Building Your Wedding Business with Partners – in 4 Simple Steps

Partnerships are a great way to grow a business. Big businesses have known this for a while – for example, laptop computers that are bundled with software packages. Or gym memberships that provide discounts for sports stores. But this same approach can be applied to small businesses – like yours – as well.

 

When people are planning a big event, like a wedding, they often look to a vendor they trust for additional referrals. This creates happy, loyal customers for both businesses, which drives word-of-mouth and additional referrals in the future!

 

Wondering how to create a partnership that will help grow your wedding business? Just follow these 4 simple steps:

 

1.    Pick a partner who is already in the wedding industry. This might seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how ‘creative’ people can get when they want to break into a new market! Look for another business who understands your shared audience, as well as how your two offerings or services – combined – will provide a better experience for brides and grooms. For example, if you’re a florist, it might make more sense for you to partner with a videographer who specializes in weddings, than with a video production company that has never filmed a wedding before.

2.    Make contact with that potential partner. This is often the scariest part of the process. However, you aren’t going to get another business to partner with you if they don’t even know who you are. There are several ways to do this – either in person (for example, at an upcoming Great Bridal Expo event!), or you can do some online research. Check out their website and their social media pages. Look up their reviews on Google or Yelp. If it looks like their approach is similar to yours, then they might be a perfect partner!

3.    Propose a joint promotion. Once you’ve reached out, you’ll need to suggest some ideas on how you can work together in a way creates a win-win situation for your two businesses, as well as helping future brides and grooms. Get creative – for example, you can write blog posts for each other’s websites, promote each other on social media, or even offer a special ‘package’ that combines both your offerings for a discount. Or you can keep it simple and agree to simply introduce each other’s products or services when speaking with interested clients.

4.    Test it out! The only way you’ll know if the partnership is working is by introducing it to your clients and then getting their feedback. What do they think when you introduce the concept? Are they excited about the combined offering? And most importantly, does it drive business to your partner – and does your partner drive business to you? Not every cross-promotion is a big success, so you’ll want to monitor in case it doesn’t work the way you’d hoped. The key is having a good enough relationship with your partner, so you can review and revise the offering in a way that works for both of you.

 

Once you’ve created your first successful partnership, you’ll want to look at additional partners you can work with from other areas in your industry. So, if you’re a photographer who has successfully partnered with a florist, you might want to consider extending this to include a bakery as well. Who knows – you could have a win-win-win partnership on your hands!

 

If you’d like to do more networking for partnerships that will help grow your wedding business, send an email to info@greatbridalexpo.com and we’ll have one of our Marketing Specialists talk you through what’s possible!

Wedding Photo Booth? 5 Reasons Why You Should Have One!

One of the coolest new trends that modern technology has brought to weddings is the use of photo booths. And while it’s gone from a fun, novelty item to a common occurrence and weddings, here are 5 reasons why we still think it’s a good idea to consider one for your Big Day!

1.       They come in all shapes and sizes. You can have an open-air booth that fits up to 10 people, or a smaller, enclosed booth that fits 3 or 4 people. (Our preference is for an open booth as it means that everyone can get in on the fun as lots of people can fit in one shot!) Find the booth that works best for your venue and the number of guests you’re having – then have fun!

2.       They can be customized for your special day. Every photo booth is different. You can choose from a wide range of backdrops (including some striking prints), as well as props such as goofy glasses, masks, hats and more. You can even customize the photo strips to match your wedding palette. And the more fun you have with the theme, the more people will want to take photos!

3.       They have live feed projections. You can have a slideshow projection of the photos from the booth appear on a TV screen or projector somewhere at your venue, which will give everyone something to watch and chat about throughout the day. Just imagine all your friends and family on a big screen of one wall throughout your reception – it will be fun for everyone!

4.       They’re entertainment and a party favor, all in one. The photos make a great wedding keepsake for you and your guests. A lot of guests will appreciate having a photo of themselves with their friends, with their kids (and with you). Plus, you will love having fun pictures of all your wedding guests – think of it like a modern guest book.

