Most people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions. Today I’m listing 10 helpful New Year’s Resolutions for Wedding Professionals that are too easy to give up on. What makes them so easy? None of them involve a diet or a gym membership.
That’s not to say that a new year isn’t a great time to start improving your health, but there’s always other stuff to improve. I think it’s really important to consistently evaluate your job performance. It’s about recognizing what works and what doesn’t and then making the necessary adjustments.
While this blog is geared towards wedding professionals, you can find ways to apply these New Year’s resolutions regardless of your career. Maybe you’ll commit to just one thing on the list, or maybe you’ll commit to all ten…or maybe you’ll get a few paragraphs in and feel the need to blow up my comments section with your opinions. If this blog makes you take a hard look at the way you do business and consider making any changes, then hey, mission accomplished.
So, before we get into February, here is my list of 10 helpful New Year’s resolutions for wedding professionals.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you click a link of a product being recommended. There is no additional cost to you and you might even save money (plus I only recommend stuff I love)!!
Resolutions for Wedding Professionals
Even though we’re practically in February, you don’t need to wait for a new year to make some changes in your life. In fact, you could be reading this blog for the first time in July, or saving it to your Pinterest to read it any time you want (while you’re there, make sure to follow us!). The point is, we’re always looking for ways to be better in all aspects of our life, regardless of the date on the calendar.
You also don’t need to be a wedding professional to take advantage of these 10 resolutions. As a wedding planner, my job is constantly influenced by people and trends. People and trends have one major thing in common: they change. Every year, new people get engaged and the population changes. Trends fluctuate in weddings from year to year and sometimes within the same year. This means, if wedding professionals don’t adapt to change, they won’t succeed in the wedding industry.
1. Accept, Embrace, and Be One with Change
Wedding professionals complain about their job just like anyone else. Some of the complaints are more popular than others, but even ones that are different have something in common: they all relate to changes. The best example?
Millennials getting married.
For the past 5-10 years we’ve been hearing this cry, “The millennials are coming! The millennials are coming!” as if it was an invasion warning. How the millennial generation has impacted different industries has been a news story since 2016. Every other generation is tired of hearing about millennials, and millennials are tired of hearing about how they are just the worst.
Regardless of your opinion though, if you ignore the impact millennials have on your business, your business will be affected. It’s important to understand your market and who is in the driver’s seat. Millennials have had their foot on the gas in the wedding industry for awhile now and they represent the majority of people who are getting married. And yes, they created some changes for wedding professionals.
You don’t have to relate to a generation in order to be successful in business; you just have to understand them. A resolution that many wedding professionals need to commit to, is accepting, embracing, and being one with change. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with a couple, as long as you can work with them. It’s very simple business: offer the product the people want and the people will buy it.
Or you could sit there and complain in a wedding professionals Facebook group about how much easier weddings were back in the good ol’ days.
2. Stop Pretending Social Media Isn’t Important
When I first started as a wedding planner, I got my name out there by advertising on large wedding websites. This is a practice that many wedding professionals still do. However, it is no longer the only or even the best way to get in front of potential engaged couples.
I’m not breaking some news everyone doesn’t already know, but, many people need to take this resolution more seriously. If you’re not leveraging social media as part of your business plan, then you are in trouble. Social media is a change that some wedding professionals are not only uncomfortable with, but use as a topic to commiserate over.
Let me let you in on a secret though: While you’re venting to your friends that are wedding professionals about how hard social media is, or how you don’t have time to learn it or whatever your excuse is (yes, excuse), the wedding professionals that aren’t complaining, are taking those engaged couples and turning them into clients.
The statement “that isn’t my client” doesn’t work here either. Because, if that’s not your client, then you won’t have any clients in the future. Does everyone use social media to plan their wedding? No. But a lot more people do than you think. It’s not just millennials either…moms of brides find me on Pinterest every day.
There are countless resources available to help you learn the social media ropes, including this blog and this blog, both written by yours truly. If you’re ready to resolve to make social media a priority, but aren’t sure how to start, then contact us about our social media marketing packages.
