Let's welcome March, the month the spring flowers emerge and we can look forward to longer nights, warmer weather and of course wedding season.
But what if your wedding season starts to become miserable, that particular Bridezilla is actually making you dread checking your email, taking up an extraordinary amount of your time leaving you unable to service your other clients as well as you would like.
You signed up that charming, dream client only to find they have turned into Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
If you haven't watched the film you must, Veruca's character is a greedy demanding spoilt brat. Veruca's exit from the film is when she is classed as a bad nut by the squirrels and thrown into the Chocolate Factory's garbage.
Now sadly you can't throw your Bridezilla's, or even a Groomzilla, into the garbage but here is what you can do to protect your sanity and, at times, your business.
Set your boundaries, both personally and professionally. No one offers unlimited calls and emails, if you have this on your website take it down asap!
Worse still it is in your services and contracts? If this is you, you have set yourself up to fail.
If you would love to read more about setting your wedding business boundaries correctly from the beginning when you receive that initial enquiry then I ask you to read the rest of this blog post, you will thank me for it later!
Here are just five tips you should consider when starting your business offering Wedding Planning Services.
START THE WAY YOU MEAN TO CARRY ON
The first port of call is your website as here you will have set out your services page. Read your services page and see if there is anything that could be misleading to a potential client and is actually something you don't want to offer.
An example would be unlimited emails and calls. By stating this you are setting yourself up to fail, there are no boundaries in place so a client would take this literally. Do you really want to be doing unlimited emails and calls?
Another example would be book your free call here. Why would you want to speak to potentially unqualified clients by booking a free call?
You haven't established if you wish to work with them, you have no idea what their wedding budget is, yet have stated this on your website.
Qualifying potential clients first is something that shouldn't be done by offering a free consultation call.
You should be doing this via one email to them, then if they are someone who you can work with then offering a call.
HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO BE CONTACTED?
Have you stated on your Social Media or website how you expect to be contacted? Are you available on email, Whatsapp, DM in Instagram, Messenger on Facebook or via Linked in?
If so then how you are planning to manage all these forms of communication moving forwards?
When you are busy and flying around, in a whirl of confetti, during wedding season will you be able to track all these forms of communication and be able to refer back to them when you need to follow up or check something?
If you run into a problem will a Whatsapp message be suffice and hold up in court?
Don't run your business like your social life, run it properly with an email only policy. This way emails are filed, checked back on and can be referred back to at anytime, they will also stand up in court and be officially recognised should you encounter a problem.
By all means have a DM or Whatsapp button to get initial enquiries but once you start working with a client have it stated very clearly how you wish to be communicated to moving forwards. You don't see solicitors telling you to send them a Whatsapp.
It isn't professional, it creates a sense of urgency for you feeling you have to reply straight away and messages will get lost or overlooked.
YOUR WORKING HOURS
I know many wedding planners work when they can, we don't do a 9 to 5 job. We aren't in this industry to do a 9 to 5 job and want flexibility.
We have children, homes to run, meetings, balancing another job until you can go full time in your business, making fancy dress costumes up at night when you child has just announced she has to go to school dressed as a number for the day at 8pm, the list is endless. Set yourself your own boundaries when it comes to your working hours that fit in with your lifestyle and you are comfortable managing.
Don't reply to messages or emails at the weekends unless it is absolutely urgent. I have only had one case in the past 15 years which is deemed as what I considered urgent and this involved a death of a family member two days before their wedding.
As you get busier the weekends will be taken up with weddings, give yourself a day off after the weekend so you can regroup ready for the rest of the week.
Don't be constantly checking your emails and responding straight away. Set aside time each day, twice a day to check in and respond to the most important ones and check back later to respond to the other emails. Leave the ones you responded to that day until the next morning.
If you are on email all the time and replying straight away you are setting yourself up for ping pong email as the clients or suppliers see you are online and responding. Do what you have to do then step away and close email down.
BE SUPER CLEAR WITH YOUR CONTRACTS AND PROPOSALS
When you are sending clients your details of services, proposals and contracts be super clear as to what they will be getting and keep it consistent throughout your documentation.
You don't want the vacuous unlimited emails and calls. You state exactly how many calls you will do with a client depending on which service they book. This could be one a month for full planning and one every two months for your part planning or you could limit the part planning/day coordination to just 5 one hour calls via Zoom.
How many meetings are offered in your services. Usually one meeting at the venue, one meeting for the food tasting and one meeting prior to the wedding day is enough. You don't need to be at the hair and makeup trials, dress fittings, florist consultations, they are in the hands of the experts you have recommended to them who are perfectly capable of conducting the meetings with the clients with a brief from you beforehand.
Reiterate your contracts again with your follow up proposals or 'how we work' brochures, this means they have not only read the contract but are reading it again via further documents you send them.
If they start to become demanding refer them back to the original contract and proposal. When I say demanding I don't mean this in a derogatory way, clients get understandably excited and are in full on wedding planning mode.
But for you trying to manage a business this can be hard to deal with without deflating their balloons or find you are becoming disappointing for them. By stating very clearly from the outset how you will work with them puts aside trying to reign them in afterwards.
All wedding planners know that once booked their clients will feel they are the only wedding that ever happened but in reality you maybe managing about 30 or even more for that year. You want your clients to feel special, of course, but setting boundaries with them right from the start will help them with their expectations of the services you offer.
CHARGE YOUR WORTH
You have invested a lot of your time into creating your dream business, you have built out a website, you have systems and tools in place, some paid for, in order to do your work. You will be paying for internet, phone, laptops, staff, support and courses to help you improve your business skills.
Clients need to recognise you are bringing skills to the table they don't have, so charge your worth.
They need you, your knowledge of the wedding industry, your little black book of suppliers you know, like and trust, your knowledge of the area in which you are working, your language skills, your organisation of their wedding.
Knowing which areas they need to focus on next and taking them on their wedding planning journey, charge your worth as you are saving them an awful lot of time, headaches and worry.
NEVER UNDERSELL YOURSELF
Never undersell yourself even if you are just starting. It maybe you don't feel confident enough to charge a decent service fee, or you think by undercutting other planners or suppliers rates you will get bookings.
You may well get bookings but you will be attracting in the wrong clients for your business. You will find yourself stuck at a certain level and not able to progress up to the weddings you truly wanted to do. Is this what you want for your wedding business?
You will find yourself in a situation where you are working so hard, burning out and not making the money you wished for.
HOW YOU CAN WORK WITH ME
If you have loved this blog post and it resonates with you there are different ways you can connect with me.
I run a free Facebook group called the Business of Weddings Lounge.
If you see other businesses nailing it, getting more bookings, yet you can't even seem to drum up one client, then come and join my Membership Club.
The Membership Club is full of tutorials, workshops and support to help you with all the aspects of running a business, marketing, social media, using Pinterest plus templates and blog posts done for you. Give yourself the edge and become the business nailing it and getting those lovely weddings on your portfolio.
You can work at your own pace within the Membership Club, there is no pressure or judgement just a supportive group of wedding business owners just like you.
I also work 1:1 with clients for 4 months with my personalised coaching to take your dream to a reality fast. Teaching you all the skills and supplying you with all the tools you will need to run a successful wedding business. Currently I am not taking on any one to one's until the autumn so if you are interested read more here.