Business Tips

FREE DOWNLOAD: What Do You Need In A Wedding Day Emergency Kit?

 

Being a wedding planner means not only being there to support the couple, but the bridal party as well. Creating an emergency kit ahead of time is a great way to head off any incidents that could derail an otherwise perfect event.

Most wedding planners of some sort of kit that goes along with them to events, but for Joyce Barbour of Be Our Guest Event Services, an emergency kit is simply “invaluable.”

“When I took my course to become a wedding planner in one of our lessons it mentioned a good planner is always prepared with an emergency kit,” said Barbour. “I don’t think that we have had an event where at least one or more items in our kit have been needed.”

So what should you include when assembling a kit of your own? Here are a few suggestions:

 

  • Hairspray
  • Bobby Pins & Extra Hair Accessories
  • Mints or Gum
  • Feminine Products
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Tape (body tape, masking tape, & double-sided tape)
  • Scissors
  • Safety Pins
  • Sewing Kit
  • Baby Wipes
  • Tissues
  • Pain Reliever
  • Bandaids
  • Antacid
  • Cough Drops
  • Allergy Medicine

 

To create an emergency kit of your own, assemble products in a clearly labeled, waterproof container and here’s an extra tip from Barbour: “Remember to always replace the items before your next event.”

 

Ready to create your own kit? Download this eye-catching guide here:

 

Special thanks to Joyce Barbour of Be Our Guest Event Services for providing her valuable insight. You can learn more about Joyce and her planning services at www.beourguesteventservices.com

Business Tips

Tips for Staying Calm When You Have Multiple Events in One Day

bride-groom-champagne-celebrate

bride-groom-champagne-celebrate

By Heather Jones, Wente Vineyards

 

Working multiple events on the same day can be an overwhelming concept to even the most experienced of event professionals. Ultimately, this scenario comes with a lot of moving pieces – there’s no way around that. Whether you run a venue, a planning company, or other large-scale event services company, taking on multiple events on the same day can be advantageous when it comes to the bottom line, but the effort nearly doubles to guarantee that each is treated with the same level of professionalism and detail.

At our property, we have several venues available for weddings and special events and we often find that we’ll have multiple celebrations onsite on one day. So, the question is – how do you manage the logistics of numerous events and ensure that each and every one goes off without a hitch?

 

Assign points of contact

Rather than trying to balance the changing needs of every event, designate a point of contact for every event so you have a single person in charge of each. This not only helps to ensure that your team is focused on meeting the clients’ individual preferences, but it also makes it easier for you to get concise status reports leading up to the event and on the event day itself.

 

Have a solid communication plan

While communication is key for any event, it is especially crucial when you are balancing several on one day. For each event, be sure to have a one-sheet with all relevant contact information, including but not limited to that of the client, your point of contact, your own, and the whole team of vendors. Keep a copy of each on hand for yourself, and disseminate it to everyone involved to ensure that anyone can be reached in case of emergency.

 

Schedule a team meeting

Staff meetings are an important step to guaranteeing that everyone is on the same page. Gather your team and walk through all of the logistics prior to the busy event day, covering everything from timelines for each event to where the guests will park and how to confirm they are guided to the right space.

Staying organized is the best way to ensure that each and every client is satisfied and provided with a unique experience. With these tips, you can be sure that your team will deliver only the best level of service to meet your company standards.

 

Heather Jones is the Catering Sales Director for Wente Vineyards, a family-owned property that is home to a winery and vineyards, a golf course, restaurant, and a handful of unique facilities for hosting weddings and special events.

 

Wedding Wisdom

Putting Together an Event Team You Can Trust to Ease Your Stress on Event Day

By Fabrice Orlando, Cocoon Events Management Group

 

Being in the events industry means that you are always working as part of a larger team. No event can be successful with just one person running the show, so surrounding yourself with professionals you know and trust will get the job done at a high level will not only have the client smiling, but take away your stress too.

Let’s check out some of my best tips for putting together a great event team:

 

Getting the Key Players

Every event is run by different teams of people that specialize in different areas. First, there is the head planner/director that oversees the entire event from start to finish. The production team will be front and center on the day of the event, as they are responsible for the set-up of everything from décor to tables and chairs. The head of catering manages all things related to food and drink, while the logistics manager oversees the lighting techs, transportation coordinators, security guards, etc.