5.       They’re fun! It seems like a simple reason, but it’s probably one of the most important. This is your big day and everyone – including you and your new spouse – wants to have fun. Having a photo booth provides a break from dancing – plus they’re a great place for everyone to gather and socialize.

A photo booth at your wedding is an experience that your guests are sure to enjoy, and it will help make your wedding that much more memorable. Plus the photo strips will be a wonderful keepsake for your guests, as well as for you.

Interested in having a photo booth at your wedding? Check out one of our upcoming events where you can meet with a wide selection of wedding specialists and vendors – all in one place!

6 Ways to Make Your Business Look Bigger

Have you ever thought about how people perceive your small business? Whether you’re a freelance photographer or a 5-person bridal boutique, your company can look much bigger – and much more professional – if you follow these 6 simple tips:

1.       Website – for most customers (and prospective customers), your website will be their first contact with your business. And as you know, first impressions are everything. The look of your site as well as the content will show visitors exactly what your business is about, which means you want your site to look as professional as possible. There are several options available today that will enable you to easily (and cost-efficiently) build your own website, including Onepager and Squarespace. And don’t forget: to give your business an even bigger and more serious look, use “We” or your company name instead of “I” when describing the products and services you offer.

2.       Promotional Materials – another key factor in being perceived as a “bigger” company is the quality of your promotional material. Invest in professional design for your logo, business card and other market materials. There are several great websites that will connect you with inexpensive freelance designers, including Fiverr and UpWork. And don’t forget – spelling and grammar matter. Take the time to proofread your work and, if possible, get a friend to look things over as well.

3.       Social Media – everyone is on social media in some way, shape or form. So choose one or two primary social media networking sites (such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram) and start posting. Regularly. Foster interaction by finding other bloggers, tweeters and the like and then following them. In return, they’ll be more likely to engage in online conversations with you by leaving comments or sending a reply. Something to remember: a business with 10,000 fans seems much larger than one with 100 fans, even if those businesses have the same amount of annual revenue.

4.       Testimonials – people will want to see customer testimonials and reviews to check your credibility. You can collect these manually and then post them on your website. Even better, encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews for you on Yelp, and share their stories on your social media sites.

5.       Blog – start blogging. Regularly. Then share your blogs on social media. You don’t have to post something every day, but once a month is a good place to start. Write about things that are relevant to your business and your customers: industry trends, product innovations, and of course, your latest achievements. You can also turn your customer testimonials into ‘case studies’ for your blog and other social media sites.

6.       Network, Network, Network – get your name out there, be seen and be heard. Attend and exhibit at events (like Great Bridal Expo!). Meet people. Find other experts, network with them. Maybe even partner with them or create a wedding package. Being seen with other industry ‘experts’ by association has an impact on the perception of you and your company.

If you’d like to do more to grow your bridal business, send an email to info@greatbridalexpo.com and we’ll have one of our Bridal Marketing Specialists talk you through what’s possible!

 

For an Alternative Wedding Registry, Try Pizza!

Wedding registries are the ultimate wish list for your new life together. These registries were originally created to provide ‘necessities’ as you set up your new home, focusing on items including dishes, silverware, and linens. However, things are different today. As weddings have become less traditional, though, so too have wedding registries. These days, couples are choosing to register at well-known department stores for ‘must have’ items, as well as registering for alternative gifts such as home improvements, trips, or even experiences – such as the new wedding registry from Domino’s Pizza!

Domino’s Wedding Registry allows couples to choose from a variety of featured gifts to enjoy before, during and after their wedding – from the bachelor or bachelorette party to the wedding celebration to life after the Big Day. Some of the gift options include the Dancing with My Slice (for the wedding after party), the Wedding Night (just in case they don’t get to eat any of the delicious wedding food) and the Post-Honeymoon Adjustment to Real Life (because washing dishes is the worst).

