Jul 1, 2016
As a wedding planner, you may be passionate about what you do and your creativity may be boundless, but the traditional financial model of charging your clients a percentage of their budget or a finite fee is limited. And you are discouraged in your certification courses from double dipping and taking money from the vendors.
So where can you grow profitability from here?
You can increase fees but that may result in losing business. You can lower fees to try to increase volume but chances are that will backfire; it could be hard to raise prices again.
You can increase bookings but the way most businesses approach that is to increase advertising and marketing. For wedding planners that’s a more risky endeavor. When deciding whom to hire many couples really look for referrals more than use advertising platforms. If you do invest in advertising and marketing, making sure you have a good quantity of reviews on each platform can help increase response.
You can lower overhead but options are limited since many wedding planners already keep overhead down by working from home and not having salaried employees.
You can try to further monetize your existing customers by offering more products and services. The goal would be offerings that do not require investment in inventory. That is the least thought of but probably most sensible approach to take.
What are those types of add-ons?
Invitations, favors, attendant gifts, bridal accessories, chair covers and linen rentals are all products that you can offer your clients that can be presented through using samples, catalogs, photographs and online showcases. You can find many of those suppliers right inside VOWS magazine. You can also attend trade shows like the National Stationery Show, Special Events or Wedding MBA. In addition the resource site Suppliers.Wedding can be helpful.
The difference is that you are selling these services to the customer as the reseller, not as a consultant, so you have control over the profit margins. Some categories like invitations have suggested retail prices published in sample albums, such as Carlson Craft. Carlson Craft also offers wholesale calligraphy and will build an online store on your website.
What may not be as apparent regarding add-on profits is that they can potentially expand your audience beyond your existing customers. If you promote these products elegantly in your marketing and on your website, you can potentially attract customers who may not have hired you for wedding planning.
If you were to look at your website statistics using Google Analytics you might be surprised by how many people visit your site compared to how few customers actually contact or buy from you. Engaging that silent majority with offers online can create additional revenue. Some companies have set up affiliate programs where they can track exactly where a customer they acquired came from.
For example Xedo.com is an online tuxedo service working nationally that has an elegant virtual design tool. They offer a free try-on tuxedo to the groom while offering free delivery and pick-up. You can make a sizeable commission just for referring customers to their site. So just by establishing a page on your site promoting their company, someone who may never contact you for wedding planning can rent tuxedos and you can make a sizeable profit.
While a bridal shop often facilitates bridal gown preservation and a florist often facilitates floral preservation, it may make sense for a wedding planner to handle that service. You are there the day of the wedding and can take the gown and bouquet at the end of the reception and start the process. You can add hundreds of dollars in additional profits with the right suppliers. You can contact www.associationofweddinggownspecialists.com for resources for gown preservation and www.timelessmoments.com for resources for floral preservation.
This is only the beginning of how you can further monetize your existing customers. Remember: you have already won their trust. Now you are there to guide them and if you have worthwhile offerings, you will have a responsive audience. In addition you are now strengthening your company to grow revenues and be that much more worthy of being hired.
Shannon Hurd, Managing Editor, oversees the editorial content and direction of VOWS and its platforms. She writes on Social Media and the intersection of bridal business and life. Shannon's recent blog posts are below.
It’s authentic, informative, fun – and strategically effective.
Peter Grimes, Publisher and founder of VOWS Magazine. His comments are presented in each issue's Publisher's Note, and often address industry issues and pertinent news of the day. He can be reached at 949 388 4848 or via email
As we close out 2016, there are a number of undercurrents that should break the surface in the coming season and year