BestPracticesArticle

My average budget starts at $60,000. I do make sure I’m on referral lists of venues that work with couples with similar budgets. And, I do have many couples who come to me by word-of-mouth. . . I spend under $5,000/year on advertising, gifts, and other related materials to provide to couples. This year, I’m working with a firm to assist with social media/optimizing and updating my brand, logo, and website.”

– JoAnn Moore, CWC, MWP™, CGWP, CSS, Mountains and Meadows, Vail, Colo.

We focus on posting events online, giving interviews to a wide variety of publications, and maintaining strong client, vendor, and community relationships, which result in significant word-of-mouth referrals. People are looking for integrity, transparency, creativity, and empathy. When they hear from a peer that this describes your brand, they are more likely to hire you. . . .Unpaid, word-of-mouth referrals are the most powerful advertising tool that you have at your disposal.”

– Merryl Brown, President, MA, CWP™, Merryl Brown Events, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Approximately 25% of my budget is devoted to advertising, the majority of which is online—TheKnot.com, WeddingWire.com, and NJWedding.com which is specific to New Jersey and comes with leads. I participate in a New Jersey Association of Bridal Consultants’ co-op ad in NJ Bride Magazine that also comes with leads. I pay to be on two ‘preferred professional’ lists at upscale venues (you have to be asked). One paid client per year, per listing will pay for the listing.”

– Kathi R. Evans, AWP™, All the Best Weddings & Celebrations, Toms River, N.J.

Today’s brides use their phones, tablets, and computers more than ever.  We have fully embraced digital advertising and are almost completely away from print.  This helps us control our advertising costs as digital advertising tends to be less expensive than print. We dedicate about 12% of our expense budget to advertising our venue and services.”

– Benjamin Eggebeen, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Nashville, Tenn.

Financial investment—25%. Time investment—35%. While I work with The Knot and WeddingWire, the most authentic ‘ads’ come in the form of featured Real Weddings on well-respected blogs. When couples see my weddings featured on independent blogs, they know that they are working with a reputable company that delivers.  Blogging on my own website has also proven invaluable, as it organically increased my SEO ranking and introduced potential clients to my ‘voice.’” 

– Andrea Eppolito, Andrea Eppolito Events, Las Vegas

Percentage spent on advertising—$0…In 1987, I was asked to become Sponsor/Advisor of Martin County High School Sigma Phi. I was able to share my vision with students while gaining their friendship and trust. On becoming a bridal consultant/officiant in 1993, many students called upon me to help orchestrate and officiate their weddings. I was honored to have the trust of these young adults and their parents. I feel ‘word-of-mouth’ has been my best advertisement.”

– AnnaMarie Wintercorn, MBC™, Elegant Weddings and Events, Stuart, Fla.

I try to focus on the best advertisement for my ideal bride. She will be looking for her needed vendors before and during wedding season. I want to be seen when she is shopping for vendors. Six months before wedding season starts, I prepare advertising in local wedding magazines, local blogs, and wedding expos. I also try to participate in local charity events, which helps me stay within my advertising budget of 10% a year.” 

– Stephanie White, Amorous Weddings and Events by Stephanie, Mesa, Ariz.

I designate approximately 1% to paid advertising. The rest [is through]: 1) Referrals on my reputation; 2) insanely creative innovation (example:  Wine With a Wedding Planner, a concept where I Tweet my location at any given Santa Barbara luxury venue and invite anyone to join me for complimentary wedding planning advice during a window of time.”

– Kerry Lee Dickey, Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events, Santa Barbara, Calif.

I spend the bulk of my marketing/advertising budget, about 60%, on wedding shows. I am in four or five shows each year and have found it not only beneficial for booking weddings, but [also for networking]. . . .About 20% of my budget is devoted to online marketing—website, lead generating sites, search engine optimization, etc. Printed materials make up about 15%—business cards, brochures, and other materials.  The final 5% goes to print ads.  I have a marketing background, so I track every booking to see which forms of advertising are working.”

– Carolyn O’Brien, Creative Celebration Wedding and Event Planning, Lake Oswego, Ore.