“We hear often from customers that Domino’s was a part of their big day, from proposals to after-hours meals at their wedding,” explained Jenny Fouracre, Domino’s spokesperson. “We wanted to make it easier for people to ask for and receive something they’ll really use.”

Creating a registry is easy – just add your information, select the photo, message and items you want, then share with your family and friends on social media or with a unique URL. Wedding guests can also search for a registry by using your names and wedding date. The pizza presents can be ordered online, and will be delivered via electronic gift cards. If your guests prefer to give a physical gift, they’ll also receive a printable confirmation email that they can put inside a card.

So, if you’re one of those couples who would like to receive delicious melty cheese to go along with your new china, come to the Los Angeles Great Bridal Expo to talk to the Domino’s folks and create your registry today! And if you’re looking for other options for your wedding, why not attend one of our upcoming events where you can meet a wide selection of wedding consultants and other experts, who will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have! 

How to Host an Amazing After-Party

While sparklers and a getaway car are the perfect romantic ending to the wedding for some newlyweds, they aren’t for every bride and groom. For couples who don’t want the last dance at their reception to signal the end of the celebration, we’ve got a few suggestions for hosting an amazing after-party:

Location, Location, Location
Choose a spot that’s convenient to the reception. If most of your guests are from out of town, find a nearby bar or lounge. If your reception is in a hotel ballroom, rent a smaller room – or even a suite – in the same hotel. You’ll want a venue that’s easy to find and easy to get to. And if the venue isn’t within walking distance, you’ll want to consider providing transportation, like a shuttle or some taxis.

Pick a Theme
No need to follow the same theme as your ceremony and reception. If you had a formal, classic style for your wedding, consider making your after-party a little more laid back. The key is to choose something that reflects your personalities. If you and your friends prefer a neighborhood bar over a ritzy nightclub, don’t feel like you need to keep things fancy and formal. Have some fun. Try a tiki bar theme with leis and tropical cocktails. Or go for a latin theme with salsa music, mojitos and a cigar bar.

Feed Your Friends
After hours of dancing and drinking, you and your guests are going to be hungry. Talk to your venue about providing late-night snacks. The food doesn’t need to be fancy. Some fun options include bar snacks (e.g., sliders, chicken fingers and fries), a sundae bar or even pizzas – they can all help keep the party going without things getting messy. And don’t forget about the adult beverages. Maybe offer a signature cocktail to make the evening even more memorable!

Cover the Costs
After parties are a relatively new wedding trend, so there’s no set etiquette for who traditionally pays. The bride’s parents may consider it part of the reception and offer to pay, especially if it’s taking place in the same hotel or resort. And many couples choose to pay for the after-party themselves, as the attendees are usually their younger friends. No need to get too worried about the total costs, though – if you’re worried about overspending, just put a cap on the open bar after a couple of hours.

If you are considering hosting an after-party for your upcoming wedding, why not attend one of our upcoming events where you can meet a wide selection of wedding consultants and other experts, who will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

5 In-Booth Graphics Mistakes

When you have a booth at a wedding show, you have a 3- to 5-second window of opportunity to let attendees know who you are, what you’re offering and what benefits you can provide to them. If your in-booth graphics are effective, people will take the time to stop and talk to you about your services. If they aren’t…well, you won’t be talking to many people.

How do you ensure your in-booth graphics work and help you stand out from the rest of the wedding show crowd? Here are 5 of the most common graphic mistakes you should avoid:

1.       Too Many Words
If your text takes more than 3 seconds to read, then it’s too much text. Your in-booth graphics should have no more than 6-10 words. Instead of extra words, use an interesting image that reinforces your message.  

2.       Impressive Images

Less is more where images are concerned. Use one large, main image for your in-booth graphic instead of several smaller images. Also, always use a high-resolution image as it will make a high-quality impression.

