Today’s post was prompted by something that happened recently in my day to day communication with my wedding planning hat on.
I received an invite for canapés and drinks for a 2 hour evening event a 4-hour drive from my office. As much as I’m partial to a canapé and a glass of champagne, I’m afraid that the 8 hour round trip (not mentioning the inability to indulge in more than 1 glass as I’d be driving) is off the scale in terms of its unsuitability to my busy schedule. I’m afraid not only do I decline such invitations, but it goes against that venue (as I mark said venue as rather scattergun in approach). Unsure of their target market and therefore probably unlikely to be right for my discerning customers. I know I’m not the only one who thinks this, as I talk to my wedding planning colleagues all the time about these approaches.
I urge you, as progressive venues, to really fine-tune who your target market is first and devise your events programme and invitations accordingly. If your strategy does involve targeting wedding planners and their clients (a good move particularly if you want to offer weekend weddings, blank canvas weddings or those with a luxury element), then you need to look closely at who they are, where they are based and give them a compelling reason to break from their busy diary and give you their time.
The full experience
You need to host something that truly allows them to experience all that you have to offer – this might well be fine to host a dinner or a lunch if your guest list is relatively local but if you’ve got a country setting and are wanting to tap into the London and/or destination market – generally an overnight stay, dinner and breakfast is about right – 24 hours or thereabouts is enough time for a wedding planner to confidently see what you have to offer and work out if it’s right for their clients by tasting your food, experiencing your service, building a relationship with your key team members – all these things really matter to the planner serving a luxury client. You could look at hosting a small group event for a selection of wedding planners or invite them in one by one with the chance of bringing a partner or colleague if invites are on a one by one basis.
Time it well
Midweeks are great and usually preferred. I’d also suggest choosing your timings carefully – May to September can be tricky to get a healthy guest list on any day of the week as most planners are working flat out on event delivery from week to week over this time.
The right guest list
My final tip here is to choose your target list wisely – do look closely at the sort of weddings the planner regularly organises, as featured on their gallery and social media and look at what style they are passionate about and if that’s a good match for you. Targeting the right planners who are likely to have the right couples for your venue is better than having volume of the wrong people headed your way (I’m always about quality over quantity in everything that I do).
It can be rather hard to tell who does what and it’s certainly time-consuming, particularly if this is a new sector of the industry you’re investing in and you have a million other tasks to attend to.
If you need help in getting to the absolutely perfect guest list for showcasing your venue to independent wedding planners, then this is something I do very successfully for my venue clients.
You can read more here about how this service works here.
Image credits: Motorway Congestion – Auto Express // Train Journey – My News Desk // Long Road – Flickr/Alan Amati via If The Devil Had Menopause // Wedding Planner Event – Kate Nielen // Wedding Planner Event Collage – Kate Nielen // Canapes – Sunninghill Weddings // Drinks and Canapes – Delicious Magazine // Champagne – Carriages Events // Women Waiting for Train – BT.com // Kelly with Bride – Pippa Mackenzie