Always Do the Basics

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tipsLeave a Comment

Recently a wedding planner had a couple tell her a few days before the wedding that they were disappointed with her services and regretted hiring her.  They had been difficult clients leading up to this point and she was already doing everything she could to make them happy.  After getting their feedback, she went into overdrive to try to make it the best wedding ever, even bringing in an extra staff member on the day. But, you know how sometimes negative feedback can just make you unravel and not think straight?  This is exactly what happened.  Things that happen like clockwork didn’t happen that night and one part of the coordination was left out at the wedding.  To some couples it would not be a big thing, but to this couple, it would probably be a huge point of contention as they had already complained prior to the event. What did this planner do?  The next morning when she realized her mistake, she decided to refund her entire coordination fee plus whatever it would cost to fix the error of that last part left out.  She felt that she would not be able to move on had she not done this. Needless to say she was out thousands of dollars from her own fee, paying out her staff as well as rectifying the last portion. I asked her if she has a standard checklist that she uses for events to ensure things won’t fall through the cracks and mistakes like the … Read More

Don’t Mess with Money

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Two things that I believe are very serious are your word and money.   Your word costs nothing but the value is truly priceless.  Money on the other hand is what keeps the bills paid, keeps the electricity on and food on the table. This business can be quite seasonal and you will have to get quite good at budgeting your money.  Or depending on how you take your payments, you will need to be good with your money that way too.  Any way you look at it, money is an important thing and not only do you need to be mindful of your own money, but you need to be extremely mindful of any payments you have going out to any vendors. If you are a planner, for example and one of your duties is tracking payments for your couple, these vendors count on you as a partner that you will help keep the couple on track with their payments.  If every time a certain couple works with you, payments or contracts come in late how do you think the vendor will feel about working with you?  If one planner can always get in payments on time but another always has problems, you will start to get a reputation as not being able to manage your clients, which is not a good thing. If vendors are not getting paid, they may start to worry and worrying on the job, especially money worries is not a good thing to have … Read More

The Continuous Vendor Relationship

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Over the years, I’ve never been asked more by vendors than “how do I get on your vendor list?” But what a lot of vendors don’t realize is that it truly isn’t a sprint, but a marathon of sorts of a process.  In my free guide I show you not only how to get on the vendor list of your favorite luxury hotel property, but how to stay on as well.  Most lists are cylindrical and change yearly or on a need-be basis. You have to look at each relationship if it is mutually beneficial.  This may seem obvious, but some hotels charge you to be on their lists with an upfront charge or as you get the bookings, must pay some sort of commission.  You must decide if this is worth it to you or would you be able to get these bookings on your own?  Some properties force clients to pick vendors exclusively off of their list, so in these cases, it may be beneficial to be on that list.  You also want to consider how you are treated by a particular property and ease of working there.  If it is difficult for you to do your job due to load in constraints or uncooperative staff as an example, I’ve known vendors that have refused jobs at certain venues because they know they cannot perform at certain areas to the fullest of their capabilities.  When and if this changes, you will need to reevaluate your situation. Once you are … Read More

Are You Making These Weeks/Months Work For You?

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tipsLeave a Comment

Everyone knows this is the busiest engagement time of the year which sometimes can lead to your busiest booking season too.  Are you ready for it? Earlier this year, David Adler of BizBash tweeted from the Engage! 14 Luxury Wedding Business Summit. @davidadler, BizBash 83% connect to wedding brands via social media more than go to vendor website–41% follow before booking #Bizbash #engage14 @davidadler, BizBash Luxury brides plan 8 – 9 months ahead of time and book six months says Brides survey #bizbash #engage14 Now what does this mean for you? First, if your social media needs a makeover, now would be the time to give it some attention. Next, even if the venue may be the first part to get booked, or the planner, the couples are already shopping around–do you have strategies in place to make the most of this booking season?  Are you offering anything new, unique or different?  How will you stand out this year?

Wedding Planners–Your Biggest Competition May Not Be Who You Think it Is

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I feel like every time I turn around there is a new planner getting in the industry.  I think is there truly enough business for everyone?  Do you find yourself just as busy as last year, busier, or less busy?  Do you think it’s because of your competition or something else? What I find odd is that more often that not, I have to sell the idea of wedding planners to people. These couples are no less short of income than the same couples 3 – 4 years ago.   I have found that couples who have not already bought into the planner idea fall into one of these categories: Ones that think that planners who are only for those who want weddings like those that grace the pages of “Martha Stewart” or “Style Me Pretty.” Ones that think planners are for people who do not know how to organize anything on their own or know know nothing about project management.  “Heck, I’ve seen The Apprentice.  If those people can organize a golf tournament, fundraiser, etc. in 24 hours, I can certainly plan my own wedding in six to twelve months, right?” Ones who think that if they hire a planner, they are giving up control over what they’ve worked so hard to plan, and they will not be able to carry out their vision as they’ve intended. Ones that just want to keep things simple and picture a simple affair.  They think that hiring a planner is just one … Read More

When Your Client Breaks Up With You

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In this business of weddings, it’s all about coming together, unity and all of that.  Every once in a while there is the breakup between vendor and client. There are several different scenarios to this.  You may pick up a new client after they’ve left another vendor.  You hit it off and all is good.  You pick up a new client after they’ve left another vendor and they are so difficult you can see why they couldn’t work with the other vendor.  There are some of those clients who simply cannot be pleased.  Then the other scenario is a client may leave you. When a client gives you notice, most times they have made their mind up already and there is no changing it.  They know they will probably lose their deposit (or more money) but feel that it’s more important to find someone else.  At this stage I would recommend doing some damage control and first apologizing and then asking them if there’s anything you could do to change their mind.  I know of a planner that offered to continue with her services free of charge when this happened to her. Keep in mind that old saying “the customer is always right.”  The wedding world is not like Uber where you can rate your couples as they rate you.  Other potential customers will often see things from the perspective of the couple (since that’s their perspective) even if they own businesses like you do.  If this unhappy couple were … Read More

Marriage Equality in Hawaii – Happy 1st Anniversary!