3.       Competing Colors
Text color needs to provide a sharp contrast to the background if you want it to be easily read. Effective color combinations typically include dark black, blue or green text on light color backgrounds. And definitely avoid busy backgrounds, where the text will get lost.

4.       Tiny Type
Have you ever tried to read a sign with tiny type? It’s nearly impossible! Type should be 1” for every 3’ you step away from it.

5.       Funky Fonts
You might love some of the artsy fonts, but they can be difficult to read. Stick to clean fonts and let your images be your art.

If you’d like to learn more about what else you can do to raise awareness of your business, send an email to info@greatbridalexpo.com and we’ll have one of our Bridal Marketing Specialists talk you through what’s possible!

Pretty in Pink for Your Wedding Day

While white wedding dresses are lovely, they are very traditional – and not every bride wants to be traditional. Thankfully, there’s a fabulous trend for weddings in 2017: color is making a comeback. And it looks like one of Pantone’s colors of the year – Rose Quartz – is leading the way!

A pale pink wedding dress is a conservative alternative to traditional white. It offers a hint of color with a romantic vibe, while maintaining a classic bridal look. For brides who are a bit hesitant: why not try a dress with a tinted underlay, showing the faintest hint of color through an ivory skirt. For those looking to make a brighter splash? Go for a blush-hued gown with a classic silhouette. This will keep your wedding dress feeling modern without sacrificing the ‘traditional’ bridal style.

And as blush pink is flattering on everyone, it will provide a beautiful, soft-as-a-whisper color palette that suits all of your bridesmaids!

Rose colored dresses aren’t an entirely new thing. Some of our favorite fashionistas skipped the ‘old school’ white route for their wedding day, opting for pink instead. (Check out these wedding photos for Kaley Cuoco, Jessica Biel, and Reese Witherspoon.)

Fashion – and wedding fashion in particular – isn’t the only category enamored with pink. The soft, pretty hue has been showing up in technology (e.g. iPhones), appliances (e.g. coffee makers) and even tennis shoes (e.g. Vans).

So, if the wedding day is all about the bride – and the bride is comfortable and confident in whatever color she is wearing – then why not go with the color that becoming a close second to the traditional white wedding gown? Take a bit of a chance and be pretty in pink for your big day!

Not sure if you’re ready for a pink wedding gown? Check out one of our upcoming events where you can meet with local dress shops that specialize in bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses and view a New York Style runway show with professional models – all in one place!

While white wedding dresses are lovely, they are very traditional – and not every bride wants to be traditional. Thankfully, there’s a fabulous trend for weddings in 2017: color is making a comeback. And it looks like one of Pantone’s colors of the year – Rose Quartz – is leading the way!

A pale pink wedding dress is a conservative alternative to traditional white. It offers a hint of color with a romantic vibe, while maintaining a classic bridal look. For brides who are a bit hesitant: why not try a dress with a tinted underlay, showing the faintest hint of color through an ivory skirt. For those looking to make a brighter splash? Go for a blush-hued gown with a classic silhouette. This will keep your wedding dress feeling modern without sacrificing the ‘traditional’ bridal style.

And as blush pink is flattering on everyone, it will provide a beautiful, soft-as-a-whisper color palette that suits all of your bridesmaids!

Rose colored dresses aren’t an entirely new thing. Some of our favorite fashionistas skipped the ‘old school’ white route for their wedding day, opting for pink instead. (Check out these wedding photos for Kaley Cuoco, Jessica Biel, and Reese Witherspoon.)

Fashion – and wedding fashion in particular – isn’t the only category enamored with pink. The soft, pretty hue has been showing up in technology (e.g. iPhones), appliances (e.g. coffee makers) and even tennis shoes (e.g. Vans).

So, if the wedding day is all about the bride – and the bride is comfortable and confident in whatever color she is wearing – then why not go with the color that becoming a close second to the traditional white wedding gown? Take a bit of a chance and be pretty in pink for your big day!