Before deciding to bring anyone on, we generally like to have them come in and do a test depending on what their expertise is – that way, we have a better idea of the kind of work they can do.

 

Communication

Like with most things, good communication is key. During an event, everyone is going to be spread out and busy making sure everything is running smoothly, so having a system in place that everyone knows and is comfortable with is going to help a lot. Everyone is different when it comes to how they like to communicate, so make sure you’ve decided on something well before event day to avoid surprises. For us, Skype and phone calls work best as we have found that communication through SMS or email can be easily forgotten or misunderstood.

 

At the Event

The day of the event is go time! Setup should have started at least 24 hours before start time (depending on the size and complexity of the event), and everyone should be in place and working to make sure everything is running like a well-oiled machine. Kick off the day with a team meeting that includes everyone to discuss final details, any last second changes that need to happen and to answer any questions. Don’t forget to give everyone a pep talk as well, and thank them for all of their hard work- it will set the tone for the entire day.

By following these suggestions, you’ll have no trouble find the dream team you’ve been looking for and putting on an event that will be unforgettable.

 

Fabrice Orlando is the CEO of Cocoon Events Management Group, a luxury event planning company based in Marrakech, Morocco that specializes in high-end weddings and special events worldwide.

Business Tips

Five Signs You Need to Bring in Help (and How)

By Kim Sayatovic, Belladeux Event Design

 

For many solopreneurs, it can be difficult to know when it’s time to expand your business and hire new employees to help balance your workload. However, if your goal is to continue growing your business, bringing in assistance will become an inevitable task that you must face.

Here are five signs that you need help, as well as how to start the hiring process:

 

  • You find yourself turning down business because you simply don’t have time.

 

This is one of the top reasons that solopreneurs choose to bring on a new team member. Remember that, in order to grow your company, you need to make space for it. In most cases, that means bringing on help so that you can take on more clients and increase your bottom line.

 

  • You can’t even remember the last time that you took a real ‘lunch break.’

 

If you find that you are often working through your lunch (or even skipping it altogether!), it means that you need to reevaluate your company structure. Believe it or not, taking breaks throughout the day is a great way to stay motivated and increase your productivity. If you find yourself so slammed while you’re in the office that you can’t afford to spare 15 minutes, it sounds like you need to bring in help.

 

  • You are always working, even when you’re at home trying to enjoy an evening with your family.

 

Similar to the last one, your business should not impede on a healthy work-life balance. While it’s certainly important to meet deadlines and keep your clients happy, it’s not worth the physical and mental toll of a 60 or even 80-hour workweek. Bring on a new employee so they can share the workload and you can find time to unwind at home in the evenings.

 

  • You know you put that BEO somewhere…unless maybe you didn’t even print it out?

 

Once you start to notice that you’re becoming scatterbrained or you can’t keep your thoughts straight, it’s time to consider the amount of work on your plate. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of office work you need to finish in addition to your actual client work, look into hiring an intern or a part-time employee to handle the administrative work.

 

  • You dread handling your finances at the end of the month, or you just can’t stand blogging.

 

If there’s one particular task that you just can’t stand (or aren’t even good at), look into hiring a contractor or part-time employee to take care of it for you. Hate keeping track of business expenses? Can’t stand the idea of sitting at a computer to write up a blog post (and figure out what SEO is)? Let somebody else take over the job for you! Bringing someone on for just a few hours per week is a cost-effective way to save you time (and a headache!).

 

Did you relate to any of these? If so, it’s time to consider the next step of the process: hiring the best fit. You’ll need to get an idea of the responsibilities you’d like to delegate so that you can determine the values that you’ll be looking for in the perfect candidate. In some cases, a freelancer may be all that you need, whereas in other situations, your need for help may call for a part-time or full-time employee.

Regardless of your needs, spread the word of your job opening far and wide through industry peers, social media groups, or local newsletters. Now is your chance to really use that network you’ve built up. Once you find the right fit for your business, you’ll start to see the benefits of having somebody to help you. Remember: You don’t have to do it all by yourself! With a lighter workload and more time on your hands, you will be free to do what you love most: create and innovate.

