» WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco for WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco!

At the Networking Night, San Francisco Pros had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team and listen to a brief presentation by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Other networking events have been held throughout the country, with more exciting events and locations to come this year!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and great photos from the evening (as seen below). If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Greater San Francisco Facebook page!

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack! Congrats to Queen Quiocho of Queen’s Creative Events!

And finally, don’t forget to email events@weddingwire.com if you’d like to take advantage of your WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco discount for up to two tickets to WeddingWire World 2016!

WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco 2015
WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco 2015
WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco 2015
WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco 2015 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at Wine & Roses for WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento!

At the Networking Night, Sacramento Pros had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team and listen to a brief presentation by WeddingWire Education Expert, Andy Ebon. Other networking events have been held throughout the country, with more exciting events and locations to come this year!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and great photos from the evening (as seen below). If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack! Congrats to Andy Foley of Meadow Vista Gardens!

And finally, don’t forget to email events@weddingwire.com if you’d like to take advantage of your WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento discount for up to two tickets to WeddingWire World 2016!

WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento
WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento
WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento
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» 7 Components of a Successful Website

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.

Your website is always evolving, but it has one singular purpose: to generate inquiries and leads. Creating an engaging, optimized, easy-to-navigate site is a critical part of your success. Now, more than ever, an impressive website is the sign of a successful and trustworthy business, so it’s vital that you modernize and update your website often.

How to build a successful websiteThese seven components of a successful website will help you update your site to today’s standards and put your best foot forward for potential clients in your area.


How your website functions and responds to visitors is the starting point of your website’s user experience. If visitors can’t find what they need or your website is broken in some way, the content you write doesn’t matter. There are several considerations to take into account when thinking about your website’s functionality:

  • Intuitive Navigation: Your website’s navigation is the blueprint for visitors – they’ll use your framework to find what they’re looking for. Give your web pages logical names, and keep it simple. The ideal number of pages in your main navigation is seven or fewer. If you have more pages than that, consider adding sub-pages that drop down from the main pages. Additionally, recognize that there is a top-down or left-to-right bias in order and choice. A user is more likely to click one of the first three tabs, so be thoughtful about choosing the order..
  • Internal Search: Our collective brains are wired differently. Some people will follow your carefully thought-out main navigation menu, while others prefer a search box to find specific information quickly. Offering a search box gives visitors a number of options for how they prefer to navigate your website. Most website builder platforms/programs offer this sort of option, plus third-party widgets are available to incorporate a search function into your site.
  • Mobile-friendly: Google reports that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan. It’s no longer acceptable to expect users to pinch the screen to zoom in or out to view all the features of your website on a mobile device. In fact, Google has begun prioritizing mobile-friendly, responsive sites in search results to encourage those who have not yet updated their sites to make the necessary changes. You can check your website’s compliance with Google’s mobile-friendly test. The best solution? Choose a responsive template that automatically adjusts to the visitor’s screen size.

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» Don’t Miss the New 2015 WeddingWire Education Guide!

WeddingWire Education GuideWeddingWire believes in the power of education to keep your business growing and ahead of the competition. We’re excited to announce the new WeddingWire Education Guide is here to help your business grow into 2016 and beyond!

This free guide just for wedding professionals pulls all the best educational content and downloads into one simple place for you to view any time. From marketing strategies to sales tips, client communication techniques and more – the WeddingWire Education Guide has you covered with great tips to take your business to new heights!

Check it out today, and don’t forget to bookmark it to review later and share it with your colleagues. 

View the Guide!

WeddingWire Education Guide Pages

» The Latest Ways WeddingWire Helps Couples

We detail how WeddingWire helps couples plan their weddingAs seasoned wedding professionals know, couples who are new to the wedding planning process are often overwhelmed with the amount of coordination and careful preparation required to pull off the big day. Scattered across Pinterest are tons of wedding ideas, but it can be hard to manage it all without one place that brings it all together. That’s where WeddingWire comes in!