Not sure if you’re ready for a pink wedding gown? Check out one of our upcoming events where you can meet with local dress shops that specialize in bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses and view a New York Style runway show with professional models – all in one place!

4 Ways to Promote Your Wedding Business with Social Media

Savvy small business owners know that to get the best results from social media, they need to engage their target audience – their customers – with valuable content. Online followers aren’t typically big fans of self-promoting companies that use social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest purely for free advertising. For the best results, businesses need to create posts that educate, entertain and engage with their followers, while still promoting their products and services. Here are 4 ways to help successfully engage with customers and promote your small business through social media:

1.       Start a Conversation: most people enjoy sharing their opinions online, so a great way to start a conversation is to comment on recent (related) industry news, then ask your followers to weigh in on the topic. For example, if you’re a florist, you might want to comment on Bride Magazine’s latest article about Winter Flower Crowns. Then you can ask your followers what they think – not only will this engage with your online community, but it will provide great insight into what potential customers are looking for from their bridal florist.

2.       Share Your Knowledge: one of the best ways to showcase your business (and your expertise) is to post little-known fun facts in the form of questions. For example, a bridal shop could post the question: Do you know the length of the world’s longest wedding gown train? Then they could make a special offer for the first person to post the correct answer. (By the way, the answer is 1.85 miles!)

3.       Provide Value: while fun posts that reflect your personality help entertain and engage with your followers, you also want to create educational content that benefits customers. This can be anything from posting tips on choosing a wedding cake, to providing links to interesting articles about wedding day emergency kits, to offering special deals on your products or services.

4.       Special Offers for Check-ins: a great way to engage with customers and generate new business is to offer special rewards for followers who check-in, either online or in person. For example, if you’re attending a bridal event (like a Great Bridal Expo!), you can let your followers know that everyone who visits your booth and posts a photo on Facebook will receive a free gift. Their friends on social networks will see when they’ve checked in with you – and you’ll significantly increase awareness of your business.

If you’d like to learn more about what else you can do to raise awareness of your business, send an email to info@greatbridalexpo.com and we’ll have one of our Bridal Marketing Specialists talk you through what’s possible!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing a Wedding Cake

Choosing a wedding cake can be just as stressful as choosing a wedding dress. (Well, maybe not as stressful – but it’s definitely up there!) You need to find an amazing baker, who can create a beautiful cake in a style that perfectly reflects your wedding theme and your personality. And don’t forget, it needs to be delicious too!

We surveyed our team of wedding experts and here are some of their Do’s and Don’ts for choosing a wedding cake, to help you pick the perfect cake for your perfect day:

DO plan ahead. Typically four to six months prior to the wedding is the right time to start planning the cake. If you’re having your wedding during the ‘busy season’ (aka spring or summer), give yourself a little extra time to find the right bakery because wedding cakes will be in high demand and your baker could be booked out.

DON’T come unprepared. Do you want a traditional, multi-tiered cake or mini, individual servings? Butter cream icing or fondant? Simple frosted cake with a wedding topper, or a playful cake to match your wedding theme? Bakers aren’t mind readers! Bring photos, color swatches and any other samples of what you like to ensure your cake reflects your style.

DO taste the cake (and icing) before you sign a contract. And if you’re going to have multiple flavors, taste them all. Don’t assume that every baker makes a lemon cake the way you like lemon cake!

DON’T bring a large group of people to your tasting. Most bakeries don’t have space – or even the seating – for several people. Plus it’s difficult to have a business discussion when there’s a crowd.

DO consider the weather. If you’re having an outdoor wedding in the middle of the summer, stay away from whipped cream, meringue and buttercream – they melt! A good baker will be able to provide you with the best options for your climate and your setting.

DON’T skip the details. Cake creation – and delivery – takes coordination. Complex cakes may not be delivered in their final form. Refrigeration may be required. Confirming these details in advance will remove unnecessary stress on the big day.

If you’re ready to choose your wedding cake, check out one of our upcoming events where you can meet local bakers who specialize in wedding cakes.