 

Kim Sayatovic is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Business Tips

The Importance of Continuing Education in the Wedding Industry

wedding-couple-jaguar

wedding-couple-jaguar

By Kylie Carlson, International School of Wedding & Event Planning

 

In the ever changing world of events, continuing to learn and fine tune your craft through education is crucial. It is vital to your development as an entrepreneur and to the growth of your business. Client needs and expectations will continue to change and evolve and you’ll want to make sure you are on top of what’s current to stay ahead of the game.

So, why do you need to make time in your busy schedule to pursue education, and how do you do it? I’ve got some tips below that may help:

Make a Date with Yourself

We are all busy and have the problem of not enough hours in the day. The best way to make time for education is to make a standing date with yourself. For me, I put together a schedule that takes into account any traveling, speaking and actual office work that needs to be achieved, then book time with myself to work on the business. I tend to block out 3-4 hours, but everyone’s schedules are different. That time is for me to read blogs, watch webinars, indulge in some video training and anything else that I feel will allow me to learn and move my business forward. It has made a huge impact on helping me stay up to date with what is going on in the industry.

Use Online Resources

Education now isn’t always about taking a week out of the office to travel to a conference, or a couple of days to go to a workshop or retreat. The amount of online education available now is staggering and it is just as powerful, just as motivating and just as informative as anything face-to-face. Plus, it has the added benefit of usually being downloadable so you can watch it again and again until it sinks in. It also has the benefit of being substantially less expensive.

Keep it Casual

Never under-estimate the power of informal education too. Being around others who share your interests and passions can be educational. Conversations are powerful and help us to open our minds. Consider forming a coffee group or a regular luncheon with people you respect and can learn from in a more fun and relaxed setting.

Getting Inspired

One of the biggest reasons to keep up with education is that it can feed your inspiration. Constantly coming up with new ideas and innovating can take its toll, and being inspired by other people, both those in the weddings and those in other industries, allows your mind to look at things from a different perspective. This in turn can let you take an idea and put your own spin on it, with the ultimate goal being to move your business forward.

Your education isn’t something that stops when you graduate or start making money. It is the fuel for the flame that burns within you spurring you on towards a better understanding of what you know, new ways to do it, and embarking on new adventures you haven’t even imagined yet.

 

Kylie Carlson is the owner of the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning and the newly launched the Certified Wedding Professionals Program. With six locations globally, the academy boasts an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners,designers and stylists.

Business Tips

How to Increase Productivity with These Simple Tricks

increase-productivity-computers-laptops

increase-productivity-computers-laptops

By Kevin Dennis, WeddingIQ

 

When it comes to the office environment, productivity is perhaps one of the most coveted qualities of today’s business professionals. In fact, there are so many hacks and products out there that ‘guarantee’ increased productivity, that it’s become somewhat of a buzzword. With everyone looking for ways make the most of their time, here are some of my favorite ways to boost your productivity levels without giving into the hype.

Start with commitment

Regardless of how many programs, tools or resources you have in place, your productivity won’t increase until you commit to it. Rather than jump headfirst into productivity hacks that will eventually be left by the wayside, first take some time to ask yourself why this lifestyle change is so important and what you hope to gain from it. By setting goals, you’ll be ensuring the long-term success of your productivity efforts.

Create a to-do list

I could speak for hours on how beneficial to-do lists are, so if you don’t have the to-do habit already, it’s time to reconsider the way you work. Despite our belief that we are habitual multitaskers, our brains can really only focus on one thing at a time. When we have a lot of things on our mind, it can lead to overwhelm and burnout. To combat this, to-do lists are an easy (and free!) way to keep all of your thoughts in one place so you can put your mental energy to work for one task at a time. Whether you choose to keep your to-do list on your phone or jot it on a piece of paper, you’ll start to get a better idea of what needs to be done once you have it all out in front of you. Plus, there is no better feeling than crossing off a to-do!

