A couple of months ago, I put together a step-by-step playbook for becoming a wedding designer and a wedding planner design process. It was an absolute favorite for both new and experienced wedding planners alike (keep reading to find out how you can get access), so today, I thought I would share just a few things to include in your wedding design proposals in case becoming a wedding designer is something that you want too!
Be honest with me: does your current wedding planner design process look like a mood board and a few pages of ideas?
As a business coach for wedding planners, I’m here to tell you that if you are dreaming of charging luxury prices for your services, especially wedding design, you need to take this up a few notches. Putting together a few photos you find on Pinterest is not the advice you are going to find here (I know you are better than that, and if that’s all you are doing now, it’s just because you don’t know what the heck else to do).
Inside The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Design, I share six tangible things you need to include in your wedding design process (it takes up about 6 of the 53 pages included). Just to give you a little taste (and help you serve your customers better – of course), we are going to break down four of them today!
The first thing your wedding planner design process should include is an inspiration board (with color swatches and images!)
So yeah, you do need to start with an inspiration board–but this is just the beginning! An inspiration board will typically appear at the beginning of a design deck, to set the tone for how the wedding will look and feel, and get your customer’s mouths watering for what’s to come. As you start to build your inspiration board, make sure to choose images that will inspire your couples – and the rest of the creative team you’ll put together!
So what photos do you need to include in your wedding planner design? When you choose your images, you aren’t just choosing them because they are pretty or because they are the *exact* bridesmaid dresses or tablecloths you like. Instead, your inspiration board needs to be filled with images that reflect the overall event, and balance each other in color, tone, texture, and feeling.
Not only will your couples love to see your overall vision (probably even more than the nitty gritty stuff), but this inspiration board will be incredibly helpful as you put together your vendor team.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and sharing your inspiration board with vendors will allow your vendors to contribute and make your ideas even better as the planning process continues. For example, instead of showing your cake designer the exact 7-tier cake you found on Pinterest, show them the overall vision for the event and let them help you find unique and stunning ideas. Trust me – they’ll appreciate the chance to flex their own expertise and creativity.
The second thing your wedding planner design needs to include is what we call a Design Dossier
Here’s where we get a little (a lot) more detailed. On top of your vision board (where too many wedding designers stop!), you need to create a wedding design dossier (or proposal!), walking them through the design from start to finish extensively. Once approved, you’ll consider this your event design bible for the entirety of the wedding design process.
Here’s a little tip for you: I love to create these for the couple to experience their wedding through the eyes of their guests.
It’s not enough to show more pictures, you need to describe (in detail) why you chose what you chose, and how each choice was intentional in contributing to the overall experience of their wedding day. Trust me, your couples will soak it all up and love the “why” behind the design even more than the pictures.
You want to walk through absolutely everything in this document because bringing it to life will no doubt cost a pretty penny, and a strong design proposal is the fastest way to gain your couple's trust (and credit cards). The longest design proposal I’ve ever written was over 80 pages and included things like design direction, color story development, layouts for the ceremony and reception locations, and so much more. Everything from tablescape design to floral selection needs to be detailed.
Next, make sure your wedding design includes a rental proposal with mock-up items like linens, rentals, and flowers.
If you want to make more money as a wedding planner, get on the waitlist for the Planner’s Playbook now because, in a future playbook, I’m going to teach you all about rentals (and how you can make a LOT more money by adding a rental revenue stream to your design business). But that’s advice for another day.
In your design proposal, you also need to include a rental proposal. Remember: you are asking your customers to spend a lot of money trusting your vision. Although you could just send over a quote with a list of line items you’ll need to bring your vision to life, you are going to find it a lot more effective to communicate the rentals they will need through a rental proposal and a mood board.
Unlike the design dossier, which likely breaks down each design element chronologically (remember: you want them to feel like a guest), your rental proposal should be grouped into different categories (ceremony rentals, for example, would include chairs, structures, sign-in tables, etc. together). The categories you choose are up to you, and will likely change depending on the nature of the wedding (i.e., for some, stand-alone lounge areas will absolutely need their own section, and for some, you might be okay adding them to cocktail hour rentals).
Remember this: the more thorough and inspiring the proposal, the easier it will be to get your customers’ sign off (and rental deposit!).
Make sure your wedding planner design proposals also have room diagrams and even sketches.
Gone are the days when you have to sketch out your ideas on a sheet of paper (thank goodness for our friends at Merri!), but it does provide a bit of a wow factor. As you put together your design proposal, consider adding a few hand-written touches to really bring your design dossier to life.
Hot tip: you can DIY these wedding design sketches or even hire an artist to draw out your concepts for you! Or, you can sign up with BeMerri and create incredible 3D renderings of your events with just a click of a button!
We are so fortunate in 2023 because there are loads of design programs and software at your fingertips. Some, like canva, are extremely easy to use! So you really don’t need to bust out the old pencil case if you don’t want to, but you should provide a room diagram of some sort to really showcase the space you're designing for your couples!
Be honest with me: Is wedding design the part of your business that lights you up?
If it is (or even if it’s just something you want to explore a little more, but your best friend imposter syndrome keeps getting in the way), I have a special offer just for you. If you have been following me for a while, you know about The Planner’s Playbook, my educational community for wedding planners who want to level up their business one step at a time. Each month, we dive deep into just one part of your business and make it extraordinary.
TLDR: Whether we are looking at revamping your wedding packages to make you more money as a wedding planner, or finally getting you an onboarding process you love, if it has to do with running a profitable, ease-filled wedding planning business, it’s in the Planner’s Playbook.
If wedding design is something you want to start offering, I’m selling The Ultimate Guide To Wedding Design for a limited time.
Typically, the only way to get access to our coveted monthly playbooks is to sign up when the doors are open, but I know that sometimes you just can’t wait to get started. Because I started my business to make my own rules, I’m making an exception.
Right now, you can snag just this ONE playbook to get you started for just $97. Trust me, it's a steal. Inside, I'm teaching you everything you need to know about becoming a wedding designer.
Seriously: jump on that. Not only does it talk a lot more about what to include in your design proposals – like, a lot more – but it also teaches you how to actually sell your services. In order for you to grow the wedding design side of your business as a wedding planner, you’ll need to get some customers. Don’t worry, by the time you’ve finished reading the playbook, you’ll feel confident in what you have to offer (I know that’s what you are worried about!).
I also include answers to the questions I know that you’ll have, like “How many designs should I present to my client”, “How long should the design process last,” and most importantly: “how much should I charge”?
After you’ve added your shiny new Playbook to your cart, make sure to also get yourself on the waitlist for the next time the Planner’s Playbook opens if you want juicy, elevated wedding planner advice on the regular. I promise it will be the best money you spend on your business (so you can put your credit card away before you purchase yet another one-off course).
The best way to grow the business you want is to soak up advice and tips from someone who has grown the wedding business you want to have. I’ve grown a six-figure wedding business, working with couples planning weddings with budgets in excess of one million dollars. I’ve grown a team and created a brand that was sellable when I was ready to hang up my clipboard. Is that what’s on your vision board? If so, this isn’t an offer you want to miss!
Want more? Check out this video on my YouTube channel ↓
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