3. Don’t Believe Everything You See (And Don’t Let It Mess Up What You’re Doing)
Social media is important AF, that is a fact. It’s essential to know how to use the particular platforms that are popular in your industry. As a wedding professional, learning Instagram and Pinterest is more important than anything else. Timing your posts based on when your ideal client will see them is essential. Thankfully, Tailwind takes the guess work out of that…and if you’re not using Tailwind, see resolution number 4.
As important as social media is, the important part is to use it to benefit you, not to mess up what you’re doing. We’re all guilty of falling down the social media rabbit hole. One minute you’re watching your friends video on Facebook, and a quick 3 hours later you’re watching elephants learn how to sew and you forgot to pick your grandma up from the doctor’s office.
Social media is a huge time waster. The amount of time we spend on our phones, looking at the “lives” of everyone else, is crazy. It’s one thing if you’re using social media just to be social. As a wedding professional though, you’re likely using it to be social and for business. This means you’re spending at least twice as much time on social media as a person who doesn’t need it with spend. I don’t know about you, but I have no time to give to anything or anyone that doesn’t benefit me in a positive way.
Looking at what other people are doing or accomplishing on social media does not benefit you in a positive way if you are coming from a negative place.
Everyone knows to not believe everything they see on social media. So why are you believing the success of someone you consider to be your competition based on their Instagram stories? No wedding professional is going to post about the lack of business they have because that would be crazy. But it is none of your business how “well” someone else is doing, if it’s only going to make you feel bad about yourself and where you’re at. Every minute you spend scrolling your feed to check on your competition, is a minute you could have spent making yourself better.
4. Manage Your Time Better
If you have read even one of my social media blog posts, you know how much I love Tailwind. Tailwind has been a game changer for me based on the amount of time it saves me alone.
OK, so, real quick…Tailwind is an app of sorts that helps you schedule posts on both Pinterest and Instagram. To help you succeed on Instagram, Tailwind will tell you the best times to post and then do the posting for you. None of this generic advice about what the best times are to post for everyone…because, who cares about everyone else? Right? Not you, because you just read number 3!
Not only does Tailwind tell you what times are best to post, but they also will tell you what hashtags to use to increase engagement. Basically, this is the answer to your prayers. No more guessing what time your ideal client is scrolling IG or trying to figure out what hashtags they are using or analyzing which ones will get you on the explore page. Tailwind does it for you.
To get the most out of Pinterest (which is where every bride and her mom lives), you should be posting anytime between 20-50 times per day. No one, absolutely no one, has time for that. What everyone does have time for, is scheduling out those pins so that they will post at, you guessed it, the best times that Tailwind has figured out for you.
These are just a few of the amazing things that Tailwind can do for you. The point is, Tailwind will give you back all of the time you’re wasting doing this stuff on your own. You can use my link to find out more and sign up with the package that is right for you right here.
There are countless other apps and tools out there that are designed to make you stand out and give you your time back. Want an easy way to make videos? Use Animoto. Looking for the best way to make Pinterest board covers? Canva is the answer. The idea is to save your time and spend that extra time improving your business though, not looking at cat videos on YouTube. Got it?
5. Stop Walking Around With Your Hands Out
Since I am a wedding planner, I am usually one of the first vendors booked when a couple gets engaged. In fact, most of my couples start working with me before doing anything else so that I can help them select the best venue and vendors. This means I hear from vendors quite frequently, soliciting their services. The emails go a little like this:
“Hey Danielle! I’m so and so with random DJ company you’ve never heard of. We’ve won 2 billion awards and can offer so much more to your clients than any other DJ ever could in the past, present or future. We’d love it if you could recommend us completely blind to the couples who are paying you for your recommendations.”
Look, I am totally cool with networking and reaching out. How else are you supposed to work with new people and expand your circle? The problem starts when you come at a wedding planner basically for the sole purpose of getting them to get their clients to give you money.
You should only want to be on the preferred vendor lists that makes sense for you. This means you have to do your research about the planner. What is their style and does it align with yours? Do you think you truly (be honest) can bring something to the table that the planner’s clients will want? If you’re going to reach out to planners about being recommended, make it clear that you looked at their work and give examples of what you like and why you would be a good fit in their book. Offer to meet them at their office, send them samples of your product, and never ever send a generic cut and paste email to every planner in your area.
We all talk.
6. Don’t Trash Talk
This might make you scratch your head, but I cannot tell you how many vendors have approached me about being recommended, while simultaneously bashing the vendors I already recommend.