In addition to our wedding websites, budget and checklist tools, below are some of the latest ways we help couples with the wedding planning process:

Newly Engaged Guide

After the proposal and celebration with friends and family, many couples experience the “Now what?” moment. Our newly engaged guide offers advice and information about the first five steps of the wedding planning process. The guide helps couples announce their engagement, choose a desired wedding date, set a budget, build a guest list, and find their venue. This engagement guide is just one of the ways we attract new couples to our site every day! These couples will use our leading technology to continue planning their dream wedding vision and find the perfect professionals to execute it.

Bach Party and Wedding Hashtag Generators

Our new hashtag generators are sure to make a splash with your clients! Coming up with clever bachelor/bachelorette and wedding hashtags is a problem for today’s social-savvy brides and grooms, so we made a fun and easy tool that helps to get the creative juices flowing. Couples just need to fill out a quick form with some basic facts about the wedding day and—voila—a stream of customized hashtag options are generated! Share with your clients to help them get excited about all the wedding events.

Digital Inspiration Magazines

Our editorial team is constantly on the hunt for the latest and greatest styles, fashion, and ideas. That’s why we release a new online magazine each season! Our free wedding magazines offer gorgeous inspiration for all types of wedding styles and tastes, and each new issue provides seasonally-appropriate ideas to spur creativity in your clients. Plus, since our magazines are exclusively online, they’re completely interactive and clickable. Businesses featured in our articles and real weddings can receive direct click-throughs to their Storefronts – a huge benefit that print magazines just can’t match.

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» Pro Forum Buzz: 2015 Pet Peeves, Closing Sales Emails, and More

The WeddingWire Pro Forums are a great place to meet and connect with other Wedding Pros across the country to grow your network. Every day, wedding professionals are talking about a variety of topics, from client concerns to professional advice and best practices.

Here’s what Pros are talking about this month in the WeddingWire Pro Forums!

Biggest pet peeves for wedding professionals2015 pet peeves

Pros blow off some steam by venting about their biggest pet peeves of 2015 so far. Complaints include grammar mistakes, awkward requests, and drunken bridal party members. Share your biggest pet peeves or check out what other Pros are saying!

Join the conversation >>

Tips for closing sales emails

One of WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg’s best sales closing tips is to always end your email with a question to keep the conversation going. Do you use this tip? What questions do you use at the end of your emails? Pros offer their best practices.

Share your techniques >>

Mentoring a potential competitor

Where do you draw the line between mentoring someone and potentially giving away your hard-earned industry experience and trade secrets? A photographer shares her experiences with a colleague who is new to the industry, and seeks advice for how to handle a tricky situation.

Offer your advice >>

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» Growing Pains for Small Business Owners

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

Entrepreneurs are a unique bunch. For those of us with “business in our blood,” the exhilaration of forming and operating our own businesses is addictive. Unfortunately, as exciting as it may be to become your own boss, the ugly truth is that, per Bloomberg, 80% of new businesses fail within the first 18 months. What a terrible statistic, right?

Small business growing pains for wedding professionalsWedding professionals aren’t exempt from the odds, but we also have some special qualities that can help us beat them. For one thing, most of the wedding business owners I know are super invested in what they do. Unlike, say, someone who distributes widgets (are those a thing?), people who choose to work in the wedding industry seem especially passionate about their service or product. They also, for the most part, seem to truly care about their clients. We all know how important our couples’ wedding day is to them, and we want to make it perfect.

So, how can we leverage that passion, that investment, and succeed as business owners? I’d say the magic formula lies partly on the “outside” – your branding and marketing, your selling techniques, and how you perform your services on the day of the wedding – but, perhaps even more, on the “inside.” Success comes from your head and your heart. It’s balancing being ambitious with being realistic. It’s anticipating the challenges ahead, and having a game plan to overcome them. It’s mustering the discipline to keep going when the business isn’t fun anymore. It’s finding ways to make it fun again.

It’s treating the growing pains.

We all deal with them – no one is immune. Paying attention to them, learning the lesson that comes with them, and adapting your business for the better are what will keep you going long past that 18-month lifespan of most new businesses.

Here are some typical types of growing pains for small business owners, and the treatment:

What Hurts: The thrill is gone. You were so driven when you started, and you were so energized by the whirlwind of the startup: naming your business, ordering marketing materials,  and sharing your excitement with those around you. And now, your business has been around a while, and it feels like all you do is sift through emails, answer the same old client questions, and pay bills. It no longer interests you.