Incorporate technology

These days, it seems as if there’s a technological fix for everything. Between apps and online programs, you can find a solution to help anything from organizing your inbox to tracking your travel expenses. With that said, keep in mind that every app offers different things to a person – while your coworker may love their to-do list app, you may be looking for other features or a different type of interface. For that reason, it’s important to experiment with all types of programs until you find one that best suits your needs.

Take a break

While this may seem counterintuitive, I’m sure most can relate with the feeling of being confined to your office with nothing to look at but your computer screen. While slogging through your work may seem like the only way it will get done, rest assured that you can afford a five- to ten-minute break. Take a step outside and go for a walk around the block or try out the new coffee shop down the street. If you can spare the time, squeeze in a workout or yoga session during lunch. A simple change of scenery can make all the difference when you’re starting to feel burnt out and you’ll be surprised how productive you are upon your return to your desk.

Even the best of us face challenges with productivity and we’ve all experienced ‘a case of the Mondays,’ but that doesn’t mean that you have to give into it. By incorporating these strategies into your day-to-day workflow, you’ll soon find that your time is better spent and your overall work is much more efficient.

 

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 the immediate past national president for WIPA.

Wedding Wisdom

Preemptively Meeting Client Expectations

wedding-exit-meeting-client-expectations

wedding-exit-meeting-client-expectations

By Fabrice Orlando, Cocoon Events Management Group

 

A client’s happiness is paramount to any event professional’s business. From good reviews on third party sites to word-of-mouth referrals, without the client, we’d be out of business. So it’s important to always remember to anticipate what their expectations are and how to meet them before they ever even ask. With that, here are some of my best tips and tricks for helping you not only meet expectations, but exceed them.

Make Yourself Available

It is a well-known fact that many couples book vendors based on how quickly they get back to them. So you’ll want to make sure that you have systems in place where you are responding to potential clients quickly. Setting a precedent right away that there will be an open channel between you could be the thing that gets you the job.

When you’ve booked the client, it’s also a good idea to ask what their communication style is. While you may prefer e-mail, they may be more likely to answer you via text message or phone call. Get on the same page as soon as they sign on the dotted line to avoid any confusion, and so that you can always be available to them.

Offer Your Insight

Any kind of large scale event requires a team of vendors, and by going out of your way to help your client create their dream team will go a long way. As an event pro, you likely know all of the best people in town, so share your own vendor list with them before they even ask, and you will have one happy client. Your referral will certainly weigh heavy when it comes to deciding who they want to hire.

Surprise and Delight

It’s time to stop investing in the same old swag for clients, and start thinking outside of the box. Recently, the method of surprise and delight has become a popular way to thank clients in a more personal way. One great way we’ve seen this used is by asking fun questions about their personality on the initial questionnaire they fill out when they first book you. Do you prefer tea or coffee? What’s your favorite Disney movie? Then buy them something that relates back to that- they will love that you remembered!

Knowing what the client wants before they have to ask is going to help elevate your reputation with stellar reviews and lots of referrals!

 

Fabrice Orlando is the CEO of Cocoon Events Management Group, a luxury event planning company based in Marrakech, Morocco that specializes in high-end weddings and special events worldwide.

Business Tips

The First 5 Steps to Creating a Killer PR Plan

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flowers-bouquet-bridesmaids-PR-Plan

By Meghan Ely, OFD Consulting

Creating a public relations plan for your business can seem like a daunting task to some, and is often put on the back burner as something that can be done later down the road (aka never). But, guess what? PR is often what will get you the results you’ve been looking for all along- press features, an elevated reputation in the industry, and the clients you’ve always wanted.

So, why not go ahead and get started on your PR plan right now? We’ve got your first five steps below:

 

Research

As with any project, doing the research is one of the most important steps. Start by taking a look at your own business and really understanding what your PR goals are. This is different for everyone, so you will want to build a custom roadmap with clearly defined goals so that you can better gauge your success.

From there, research and identify who your target audience is. It’s essential to know who you’re targeting your message to ahead of time so that it’s received successfully. Once you know who you want to get your business in front of, it’s time to get on your computer and do some digging into which outlets they are looking at for inspiration. If you think those sites fit in well with your brand, add them to your media “wish list” of publications. Remember, the best PR strategies are ones that identify the message you want to get out there, who the target audience is, and the best channels to get the message out.

