The idea that lots (and lots) of people weigh in on a bride and groom’s wedding decisions isn’t new — but would you ever encourage a couple to actively solicit the opinion of friends, family and strangers for every big-day decision?
When The Knot live-streamed its 2015 Dream Wedding last week, viewers got to see the results of a crowd-sourced wedding, where the public voted on details such as flowers, hairstyle, dress and honeymoon destination.
That’s exactly what the wedding magazine The Knot did last week for a live-streamed, crowd-sourced wedding in Sonoma, California, which put all of the details — including flowers, dress and honeymoon destination — up for public vote.
The wedding, held at the Chateau St. Jean winery, is part of The Knot’s long running Dream Wedding series, which began in 2000 in a partnership with the TODAY show; two years ago, in 2013, The Knot expanded the promotion online.
While exact numbers weren’t available at press time, “millions of” voters have weighed in on past events, according to Lauren Kay, senior style editor at The Knot.
Farmgirl Flowers, in San Francisco, created floral designs for this year’s wedding — capturing voters’ attention with the shop’s “rustic aesthetic,” which Kay said “fit in perfectly with the vineyard setting.” (Read more about Farmgirl Flowers in the September 2013 issue of Floral Management.)
This year’s wedding made headlines in high-profile publications, including The New York Times, in part because it leveraged new technology, including drones to capture aerial footage and robot bartenders. Kay said the wedding offers plenty of practical application for local florists, even if you don’t have to contend with millions of decision-makers (or have the luxury of big name sponsors, including Revlon):
Embrace Technology. “We see couples looking to personalize every detail of their wedding, and a great way to do this is with technology,” Kay said. “With 3D printing, we captured an exact replica of the couple for their wedding cake topper, and with live-streaming, the bride’s mother was able to watch the entire wedding, even though her health prevented her from joining in the festivities in-person.” Can’t afford a 3D printer? No worries. Kay suggests that social media — and all of its free tools — can be a great way to promote your wedding services and story tell about individual weddings. “Our readers loved following along online and on social media throughout the process,” she said.
Sell a Look, Not a Flower. “[This year’s bride] Samantha didn’t request specific stems or even have a say in the color palette — and [the flowers] looked amazing,” Kay said. “It’s a great example of building trust with your clients. If they are confident in your abilities, you can do your best work and source the freshest, most spectacular blooms,” rather than drive yourself crazy looking for the exact shade of blush in a particular rose.
Tell a Story. Farmgirl Flowers sources only locally grown flowers — a talking point that’s embedded in their brand; don’t forget to personalize your business and share your own story with potential wedding clients (e.g. we’re a family business; this is Tina, our head designer who will be creating your designs…). “Local vendors are so important in the wedding industry,” Kay said. Use your story to stand apart.
Be an Open Book. Today, thanks to online comparison shopping, “most couples are interested in total transparency — they want to know how much things cost because everyone is working with a budget and most people have never spent this much money on flowers before,” Kay said. “In planning [this year’s] Dream Wedding, Farmgirl Flowers showed almost-exact examples of arrangements they planned to use on Sam and Taylor’s wedding day. The final product looked just as expected with no surprises.”
Get a Little Help from Your Friends. The Knot was able to wrangle big-name sponsors for its wedding, but the various vendors chosen by readers also helped promote the wedding. If there’s a popular bridal store in town, or highly sought after venue, talk to the owners about cross promoting your efforts when you work together on a wedding.