Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wedding Planners: Add New Revenue through Bachelor(ette) Parties

People typically see wedding planners as those who plan, well, weddings. Just weddings. But as we all know, there is so much more to the wedding planning process than just the wedding itself. What about the reception? The rehearsal?

What about the bachelor(ette) parties?

Honestly, the amount of time and energy that some bridesmaids put into planning bachelorette parties or weekends can be astounding. They have to find a venue, food, plan entertainment/games, make decorations, and invite guests.

Sounding familiar to you?

Wedding planners take note: there are a few distinct advantages to planning these events:
  • It allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Your complete wedding package is truly a complete wedding package.
  • You can develop new business/vendor relationships throughout the area. By bringing them new business, you are opening yourself up to new referral opportunities.
  • Not only can you build a valuable rapport with a variety of local venues and young professional hotspots, but you can also better get to know the happy couple. And if you are a good fit, maybe the bride includes you in the festivities.
  • You never know which of the bridesmaids or other attendees may see your skills and want to book you in the future.
  • Do I need to mention the added revenue from your planning fees for these parties?

Now, your bride and/or groom may want to plan a wild night out on their own, or they may be reluctant to join in the cliché traditions of tequila shots or Hummer limos. There are, however, some viable alternatives you can offer that your clients may very well find intriguing and that may go along with the wedding theme. 

Time to Unwind
Relaxing amidst the torrential downpour of wedding woes can be the hardest thing for a bride or groom.  Search local options concerning your client's interests: visit a local orchard, a fun cooking class, horseback riding, river tubing, or creative adult art classes! Renting a cabin in the mountains and spending a weekend hiking would be an ideal retreat for the weary but restless.
These girls had the right idea 
Check out all the occasion's photos at Shelby Schmidt Imagery
Check out this New York Times spotlight below on a summer-camp themed Anti-Bachelorette Party.
Adrenaline Junky
While fly-fishing and quilting may be sufficient for the mild-mannered, some brides and grooms would rather celebrate nearing matrimony with a little flair. 
Yes, those are guys
Consider suggesting white water rafting, kayaking, spelunking, zipline and canopy tours, rock climbing, indoor skydiving, or visiting a national park. 

Nostalgic Night Out
Timeless vintage style. Trending everywhere now.
Check out more photos at The Hen Planner

Vintage trends are still making big waves in the world of wedding style, and it never hurts to have a few hip cards up your sleeve.  Orchestrating a fun vintage photo shoot, trip to the state fair, carnivals, fall festivals, amusement parks, snazzy wine-tastings, or museum tour can be a simple departure from the steady bustle of planning a wedding.  A music festival or VIP table at a local jazz club can add some music to your clients' memories.

As you can see, ideas for these festivities, just like weddings, are endless.

And remember, you can plan and organize all of your weddings, parties, and other events on Inspherio . If you're new to the Inspherio family, start your free trial today and see how we can help you plan your success.
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Monday, October 21, 2013

Wedding Market Expo in Atlanta this week

We will be in Atlanta the next couple days for the Wedding Market Expo.

This is not an expo for brides-to-be, but rather for wedding professionals. Attendees will enjoy a stellar group of keynote speakers, plenary sessions, and a state-of-the-art expo (which we, of course, will be part of). Here is schedule of events for the week. 

Inspherio will be on site to show off our comprehensive business management program and how it can help wedding professionals do more business.

Check out this short video for a preview of the event and why you should be going if you are a wedding professional in the southeast.

As Alan Berg says at the beginning of the video, spending time being creative helps you once you have the business, but it does not help you do more business.

That is where we excel. 

With Inspherio , you can manage your entire wedding and events business from one cloud-based program. From leads to contracts to employees, you can manage it all anytime, anywhere, all in one place.

If you're new to the Inspherio family, start your free trial today and see how Inspherio can help you run your business that much easier.
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Wedding Industry Legal Tips: Q&A with Rob Schenk

In the wedding industry, there are contracts upon contracts, clauses upon clauses. With contracts, inevitably, will come lawsuits. Even if you think you have done everything perfectly, if one tiny thing involved with the wedding goes wrong, the search for a scapegoat will begin.

