By: Tracey Manailescu
We, as wedding planners have a variety of skills and weaknesses. This is what makes us human. It’s also what makes us resonate with some clients and not with others. Some of us are wonderful at creating in-depth timelines and spreadsheets while others are great at communicating with warmth and passion, making clients feel extra special. I’m sure some of us do it all. This article is geared to those who need a little push to aid with communication.
Here are some ways to do it:
Step-up Your Client Onboarding and Offboarding Processes
It’s so important to start the working relationship off on the right path. Expectations and setting boundaries need to be laid out at the beginning. The hours that you can be reached, the best ways to contact each other, and the process that you will take should be clearly outlined. A CRM (Client Relationship Management) tool is a great way to step up communication. Aisle Planner is what I use and I love it, so do my clients.
*Use the code: WPIC to save on your first three months*
When the wedding has happened, you need to say goodbye. Share any useful tips (like name change info or outstanding payments that need to go to vendors). Send some of the highlights of the wedding day, let them know how happy you were to work with them, and thank them for the opportunity (a hand-written note and a small gift of appreciation go a long way). Share some of your favourite things about your journey together, and then ask for feedback and a reference.
Ask for Feedback Early
The first and last months of working with wedding clients are the busiest. It’s also the time when you will have the most communication with them. Whether it’s phone calls, emails, in-person meetings, site visits and vendor appointments it’s extremely important to be on the same page. You must be able to communicate with each other effectively. You need to ensure that you and your clients feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and feelings with each other.
Since the first month of working together with clients is quite busy, it’s the perfect time to ask for feedback at the end of it. Ask how comfortable they felt with your ways of communicating. Which way did they like best? Was it by email, in-person or phone calls? Do they need more or less communication with you? Were they comfortable asking for help? This way you know where you stand and you can make changes moving forward.
Weekly and Monthly Check-Ins
This is something that we teach in our Wedding Planning, Consulting, and Coordination certification course at WPIC Inc. Some months are full of communicating with clients while some may be a bit slower in the middle. You always want your clients to feel like they are important to you and that they are top of mind. A monthly task checklist is a wonderful way to communicate. There are certain tasks that clients should complete each month in preparation for their wedding (some will need you there in-person, and some won’t).
Some of the monthly tasks would be:
- Venue visits
- Budget check in and updates
- Wedding ring shopping
- Wedding dress shopping
- Groomsmen fittings
- Bridesmaids, MIL and MOB dress shopping
- Floral design meetings
- Specialty linen and chair approvals
- Food and cake tastings
- Band and/or DJ meeting
- Getting the marriage license
- Engagement photos
- Sending out the wedding invitations
- Guest list
- Seating Chart
- Day of to-do-list
- Wedding timeline
Send out the checklist via email at the beginning of each month. Follow up in a week or two to discuss progress and to answer questions. This can be done in person, on the phone, or via email. Whatever your clients are most comfortable with.
Tracey Manailescu is Co-Founder and Vice President of The Wedding Planners Institue of Canada. Named one of the “Top 20 Most Fascinating Women in Events 2017” by Canadian Special Events Magazine.
Tracey has been consulting on, planning and coordinating hundreds of weddings and international events professionally since she was certified in 2000. She has owned the wedding planning firm, Tracey M Events, since 2012.
You have seen Tracey giving expert wedding advice on television, in most wedding magazines and major newspapers in Canada, the United States and across the Caribbean. She has written articles for Today’s Bride and DWP Insider, and her weddings and events are regularly featured in media outlets around the world such as Wedding Chicks, Munaluchi Bride, EventSource.ca, Elegant Wedding Magazine, Aisle Planner, and Today’s Bride to name a few.
Tracey has planned weddings, events and conferences in Canada, Colombia, Mexico, The Bahamas, Barbados, Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, Italy and Ireland. In addition to planning weddings, teaching WPIC courses and planning events for WPIC Alumni, Tracey regularly speaks at Wedding and Event Industry conferences.
I hope that you found this article helpful. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any other tools or tips that you find super helpful when communicating with your wedding clients.