professionals who have joined the free wedding community at BridalTweet.com. Thank you for your inspiration, enthusiasm and support over the last four and a half years. Together, we’re taking a REAL leadership role in shaping how the wedding industry can continue to connect and prosper. It is my hope that you have been inspired by the connections that you have made at BridalTweet.  You can join now for free to use BridalTweet’s free services to grow your wedding business!”

– Christine Dyer, Founder, BridalTweet.com

WeddingWire Education Expert Meghan Ely“We here at OFD Consulting are particularly grateful for the outpouring of support and virtual high-fives with the arrival of the first OFD baby this past spring. From our staff forging ahead independently to our clients and colleagues who insisted on “meet baby OFD” Skype sessions, the response has been phenomenal and it made the transition back this summer that much more seamless. Additionally, we’re thankful that Mason jar trend is fading. :)”

– Meghan Ely, Owner, OFD Consulting

Photo by Carly Fuller

“This holiday season, I continue to remain grateful to our many LGBTQ allies who have provided voices of strength, clarity and compassion in our long journey toward marriage equality. We at GayWeddings.com are as grateful for the early allies who believed in us and our mission when we began our journey in 1999 as we are for those of you who have joined our family of allies in the years since – and will in the years to come. We are especially grateful to our friends at WeddingWire for believing in our company mission, our relationships, and marriage equality. And, of course, we would not be where we are today without the 60,000+ wedding professionals in our vendor directory who let engaged couples know every day that they are there for all loving couples, regardless of sexual orientation.”

– Kathryn Hamm, President, GayWeddings.com

WeddingWire Education Expert Jennifer Reitmeyer“After an incredibly challenging year in my personal life, I’m so very thankful for the continued support and friendship from my fellow Wedding Pros. Of course we’re business owners, but we’re also human beings who must find balance between work and family, something that can be difficult even when we aren’t in crisis. The strong relationships I’ve built among other Wedding Pros remind me just how fortunate we are all to be a part of such a warm, empathetic and caring industry.”

– Jennifer Reitmeyer, Owner, MyDeejay

Thanks again to all our incredible Education Experts for contributing to the wealth of knowledge we strive to provide for all our Pros! On behalf of the WeddingWire team, we hope you all enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

What are you thankful for this holiday season? We would love to hear from you in your comments below! You can also email support@weddingwire.com at anytime with suggestions for us or questions about our programs.

» Inside WeddingWire: Thanksgiving Potluck 2013

At WeddingWire we have a lot of traditions, but one of our favorites is our annual company Thanksgiving potluck! With our WeddingWire family quickly surpassing 300 employees, this year’s potluck was our largest yet! While our Exec team provided the turkey, ham and vegetarian main dishes, the entire WeddingWire staff brought in a special dish to share. It was truly a Thanksgiving feast!

This year, we have a lot to be thankful for. In addition to the new employees we’ve welcomed to the family, WeddingWire has had a great sixth year as a company. We also look forward to opportunities to give back during the holiday season, and throughout the year, through a variety of charity initiatives organized by our caring and hard-working charity committee, The Giving Tree.

Don’t miss some of the photo highlights from our Thanksgiving celebrations below!

Happy Thanksgiving from the WeddingWire team!

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» Inside WeddingWire: The Giving Tree

Inside WeddingWire: The Giving TreeWeddingWire is an innovative, fast-growing, and high-achieving technology company, but we’re also a company that loves to give back to our community. Our charity committee, The Giving Tree, has already collectively done so much this year, including:

  • Bone Marrow Drive: 77 people signed up to donate bone marrow to patients suffering with diseases that affect their bone marrow.
  • Fill a Child’s Backpack: 42 people signed up to bring in school supplies to fill children’s backpacks. We filled over 33 backpacks and provided 2 boxes of extra supplies!
  • Red Cross Blood Drive: 15 people signed up and gave blood. Each person’s donation was enough to save 3 people’s lives – that’s 45 lives saved!
  • Writing Letters to Our Troops: Our team wrote 27 letters and sent them to our troops overseas.
  • Navy Yard Bake Sale: To help the families affected by the tragic Navy Yard shootings, we held a bake sale that raised $446.

…And we’re not done yet! WeddingWire is excited to announce several more charity initiatives this holiday season:

Canned Food Drive

Our annual fall canned food drive is back for 2013! For four weeks, we’re collecting canned food donations from employees, with a donation counter posted in our café. We’re making participation a priority and aiding our company in achieving these charity goals. We’ve set a corporate goal of 1,500 cans of food – that’s an average of 7.5 cans of food per employee!

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» Inside WeddingWire: Happy Halloween 2013!

Yesterday at WeddingWire Headquarters, our team celebrated Halloween early! Every year, the full WeddingWire team looks forward to dressing up, decorating and celebrating with a few fun traditions we’ve established over the years, including:

  • All WeddingWire employees wear their costumes to work – group costumes are encouraged
  • Costume contest held to determine the Best Group, Most Creative and Funniest costumes
  • Competitive pumpkin carving
  • Candy and decorations around the office
  • Our annual after-work WeddingWire Halloween party

As our team keeps growing, our Halloween celebrations keep getting bigger and bigger! Check out a few photos from our Halloween 2013 celebrations yesterday. Happy Halloween!

WeddingWire HQ, Halloween 2013

WeddingWire Halloween 2013

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» Enter the WeddingWire No Tricks, Just Treats Contest!

Enter the WeddingWire No Tricks, Just Treats ContestWe’re excited to announce our No Tricks, Just Treats Contest! Halloween is just around the corner, and we’re here to help you BOOst your business on the #1 Wedding Network – just in time for engagement season.

Enter by this Sunday, October 27th and you could win one of several great prizes:

  • 1 grand prize winner will receive a one year Featured WeddingWire membership
  • 2 winners will receive a 90-minute website consultation session with WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg
  • 3 winners will receive a pair of tickets to WeddingWire World 2014

What are you waiting for?! Fill out the form and enter for your chance to win today! Winners will be notified on Monday, October 28th. For official contest rules, click here.

After you have entered, be sure to share the news with other Pros on Facebook and Twitter!

» Inside WeddingWire: Happy Mardi Gras!

This month’s WeddingWire team celebration was in honor of Mardi Gras!

Yesterday, our staff joined together to celebrate Fat Tuesday by indulging in a New Orleans themed lunch in our WeddingWire Café. We donned Mardi Gras beads and enjoyed a traditional Louisiana meal of jambalaya, shrimp creole, oyster po boys, red beans and rice and more!

Check out some photos below!