Every wedding professional has a definitive point in an event when they can officially, and with confidence, announce “I’m out of here.”
For some, it’s when the cake is officially delivered and in place while for others, it’s far past the time when the last guest has left- when the confetti is officially out of their hair. Back in my catering days, I always knew the exact moment when the last meal was placed in front of the final guest, which was officially my ticket to enjoying what was left of the weekend.
The same can often be said for networking events, a crucial wedding marketing To Do for any pro in the industry. We generally find ourselves with a personal limit to our participation- whether it be the second hour of an event, or after one has taken an official “lap” around the room. The one thing wedding pros often fail to realize, however, is that a sound networking plan extends far beyond the last call.
Following up after any networking event is essential to developing one’s wedding relationships. Not sure where to start? Here are a few post-networking follow up tips to steer you on the right path:
1) Thank your host. Now would be a great time to extend your gratitude with a note of thanks as well as kudos for a job well done. It’s a memorable, and often forgotten, touch as well as a great way to get your business card in the hands of a potentially new contact.
2) Make coffee dates. Did you make any new contacts that have the potential to become mutually beneficial relationships? Don’t let it stop at the business card exchange. Instead, reach out with a friendly hello and express an interest in getting together.
3) Send handwritten notes. I’ll be the first to admit that email tends to run my life but there is no substitute for a sincere handwritten note. This is the perfect option for someone you only briefly at the event and aren’t quite ready to take the coffee date plunge with yet.
And just remember, promptness is the name of the game so do the necessary prep work in advance to guarantee a timely follow up. Do you live by your calendar? Schedule an hour on it as if it was an appointment so that you have time set aside to make contact. Planning on writing a handful of notes? Prep an area in advance with all of the essentials- note cards, envelopes, stamps and mailing labels.
Networking is proven to be a successful wedding marketing strategy when done well. Take the extra step by following up effectively with your new wedding friends, and the efforts will pay dividends.
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: Richmond NACE; Photography by Stephanie Yonce Photography