Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 086: Aleah and Nick Valley Encourage You to Be a Student of Everything

Everyone knows that a live event is challenging precisely because there is no re-do.

So, how do you really prepare for all variables? According to this husband-and-wife team, the answer is to learn from everyone and everything. 

Want to hear more? Be sure to tune in for this podcast episode!

Aleah and Nick Valley are the founders of Valley & Company Events, an inclusive event planning and design house. With nearly 20 years of experience, they have been recognized as top wedding planners in the world by Harper’s BAZAAR, Martha Stewart Weddings, and BRIDES. Additionally, they have been featured in countless publications, including TOWN & COUNTRY and Better Homes & Gardens. They are also nationally-recognized industry speakers and co-authors of the best-selling book Storied Weddings.

In this episode, Aleah and Nick explain how knowing the nuances of both events and people prepares you to seamlessly solve the unexpected. Specifically, they share why success in event planning starts with being a student of everything.

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Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 083: Troy Williams on the Role of Artistic Intuition in Designing Moments Your Guests Will Feel

Whether it’s a detail designed for the guest of honor or one sitting off to the side, this industry leader says the key to producing events that keep people talking is to bring joy to planning each moment the guest will experience.

To hear more, be sure to tune in to this podcast episode!

Troy Williams is the Principal + Event Designer at Simply Troy Lifestyle + Events, where he designs and produces events for celebrity, corporate, social, and charity clients. With over 20 years of industry experience, his background includes working as a Senior Publicist for Warner Bros. Pictures on over 450 premieres and special events. He is also a national speaker, television host, and lifestyle expert. Additionally, he was recognized in BizBash 500 Most Influential Event Professionals, and he is listed as a top wedding planner by Harper’s Bazaar, PartySlate, and Brides.

In this episode, Troy talks about the roles that gratitude, kindness, and intimate details play in designing events filled with unforgettable moments. Specifically, he says to listen to your intuition so that what you create will be authentically felt by others. 

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Wedding Industry Biz

Why You Need to Support Causes That Are Meaningful to You in Your Business

There’s no question that philanthropy is a worthy endeavor for a business to pursue. Still, it’s not always a priority — especially when client demands keep leaders immersed in operating the company. Not to mention, supporting a cause usually involves a financial contribution, whether it’s a monetary donation, a gift of free products or services, or a promotional partnership.

But, let’s be clear: generosity comes full circle, so what you donate will come back to you. This is particularly true as the market evolves and we see younger millennials and Gen Z on the scene. These socially-minded generations want to spend their dollars with brands that align with their values. So, it’s no longer just about sharing your product or talent with followers; you now need to demonstrate how you’re giving back to your community.

Here are a few tips for ramping up your goodwill and spreading the message about your cause.

Select a cause you genuinely care to support.

When it comes to charity, most folks can see right through an inauthentic play for attention. Don’t tack your brand onto organizations or causes that you personally don’t care to support. If you do, you’ll find that you’re less motivated to make an impact, and your inattention will be transparent for all. Philanthropy is about action, not lip service.

Of course, you also need to consider whether your ideal clients will connect with the cause as well. For example, you may be a big fan of seals, but a Save-the-Seal program may not be as widely applauded as a cause such as LGBTQ+ rights advocacy that could have a greater impact on more people. Before contributing anything, confirm that the organization is legitimate on This site provides unbiased evaluations of non-profits based on financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Look beyond direct monetary donations.

You have a lot of charitable opportunities at your disposal! While financial contributions may be an easy solution, consider getting your hands dirty and investing your time and energy for one of your chosen causes. I recommend event pros to take on at least one pro bono event each year.

Whether you’re a planner, venue, photographer, florist, or other event pro, you have a service that is sought after by non-profits that host fundraisers, galas, and other large-scale celebrations. By contributing your services, you can give them far more than a paper check. You can help them to elevate their events, draw in more interest to the cause, and boost fundraising and marketing efforts simply by donating your professional time and talent.

Put the word out to your followers.

