Hi Kelly! First, I wish you much success with your business. Give it time, as this is a tough sell for many brides. As for the questions you should ask- ANYTHING that comes to your mind! Ask them about their vision, where is the wedding, how large a wedding party, what special traditions or memories do they want to incorporate, wedding theme or colors, what do they expect from you. Mostly, pay attention to the bride's words, her emotion, her "control" factor. Is she willing to let go and trust you or is she going to be second guessing you? Are her expectations realistic or way out there? Who is paying for the wedding- and your services? Get a feel for the bride and the relationship you can build with her. Not every potential client is worth it. When you are starting out and hungry, you can make a decision you regret later. I did that once- never again! Screen your clients as if they were employees and if you get a bad vibe- walk away. In 9 years I only had 1 bride that I regret- but that was a killer! Hope that this site will be of great help to you! Again, good luck!!
I think you mentioned all the right issues to be asked- I especially agree with you re the bad vibe about the potential clients- I made that mistake once and hopefully never again- when i was first starting the business and it has caused me more stress than all of my weddings together!
So yes, Kelly- wedding planning is beutiful work but also extremely detailed with enourmous attention to details and it is of crucial importance your Brides have confidence in your services and advice and above all to feel comfortable mutually both way.
Wishing you all the best!
Wendy hit on something I really focus on when I first meet with a bride, what is YOUR vision for your special day. So often as you go through the process outside influences (mothers, relatives, friends) begin to impose their visions on both you and the bride. It's so important to know up front what your bride is looking for. It helps to manage expectations and also manage those other influences when you know they are becoming a distraction or a source of contention.
I also really go over budget. Some brides have not taken the time to go over a pre-wedding check list but have already set a "firm" budget. So often, they don't realize they haven't adequately budgeted for the "basics". Ines is right, this is a very detail oriented industry and the smallest thing can send you into a tail spin. Be patient, be diligent and be honest. Your reputation is after all the only thing you have at the end of the day.
I'll share a list with you that someone has shared with me- I've also added to it. It's a bit long but has some good ideas (attached)
The goal is not to get to know every single detail about their wedding. You want to get the bride excited and talking about her wedding. You want to ask her questions about her wedding that shows you care about the details and how she wants her day to be (Ex. What does your wedding look like?). You also want to ask questions that show you are knowledgeable about things she hasn't yet figured out. (Ex. What kind of linens are you considering?) You want the bride to feel comfortable in dialogue. She should also feel like you understand her completely (Ex: Oh so it sounds like you want a very elegant looking wedding, but with an atmosphere that puts guests at ease and makes them feel comfortable.) You should also be able to "feel-out" the bride and assess if you need to tag on a PITA fee.
Wow, thank you for sharing this information with me. I love that there are wedding planners out there that are eager to share their own experiences with a new person in the industry, I truly respect that. I hope that one day I can return the favor through my own experiences. Thank you SO MUCH!!!
Great questions to ask as a consultant! As the wedding ceremony musician I zero in on the VISION for the MUSIC for the wedding. Favorite songs, mood (romantic, classical, sacred, up-beat.....), "their special song", processional, recessional, do either of the Moms have a favorite song, songs NOT to play. The reception music is usually planned but the ceremony music is sometimes the last detail thought of. Not only does music evoke memories. but the emotional quality of the music can add tremendously to the joy of the wedding ceremony. Music that touches the heart can be the framework around the magical forever-memory of the bride's special day!