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tipsLeave a Comment

It’s been a year since same sex weddings have been legal in Hawaii.  Hooray! I’m far from being an expert in this field, but here are my observations and I’m hoping that it can help you with same-sex weddings moving forward. First, couples are as varied as bride-groom couples, but there were some patterns that I noticed: The majority of the gay (groom-groom) couples: had been together for over 10+ years. booked in a very short window, anywhere from one week to two months out (with the exception of destination weddings) wanted a small, (2 – 70) simple wedding with very close, family and friends. had a idea of what they wanted and only two couples hired a wedding planner.  However, they were open to hearing suggestions. The one lesbian wedding I had was very similar to the other weddings I’ve had in that they booked about a year in advance, hired a wedding planner, had 200+ guests and a formal, sit-down dinner. When I spoke with my brides about the grooms getting married in such a short window and asked if they had any insight in that, they really couldn’t say.  We all just kind of guessed that it was just more the personality of men to not want to have a long engagement and if everything could be done in a shorter window, without a lot of details, why drag out the process? Perhaps it was the couples I had too, they were all together for a long time and maybe they thought they … Read More

How Do You Identify Your Style?

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Luna Photo

Earlier this year, my dear friend Catherine Bachelier Smith of CBS Lifestylist was a presenter at WIPA So Cal in San Diego, my old stomping grounds. I decided to fly up and see her and some friends at the same time. Catherine’s uniqueness as a wedding coordinator is that she is also a wardrobe stylist. She styles people and she styles weddings. This was the foundation of her presentation. The program started with a fashion show of different looks that women can wear to work a wedding. She demonstrated both fashionable and comfortable looks. You can look great in an outfit that still allows you to move around as needed. Second, Catherine discussed the following: 1. Everyone Has a Style Even if you don’t think you have one, you do. It may be casual, formal, edgy, bohemian–but it is predictable and comes up throughout your life and wedding. This style continues from the venue selection to the outfits to the flowers you choose, etc. Think for a minute how styles –and their outfits will differ from very formal locations (for instance a church and a hotel) to those styles at a ranch or a vineyard. The budgets may be similar, but the styles will be very different. 2. Good Style is More Than a Wardrobe This is quality over quantity. Someone who grasps fashion will know how to wear fewer pieces more ways and get creative with them. Catherine challenged the audience with this fact, “there is no reason for … Read More

It’s Ok to Check and Check Again

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tipsLeave a Comment

I’ve had many couples tell me “this is our first time, so we don’t know what we’re doing.” I laugh and tell them that I normally assume it’s everyone’s first time and if it’s not their first time, couples usually purposefully have erased all memories from weddings past, so it practically is the first time for everyone and I treat it as such. Sometimes it may seem like things are redundant or you are checking on things too many times, but it’s ok.  The couples themselves need guidance and that’s why they hired you.  It’s okay to ask these questions and to follow up.  For example in Hawaii, it’s common to wear leis at weddings.  So if the couple orders a lei or flowers that you know may stain, you probably want to bring it to their attention as the expert since they are less likely to know these things. Once, a planner reminded all the groomsmen at the rehearsal to have their shoes and socks ready.  The shirts were being provided and they had to provide their own khakis.  The planner didn’t emphasize the fact that it was long khakis because she though it’s implied if you’re wearing shoes and socks it’s long pants and, figured that the couple already instructed the groomsmen. One groomsman thought because it was Hawaii, he would wear khaki SHORTS, shoes and socks.  Whoops. Good thing Walmart was open 24/7 for this early morning ceremony. At one wedding, the father of the groom was literally already in … Read More

Teamwork, Timing and Miyazaki Beef

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tipsLeave a Comment

I know to some, people think that their only commitment on the wedding day is to the couple and have tunnel vision on this. But, who do you tend to work with again and again?  Yes, it’s other vendors and it’s critical that everyone works together for the overall success for the couple by trying to work with each other and not against one another.  I know immediately SOME of you may be thinking the other vendors don’t pay you, but the overall happiness of the couple, is critical to your success. Here are some examples: photographers and videographers.  Why get in eachothers’ shots? When someone first mentioned this to me, I thought maybe he was imagining it, but then I heard it from someone else too that it was at EVERY wedding.  Now this behavior is not only unprofessional, but ultimately hurts the poor couple too when someone can’t take their shot. Here’s another: a DJ wanted to give a couple a good time, naturally but the venue was getting complaints from the hotel guests for the volume.  He was asked to turn it down and each time he did, and when the captain walked away, he turned the volume up again, just like a kid.  Finally after the third warning, the party had to be shut down completely (early) because of this DJ’s ego.  Sad! Another example is timing.  It is critical to uphold your portion of the program as there could be consequences with running over from … Read More