Wedding Wisdom

FREE DOWNLOAD: Top Ten Lists That Will WOW Your Brides

 

A top priority for business building is creating valuable content that attracts the right type of client. It’s easy to feel frustrated with the process of constantly creating new things for your current and potential clients to consume without feeling repetitive and bland. To help you get out of stuck, we’ve created a fun download that will jumpstart your creativity with “Top Ten” lists. Lists are a great way to convey information about trends, venues, and tips in a way that’s easy to read and share. Click the download below to get your free printable version.

Like what you see? Share your “Top Ten” on Facebook and tag us! We’d love to see your work.

Wedding Wisdom

Preemptively Meeting Client Expectations

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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.

Wedding Trends

Using Trends to Enhance Your Expert Status

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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.

Wedding Wisdom

Expert Tips To Maximize Your Vendor & Venue Relationships For More Profit

We have a big treat for you today Timeline Geniuses!

We’ve created an Expert Guide with the help of Master Wedding Planner Brigid Horne-Nestor, that we are providing to all of you for free (don’t you love that word?). If you haven’t heard us say it before, we are dedicated to making the lives of wedding planners easier.

This guide will help you maximize your profits by strategically approaching Vendor and Venue Relationships. Here’s our first tip for you to check out:

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TIP #1: BE A STRATEGIC NETWORKER

Focus your energy on building relationships with people who can – and will – help your business grow.

  • First, think about the types of vendors and venues that are most likely to view a wedding planner as an asset – and not competition – on the wedding day. Build relationships with these people first – they have the potential to be your biggest fans! When a couple visits a venue for the first time, or meets with their officiant, you want those people to think of youSecond, ask yourself: Which vendors and venues see me as an asset and what specific value can I add to their work, and to our relationship? Certain types of vendors and venues – especially those who are part of the wedding planning process from the very beginning – are most likely to be your greatest partners.

    Your best bet is to focus on the following:

  • Ceremony and reception venues: These are typically the first things that people secure. They are a great pipeline to an early referral. And remember: the earlier in the process you get a referral, the more revenue
  • Officiants: Planners add value by attending to the wedding party at the rehearsal and on the wedding day. Most officiants love having someone to help keep everything organized and running smoothly, so they can focus on what they love the most – officiating.
  • Caterers: Planners can help translate what clients want, and serve as a valuable liaison on the wedding day. Keeping events running on time allows the food to be served at the proper temperature – and that makes everyone happy.
  • Invitation Designers: Planners can make designers’ jobs easier by helping clients articulate their design vision, and by encouraging clients to be organized and timely with critical information.
  • Also consider vendors like florists, photographers,videographers & rental companies: These vendors see planners as assets because they appreciate the high level of professionalism that wedding planners bring to events. You help keep everything running smoothly, so as vendors, they can excel at their job.

Want to know more? Our expert guide is chock full of more great tips that you can download here for free. Our gift to you – happy wedding season one and all!

-Your Timeline Genius Team

 

Top Posts

A Wedding Planner’s New Best Friend: Your Free Mobile Rolodex

Hello Timeline Geniuses!

We can barely contain our excitement – we have a new Timeline Genius feature that is FREE for everyone to use, one and all! Allow us to introduce, the Timeline Genius Mobile Rolodex:

 

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After receiving enthusiastic feedback from our user base, we’re answering the call to provide an easy way to store all of your event contacts. I’m a bit embarrassed to say, but as a wedding planner, my method for keeping track of contacts was to sit down a week before the wedding, go through all contracts and emails, and add every relevant party to my phone’s address book. As a result, my contact list is full of miscellaneous best men, maids of honor, caricature artists etc, and not in an organized fashion!

With TG’s Mobile Rolodex, you can now keep track of all of your vendors, venues, and clients in one, perfectly organized place.

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If you already use Timeline Genius to create your timelines, all of the vendor contacts you’ve entered automatically appear in your mobile rolodex. Just go to timelinegenius.com/rolodex and log in!