The Rx: There are a few things you can do. You can figure out ways to work with more of the people you like, and weed out people you don’t. Working with “your people” automatically makes anything you do more rewarding. You can look for opportunities to expand or refine your services to renew some of the sense of challenge and excitement. You can seek new sources of inspiration: a great book or blog, a mastermind group, a session with a business coach. You can focus on other areas of your life – sure, work takes up a lot of time, especially for business owners, but it’s not (or shouldn’t be) all you do. Maybe there’s a new hobby you can pursue, or an old one you can pick up again. Maybe there’s a great cause that could use some volunteer help. Diversifying your interests can go a long way toward addressing entrepreneurial ennui.

What Hurts: Your brand feels stale. You perceive that your competitors’ marketing is sharper, cooler, prettier or more effective than yours. Those beautiful business cards you were so excited to hand out? Now you’d rather leave them in the bottom of your bag. You don’t feel motivated to try to drive more traffic to your website, because frankly, you don’t really want any more eyes on it than necessary. Even your business name doesn’t sound right any more, and you find yourself wanting to skip over it when you’re networking with new people.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: September 2015

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from September 2015:

Find out about Facebook's plan for business pagesFacebook announces new plan for Pages

In addition to the news that a dislike button is coming soon, Facebook announced this month that the social network will open up two new sections for business pages – shopping and services. These sections allow businesses to feature their products and services directly from their Facebook pages. The original social network expanded these features as part of its plan to help small business owners connect with customers and communicate easily through the platform.

What this means for you: Potential clients can find your business on Facebook, and now they can contact your business or purchase directly through the social network. If your business has already dabbled in Facebook advertising, now is the time to take full advantage so you can start building up your audience in preparation for the upcoming shopping/services section.

Read the rest on Mashable >>

Twitter experiments with polls

This month, Twitter revealed that it has begun experimenting with embeddable polls in tweets. The polls, currently available to those with verified accounts, offer only two responses for users to choose from when answering. After participating in the poll, Twitter users can see results in percentage points to understand how their responses stack up. The new polling feature is anticipated by many brands who would be able to use native polls to survey followers.

What this means for you: Want a quick opinion on which bouquet looks best, which cake flavor is most popular, or which songs wedding guests will be most requesting this season? Twitter’s poll function (when it’s out of testing!) will allow your business to get quick feedback from your clients and followers. Look out for the news from Twitter when they decide whether or not to open up polls for unverified Twitter users.

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» Take Your Business to New Heights: Reach Expert Status

September-Webinar_Take-Your-Business-to-New-Heights-Reach-Expert-Status_TileWebinar Recap!

Do you consider yourself an expert in your field? In our September webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Meghan Ely shared her tips for packaging your skills, experience and knowledge to become a recognized expert in your industry. After all, building your reputation helps you stand out from your competition, increase your value, and boost your brand!

Find out some top highlights from the webinar below.

  • First ask yourself: What am I an expert in? Some considerations include: regional knowledge, destination weddings, LGBTQ, Indian weddings, Jewish weddings, Persian weddings, Elopements, second marriage and more!
  • Before submitting a real wedding, you must first: do your research, focus on your target audience, study the submission guidelines and be mindful of editorial calendars. You can submit real weddings to WeddingWire at RealWeds.com!
  • If you are interested in guest writing, be sure to: research the top and best fit outlets for your expertise, select your top outlets to approach, outline the submission guidelines and follow them, craft a list of topics and only then make the pitch!
  • To help your business get press, here are some great tips: learn to think like the media – what content and help do they need? Make it easy on them, make your outreach about them and their success and not too self-serving, treat them like a client and act professionally, and be prompt with deadlines and organized in your follow up.

For more details, be sure to watch the full webinar!

Interested in learning more from Meghan and her team at OFD Consulting? Until this Friday, 9/25/15 at midnight, all WeddingWire webinar registrants can save 40% on products such as a Real Weddings Submission kit with promo code: weddingwire at checkout!

Did you know that all of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium Pros to view at any time? Check it out for some great education and inspiration on important topics for your business from sales to client communication, marketing and more.

