I'm just starting out in my wedding business and am having a hard time really getting my name out there. I've been doing weddings for about 4 years for friends and relatives but getting new clients is much harder. I have a website, facebook, twitter, blog, and am on a few different sites. I hand out my business cards every chance I get and have met with only a few brides.It's still very hard to get my name out there and network with other wedding professionals.

Any suggestions? Help! :)

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Well, we have done most of our marketing online through this site and many others. WeddingWire is a great resource for vendors. I did a bit of investigating and visited your website. As an event planner, your website is your online portfolio. I noticed that you don't have any photos on your site. I would definitely recommend that you start by adding a portfolio to your webpage. It is great to have a blog, but I noticed that your blog is a completely different website (blogger). Wordpress allows you to integrate your blog into your website. The benefit of this is that if someone reads something that they like, they can navigate over to your services section or your contact section and get a hold of you. Hope this helps!
I have recently put up a forum on the same question, of free marketing that works. It helped a lot. One that might work for you is to go to venues and talk to them about upselling you. If you have met any photographers or videographers that you have worked with, maybe doing a mutual upsell. We had a wedding planner for our wedding and as a videographer I would choose to upsell her if I can. So a mutual swap works well. There are also other online websites to put your name on that will make you more searchable to brides that are looking.

If you are located in California, as a videographer I would be happy to do a mutual swap, we are always looking for people to help. And check out the other forum, there has been lots of great advise from the vendors on BT.
by joining as many free websites like this, I'm listed on weddingwire as well as wedspace.com, wedalert.com plus a few others if you go to the bottom of my blog you'll see all the free ones available which you can also join.

Plus you should create a facebook and twitter page for yourself

Welcome
Caren
Those are all very good ideas. I started my business in march of 2009 and I have almost doubled my brides for 2010. Your biggest advertiser is gonna be your brides; word of mouth is the best. I would suggest becoming a member of your local chamber. Make close relationships with as many new people as possible, when doing this, please be yourself! Those new relationships will also help get your name out there. Do local bridal shows, but start out with some of the least expensive ones...they get very pricey. Good luck to all of you!

Christina Coe
Networking, networking, networking. I'm part time in the wedding business, and shot my first wedding a little more than two years ago for a friend, and fell in love with wedding photography. It was something I decided I was going to shift my business to focus almost exclusively on. Last year I shot a little more than 40 weddings and elopements. I accomplished that in all but two cases by networking. The first thing you need is a documented portfolio, with letters from past clients.

Then...

Think like a bride. You get engaged, and your first thought is venue, sometimes your second thought is Photographer. Connect with the venues first, then connect with the photographers you would recommend and that you want to be associated with, and become a friend. Engage both groups fully. The second question I ask a potential client is who their wedding planner is. If they don't have one, I ALWAYS recommend one because weddings with a competent planner are always more enjoyable for the clients and the vendors.

Good luck!
Thanks so much you guys! I've already put up a picture gallery on my website, now I'm working on contacting vendors in the area to try to make relationships! I really apprecaite all the advice! Keep it coming!!!

-Liz
That is so helpful. I will definitely try to leave my card with these places to increase exposure. Thanks for the advice.
I have to say, face to face networking has worked the best for me. While Twitter and Facebook are a good way to keep a connection with vendors...nothing compares to building a relationship face to face with other vendors. Lunch or a visit in person is certainly more memorable than a quick tweet or facebook message. So the more meetings you can have in person, the better. This gives you and the vendor a chance to know your personalities and create a lasting loyal connection.
Lelie, you are so right about a face to face meeting. If you have a venue - that's almost a built in face to face meeting and an easier "sell" Either they like the venue or they continue to search.

The venue usually has a list of preferred caterers they give to the bride or they have their onw on site caterer.

I'ts a very competitive busisness and unless you spend the money and times you'll never get on the list.

I'm a boutqiue caterer (small but precious) and go outside the box with menus, decor and extreme service.

My events come from referral because there is no way I can advertise what we do. If I cannot meet with the bride I loose the job. There is nothing like face to face.
Dear Elizabeth,
First , I don,t know where you have your bussenis. In the US?
When you have, I want to offer you to work together with Bonaire.
When you send couples to Bonaire for weddings and sell them wedding packages from us.
But I also don,t know if you send them on locations.
Do you work with other places in the world?
I have some more contacts in the US, Let me know if you like this.

Elizabeth de Groot
www.flamingoservicesobonaire.com
Linkedin is a great place to promote your job. You can join groups, find local professionals and get busy exchanging different views. Another way is to exchange links with vendors which will give you the possibility of greater traffic to your site.
I would agree with Kristen. I think as an event planner you need to have a compelling website. Include professional photos, highlighting details from the weddings you have been involved with (ex. table settings, flower arrangements, place cards etc...). Ask the photographers if you can use their photos from these weddings on your website if you give them credit. Also you might want to be specific about what services you provide -- day of, month of, etc... and what that includes. I read an article recently that a great percentage of brides that meet with a vendor end up booking them. So, getting the first meeting is the goal. You might want to give them an incentive to schedule a meeting with you - ex. gift card, free timeline etc...

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