If you’re new to Timeline Genius, simply create a login and start entering contacts. You’ll be able to log in anytime to have all of your wedding contacts at your fingertips. You can search for who you need to reach, and then with just a tap: call, text, email, or navigate to them!

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We know that working in events is no easy task, so we’re on a mission to do everything we can to help. Consider this Mobile Rolodex our gift to you – we hope you enjoy!

Have a genius day,

The Timeline Genius Team

 

 

Wedding Wisdom

5 Tips for Family Portraits

Hello Timeline Geniuses!

Today we have 5 tips to keep your schedules running smoothly and on time. Planners and photographers alike are in the know: the part of a wedding most like herding cats? Family Portraits.

image courtesy of hamusoku.com

 

Family portraits are an important part of the day, but can become stressful (and take a long time!) if you are not organized. Our best advice:

  1. Start with the largest groups and work your way to smaller groups. It’s also a good rule of thumb to start with elders so they are not waiting for a long time.
  2. It takes approximately 2-3 minutes per portrait. If you have 10 groups, anticipate portraits will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes total.
  3. Designate a family member on each side to help gather everyone for photos. As the planner or photographer, you won’t be able to recognize and wrangle as effectively alone.
  4. A couple days before the wedding, advise the bride and groom to send out an email to family giving them a heads up that they should stick around for portraits after the ceremony. Not everyone will remember, but enough will that they will help remind everyone on the big day!
  5. Have clients provide you and the photographer with a list of portraits before you finalize the timeline. Here’s an example of a family portrait list:

Bride and Groom with Bride’s grandparents
Bride and Groom with Bride’s extended family (grandparents, uncles, cousins)
Bride and Groom with Bride’s parents and siblings
Bride and Groom with Bride’s parents
Bride and Groom with Groom’s grandparents
Bride and Groom with Groom’s extended family (grandparents, uncles, cousins)
Bride and Groom with Groom’s parents and siblings
Bride and Groom with Groom’s parents
Bride and Groom with officiant
Bride and Groom with special friends

Follow these guidelines for some happy portrait taking!

photo by Arnau Dubois Photography
photo by Arnau Dubois Photography

Top Posts

Three Reasons Why I’m Putting My Heart into Timeline Genius

For the past 2 and a half years, I’ve been working days, nights, and weekends on Timeline Genius. And I’ve been investing my own funds to build it. For my first blog post, I thought it would be appropriate to share why I love Timeline Genius and why I’m so committed to it.

But before I dig deeply into my own inner motives and passion, I just want to say that I have an amazing team in this venture. And without them, there would be no Timeline Genius. This fact should not be overlooked as I write about my inner workings here.

Ok, so back to the exercise of sharing the reasons for my commitment to Timeline Genius… I’ve given this a good deal of thought, and here goes my answer (in classic Eddie-enumerated-list style :D).

1. Timeline Genius is aligned with my deepest professional purpose.

I’ve been a full-time entrepreneur for the last 10 years, and all of my previous experience has helped me come to realize my deepest professional purpose: READ MORE “Three Reasons Why I’m Putting My Heart into Timeline Genius”

Top Posts

Meet The Founder: Eddie Babbage

The best way for you to get to know us is to have you meet the mind behind Timeline Genius: Eddie Babbage.

 

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It was Eddie’s passion and intelligence that drew our team together. I first met him when he reached out for feedback on the product in progress. As a wedding planner, I’ve talked to a number of tech entrepreneurs interested in breaking into weddings. All of them seemed excited by the potential dollars, but ultimately naive about the ins and outs of the industry. 

Eddie was completely different. It wasn’t about the profit for him. I could tell by the questions he asked and the way he listened that he genuinely wanted to make my job easier. I could also tell that the man had done his homework! He knew everything about a wedding day schedule, from the complexity of a First Look, to how altering the timing of one event can have a domino effect.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was one of a few dozen planners he had talked to in depth to make Timeline Genius truly address the difficulties planners face. By now, he has consulted with well over 100 planners across the United States and Mexico. It is this enthusiastic approach that has shaped the Timeline Genius product into one that truly serves the needs of anyone creating a timeline for a complex event. 