Like…dude, who are you?
No lie, there is a DJ who once asked me what he could do to get in my preferred book. Literally, just like that. Before I could even answer him, he asked me who I currently work with. Now, that’s really none of his business, but given anyone could figure it out just by looking at my social media, I gave him the names of my preferred DJs. His response was to tell me which ones he had never even heard of, and the ones he had heard of, he bashed.
Trash talking about a vendor to another vendor about a vendor that thinks you like them (follow all of that?) is also no bueno. Many friendships I have were formed from the wedding planning industry. I frequently get together socially with vendors I work with and I’ve even been invited to milestone events of theirs like weddings. Everyone likes to gossip, and people in the wedding industry really love to gossip (it’s true, don’t at me). This isn’t “Mean Girls” where it’s acceptable to have a friendship with a vendor, then turn around and bash that vendor to another vendor. If you’re not cool with someone, then tell them (more on that in number 10).
It’s also not acceptable to bash a vendor to a planner from a wedding that you didn’t get selected for. I make recommendations to my couples and they choose who they want to work with. Your opinion on the pictures, music, flowers or anything else, is irrelevant. Not only do you come across as jealous AF, but you are insulting the planner’s wedding work. Pretend you’re back in fifth grade and remember that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.
7. Never Make People Chase You
I have always been baffled by the people that run away from money. I’ll email a venue or a vendor about a potential new client and then be forced to follow up when I don’t receive a response. If you’re non-responsive before you earn a dime, what will happen when you’re actually on the payroll?
My contract with my couples has very specific language in it regarding response time. That response time is 24 hours. I might not even know the answer to their question, but I always respond to let them know I received their email and am working on it. Acknowledging emails and inquiries quickly, goes a long way and I have worked with couples who booked me because I responded to them before other planners.
It’s especially frustrating when you’re trying to give someone money and have to send emails that start with, “following up on my inquiry…” The bottom line is, customer service is what we do. After all, this is a service industry, right? No one wants to hear excuses either about how busy you are, so quit it with that noise immediately. Everyone is busy.
Along those same lines, it needs to be easy to contact you. Providing a contact form on your website is a must, but listing your email, phone number and even office address is better. All of your social media profiles should include the best way to contact you in the clearest way possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating to work 25/8 around the clock. It’s super important to find a work life balance (yes, that’s number 8) and avoid burning out. Make your office hours visible anywhere you can, and always put up an “out of office” when you won’t be responding to emails. If you have a mailing list and will be away for any amount of time, be sure to send out a notice a week in advance to remind people that you will not be reachable.
8.Find Your Work-Life Balance
Told you this was number 8.
This resolution is one that I make every year, and I think I’ve gotten better as the years have gone by. There are still the occasional all-nighters or days when I can’t leave the office as early as planned. However, those times are now the exception and not the rule.
The biggest challenge I found in finding my work-life balance, is accepting that my to-do lists were too long. I never made a list that could get done in one day. Never. This would leave me frustrated by the end of the day, thinking that I got nothing done…even when I skipped lunch (sometimes dinner), and worked for 10 hours straight. I was never satisfied because I knew that I had that much more to do the next day. Because of this, I started making more manageable to-do lists and being realistic with what I could actually accomplish in a day. If I don’t finish that list, I try (really hard) to not beat myself up.
In order to tackle the to-do lists I make, I use block scheduling. In essence, block scheduling is literally carving out the time period you will work on something every day. This includes big projects to checking emails, and it’s helped me realize just how long things take to get done. So, on any given day, I will block out 15-30 minutes a few times a day to check my emails. I will not check it any other time. I do the same for everything else I need to get done, and when the time expires, it expires. That’s it.
You also have to remove any feelings of guilt that you have when you choose your family over work. What would it really mean if you answered just a few more emails, but missed dinner with your spouse and/or kids? Look at the time you spend working versus the time you spend with your loved ones…then add in the time you need to take care of yourself. Does it appear unbalanced?
9. Enough With The Discounts
Part of business is beating out the competition, and part of beating out the competition has to do with price. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person with the lowest cost always wins. In fact, sometimes the most expensive option wins and that’s because the customer sees the value in the numbers. So, if this is true, why are so many of you undercutting your fellow vendors by offering to work for almost nothing? If you found out that the main reason you got a job was because you were the cheapest option, how would that make you feel?