» How to Be the Experienced Wedding Pro (Without Sounding Old)

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

I’m just back from another great conference and I had the privilege of speaking about a touchy subject… getting older. Why is it a touchy subject, after all aging is inevitable? As a matter of fact getting older beats the alternative! The reason it’s touchy is because in our industry, wedding pros, like you, get older every year, while your target market, engaged couples, stay about the same age. In my over 25 years around this industry couples have only gotten about 5 years older, while I’ve added those 25 years to my total (that’s not fair, but it’s true). I have a survey about this topic, so if you’d like to have your voice heard you can take the short survey here.

How to market your wedding experience without sounding oldSo, what’s the problem?

Actually I don’t think there is a problem, but for many wedding pros it can become an issue. At a certain point you find yourself the age of the parents of your clients, while you need to relate to the couple and understand their needs. Any of you who have children know that relating to your kids is not as easy as relating to people your own age. And therein lies the issue, or does it?

As with many other of life’s issues there are many ways to see this.  Do you need to be the age of your couples to relate to them? I don’t think so. You just need to work to understand their needs as it relates to your business and service. You also need to constantly adapt to the way they want to do business.

Technology changes all the time

One of the most fundamental ways our market has changed over the past 10 years is the advent of email. For many, if not most of you, getting a prospect on the phone is your preferred first method of contact. But we all know that doesn’t happen these days and email is, and will continue to be the way they reach out to us for the foreseeable future. It’s not up to us to try to change them, it’s up to us to adapt. A basic rule of business is to communicate with your customers using their preferred technology. If they email you, email them back. If they call you, call them back.

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» Announcing WeddingWire Editors’ Picks

Announcing WeddingWire Editors’ PicksIntroducing WeddingWire Editors’ Picks – a new program recognizing ceremony and reception venues across the U.S. and abroad!

The WeddingWire editorial team spends a great deal of time looking for the brightest stars in the wedding community, so we launched our Editors’ Picks program to highlight some of our favorite wedding venues across the country.

The first set of winners fall into our first two categories: Colleges and Universities and Farms and Barns. We will showcase two categories per month and update categories once a year. Categories are chosen based on the time of year (seasonality and popularity of that particular style in a season) and the interest of our users in order to maximize engagement. Up to 20 venues are selected to feature per category, per year.

Want to be an Editors’ Pick? While there’s no way to apply for our Editors’ Picks program, our editorial team regularly reviews Storefronts on WeddingWire and look for the following:

  • Updated Photos of Your Venue: Ensure you have high-quality, professional photos of your venue from the past year. Photos should highlight what sets your venue apart, features, different wedding styles, etc.
  • Accurate and Updated Venue Information in Your Profile: What makes your venue unique? Explain specific features and services you offer that set your venue apart.

Our Editors’ Picks program is not related to or impacted by our premium advertising options. We encourage you to keep your Storefront photos up to date to catch the attention of our Editors; your business could be picked for one of our upcoming categories!

Find out more about this program and check out the first round of winners on the WeddingWire Editors’ Picks website.

» Highlights from Wedding MBA 2015!

The WeddingWire team had a great time at the annual Wedding MBA (Wedding Merchants Business Academy) 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada last week!

From lots of education to having fun with Pros, below are some of our favorite highlights from the conference! Plus, check out this awesome video recap from our friends at Big Dream Entertainment.

Great Education:

Our team enjoyed all the great educational presentations for Wedding Pros, which included four WeddingWire sessions hosted by WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly and CEO Timothy Chi. Additionally, WeddingWire Education Experts Alan Berg, Andy Ebon, Kathryn Hamm and Meghan Ely all shared their expertise with engaging sessions throughout the conference.

Top Pro from audience

Also, don’t miss our brand new WeddingWire Education Guide for our best educational content in one easy place! From infographics, to our top blog posts, free webinars and WedInsight Guides, the Education Guide will help boost your business’ success.

Meeting Pros:

Industry conferences such as Wedding MBA and WeddingWire World are a great opportunities to get to meet some of the fantastic wedding and event Pros we work with in person! Attendees stopped by WeddingWire’s Lounge for one-on-one account support sessions, to say hello and meet team members, have some fun and collect some awesome swag, and learn more about WeddingWire.

Alicia with vendors

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