At Weddings Beautiful we know a lot of wedding experts. So we've reached out to some fantastic wedding planners who are doing amazing things with their business and asked them to share their secrets with you. A special thanks to our expert Crystal Marie Young-Lewis for her fantastic advice!
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 numerous conferences/workshops in order to extend my network and learn from different event 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 Bride: 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.
Crystal Marie Young-Lewis is the founder and Chief Event Extraordinaire at Crystal Marie Events located in Detroit, MI. She is also the author of the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller “A Girlfriend’s Guide to a Crystal Clear Bride.” Crystal is known for her no-nonsense wedding planning tips, her zest for life, commitment to her brides, and her out-of-the-box style and personality. Crystal Marie Events was voted the 2015 Best of Detroit Event Planner and she continues to win over brides and entire families with her authenticity and humor.