In order to protect yourself against frivolous lawsuits, you want to have a good grasp of the law. That being said, I contacted business law attorney Rob Schenk, who represents wedding industry professionals. He was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Wedding Industry Law: Rob's online resource for legal news and education about the wedding profession
What is the strangest wedding industry case you have seen? 

I love the lawsuit where the Groom sued his Wedding Photographer SIX YEARS LATER claiming that the photographer showed up late, failed to capture portions of the event, and did not have knowledge of the venue as claimed. What makes this one awesome is that the Groom demanded $48,000 to fly everyone back to NY and reenact the missing portions of the Wedding! What makes this one TOTALLY awesome is that he's now divorced! You can check out more info on the case here. 

If a contract does not explicitly say that a retainer or deposit is refundable/non-refundable, how will a court view any dispute between a vendor and their client? 

It will depend on other language in the contract, and sometimes, who the Judge believes. This is why it is extremely important that contract terms are explicit and the age old question, "What happens if I cancel the wedding X days before the wedding," should be clearly spelled out. 

Do you have any recommendations for wedding/event planners regarding injury liability? For example, say a guest gets hurt at a venue that the planner booked for the event. 

I routinely see Wedding Venue Operators requiring that the Bride/Groom acquire Event Insurance to cover these type of issues. Better safe than sorry.

Who owns the rights to wedding photos/video: bride & groom or photographers/videographers? 

This will depend on what the contract says. Generally, the person capturing the images (still or video) is the copyright owner. This means that the photographer/videographer has exclusive rights to distribute, duplicate, sell, burn, whatever. This would be the case even though the services are paid for by the Bride/Groom. Unless, as stated, the issue of copyright ownership is laid out in the contract. 

What is the top piece of advice you would give wedding professionals across the board?

Work only with a written contract. Work only with a written contract that you understand and that covers the issue of MONEY, CANCELLATION, and VENDOR DUTIES. 

We'd like to thank Rob for taking his time to provide us with some excellent legal advice. You can check out some case studies and more great advice from Rob at weddingindustrylaw.com.

About Rob:
As a business law attorney representing wedding industry professionals, Rob Schenk concentrates his practice in two areas: advocating for clients currently engaged in litigation and counseling clients on how to avoid litigation. Understanding the common disputes that arise from the ‘big day,’ Rob provides advice on a daily basis regarding contract provisions and business methods that help reduce the risk of a lawsuit with Bridezilla. 
Robert's Social Media: TwitterFacebook
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Think of Inspherio like...a Champagne Waterfall

People often ask me how I would best describe Inspherio to a new customer. Considering we're all about the event and wedding industry, it seems appropriate to describe Inspherio as a champagne waterfall.
I can hear you now: what the heck does that have to do with anything?

Well, let me explain. You've heard of the "trickle-down effect," right? Well, while we're not dealing with government economic policies, we have the same idea when planning events.

One of the beauties of Inspherio is the time-saving nature of the program. Our mission is to save you from the headache of constant double and triple entering of the same information. A lot of event professionals waste a lot of time typing out pricing options, client info, or event info in an email...

...then a contract

...then an invoice

...then a year end report

Before you know it, you've written down the same information 4-5 times. With Inspherio, you enter your data once. That's right: ONE time. Here's how it works...

Once you establish your packages, you can send them over and over without every having to re-type the data. Need to send various pricing packages to your leads? That only takes a couple clicks of the mouse.

Trying to gather all the information from a lead or client? Well, you don't even have to do it. With our KYE (Know Your Event) form, you put that responsibility into your clients' hands. They fill out the information and it updates in your Inspherio account in real-time. This not only saves you time, but it severely limits the times that a client comes complaining that you got something wrong. After all, they are the ones that provided the information.

What's next? The contract. All the info received from the KYE automatically populates into your contract template, as does the pricing option you sent earlier. No more filling your hard-drive with "Save As" or accidentally saving over other documents. No more embarrassing slip-ups when you forget to change a name or address while sifting through and editing documents. All you have to do is enter your payment schedule and - voilà! - your contract is ready to go.

After that? Well you want to get paid, right? Invoices also auto populate with the prior information. Not only that, but Inspherio will create as many invoices for you as your payment schedule dictates. If you set three different due dates with three different amounts, Inspherio will prepare those invoices for you without asking, due dates and all. What about the actual payment? Well, your client can pay each invoice immediately via a number of online payment gateways.

