Many may not know that I had a brief tenure in the world of association management, which was right up my little Type A alley. In addition to a bit of this and that, I assisted with contract negotiations for large conventions on behalf of a Meeting Planner.
And that, my friends, is when I learned the truth- wedding planners were getting the short end of the stick.
In this new world, Meeting Planners (no different in most ways than Wedding Planners except their customers were far less likely to cry) were positively revered. It was like they were placed on this magical pedestal with a golden ticket that gave them free rooms at any hotel they desired.
So it got me thinking about my own relationship with wedding planners back in the day. Sure there were some not-so-perfect moments. There was that one time a new planner yelled at me because our staff had tossed some of her paperwork into the trash, and I *may* have told her ever so calmly that leaving loose papers unattended in a public area for an hour may not have been her best idea to date.
But overall, I was part of a venue that was more than happy to have wedding planners as part of the team. In fact, we encouraged our brides to hire them. They generally had insight into the family dynamics that I desperately needed, and was often the emotional crutch for the brides that I didn’t necessarily want to be. Besides, what good is a vendor room if you can’t run in, shut the door and commiserate with the planner?
Our pro-planner attitude took us rather far. Our events were better planned because of them, we enjoyed a steady stream of mutual referrals and my sanity was always (relatively) in tact at the end of each season. The more I look around me today, however, the more I realize that not everyone is putting their planners on pedestals- and it’s time to rethink that.
The fact is this- if you aren’t forming mutually beneficial relationships with wedding planners, then you’re missing the boat. If they call (even if it is their very first day as a planner) and want to tour your space, you say yes. If they ask you to go to lunch, you set the date. If they bring you a bride, say thank you.
Ultimately, relationships are what drive wedding businesses and if you aren’t investing in them, then you’re not reaching your full potential as a wedding business owner. So dust off that list of planners and begin making those lunch dates.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.
Photo credit: Meghan McSweeney Photography