I’ve said it before and I will say it again – one of the biggest pieces to my success early on as a wedding planner was the fact that I made networking a priority. With 2023 in full swing already (how did that happen?!), I thought I should share a few networking tips for wedding planners in 2023. Below, I’m going to give you the tools you need to effectively network in the wedding planning industry, from utilizing social media to attending industry events and building relationships with fellow vendors. So, let's dive into it!
Networking in the Wedding Planning Industry
First – let’s have a quick heart to heart. The wedding industry is all about relationships. With so many talented planners vying for customers, it's important to build a strong professional network to stand out from the crowd. Let me tell you: the stronger your relationships are, the stronger your business will be. As wedding planners, we need to stop waiting around for people to approach us and seek out opportunities instead.
Use Social Media to Build Your Network
I WISH we had as many options to connect with fellow vendors on social media when I started my business as we do today. Back in my day, there was pretty much only Twitter (shout out to my iWed ladies!). We used Twitter back in the day to connect, share, network and problem-solve together. I still talk to some of those women today.
Today, one of the most effective ways to use social media is to have conversations and engage with other wedding vendors. It’s also a great place to do research and check out the types of wedding vendors you want to work with, and see the events other people in your area are producing so you can strategicall align yourself with more vendors who are doing the work YOU want to be doing.
On top of that, don’t forget to utilize social media is to join industry-specific groups and communities. These groups provide a space for wedding planners to connect with other vendors, share advice and resources, and ask for recommendations.
Put this tip into action: Follow (at least) 5 local vendors, send them a DM introducing yourself and ask to connect via email. Then, take it OFF Instagram and use the opportunity to build new relations IRL. Invite them for a coffee date, set up a time of a zoom call, grab lunch, or even better – discuss how you can collaborate in the future!
Attending Industry Events
While social media can be a fantastic tool for establishing initial connections with other wedding vendors, nothing beats face-to-face interaction when it comes to building lasting relationships. Attending industry events can provide wedding planners with an opportunity to network with other professionals, share ideas, and stay up-to-date on the latest wedding trends.
To make the most out of these events, I always recommend wedding planners come prepared with a plan (especially at first – when it might not feel as natural to put yourself out there). Research the event ahead of time and decide which vendors you would like to connect with. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards (yes – they still exist!) and practice your elevator pitch beforehand.
Once you are there, don't be afraid to approach others and strike up a conversation. Remember, you're all there for the same reason, so don't hesitate to introduce yourself and establish new connections. If you like to be a little extra prepared (like most wedding planners I know!), consider memorizing a few ice breaker questions ahead of time.
Collaborating on Styled Shoots
If you’ve been around a while, you know I have such a love for styled shoots. Collaborating on styled shoots can be a fantastic way for wedding planners to build relationships with other vendors. It gives everyone a chance to flex their creativity as well.
On top of that, by working with photographers, florists, and other wedding vendors, planners can create beautiful and unique styled shoots that can be shared on social media and used in marketing materials. Ideally, you’ll want to collaborate with vendors who want to attract couples that are drawn to the same aesthetic as you.
By working together on a project, planners can get to know other vendors and learn about their specialties and areas of expertise. It’s also a great way to learn a little more about a particular vendor's working style/personality. Ultimately, that will help you guide your couples to the perfect vendors for them in the future as well!
Staying Top of Mind with Follow-Ups and Thank You Notes
To truly make an impact in the wedding planning industry, it’s not just about meeting new people, but staying in touch with them as well. This is where follow-ups and thank you notes come into play. After attending networking events or collaborating on styled shoots with fellow vendors, I always recommend wedding planners send a quick message of thanks or follow-up to show that you value the relationship that has been built.
These messages don’t have to be lengthy or complicated. And once the connection has been made, it’s easy enough to stay top of mind by responding to Instagram stories and engaging with their posts on social media (in an authentic, non-spammy way). That way, you not only strengthen existing relationships but also keep yourself top of mind for potential future collaborations.
Don’t forget to network with other wedding planners!
As a wedding planner, it's important to remember that networking with other industry vendors doesn't just include photographers, florists, and catering companies. Fellow wedding planners can also prove to be valuable connections. Some of my best connections were wedding planners I chatted with over Twitter back in 2009.
Just because other wedding planners may offer similar services, it doesn't mean you have to view them as competition. Embrace any opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other. By building a strong network within the wedding planning community, you can cultivate a deeper understanding of the industry. You can even expand your client base. They will have couples reach out to them that don’t want what they offer, or will want days they are already booked. They need someone to refer (and so do you – when the situation is reversed).
So don't shy away from forging relationships with these networking tips for wedding planners. It may just lead to a stronger, more successful business in the long run. If you aren’t in the Planner’s Playbook yet, I want to encourage you to get on the waitlist today. Listen – there is nothing like surrounding yourself with like-minded go(al) getters. As a Playbooker, you are encouraged and supported by planners that want the same thing as you do. So join us today!
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