By LaVerne Mathews, That Special Touch Events, Oak Lawn, Ill.

The focus of wedding planners and vendors is on making wedding dreams come true, not getting bogged down in administrative duties. With a wedding averaging $28,000, the most since 2008, the stakes are too high not to be ready to respond to a client’s needs in a timely manner. To help calm pre-wedding jitters or work with other vendors more efficiently, event planners use cloud services to remain on the go but stay in touch with the essential parts of their business.

Here are some tips to help you stay connected with clients and partners while working on the go:

Find “Big” Options for Small Businesses
Wedding season is now year-round, and it means event planners and vendors are always on the go. To really excel at the complicated, fast-moving task of managing a big event with all the attendant details, the small business owner behind most of those once-in-a-lifetime days must be able to work from any location, at any time, and must embrace the best that technology has to offer. As an event planner, it’s nice to have a traditional office as well as a mobile, flexible office that doesn’t tie you to a landline. Technology exists that allows your business to project a professional, reputable image when people call. Having a voicemail service with a professional greeting active 24/7, where messages are relayed or stored, or routed to the appropriate person on your team, makes managing day-to-day communication more efficient, so calls aren’t missed, and you don’t have to give out your personal cell number. One option is eVoice, a cloud-based virtual phone service that provides a 1-888 number that helps you expand the area in which you can operate, while reinforcing a “big” business image to clients.

Connect With That Special Someone
In addition to managing the needs of brides-to-be, wedding professionals are called upon to coordinate with other vendors and suppliers to get pricing quotes and date availability. Voice services help ensure that wedding planners don’t miss important calls. Incoming calls to a business line can be automatically set up to route to an office, home, or mobile phone—while the caller sees only the “business” number. Voicemail-to-text features, available with virtual phone services such as eVoice or Onebox, mean messages are transcribed and delivered to a personal email inbox, for easy reading on the fly. No more straining to listen to voicemails in a quiet ceremony or noisy reception. And if a wedding planner needs to gather several vendors together for a “face-to-face” discussion about an upcoming event, such a meeting can take place virtually, using an online videoconferencing service such as Skype.

Say “I Do” To Call Recording
From menus to flower arrangements to photo shots, there are a number of details that must be managed when planning the perfect wedding. Virtual phone solutions like eVoice and Onebox also have recording features designed to capture important verbal details on the go—eliminating the need to take notes—ensuring that nothing gets overlooked. Last-minute changes and drama come with the territory for a wedding planner; keeping recorded calls on file can help keep misunderstandings to a minimum.

Save the Paper for the First Anniversary, Not the Wedding
Cumbersome paperwork can clutter any pre-wedding meeting. Rather than toting a stack of papers to each planning session, retrieve documents as needed from an online archive. Electronic fax services— eFax being the most popular—store all sent and received faxes and index them, so you can pull them up by client, vendor, date, or any word in the document. Google Docs and Dropbox also ensure any file is available to you anywhere, anytime, and that you can collaborate on them with clients or vendors, from wherever you are.

A Proposal in the Palm of Your Hand
As event planning isn’t a regular 9-to-5 job, planners have to be flexible when decisions about weddings need to be made, especially quickly. So a cloud-based fax service such as eFax, which can operate on a smartphone or tablet, is a great resource as it has all the benefits of a fax machine in an office. Contracts can be received, stored, signed, and sent via electronic fax. For planners, it’s essential to have access to critical documents and resolve any issues, so communicating from multiple devices means a wedding bouquet is delivered to the right bride, and the band booked for a party in San Francisco doesn’t end up in San Jose. You can also send proposals, invoices, and floor plan layout sketches by using a mobile device’s camera to snap and email a document, eliminating the need for a fax machine. Documents can be viewed, replied to, forwarded and saved online anytime. And online fax services like eFax even have digitized signature features that enable documents to be signed with the touch of a fingertip in seconds flat.

The success of an event planning business is often largely a function of the planner’s ability to react and make things happen quickly, anytime, from anywhere. Luckily, a host of cloud services allow today’s busy wedding planners to conduct business any hour of the day, even if they’re miles away from their office and staff. Whether it’s revising a menu or guest list from a prospect meeting at a coffee shop, signing and sending a fax from a rehearsal dinner, or simply ensuring all incoming calls are answered with a professional greeting and then routed to the appropriate number for action, today’s wedding planner has more tools than ever to get the job done.

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