No llamas allowed?!
I got the opportunity to have a fantastic chat with self-proclaimed business geek, Jonathan Aymin on his Podcast, The Venue RX. We discuss how to ‘plan your luck’ through networking and visibly ethical ways to run your business while being a rockstar go-between for your clients.
As Jonathan learned about my hospitality and acting background and my breakthrough into the wedding industry, he started noticing a pattern. Even working up from a hostess position, I’ve always been passionate about connecting with people and plugging in where there was a need. Some people may seem lucky, but in reality, they just know how to place themselves in front of opportunities.
We’ve been talking about the importance of community quite a bit recently, and that still rings true for this convo. At the beginning of my career, I planned many friends’ weddings for free or in exchange for furniture. Word-of-mouth and referrals are powerful tools. I’m sure any bestie would recommend you in a heartbeat, but people will remember you if you connect with them personally as your authentic self.
At this point, most of you aren’t surprised that I’m a fervent supporter of the BLM movement and an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. I don’t shut up about it, and that’s the point I’m trying to make! You attract what you create. I’m extremely vocal about what I stand for, and I’m not disappointed if I lose closed-minded potential clients over it – in fact, I’ve gotten plenty of clients BECAUSE I’m so outright about my beliefs. I strive to create a safe space for my clients and their loved ones. A wedding is the coming together of so many different viewpoints, and that’s what’s beautiful about it.
But don’t let your business contradict your morals. Operate in a way that is correct for you. Just as long as your practices aren’t actively harming a marginalized group of people, you’ve got my stamp of approval! Social media is a great place to support and connect with people in the community. Performing deep dives into profiles can help you identify like-minded individuals. Be wary of performative gestures such as posting a black square for Blackout Tuesday. Sometimes you have to dig deeper and glean what a person has done to TRULY make a difference in the community.
As a planner, networking is basically the whole gig, my lovelies! I am the director of the play. NOT an understudy. I’m the liaison between all the services a couple needs for their once in a lifetime event! Meeting people in the community who echo your same energy can create synergy and a seamless experience for your clients. This goes for venues as well. I try to integrate myself into the team of the venues I work with. I’m proud that they feel relieved whenever I’m around. Because they know we will share the workload. I love to hear, ‘Oh, thank goodness! Renee is here. She can handle anything!’
If you need another positive result of networking, here you go! Networking creates trust and fosters effective communication. Like does the venue have certain rules to follow? Is someone going to lose their $#!% if we have a llama petting zoo in that fancy ballroom? The constant back and forth communication between venue and client is quelled if you already know the answer to most questions.
Knowing the ins and outs of your vendors and venues makes it easier to justify the prices and create a smoother client experience.You don’t have to keep the backend a secret. LAY. IT. OUT. ‘Seeing behind the curtain’ can oftentimes help you hammer home the quality of the services you can provide and conceptualize realistic costs with your clients. Oh, this venue costs this much because it’s near the beach. So they have saltwater damage. So their insurance is higher. And they have to hire a staff. And on and on etc.
Kind of like a purse from Target versus a purse from Louis Vuitton. They can hold the same amount of stuff, but you will notice the difference in quality. It’s simple: networking is the key to maintaining that once in a lifetime mentality that makes wedding planning so special.
So maintain your authentic self and start making REAL connections!