Dear Wedding Industry - Why don't you want more for yourselves and our industry?
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018
By Kelly L. Sherlock
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Let me start off by saying that I love this industry that I work in. I am a wedding planner - and I can say with conviction that I am a good wedding planner. I am not perfect but I strive everyday to do my best. I work hard to stay fresh and present good, clean, creative ideas to my couples, even though they are not always looking to be so innovative. I consistently work on being positive to my couples and their families when emotions are high and money is at stake, which is typically the case. I make it a point to be respectful to all of the vendors involved in making this process work and I juggle all of the balls quite well when so many personalities and moving pieces and parts are involved. And all the while, I run my accounting, schedule meetings for myself and every single client, and I run my own marketing and social media.

If you are anything like the industry makes us believe, all you recognized was the part where I said “marketing and social media”.  This industry is filled with talent far beyond the scope of what we even realize or recognize. And that scope of talent certainly goes beyond the computer screen and an Instagram post. I am savvy enough and educated enough to know that marketing and sales are at the forefront of any successful business. And in today’s day and age, that means social media. But do any of my fellow wedding vendors realize that there is more to our jobs than that?

Time after time I am invited to attend conferences or seminars revolving around social media and marketing: how to hash tag, how to market to today’s couple, how to sell yourself, etc etc. But what about things like: How to do your job, how to deliver on the promises you’ve made, how to co-exist in an industry where you are not the only one that exists?  Wouldn’t you think these would be helpful topics to further our education and improve our industry?

Beyond topics and subjects that are necessary for those coming into the business and those that want to continue to learn in a business that is ever-changing, don’t you want to hear from successful business owners that are out in the field actually being successful rather than the person paying for the biggest ad space?  Learning from the experiences of others is one of the best ways to learn so when I sit before a panel of vendors that have been in the business for less time than me and have experienced less than me, but have a kick ass twitter following, I’m defeated before I begin, unless I want to increase my “likes”.  Enough already. Can we start actually talking about what we do for our clients?  Can we start talking about what works, what does not, what is acceptable, what is uncomfortable, what we see on the daily?  Finding life beyond a feature in a magazine or on social media is a hard thing to find but at the end of the day, once you lure these couples in with your picture perfect Facebook, you have no idea what to do for them or with them. Is that what we want for this industry?  We are building a business plan that any tech savvy person can have - fluff without any idea of how to deliver. It is the good ole “over sell and under deliver” plan. That is not what I got into the industry for and that is not what these couples want, whether they realize it or not.

I love a social media class and God knows I have so much to learn, but on the flip side, those that have the social media forum perfected should be stepping up their actual wedding game and learning a bit about their fellow vendors, how to make your clients more comfortable and how to “play with others in the sandbox”. We have to offer more resources for those wedding vendors that do want to continue to educate themselves and those that do want to create better experiences for their clients. It is up to us as the seasoned/ experienced professionals to create a forum for the vendors that do want more real-life “likes” and want to learn what it takes to follow through and deliver on their promises. I have been writing this blog for years with a hard dose of reality and humor attached to each topic I tackle. Some love it and some hate but regardless, everyone can get something from it! You will more than likely feel the same way about my YouTube channel (shout out to WEDucation) but something has to give!  Someone had to start providing better resources/ putting out advice and material for clients and vendors to learn and move forward in this industry beyond social media and from viable vendors, not just the highest bidder. Everyone has something to contribute and learn and what you pay in ad space should not be the qualifier for whether or not you can teach or be taught. What are you doing to further your industry education, teach the next group coming in, or enhance your clients’ experiences? If the answer is nothing, step aside – we got this!

Leave a comment:
Kelly Sherlock - Thank you so much!!! And thank you for reading!!!
Kelly Sherlock - George - 100%! Especially in New Orleans - you know everyone talks and referrals are a huge part of our business. If your Instagram looks great, but your attitude sucks, you won't be working long! ha ha!!!
Reagan - I absolutely love this article and agree totally! 5 big ole stars!!!
Reagan - I absolutely love this article and agree totally! 5 big ole stars!!!
George Kuchler - I couldn't agree more! I personally stopped trying to chase the social media shadows and focused on what has kept me in business for 24 years...ME. You are right though, it's not just posting the pretty picture that matters, it's the entire experience our clients receive from the first email to the final hug when it's all over. Something as simple as "Everyone is your client from the vendors to the bride and groom and all of their family and friends!" Other photographers have told me I'm crazy to think that way because the bride and groom who signed your contact is your only liable client. I always tell them your professional performance resonates for years to come with each person you are in contact with. I have 2 decades of proving my one theory to be true. I believe the 200 guests in the venue at the wedding reception are all possible leads for future jobs. When it comes to paid ads that bring in business, I would say it's only in the 15% range while the rest is all from referrals from past clients, fellow vendors, and leaders in many different industries that require my photographic services. So yes, there is much much more to creating a long-term successful business than just trying to be the most popular "right now." Having humility and passion is what will keep you in business. -GK