It shouldn’t sit well with you. It should bother you.
There’s this saying that goes, “Know your worth. Then add tax.” I love it because we’re all guilty of negotiating our prices to costs we’re not really comfortable with every once in awhile. Ever wonder what goes through the minds of the people who don’t make their choices based on whose services are cheaper?
True story: When I first started planning on my own, my goal was to build up my portfolio. I had experience, but I needed my own weddings to advertise with. Because I was so desperate and I also had a side job to keep me from going homeless on my quest to be the Olivia Pope of wedding planners, I had low prices. I mean they were ridiculous. If I could go back and smack past me, I would.
Anyway, that all changed when one day I was called for “Day Of” coordination. This was straight up logistics- no vendor booking, no designing, nothing. It would be a gorgeous wedding and I would have crazy good photos for my website. I put minimal thought into my quote, with my main focus being just to get the job. I didn’t get the job. What I did get was an email from the bride, who explained to me that my pricing was so low compared to everyone else that it made her nervous. She said I put myself in an unprofessional light and she would’ve been scared to hire me.
Here’s another true story though: Very recently I was recommended to a couple for design and “Day Of” coordination services. Besides knowing the service I bring to the table, there were a lot of difficult issues with this wedding that caused me to raise my price. In this instance, the vendor that recommended me to this couple is someone I work with all the time and who has an established presence in the wedding industry. Whenever that happens, I am hired 90% of the time. In addition to that recommendation, this wedding was happening in a venue that I work in quite often. On top of that, there was a healthy budget mixed with the bride’s sheer panic that the day would fall apart without a planner.
I didn’t get the job. Why? Because another planner undercut me. We’re not talking a difference of a few dollars either. No, we’re talking a difference of thousands. The same tactic that I had used when I first started out, was what beat me out of a job that I now have the experience to do.
What is the point of these two very conflicting stories? Cost matters to people, but it’s not always about being the cheaper option. When you lower your prices, you are seriously hurting the wedding industry. Look at all the nonsense put out by major wedding websites saying what things cost. Can those venues and vendors be found at those prices? Absolutely- especially if the undercutting continues. You literally reinforce the fake wedding costs by bringing your prices down through the floor.
Do some quick math on your numbers and figure out what your hourly rate comes to based on your quote and how many hours you’ll be working. This is especially helpful for planners who do work leading up to the actual wedding day. Don’t even factor in other costs like overhead, product, travel or whatever. Would you accept another job at that hourly rate? It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out, want to book the date, or anything else. You disrespect the entire industry when you undercut everyone else just to get the job.
10. Be You
Authenticity is very hard to come by in an industry where brown-nosing is commonplace. This is not to insult the industry I am in, but, if I’m being honest (and I’m always being honest) there isn’t exactly a shortage of fake personalities.
This is not to say you should be rude or unkind, but you do yourself and everyone around you a disservice by not being you. Being you can be really scary as this is largely a word of mouth industry. Heaven Forbid you insult the wrong person and suddenly wind up with no clients and have to close up shop.
Here’s the thing with being authentic though: you will instantly be more respected. People will know that they can trust your words. Venues and vendors won’t ever wonder if you mean what you say, or if you’re going to say something different as soon as you leave the room. Even better, couples will know they can trust you with their wedding day.
You need to ask yourself, everyday, if you’re being authentic with what you’re doing. Is your brand really you, or someone else? If people in the industry were asked about you as a person, what would they say?
Another easy way to be authentic, is to be honest with those you work with about anything that is bothering you. Trash talk doesn’t do anything but spread negativity in this industry that is supposed to be based on a foundation of love. I have a rule that I separate myself from those that I don’t have anything nice to say about. You will never catch me making negative comments about anyone that I hide my problems from. If you’re having an issue with a client or someone in the industry, choose to deal with it directly instead of using it as a complaint when talking to someone else.
2019 and Beyond
It is never too late to start improving yourself. You don’t need a new year or even a new day to commit to making some changes. As you evolve in your business, will you learn your lessons or will you refuse to grow? What will you resolve this year and beyond?