14 Sure-fire Ways to Stand Out from Your Competition!

In the wedding planning business, competition copies each other always. If you’re a small business owner, how do you stand out from your competition? How can you grow your business and become the right choice for the customer?

We asked the question “How do you stand out from your competitors” to over 20 wedding industry experts and hugely successful wedding planners. Here are the insights we got:

Therese Cole-Hubbs

1. Go Beyond Client Expectations

Therese Cole-Hubbs, an internationally renowned wedding planner focused on Indian weddings, says “Focusing on a niche market is not enough, these days everyone targeting a niche. It is more about service; you need to think from the client’s perspective. You need to think like a bride or groom.  You need to go beyond client expectation. We work hard at the events, helping clients with things it’s not within our agreement. We don’t stand around with our arms folded and our clients love it. All our prospects see this and come to us – we never solicit to prospects. Perhaps the most important element is – everything should be tied to hospitality.”

Meghan Ely

2. Build Strong Relationships

Meghan Ely, one of the premiere wedding planner consultants in the world adds, “The very best thing a wedding planner can do to stand apart from the competition is to focus on his or her relationships. Statistics show that some of the top referral sources is from previous clients and other wedding professionals in the marketplace. So make it a priority to better the client and vendor experiences and be sure to network in your region regularly.”

She further adds “Additionally, planners with more extensive portfolios should consider submitting their events to wedding blogs and magazines. There’s no substitute for the benefits of third party credibility.”

MichelleLeoEventTeam-43

3. Create Inspirational Event Designs

Michelle Leo, owner of Michelle Leo Events – a leading & award winning event planners, share a valuable lesson – “The number one way MLE tries to stand out from the competition is by being innovative through our event design and our work has been recognized as Utah’s best by Martha Stewart Weddings and Vogue Magazine. MLE believes inspiration can be found everywhere – it’s threaded in the lives and stories of our clients, within music lyrics, literature, art, magazines outside the bridal industry (like interior design, travel and architectural design), culture and so much more. We aren’t interested in recreating weddings we’ve seen a thousand times on Pinterest, the wedding blogs or bridal magazines. We’re interested in designing and planning events that infuse personal details of our clients’ lives and love stories with creative design and originality.”

Michelle adds “Our objective is two-fold: 1- We strive to exceed client expectation especially via event design. When and MLE bride and groom arrive at their wedding and take in all the details, we want it to feel like home to them all while exceeding expectations. 2- We hope our clients’ guests feel the same way, too. When we overhear comments at an event such as ‘Oh my goodness, did you see that (detail)? That is just SO THEM (bride and groom)! How perfect is that?!’ – we know we’ve hit a home run and that’s the fuel that keeps us going season after season.”

Michelle Mansfield

4. Setup Strong Culture & Systems

Michelle Mansfield, the co-owner of Sage Wedding Pros & an industry leading expert says “Wedding Planners can stand out from the competition in 2 ways: having a strong company culture and systems that embrace this culture at every step of the client relationship, and by identifying and communicating key differences that the business has from other wedding planning firms.”

Heather Vickery

5. Be Authentic & Find Your ‘Super Power’

Heather Vickery, the owner & event director at Greatest Expectations – an award winning wedding planner, explains “Personally, I believe the only way to really stand out from the competition is to be authentic. Figure out what your “super power” is. What makes you uniquely talented and then share that with potential clients and creative partners. I also work hard to build community. I believe a rising tide lifts all boats and love collaborating with fellow wedding planners. We are all stronger together.”

Amanda Perry

6. Invest in Brand Recognition

Amanda Perry, CEO of Lou Stevens Glam Squad – named one of the top bridal salons in America by BRIDES magazine, takes a pointed approach, “Brand Recognition is key for us.  We try very hard to stay consistent in our advertising and marketing, and really wear our brand loud and proud everywhere we go.  The more you “are” your brand, the more people will know your brand. We strive to always have a stellar reputation with high expectations that are met every time someone is representing the Lou Stevens Glam Squad logo.”

Rene Press Pic

7. Work with an Industry Member

Rene Van Rems, a dutch born designer & educator and an industry leading expert, has a few rules “Most importantly, marketing, learn how to get to the client instead of waiting for them to find you! My main rule for today’s Pinterest driven wedding planner is ‘do your homework’. EXEPERIENCE makes for the best professional planner. Work with an experienced (old 🙂 industry member who is a member of NACE or ABC and know etiquette! Yes, it still exists!  (know your allied industry connections) Wedding planning is a “think on your feet” business. New industry members need to know the business facts of what it is they do. (learn the “who, what where, when, how” rules of execution.)”

Kevin Dennis

8. Over-Communicate With Partners

Kevin Dennis with Fantasy Sound Event Services says, “I think the biggest thing from an industry side of it is that good planners over-communicate with their creative partners, have very clear and detailed timelines, and are easy-going & relaxed on the day of wedding. It’s huge for me when planners are friendly on the day and keep calm under pressure. They also need to be expert problem solvers!”

Shelby Tuck-Horton

9. Stay True to Your Brand

Shelby Tuck-Horton, Master Wedding/Event Planner with Exquisite Expressions and Events, says “I have three ways I think wedding planners can stand out from the competition.  One way is to be confident in owning the unique value that you bring to your clients.  The second way is to develop a strong brand and stay true to your brand.  Last but not least, is being your authentic self — not a copy or another version of someone else.  When you allow your true, authentic self to shine through, there is no one who can compete with you.”

Alexandra Slawek

10. Maintain Brand Consistency

Alexandra Slawek with Boutiq Wedding & Events maintains, “In my opinion it is all in how you brand yourself…your designed branding on your website and business cards…the style you design your weddings and stylized shoots and, the way you carry yourself as a planner. I am always well dressed, well organized, creative and hardworking; I also conduct my business efficiently, with integrity and class.”

Regina Young

11. Get Digital & Be Innovative

Regina Young at Meant2Be Events says,  “We feel it is imperative to stay true to our brand message “event planning for the modern celebration”. Our process is entirely digital and we always strive to have an innovative approach to our client management as well as our designs and production.”

Alex Chalk

12. Make Client Experience Memorable

Alex Chalk with Taylor’d Events focuses on client experience, says “Make the client experience your top priority. You don’t just want the wedding day to be the highlight, make sure working together with your clients and the planning process itself are full of memories.

Sarah Webb

13. Listen to Your Clients

Sarah Webb with Timeless Inspirations states, “As a company we feel that the most important thing is simple – we LISTEN to our clients – this may seem obvious but we care about every single one of our clients and listen to their exacting requirements. Every wedding or event is very different and so are each and every one of our clients. They talk, we listen until they are 100% happy and can then leave us with the reassurance that their special day will be perfect for them.”

14. Anticipate Client Needs

Audrey Isaac with 100candles.com comments “One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition is to anticipate and meet the needs of your clients. Many wedding planners wait to hear what their clients want before finding a solution, but clients are grateful when they discover their planner is already prepared.”

For example, Audrey says “if you know the majority of your couples like to incorporate candles into their Big Day, then consider developing a wholesale partnership so you are ready to save your clients that extra step. They’ll be extra appreciative and you’ll boost your bottom line!”

How are you standing out from the competition? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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