Brides and grooms who are planning a wedding desperately want help in making the right decisions – they want ‘trustworthy’ information…and they would love for it to be free! The wedding planning company that is smart enough to give potential clients what they want – that's you (you clever so-and-so) – goes a long way to gaining their prospects’ trust…and ultimately their business.
I refer to my free information for brides as my Wedding Idea Kit. Basically it's a packet full of useful articles, tips and ideas that are affordable and doable created for prospects.
Each idea or topic is presented as an individual tipsheet and then packaged together (either with a paper clip, binder clip or presented inside a folder) as a ‘kit'. It's inexpensive and very effective!
No need to reinvent the wheel, here! Simply select a few topics/articles that a bride-to-be might find useful. Flip through some of your bridal magazines for inspiration and then create each tipsheet (in Microsoft Word or Publisher, for example) and dedicate each topic to its own page(s). The possibilities are endless and only limited by your wonderful imagination!).
Here are a few suggestions of what to include in your very own Wedding Idea Kit (and you can call your information packet whatever you want–‘Wedding Information Kit' is what works for me.)
I've indicated with an asterisk the documents that I personally include in my own Wedding Idea Kit:
- Bio* – A light-hearted gossip-style article that provides background information about the story behind, you, the wedding planner.
- A list of the wedding planning packages* and services you provide. (If I'm giving this out after the first meeting, I include a detailed list including pricing.)
- FAQ’s* – Frequently Asked Questions by clients considering working with your company.
- Wedding Planning ‘Lingo' – Clarify the definitions of any unfamiliar terms a bride might hear while planning her wedding (e.g. ‘ganache', ‘off-site', ‘corkage fee')
- Wedding Invitation Tips* – If you sell wedding invitations, your wholesale stationery supplier should already have tips in place for you to share with your customers; if not refer to a wedding etiquette book or bridal magazine to use as a guideline for this tipsheet.
- Local marriage legal requirements* – Include things like the cost of a marriage license, how far ahead the couple needs to apply for one, what forms of payment the city accepts–you get the idea. Do the legwork for your brides.
- Seasonal Floral Chart – Create a list of flowers that are locally in bloom during each of the four seasons–spring, summer, winter and fall–and explain that selecting flowers that naturally bloom in each season saves a considerable amount of money. Why not go one step further and include images of each flower?
- Bridesmaid Gift suggestions – If you sell bridal accessories, make sure to tie in your suggestions with products that you currently offer. List them as your ‘favorites'. Including photos of the gifts you are suggesting is a must!
- Event Decor Tips – ‘How to transform the church hall into your dream reception'; think of a few key points or better still, why not present this tipsheet in the form of a ‘makeover' and take pictures of a room before and after you have decorated. If an entire room is not something you readily have access to, do a table makeover. As a professional wedding planner, your local rental company will probably loan you items that you need with just a credit card hold–i.e. no cost. Include some design tips along with your photos.
- Wedding Planning Organization – Create a bride's checklist of things she needs to do before her big day arrives; and/or share some pointers on keeping all of her receipts, contracts organized.
- Wedding No-no's* – This is always a popular and light-hearted item in my kit. Include faux pas such as ‘including bridal registry information in the wedding invitation' (don't do it!).
- Bridal Party Responsibilities – List some of the roles of the bridal party: Best Man, Maid of Honor, Mother of the Bride, etc. A bulleted list is probably the easiest way to present this tipsheet.
- Bridal Shower Themes/Tips– Be creative with this one and think beyond the typical shower themes that have been done over and over (yawn!). Your brides can hand this tipsheet to their maid/matron of honor.
- Wedding Myths/Traditions – Research some popular wedding traditions and share with your prospects how they came about. Be careful not to make this a dry or boring tipsheet. Add a touch of humor if you can.
- Centerpiece projects/ideas* – I especially like sharing non-floral ideas for reception centerpieces. Bridal magazines and websites are a good source of ideas for this tipsheet.
- Your most current (printed) newsletter – if you have one.
Again, these suggestions are just to get you thinking. There are tons more ideas you can use. Just remember that you can't use all of them. Pick out a few of your favorites and get started.
INCLUDE A GIFT CERTIFICATE
If you sell wedding invitations, give prospects an incentive to order their stationery from you and include a gift certificate in your Wedding Idea Kit. (After all, they have to get invitations somewhere, right?!)
- * Using one of your favorite wedding invitation designs, create the wording offering a discount, have 25-50 printed and invite prospects to a sale or discount ($25% off their order of wedding invitations). Be sure to give them a deadline/date to respond in order to take advantage of the opportunity.
- * Research various paper companies such as Paper Direct for printable gift certificates.
- * Purchase a date stamp for use with your Gift Certificates.
SHARING YOUR WEDDING IDEA KIT
Don't ever be afraid of ‘giving away' too much information with your Wedding Idea Kit. Creating this kit will position you as THE local wedding expert and brides will gravitate towards you. (Send the kit to a few media contacts, too!)
The beauty of the Wedding Idea Kit is in the design and packaging. Make sure everything looks consistent–same font, some colors, etc.–for each tipsheet and be sure to include your company name and contact info on each page. (If you're using Microsoft Word, utilize the Header/Footer function for this.)
Make sure the style reflects who you are. And most of all have fun with this!
The wrap-up of your very first face-to-face meeting with a couple is the ideal time to hand them your Wedding Idea Kit. Alternatively, you could mail your kit along with your thank you letter after your meeting.You can also offer your Wedding Idea Kit as an incentive for new brides to contact you. Include a note on your website or on the back of your business cards. Try something like:
“Ask me how you can receive your FREE Wedding Idea Kit”
Potential customers are always pleasantly surprised when I hand them a Wedding Idea Kit and I guarantee you'll get the same type of response. The best part is that once you've spent the time to initially create your kit, the hard work is done. You simply print out the same pages for each potential client.
I bet you can come up with a few ideas that you can use for several tipsheets right now. Check your computer files and your file cabinet drawers.
Don't put this off! Get a move on and start creating your own wedding idea kit now–you can always add more tipsheets to your kit as your business grows. Let me know how yours turns out.