Although brides have plenty of online planning tools at their disposal, many prefer the guidance of a professional. According to Wedding Wire’s latest Newlywed Report, 31 percent of couples last year hired a wedding planner, up from 19 percent a decade ago. Furthermore, many of them are splurging for full-production services rather than just “day of” coordination. Consequently, planners have a lot of authority over which vendors their clients use. Here are some traits they look for when making their referrals.
- Honesty. Sometimes, a planner’s “ask” isn’t quite realistic. “If the budget’s too tight or the timeline’s too short, just let me know,” said Nicole Kaney, owner of NK Productions in Sarasota and Boca Grande, Florida. “I can handle candor. I appreciate florists who are upfront about what they can do, rather than those who leave me hanging or commit then renege.”
- Responsiveness. Good communication is imperative, said Shelley Kunian, owner of Shelley K. Events in Dallas. “You could be the most creative and talented florist out there,” she said. “But if I can’t get ahold of you, what good is that for my clients?”
- Professionalism. Because Kaney accompanies brides at vendor meetings to decide things such as menu tastings and floral consultations, she has a very packed calendar and hates when appointments start late or go down rabbit holes. “Time is money,” she said. “I prefer to work with people who are punctual and can stick to business.”
- Creativity. To Kunian, the best florists take their experience and expertise and blend it with the bride’s tastes. “They give input, guidance and feedback, but don’t try to quash the client’s vision,” she said.
- A Strong Digital Presence. “Wedding planning is very visual,” Kaney said. “A lot of brides find us through Instagram and they expect all their vendors to be active online.” An absolute must: a streamlined website with a curated wedding section. Facebook and Instagram accounts should have lots of photos, revealing the different aspects of weddings (ceremony, reception, personal flowers) in a variety of styles. “We’ve booked several clients because they saw a welcome party we did with a rainbow sprinkle cake topped with a king protea,” she said. “It’s not that they wanted that look, but they loved seeing something unusual and were impressed by our range.” She also recommends posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos. “It shows the personality of your business and makes brides more eager to work with you,” she said.
Read more about wedding trends that are hot this year, and how you can put them to work for your business in the March issue of Floral Management.
Katie Hendrick Vincent is the senior contributing editor of Floral Management.