Patti Gehring Signature Weddings, www.pattigehringsignatureweddings.com, Overland Park, Kansas
Employees: 1 full-time, 1 part-time
Revenue Breakdown: 75% consulting, 20% stationery, 5% rentals
Contact: 913.322.6944, patti@pattigehringsignatureweddings.com, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

Family: Married to Bruce Gehring for 30 years. I have three daughters ages 27, 25, and 17, and a son, 12. My eldest daughter got married in June!

Education: Bachelor of Arts in History, DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.

On Being an MBC™: I earned the MBC™ designation this past November in Baltimore. I’m in my fourth year of membership in the ABC. The designation sets me apart as an accomplished professional in the ever-growing pool of wedding professionals.

Starting the Business: After the birth of my fourth child, I served in the wedding ministry at my church for three years. During that time, a fellow parishioner who was a professional wedding coordinator had an accident. His family called upon me to finish the 11 weddings, all at different stages in the planning process, for which he’d been hired. This instant job experience in a high-end market, plus previous catering experience at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, and the church experience were the perfect blend. Industry education, certification, and designations followed, and in 2004, my business was formed.

Inspiration: I draw inspiration from the bride, groom, and their families. I listen to, question, and observe my clients and constantly refine my understanding and perception of them. My style-profile is a tool that helps me understand who they think they are. Personal observations and subsequent conversations with them add to my overall perception.

Marketing Strategy: Patti Gehring Signature Weddings offers a boutique experience. We have a very personal touch. We set ourselves apart from our competition by encouraging clients to contact us when they need us, not simply from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are selective in choosing clients and, fortunately, have been blessed with fabulous brides and mothers who have never abused our “open-phone” policy. We also are philanthropic in spirit and seek like-minded clients. We often draw our clientele directly from the organizations with which we actively participate.

Staying Fresh: I refresh myself through prayer and discernment. I refresh the company by participating in the annual Business of Brides conference. I also subscribe to periodicals that are outside of my region. I look to both coasts and the southeast for ideas and inspiration. I participate in other industry-related organizations such as the National Association for Catering Executives. I read books and periodicals pertaining to the industry as well as general business practices.

In the Media: I have had weddings published in periodicals such as The Knot, KC Weddings, KC Magazine, Wedding Planner Magazine, and The Hills.

Ideal Client: My ideal client is a faith-filled woman who puts others before herself. She is philanthropic. She is typically college-educated or higher. She loves her fiancé and her family. She becomes my friend, and we remain friends after the wedding.

On her bookshelf: Saint Gianna Molla and The Count of Monte Cristo.

In Her Free Time: I like to spend time with my husband, children, and friends. The activity is not as important as the company.

Words of Wisdom: Be truthful in all matters. Treat each client as well as you would treat your mother (with respect and dignity). Treat other wedding vendors better than you treat your clients!

On giving back: I am a board member of Alpha Chi Omega and Greater Kansas City Panhellenic Alumni. I am an active member of the Kansas City Young Matrons, volunteering in affiliates such as Meals-on-Wheels, NewHouse Shelter for Battered Women, Clare-Bridge Memory Assistance Center, and the Kansas City Zoo. I am active in my church and I also encourage my children by volunteering with them to cultivate a spirit of service.

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