This Week in Weddings: Top Takeaways from “Making it to the Main Stage” as a Wedding Industry Speaker

{yes, this was said about 2 minutes into the episode #someoneputthatonamug}

This past week, I had the very best time sitting down with Annie and Kimberly from This Week in Weddings, a wedding industry podcast I’ve kept on rotation since they made their debut a few years ago. What was particularly fun about this interview is that it was an encore visit to the show. I had been one of the very first to sit down with the two of them and now, 134 episodes later, I was back to dig into a brand new topic.

When we discussed the idea of chatting once again, I ultimately landed on an idea that I hoped, would complement my friend Morgan’s episode on adding public speaking to your portfolio.  While I had written and spoken time and time again on how to be a speaker, I loved the idea of focusing specifically on how to book national wedding industry conferences.

I thought back to some of the biggest questions I get on the regular include, including:

  • Where in the world do you actually start? How do you actually get your foot in the door?
  • How can you offset the costs of conferences smartly, and how can that investment pay off in the long run?
  • Once I have the attention of a conference organizer, how can I make sure I make a great enough impression that I’ll increase my chances of pickup in subsequent years?

The fact is, building a strong speaking portfolio is just a starting point. One of the biggest differences between local and national speaking is the amount of time, money and resources invested. With that in mind, it’s essential to ask yourself why you want to pursue the next level of speaking and what sort of ROI is to be expected in order to consider the initiative a success.

In this interview, we broke down the many types of prospective speakers and their reasoning for wanting to take the next step in their speaking endeavors. From there, we touched upon topic creation strategies to ensure your subject areas are competitive against some of the veterans of the industry.

Ultimately, my hope with this interview was to give a candid look into the world of wedding industry speaking, and I’m thrilled to share that it was. We touched upon:

  • Answering they why– not only my reasoning for pursuing national speaking engagements, but why others may (or may not!) as well.
  • Making the right choice– after all, not all event industry conferences are equal (in fact, all of them are quite different!). While the choice of conferences to pursue is up to the speaker, I shared further insight into what parameters I considered when I first got my start.
  • The cost of speaking– not only how much you do or do not make, but the type of investment that may come with the national speaking gigs.

A few of my favorite takeaways focused on what it takes to be considered back year after year. While I was in no position to speak on behalf of conference organizers, I’ve found that there are certain things to be mindful of that have nothing to do with your performance on stage.

In between, I was thrilled to share my own dramatic entrance into national speaking, which took place at The Special Event Show 2011 in Tampa. I may have finally also broken my silence about how interactions with both Al Roker and Mary Lou Retton during my catering sales manager days truly impacted how I choose to interact with the audience when I’m on site at a speaking engagement.

My only regret from the episode is that we didn’t have another hour or two to really dig deeper. But we packed in quite a bit with the hour that we did have together.

So, consider this just a brief overview of some of the points discussed on the show. The very best thing you can do is give it a listen yourself. And be sure to check out the show notes- I offered listeners a recorded webinar on how to create your own speaking platform.

Thanks Kimberly and Annie for having me!

Avatar photo

Meghan Ely

Regarded as one of the leading wedding publicists in the US, Meghan Ely combines in-the-trenches event experience with a love of wedding PR. She has earned coverage for her clients with the New York Times, People, Brides, Bridal Guide, The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, CNN Money, and more. She is a WeddingPro Expert and long-time contributor to and