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How to Explain What You Do

One of the most commonly asked questions in America is “What do you do?”

As a professional wedding planner and business owner, your ability to answer this question in a way that piques the curiosity of the person who asks it can be a challenge.

Basically, you only get one chance. The response that you come up with is often referred to as your ‘elevator speech’.  The idea being that in the 30 seconds or so that it takes for an elevator (or lift, depending on where you are in the world) to get to the selected floors, you are able to succinctly tell someone what it is that you do.

It’s actually a pretty important and potentially very effective tool for marketing your wedding business, IF you get it right.

Unfortunately, the majority of elevator speeches are dry; oftentimes, they’re all about the business owner and packed with factual stuff that the listener really doesn’t care about.  🙁

If you’re getting a glazed over look or a candid ‘that’s nice’ type of response when you excitedly tell someone “I’m a wedding planner,” then it’s time to work on upgrading your elevator speech.

Follow these three (3) simple steps:

1. Know your Client

First, clearly define who your ideal client is.  And no, the answer is NOT simply ‘brides’. Remember, you cannot serve all of the brides out there.  Specifically, who is your wedding planning business set up to serve?

  • Christian couples
  • Same-sex couples
  • Couples who are planning a wedding at home
  • Couples who are planning a wedding in a hurry

Once you have that part figured out, use it as part of your opening sentence, for example:

I work with couples who need to get married in a hurry…

2. Explain the Problem you Fix

Next, take a moment to determine what the biggest problem is that your target clients face.  And make sure it’s a problem that you can and do solve.

For example:

“I work with couples who are planning a last-minute wedding, but are worried about finding a venue and all the vendors they need in time for the wedding date.”

Alternatively, you can choose to focus on what your target clients desire instead of the big problems they’re facing.

You could say:

I work with couples who have less than six weeks to plan a wedding but still want a really high-end event.

However, most people act much faster and pay more money, if you’re able to fix or solve their problem.

3. Share the WHAT, Not the HOW

If you follow the first two (2) steps, there’s a very good chance that the person you’re talking to is going to want to know more.  [“High Five!!”]

When you get that positive, inquiring, reaction, resist the urge to tell them all about HOW you do what you do.  Because, honestly, the only thing that most folks want to hear about is the ‘magic pill’.

Give them the WHAT, not the HOW. Don’t ruin your great intro and lose their interest with information overload!


“We provide one-stop, all-inclusive, local wedding packages in 90 days or less at select area venues.

Just give them the end result.

A Few Pointers

  • Avoid using your job title in your elevator speech, since a lot of times people will stereotype you.  And this is not limited to just the wedding planning industry.  When I say ‘lawyer’ to you, what comes to mind?  Or, if I say ‘truck driver’, is your natural reaction to say “tell me more”?  It might be.  But I’m guessing not. Since there’s a good chance that you already have your own preconceived notion of what a lawyer or truck driver does, this topic of conversation is likely to end right there.
  • Avoid using your company name in your elevator speech.  We all do it. But nobody really cares; at least not just yet.  It’s too soon for all of that.
  • Practice! To truly get a handle of your elevator speech, and your response to “what do you do?” you MUST practice.  Rehearsing your response, out loud, over and over again will help.  Play around with the wording until you’re comfortable with what you’re saying.  To the point that it’s like reflex and as natural as giving someone your home mailing address.

I promise you that if you do this, the people you meet and talk to will relate to what you say and even if they’re not a potential client for your wedding planning business, they probably know (and will refer) someone who is.


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