Back To Shenandoah

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of heading back to my former “neck of the woods” in the Shenandoah Valley to speak on The State of the Wedding Industry and the 2011. The group, the Shenandoah Wedding Professionals, were a captive audience and I enjoyed their enthusiasm. Expect to potentially see a caravan make their way to Illuminate this Spring in fact.

Although I’ll save the bulk of my findings for future presentation attendees, I thought I’d share a few tid bits–

1) Brides are busting out their wallets- kinda. According to The Wedding Report, the average budget has been on a steady decline for several years but took a dramatic leap in the first part of this year.

Before you start breaking out the party hats, let me warn you. These brides are not the ones we remember from 2007. They may have more money to spend than last year, but they are holding their dollars close. Additionally, with the surge of DIY and articles sharing how to save money, brides need to be educated on the importance of hiring professionals now more than ever.

2) Education is all around you. When I began conceptualizing Illuminate a couple of years ago, I thought it was a rather inventive idea outside of the already established Engage!. The great news is that educational opportunities are cropping up all over the country. Better yet? I’ve been pleased to see may wedding advertisers on local and national levels offering their own advertisers everything from webinars to power lunches. Your job? Take advantage of them.

3) Relationships matter, plain and simple. Although it’s imperative to stay on top of the trends– the ultimate goal is always to outlast them. How does one do that? By making relationships with clients and vendors their number one priority.

As for general wedding trends, we took a walk down memory lane as we reminisced about all of the mason jars, chalkboards and bird cage veils we witnessed this year. We talked Paloma, Dessert Displays, Cake Pops and Ruffles as we close out 2010.

Thanks again for Catherine and Jeff of SWP for allowing me the opportunity to chat about such an important topic. I’d also like to send along a special shout out to The Broke Ass Bride Dana LaRue, who graciously gave me permission to share this hilarious reel which explains why brides find her so darn fabulous.

Up next- I’m gearing up for the big trip to Ireland, followed by making plans with my partner in crime Jennifer McBride for our joint presentation at The Special Event in Arizona come January.

In between, I hope to put the finishing touches on Illuminate: the Workshop (March! 30! 2011!)- expect an announcement soon regarding the speaker line up.

Until next time,

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.