It’s no surprise that when the going gets tough, the wedding industry gets creative. Pros across the country are putting their heads together and starting to experiment with different wedding formats in order to keep cash flows going during this time of restricted gathering. In fact, a recent study showed that 60% of pros are considering making changes to their offerings due to current conditions. The biggest change we are seeing is that 31% of pros are adding services that cater to smaller celebrations.
Whether you’re in the majority or just starting to think about what route is right for you, your business and your couples, take time to evaluate. There are many benefits of experimenting, but it’s important to remember that the microweddings package your fellow pros are offering might not be the right solution for your business. So before you jump into adding new packages or services, take a look at your existing offerings.
Looking at your packages and pricing should already be part of your annual business audit (if not, this means taking the time to review your website, social media, contracts, and everything in between to make sure it still reflects your brand correctly). But right now is the perfect time to look at your services through a different lens. Ask yourself these questions to help determine whether or not your existing packages could work during a time when gathering size restrictions or social distancing requirements are in place:
- Do you already specialize in more intimate weddings?
- Are your current offerings scalable in both size directions?
- Does what you offer not require a minimum number of guests?
- Is your pricing based on a flat fee regardless of guest size?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, great, carry on. You’re in a good position to start experimenting with different wedding formats. If not, it’s time to think about what other services you may be able to add to your existing offerings as a supplement during this time. For example, if you have per guest pricing, it may be more difficult for you to cover costs in a microwedding. However, you should take this as an opportunity to shake things up and consider offering a new product or service to your existing lineup.
To help you evaluate how new offerings can help build your business, here are 5 factors to consider:
1. Look at your pricing.
When offering a new or smaller service, you need to make sure you do so without devaluing your existing offerings. It actually needs to be new or different, not just a new name with a lower fee. Do a deep dive into your original packages and look at what your time actually costs. How many hours does your normal offering include? How much work is done ahead of time, how much is done during the actual celebration and how much takes place after the event? Once you have a clear understanding of your pricing structure, compare it to what you plan to be offering in this new package. Does what you’re offering now only take 2 hours of prep when previously it had taken 10 hours? Will this smaller wedding require 3 hours of your time compared to your normal 8 hours of coverage? Take the time to do this math so that you are charging enough to cover your costs and earn a profit. If the math doesn’t make sense, it may not make sense to go forward.
2. Determine what problem you are trying to solve.
Taking the obvious answer of cash flow out of the equation, think about the problem you can help solve first. For instance, Bethel Nathan of Ceremonies by Bethel always puts the needs of her clients first so when things started to shut down she knew she needed to find a way to help couples get married however possible. She also knew that she wanted this to be an option for people outside of her near-term clients. The easiest way to do that? By partnering up with multiple groups of people to offer different levels of service to couples: an elopement package, an intimate wedding package, and a multi-wedding in one day option.
3. Decide who your ideal customer is.
Once you’ve determined the solution you are providing, then you need to figure out who you are best able to help. This might be the same as your current typical client, and if so, that’s great. But it also may not be. Does your new target have a different price point in mind? Are they expecting a different level of service? Are they concerned about guest experience? Are they looking for an individual service or a package? Will there be opportunities to upsell? Put all these things together and determine who your ideal client actually is.
Tip: If your goal client for this new package or service is different than your typical client, you may consider launching the service under a new brand name.
4. Focus on what you do best.
If you are a caterer that currently specializes in multicourse seated dinners it probably doesn’t make sense for you to completely flip the switch and start marketing a bbq package. It’s important to stay true to your calling and what you’re good at. Wedding planner and designer Emily Capitano of Em & E Events did exactly that. She’s known for highly designed, luxury events with 200+ guests in attendance, and decided to play to her strengths by offering An Intimate Affair Package with a highly designed and customizable dinner party package for couples looking to tie the knot now and celebrate later.
5. Figure out where your Pro community can help.
In most cases you won’t be able to pull this event off by yourself. Good thing you have so many pros on speed dial who can pitch in to make magic together. Dani Klein-Williams of Dani Fine Photography partnered up with Tara Consolati Events because they already knew they worked together so well. Together they created a suite of microweddings with 4 pre-designed options, all of which are scalable. And don’t forget that just like Bethel did, you can partner up with multiple pros to create multiple types of celebrations. If you’re a planner, you can create different looks by working with multiple venues. Or if you’re a florist, you should connect with planners in your area to see what they are offering and how you can work together. Plus it’s a great way to create relationships with pros who usually have “preferred vendor” guidelines.
Bonus Question: Ask yourself if this will be an interim solution or if this is something you may ultimately want to add to your list of offerings?
Just because something was created out of necessity during this uncertain time, doesn’t mean it won’t stick. You may find that it’s quite the contrary actually. Emily has decided that her Intimate Affair Package is here to stay. She’s getting inquiries from past couples who are looking to celebrate an anniversary or close family member or friend. This just proves that if you focus on what you’re known for, solve the right problem, and price it accordingly, you’re moving your business in the right direction.
Need some inspiration from people doing cool things? We’ve been holding Instagram Live conversations with pros talking all about what they are experimenting with. See all the conversations on the @WeddingPro IGTV Channel.
Photo Credit: IVASHstudio/shutterstock.com