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Crystal Young knew she couldn’t be stuck in the 9-to-5 world forever, so she took a leap of faith and stepped out into the entrepreneurial world of event planning! Read our interview with the…
I had the honor of being asked by Weddings Beautiful Worldwide my experiences as a certified wedding specialist and my experiences after investing and excelling in their program. Here’s what I had to say:
Diving Head First into Business and Getting a Wake Up Call
I got my CWS and I was ready to roll.
Actually, I was ready to roll when I ENrolled in the program, but I was seriously ready to get going with my business once I was officially certified.
I took all that I’d learned, my energizer-bunny gumption, and dove in head first.
But then, I got a HUGE reality check.
Planning and designing the perfect wedding came easily. I was good at that.
But, planning a wedding is one thing; growing your own business is another.
Booking brides every month and bringing in a consistent stream of income was h.a.r.d.
It was easy to connect with brides once they were “in the door,” but how did I get them in the door?
Why I’ve Never Stopped Learning (or Investing in Education)
I relied heavily on referrals, spent time brainstorming creative ways to get my name out there, and attended every conference in order to extend my network of event professionals and learn from different professionals outside of my arena. I also attended every bridal show you can imagine.
Starting my business was a huge leap of faith, but, sometimes, the only way to get to where you need to be is to leap.
I booked events, I loved what I was doing, but despite all of my efforts, I wasn’t reaching my goals and I didn’t feel like I was creating the sustainable business I’d always dreamed of.
So, I invested in a business coach who also ran her own successful wedding planning company.
I knew that if I was going to truly succeed at running a business that could give me the kind of lifestyle I wanted, I had to continue to invest in myself and invest in learning.
I went from hustling to taking a step back and building the foundation of my business right.
I set up systems, I set up processes, I learned how to use social media to market effectively, and I learned the value of viewing other wedding planners not as my competition, but as my community of professionals and friends.
I self-published my first book: “A Girlfriend’s Guide to a Crystal Clear Guide: No-nonsense Wedding Tips from a Seasoned Wedding Planner” and continued to find ways to add value to my brides.
The more I stepped out, the more I began to believe in myself eveeeeen more and the value I had to offer. As I got the foundation right, what I was building became more solid and sustainable.
As wedding planners, it’s easy to forget about the business and marketing side, because we want to focus on creating and organizing, BUT, we’re really only free to create the experience we hope to for our clients, when we have the right things in place.
As Wedding Planners, Sometimes We Forget to Plan for Ourselves
As wedding planners, sometimes we forget to plan for ourselves and for our businesses. We plan for our couple’s weddings, but we don’t always have a step-by-step plan for how we’ll attract brides, interact with them once they contact us, and nurture them through the process of choosing us.
We create an amazing “end” experience with their wedding, but we forget about the experience from the moment they fill out a contact form or give us a call.
If I could offer any advice to those just starting out, it would be to spend the time to really plan for yourself and your business and to lay the foundation correctly.
Create a proper marketing plan, be completely prepared for clients with canned email responses, welcome guides, frequently asked questions, and valuable content they’ll benefit from. Give them an experience that wows from the beginning not just from the moment they sign the contract.
I absolutely love being a wedding planner and running my own business. Now that I’m running in the “right gear” and have trained for what I’m going to encounter, I’m even more excited about what the future holds.
Plan for you and your business, then you can truly plan for brides and give them the type of experience that’s going to keep them sending others your way.
If you are interested in obtaining your CWS please visit http://www.weddingsbeautiful.com/
I have used this method with a lot of my brides. When you and your fiancé have agreed on a set number of
guests, utilize this tip. I know you want Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike (and their dates) to see you make your entrance, but remember you have to pay for EVERY person that is going to occupy a seat at your wedding.
If you haven’t talked to them in the past 2 years, they shouldn’t be first priority on your list. Yes I know you want to invite your first grade teacher, or your mom wants to invite her co-worker of 20 years, but who is going to pay for all these people? This might sound like more work but believe me..it works out in the end. Ask your parent(s) to provide a guest list for the family. This list will be family members and their friends that they feel are important to invite to the wedding. Ask your fiancé to have his parent(s) do the same thing. You and your fiancé will create separate lists of individuals that you want to invite. From these lists you will develop the priority guest list and the secondary guest list. You will develop these lists by sitting down and discussing who should be added to these list with the creators of the list (your parents, your fiancé’s parents and your fiancé). For example, your favorite cousin Betty was on your mother’s list. You both agree that she should be on the priority guest list, while you both agree that your great uncle on your mom’s side who you never met might be on the secondary guest list. The secondary guest list will be used to fill in the slots of people who politely decline due to other obligations. All in all (if you have the funds) you might be able to invite EVERYONE to your wedding but if you have put yourself on a strict budget, some names won’t make it to the priority or secondary guest-list at all. If you use this tip, I assure you everyone who is suppose to be at the wedding will be there.
22 Days of Wedding Etiquette – Day 3: How can I back out of my duties as a bridesmaid if I can’t afford and no longer want to do it?
If you think finances might be a problem, talk with the bride about what expenses you might incur before accepting. Bridesmaids typically pay for their own attire (including alterations and shoes), hair, travel expenses and possibly makeup. Other than illness or a family emergency its not acceptable to back out once you’ve committed. If you have no choice but to cancel, its important to let the bride know as soon as possible. ***Brides make sure you are being FAIR to your wedding party. If you know your bridesmaid can’t afford a $350 dress you will need to plan accordingly by doing 3 things: (1) Find a dress with a price point that works for everyone (2) If the dresses mean more to you than who wears them do not ask someone to be in your wedding if they can’t afford it (you know your friends and families financial situations) and (3) Assist them with paying for other things such as jewelry or make-up. This can be tricky because if you do for one you have to do for all.***
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