A big part of corporate philanthropy is being loud and proud about your efforts! Not only does it tell your audience that you’re committed to a cause (that ideally aligns with their values), but it also educates and encourages your followers to get involved as well. Integrate your philanthropic endeavors into your social media and website content organically. Tell your clients and colleagues about what your go-to organizations do to make a difference. Simply put, become a brand ambassador for your cause!

Beyond your direct association with an organization, educate yourself about the cause so it can become a consistent part of your marketing. For example, suppose you promote your contributions to the LGBTQ+ community only in June for Pride Month, or you only share Black Lives Matter support when a tragedy happens. In that case, your followers will see that your efforts are merely performative.

No matter how large or small, your business has a platform, and it’s your responsibility as a leader to use your space as a channel to share about causes that are near and dear to your heart. In all ways, we are better together than alone — so harness the power of community and do what you can to give back to the causes you care about most.


Brittny Drye is the founder and editor-in-chief of Love Inc., one of the leading equality-minded wedding blog and digital publications. Her inclusive efforts have been celebrated by the New York Times, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Refinery29, NY Daily News, Cosmopolitan, and more. She served on the 2018-19 North American Advisory Board for the International Academy of Wedding & Events.

Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 077: Tara Melvin Advises You to Learn and Network Like a CEO

When it comes to small business success, having a great product – or being a great planner – isn’t all it takes. The truth is that running a business requires its own skill-set. And this guest is here to tell you how to gain it through transformational learning.

So, be sure to tune in for this podcast episode!

Tara Melvin is the Principal Planner & Designer of Perfect Planning Events, an award-winning event planning firm in the Washington DC metro area. She is also the Founder and Organizer of The Signature CEO Conference, an educational platform and annual event designed to help creative entrepreneurs ignite business acumen and leadership skills. Additionally, she is the Founder and President/CEO of The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals (NSBWEP). Considered the Olivia Pope of Events, she was named the 2021 WeddingPro Fellowship for Change Mentor and was listed in BizBash’s 2020 List of 500 Most Influential Event Professionals.

In this episode, Tara talks about the importance of concrete business ownership skills as well as the power of networking. Plus, she shares the branding and selling tips that will help you stand out from the crowd.

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Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 076: Elizabeth Priya Kumar Inspires You to Crush Fear with This Game-changing Mindset

Do you question what your clients might think of the real you? Or study others to figure out what you should do? Are you curious to hear how this guest faced these same questions but then rejected this way of thinking?

Then be sure to hit play – because this episode is one you don’t want to miss!

Elizabeth Priya Kumar is the Founder and CEO of Premini Events, an award-winning event planning and creative service agency. With offices in both NYC and Los Angeles, Priya has over a decade of experience in producing luxury weddings around the world. In addition, the Wedding International Planners Association named her the 2019 Planner of the Year.

Currently, Priya serves on the Board of Directors for the NYC Chapter of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association. Her work has also been featured in countless publications, including Harper’s Bazaar, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Town & Country, BRIDES, The New York Times, Refinery29, Party Slate, South Asian Bride Magazine, TLC’s Four Weddings, Strictly Weddings, and The Knot.

In this episode, Priya shares how truly being herself has shaped her company. Specifically, she talks about the mindset of belief, surrender, and gratitude that fuels her success.

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Wedding Industry Biz

How to Use Analytics to Optimize Your Messaging

You’re a smart, established professional who runs a successful business. So, why is it so hard to know what your ideal clients want to hear?

You try to be useful. You try to educate. You try to showcase your best work. But something’s not working the way you think it should.

Well, sometimes a big mistake that wedding planners make is unintentionally focusing too much on themselves. They emphasize what they like, what they want, and what they think is important. In essence, their marketing is all about them.

Instead, with a few small tweaks, you can start targeting your ideal clients with strategic messaging that makes them feel seen and understood.

Because when you make your ideal clients feel understood, it builds trust in you and your services.  Importantly, it’s how you can demonstrate, rather than just talk about, the value you offer.

But, how do you know what will make them feel this way? Fortunately, it’s easier than might think – you already have valuable information at your fingertips.