 

Get Organized

Living in the age of technology has definitely been helpful for getting organized. There is an abundance of tools available to help keep your PR plan in check. Some of my personal favorites include real wedding submissions programs, like Two Bright Lights and Matchology, which make the process quick and easy. You simply upload your photos, the couple’s information and vendor information and click submit. Dropbox has been a lifesaver for keeping the many thousands of photos, articles, and media plans that we have on file organized and easy to find. Check out your app store and review sites to see which programs may work best for you.

 

Put Yourself Out There

If you want to get your business out there and seen as the best in your industry, then you need to get your voice out there as well. You’ve got to take advantage of your expertise and start sharing your insight with everyone. Reach out to editors and offer yourself as a resource, get in touch with local industry friends and ask if you can write a guest feature on their blog- the ball is in your court!

 

Promote!

When you do get a feature, whether it’s a real wedding being published on a blog or your own expert commentary in an article, it’s time to celebrate. After you’ve done your happy dance, make sure you remember to promote the heck out of it. First, send a quick thank you to the editor that featured you – it will go a long way in helping to further build your relationship with them. Then, get on your social media accounts and share it with the rest of the world. If you have a blog, do a post about it that links back to both your feature and the website itself for an SEO bonus.

 

Just Keep Trying

When you’ve got your PR plan in motion it’s easy to get disheartened by the no’s you will receive from editors. But remember, everyone gets no’s- I do all the time (not to brag!). You just have to keep moving on to the next one until someone gives you a yes. It may be as easy as redirecting the same pitch to a better suited publication. A few no’s is not a reason to stop your PR plan, so just keep trying.

Once you’ve got your plan in place and get into a routine, your PR efforts are sure to pay off.

 

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. 

Wedding Trends

Using Trends to Enhance Your Expert Status

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expert-with-trends-bride-groom-feet

By Kylie Carlson, International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning

Being up-to-date and confident about your knowledge in trends is an important skill in the events industry. Some vendors don’t want to be bothered hearing about the next big thing, while others enjoy the challenge of knowing what’s in and what’s out and using trends in their work. If you’re one of those people, then you have a golden opportunity to use your love of trends to elevate your expert status.

So, how do you do it? Here are some of my best tips and tricks below:

Stay Up-to-Date

This may seem pretty self-explanatory, but if you are planning to sell yourself as an expert on trends, then you need to make sure that you set aside time every week for research. When researching, think beyond weddings and events. You have to remember that what you’re seeing on a wedding blog or in a wedding magazine is probably at least a year old, so it’s not really a new or innovative trend anymore. The whole world is your playground when it comes to trends, so forget the wedding boards on Pinterest and start looking at interior design blogs, what’s on the red carpet, foodie blogs, fashion, and graphic design. These industries are forward thinking and well ahead of where we are in the wedding world.

If you’re going to turn to weddings for trend spotting, then jump on Instagram. On any given Saturday you can be sure that if you scroll through your feed or search wedding hashtags, you’ll see all of the top wedding and event designers posting their pictures live, as they are happening.

Promote Your Skills

You can tell people all day long that you are an expert in trends, but unless they see it in action, they may not take your word for it. Use your work to speak for you by showing potential clients your cutting edge style, posting pictures on your website and social media, and getting your weddings featured on blogs. In this situation, a picture can truly be worth a thousand words. 

Market What You Know

Once you’ve got a few press features under your belt, start leveraging that by marketing yourself as the ‘it vendor’ of trends. Use content creation to your advantage with guest posts on other vendor blogs full of your predictions for the upcoming year, and commentary in articles talking about the latest Pantone color of the year. Better yet, use your own company blog to start a trend series, get creative on social media with videos full of fun tips and tricks- the possibilities are endless. These are all great examples of how to get your name out there, not just among engaged couples but with your peers as well.

By following these guidelines, you will no doubt increase your reputation as a trend expert, which can help your business in a big way.

 

Kylie Carlson is the owner of the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning. With six locations globally, the academy boasts an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners, designers and stylists.