So exactly what do you do when a bride with a tiny wedding budget (that is less than the least expensive planning service that you offer) contacts you about your wedding planning services? Do you turn her away?
Well, instead, consider adding a no-frills package to your list of existing wedding planning services. This way she gets the benefit of your professional planning skills at an affordable price, and you get the opportunity to show her why she can't afford to have her wedding without you.
Here's the deal.
For my wedding planning business, I came up with a package which was basically a casual, in-person, ‘all-about-her-wedding' consultation. This two (2) hour meeting doesn't plan the entire wedding for the bride, but instead it gets her started on creating whatever sort of wedding she decides on, large or small.
Here are some of the things a bride can expect at one of these planning sessions:
- Help with preparing her budget (so she doesn't find herself surprised and deeply in debt as a newlywed!
- Suggested questions she should ask when she's interviewing potential wedding vendors
- Help finding the right local venue, caterer, florist, photographer or whatever else she needs for her wedding
- Tips on how to conduct her own smooth flowing rehearsal
- How to assign roles to her bridal party (because she'll need all the help she can get!)
- Tips on how she should organize her wedding day, including the transportation schedule and post-wedding breakdown
- How to prepare herself for an emergency (lists to keep handy, items to pack, etc.)
- A chance to check out some of the wedding accessories and invitations that you have for sale (IMPORTANT!)
- Information on your ‘day-of' wedding planning services (IMPORTANT!)
- A packet of local information and planning materials for her to take home
- An email follow-up with notes from the planning session including a spreadsheet with her up-to-date budget
- For her to save 2-3 months worth of planning time (really!)
I priced my package based on approximately three hours of my professional consulting time. So for example, if you have determined your time to be valued at $50/hour, price your package at $150 for a two-hour consultation. The additional hour is built in for any possible ‘overtime' that might occur.
Whatever you do, stick to a minimum amount of time for this type of consultation. Don't get caught up with brides telling you they only need you for one hour. Set up a minimum amount of time and stick to it. Of course, you may decide that you need more than two hours for this type of meeting, and that's fine. Just be sure to compensate yourself for the number of hours you're spending with each bride.
Upsell your Other Services
If you sell wedding invitations and accessories (and you should be!) this is a fantastic opportunity to upsell the bride. Include a coupon, with a limited time offer, as an incentive for her to purchase the items she needs for her wedding from you.
The real beauty of this type of package, though, is that once a bride has the opportunity to sit down with you, and she gets to see just how wonderful a planner you are, she's likely to want more of your professional help. Make sure she knows about your ‘day-of' services. Stress the importance of having a professional (that's you!) on her big day to manage all of the behind the scenes stuff and I guarantee you it will be a much easier approach for you to sell to her.
And of course, once you have this package in place, and someone calls to ask ‘How much do you charge?” you can confidently let them know that your rates ‘start as low as $150 all the way up to $5,000 [or whatever the amount is for your top package] for more comprehensive planning services.
The most time-consuming part of this mini planning service is preparing all of the bits of information for the bride. But once you do it for your first client, it's relatively the same data for future consultations.
Using the list above, get started on creating tip sheets and checklists–on your company letterhead–for each item. Try to keep the look consistent and inject your fantastic personality into the items that you create.
Let me know how this works for you.