Here’s how to maximize your presence throughout your marketing channels, with the help of some light research and a little bit of data.

Your blog

Since your blog lives on your website, you can use Google Analytics to get an idea of the content that resonates with your audience best. The first thing you’ll want to look at is a traffic report to identify the blog posts that received the most visitors. These numbers can hint at the topic categories that garnered the most interest, but it’s important to note that traffic per post can also differ because of your promotional efforts. A heavily-promoted blog post will naturally see more visitors than one that is only shared once or twice.

For this reason, you’ll want to look at a few other metrics: time spent on each post, bounce rates, and conversion rates. If you notice that a blog post saw a much higher average time spent on the page, it’s a good sign that visitors stayed around for a thorough read. Lower times and high bounce rates signify a post that doesn’t keep a reader’s interest.
So, conversion rates are a vital piece of data as it’s where the money lies. Check out the blog posts that garnered the most conversions —what sets them apart? You might have had a particularly strong call-to-action, or perhaps it was a well-written piece that nailed your ideal client’s pain points. Follow the data to the highest-performing posts and continue to replicate the success.

Your social media

All of the top social media platforms have built-in analytic dashboards that are pretty robust, providing valuable data points to inform your marketing strategy. Review your top-performing posts to see what kind of content draws in the most engagement. Perhaps your audience loves sharing input when you ask them leading questions in a post. Maybe your weekly advice posts attract a lot of attention. Take note of the type of content that is most interesting to your audience, and adjust your content strategy to align with it going forward.

Of course, social media likes don’t translate to cold hard cash. That’s what conversion rates are for! Take it one step further by looking at the Social data report to see which social media platform sends the most traffic and conversions. You can then match up the dates with your social media posts to identify the content that truly drove the most conversions.

Once you’ve gathered enough data to tell you what your audience loves (and what they don’t), you’ll be able to answer the three core questions that drive a great marketing strategy:

  1. What should I start doing?
  2. What should I improve?
  3. What should I stop doing?
As you learn more and more about your audience’s preferences, your messaging and overall marketing strategy will hone in on your ideal client with precision, and your bottom line will grow accordingly. All it takes is paying a little bit of attention to your data, and you’ll be well on your way to a more profitable future.


Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA, and the ABC Conference.

Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 072: Tasha Bracken Challenges You to Invest in the Brand That You Want to Build

Feel like you’ve ramped up your business too quickly? Or like you’ve given so much you’re burned-out?

If so, then be sure to listen to this podcast episode!

Tasha Bracken is the Owner and Principle Event Producer at Tasha Bracken Events and the Founder of Protégé Collaborative for Planners. She has almost two decades of experience in event planning, and her work has been featured in numerous publications such as Style Me Pretty and Carats & Cake. With a background in PR and Marketing, Tasha is an industry expert in producing weddings as well as nonprofit galas. She has also won the NACE Boston chapter award Wedding of the Year five times.

In this episode, Tasha talks about the way that she rebranded her business and refreshed her love of event production.

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Wedding Industry Insider Podcast

WII 071: Chanda Daniels Encourages You to Be Brave Enough to Be Yourself

Caught in the trap of trying to please everyone? Wondering how to attract the type of clients that you want?

If so, then be sure to listen to this podcast episode!

Chanda Daniels is the Owner and Executive Designer of A Monique Affair, one of the leading event planning companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also the Founder and Creative Director of Chanda Daniels Planning + Design, which specializes in highly customized, same-sex weddings. An industry leader in producing weddings for the LGBTQ+ community, Chanda is certified LGBTQ+ inclusive through Equally Wed Pro. With over 20 years of design experience, her work has appeared in numerous publications, such as Equally Wed, H&H Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, and Carats & Cake. Additionally, she has been recognized by Harper’s Bazaar, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Brides as one of the top wedding planners in the world.

In this episode, Chanda talks about why it’s important to go after what you want, even if other people think it won’t work. Specifically, she explains how being yourself is the best way to find your path and measure your success.

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