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Eddie is not one to toot his own horn, so allow me to help, just a little! His impressive background includes degrees from Duke University and Harvard Law School, plus ten years as a tech entrepreneur. Timeline Genius is his third start-up, and started in 2013, when Eddie was looking to have his next undertaking solve a real problem. Whatever the product, he wanted it to provide value and make people’s lives better.

So how did we get so lucky that he turned his attention to events?  We can thank Eddie’s beautiful wife Brooke for that! They tied the knot in December 2010.

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Brooke did all of the planning herself, so she experienced firsthand the complexity that goes into a wedding day, including creating and updating a timeline. As Eddie was thinking about what his next project would be, Brooke handed him a lightbulb. 

“Honey, why don’t you look into the wedding industry? It seems a lot of good could be done there.” 

So Eddie set to work, calling dozens of planners to learn more about their pain points, and where the greatest improvement could be made. On August 28th, Eddie’s birthday, he was on a call with Master Bridal Consultant Brigid Horne-Nestor, when they got to talking about timelines. The lightbulb Brooke had given to Eddie was suddenly lit. What was the biggest time-sink for wedding planners? Timelines.  

The more calls Eddie made, the more evident it became: everybody hated timelines! Even the pros who did them best did not enjoy wrestling with Excel and Word. In our high-tech world, events have been left behind. It became Eddie’s mission to help the event industry catch up.

Timeline Genius is now serving wedding planners across the country, but Eddie is not done with improvements. You can still find him on the phone every week, having conversations with real planners about how to make the product better and better for them. It is this tireless research and dedication that continues to inspire us here at Timeline Genius. We won’t be satisfied until an event planner’s workflow is as streamlined as can be. As Eddie always says, onward! 

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Wedding Wisdom

Introducing Timeline Genius…But First, What Exactly Is A Timeline?

Hello new friends!

We’re so excited to start our blog, where we plan to engage with all of you, share tips about event planning, and give you a behind-the-scenes view of what we do and why we do it.

“But wait!” we hear some of you say, “What exactly is a timeline anyway, and why do I need a genius to help me with it?”

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Anyone planning an event will create a timeline, though some prefer to use the terms “schedule” or “itinerary”. No matter what you call it, the timeline is the most crucial piece of any event.

A good timeline should contain all participating vendors plus their contact information, and stitch together every last detail of the day. Most of our users are wedding planners, so their timelines will include 8-12 vendors, and everything from hair and makeup setup in the morning, to tables and chairs pickup at the end of the night. A great timeline can also be broken down into customized versions for each vendor, so that each team involved can focus on the duties most pertinent to them. 

“Ah yes! I know what timelines are, and I’m already awesome at creating them.” 

If that’s you, fantastic! Most Timeline Genius users are professional wedding planners who can write timelines in their sleep. But even sleep-writing takes time 🙂

Timelines for complex events are not a one-and-done deal, and as a wedding planner myself, I can say they are quite a pain in the bum! It takes time to collect vendor contact information, to reach out to confirm details, to list out every component of a very long day, and to constantly update as changes are made and new information comes in.  

A wedding day is full of moving pieces, and when the timing for one piece shifts, many other pieces have to be adjusted as well. Making customized schedules for each client and vendor takes time too. Our research shows planners spend an average of 10-15 hours on each timeline. 

And that’s where our genius tool wants to help. Timeline Genius streamlines the process by asking a series of simple questions. Your answers allow our algorithm to generate a customized template that is 75% done. The planner just needs to fine-tune the specific details, and then it’s ready to share. From there, creating custom schedules for each vendor and shifting the time for a series of events can also be done with just a click or two. 

It is our goal to take the time out of building timelines, and to give your events a perfect, professional schedule to follow. Our seasoned planners are able to handle so many more clients with ease. Our new planners or one-time planners (like couples getting married or parents throwing a quinceñera) are able to quickly build polished timelines like pros.

So what is a timeline? It is the crucial blueprint of any event, without which all would be chaos. It is also notoriously time-consuming. Timeline Genius is here to change that.

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