It seems as though Wedding budgets have “dried up” in the past 2 years. I was listening to an interview with Dave Ramsey, the personal finance guru. He said that for many younger people (22-35 , which is the target age range for the typical bride), they are finding out that this recession, whether it hits them personally or not, has become their great depression. He went on to say that they are learning to live without a lot of the typical stuff (the shiny things as he puts it) and are learning about how painful certain financial decisions can be.

I have said that this recession is a game changer for the wedding industry. In fact, there are only 5 things a Bride “needs” to get married- 1) A Groom 2) A license 3) an Officiant or someone who can officially marry them 4) All three to be in the same location at the same time 5) The Groom and her to say “I Do”. Everything else is a plus, but she doesn’t “need” it. Fortunately for us, she still has a list in her mind of “stuff” that she needs for her wedding- stuff she will not go forward without.

For each Bride, this list is different and special to her. For one Bride her “must” list may include a rocking DJ and an open bar. For another it may be an elegant gown, with a chandeliered ballroom. The list doesn’t matter so much as finding out whether or not what you offer is on that list. If you are a photographer and she is thinking that she wants a high end photo album with lots of photojournalism involved and this is the top of her “must” list, you may be a match. If on the other hand, you market yourself as the budget option photographer, she may not be drawn to you.

Brides will spend the appropriate money on their “must” list, but sometimes need to be educated as to why they should spend it. This is where you need to step to the plate and knock it out of the park. The best way to do this is by asking a set of questions which have the Bride basically say what you want her to say to you. This is vitally important, because, the Bride will not start arguing with herself once you have gotten her to admit to her needs.

Here is how you do it. After you get her through the trust building stage of asking about her and her wedding, start asking questions like “Tell me what you envision for your wedding day with regards to (what ever product or service you offer). “ . She will then tell you , this is where you need to start asking leading questions such as “ Have you ever considered ______” or “How do you feel about ___________” If you were a Cake baker, it would look like this “how do you feel about personalizing your cake with _________ (you fill in the blanks with things that are upgrades)” She may respond, “not interested in that”.

What I will challenge you to do is to list out 10 different things, either add ons or what you consider to be high end features of your offerings. After you list out these 10 different things, find 2 questions for each of those offerings that get her to say “that’s cool”, or “I’d like that” or some form of an affirmative response. Again, if she says it, she will not argue with herself.

Second challenge for this week (didn’t know there would be homework- did you!) Write out 5 different results of hiring the wrong service or vendor to give them what they want for their wedding. For example, If she hired a cheap DJ , she could possibly get a guy that doesn’t know how to handle a crowd, or get them going, or shows up late and with broken equipment. Then find a way to ask a question that will set them back in their chair, such as, “what happens if this guy shows up and does a lousy job of trying to get people going on the dance floor, and really stinks up your reception. How do you fix that?” Now I’ll tell you you’ll have to approach this very gently or she will turn off , thinking that you are being pushy. As I mentioned before, if you have her trust, she will allow you to ask hard questions.
Again, follow this challenge, and see how your Brides react. Many of you may be scared to go forward with this, but give it a shot and see how you do. Not all Brides have priority for your stuff, but those who do need to get off of budget and onto getting exactly what they want for their wedding.

Until Next Week, Here’s to your Success!

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