At the end of the year, you're going to want to check out your Profit & Loss statements. Don't go wasting time looking through each event to calculate your numbers. Data from every one of your events will total up when you run a report.

And taxes? Well that's easier, too. Simply run and print your report, hand it to your accountant, and forget about the rest.

Let's take a look at that photo again, with a small change. Now it makes a little more sense, huh?
If you're new to the Inspherio family, start your free trial today and see how Inspherio can help you run your business that much easier.
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Class Up Your Wedding Blog to Keep Readers from Fleeing

This is a guest post by Kathy DalPra at Bride Appeal.

As a seasoned wedding professional, having an engaging blog can keep visitors perusing your website longer. It gives them more time to get to know you and fall head over heels with your work. Of course, with all the time you spend maintaining your blog, the last thing you want is to set it up in a way that turns readers off or sends them on their way. So here are a few simple ways you can add some extra class to your blog and keep those readers staying longer.

1. Add a Search Bar

I know it seems simple and obvious, but I’m continually surprised at how many website themes fail to add this amazing little tool. A search bar, or search “field”, makes it effortless for your visitors to find the exact information they’re looking for by allowing them to type in any keyword.

I’d add this field to the very top of your blog sidebar, if possible, so that it can’t be missed. The quicker visitors can find what they’re looking for, the happier they’ll be and the less likely they are to abandon your blog.

2. Eliminate Distractions

Years ago, during the upswing of the social media craze, I used to recommend installing full-scale social media widgets into your blog sidebar to grow your social media following. However, after having some time to really test this approach, my tune has changed a little.

When you really think about it, the purpose of your blog isn’t to grow your social media following…it’s to attract visitors to your website where they can learn about your products and services. In fact, that’s the purpose of your social media profiles too! Because of this, these days I encourage my clients to only place simple social media buttons that are linked to their profile rather than interactive widgets. They are less distracting, but still allow readers to connect with you off of your website if they want to.

3. Reduce the File Size of Images

I realize that not everyone is a Photoshop wizard. Nonetheless, you simply can’t afford not to optimize images on your blog if you want to avoid losing traffic. The reality is that today’s millennial couple doesn’t have the patience to sit around and wait for large images to load. They’ll simply move on to the next blog.

Reducing the file size (kb, mb) of your images is easy with free tools like PicMonkey. You can still use photos with a large width and height, just reduce the actual size of the file before you upload it to your blog. I typically suggest keeping your image file size under 50-100 kilobytes, if possible. The smaller, the better. 

About the Author:
Kathy DalPra is a former bridal-preneur who unexpectedly fell in love with web design and SEO. Today she helps other wedding professionals use their website to get more traffic, leads and inquiries so they can create a thriving wedding business in any economy. Learn how to turn curious visitors into paying brides™ on her website at http://brideappeal.com

Kathy's Social Media: Twitter, Facebook
Check out more great advice from Kathy at her blog
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Affecting the Wedding Industry

Well I guess we can't say this was unexpected. Congress failed to come to a budget deal, so as of today, the government shut down.
Many people may think, "What's the big deal?" Others may think the whole economy is about to collapse. While it may not be that dramatic, there are many areas that could affect people's life, some of them that many people did not think about.

For example, consider the wedding industry. While weddings will still take place and people will party on at receptions, many dreams will be altered significantly.

According to the USA Today, The National Mall and Memorial Parks issued 24 permits for October weddings at the Lincoln Memorial, George Mason Memorial and the D.C. War Memorial. Brides and grooms who applied for permits up to a year in advance were notified that a government shutdown would cancel all those events. 

Weddings at some hotels at Yosemite National Park are being moved a few miles away, and a wedding set to take place at the Grand Canyon has been canceled as well.
Furthermore,  the shutdown also means D.C. Superior Court won't be accepting new applications for marriage licenses.
Clearly, regardless of anyone's political opinion regarding the shutdown, there are some victims. As a wedding planner, how would you handle this situation?

UPDATE 10/4:
So leave it to TV comedian Stephen Colbert to have fun with this very topic. On last night's show, Colbert married a couple after their original wedding plans were ruined by the government shutdown. The couple had planned to wed near the Jefferson Memorial until their wedding site was closed by the shutdown. Check out the video below to enjoy the nonsensical awesomeness that ensued in very Colbert-esque fashion.

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