Tips for Brides & Grooms: Protecting Yourself in Today’s Uncertain Economy

According to The Wedding Report, wedding spending has declined significantly since 2007 – almost by 30% (averaged) overall. The vast majority of wedding vendors can attest to the a downsizing of wedding budgets, as well as a drop off in bookings (new clients). Consultants and Coordinators in particular have seen postponements and cancellations spike in recent months.

Everyone is feeling the pinch; while engaged couples are trying to save, Photographers, DJs, Consultants and Venues are trying to survive. Competition for new bookings is fierce, thus creating a buyer’s market which gives couples shopping for wedding vendors and services more purchasing power. But how can you spot a “true bargain”? I’d like to offer a few tips to help you make a sound investment:

1. Perform a Status Check – Do your homework to determine if the vendor’s company is healthy. A healthy company is “current”, meaning they have an up-to-date presence, including a website featuring pictures of current staff, projects and client testimonails. A company that is healthy is typically involved in Professional Associations, and may be known as a leader in their industry. Healthy companies are growing (even now) and are gearing up for a great 2009-2010 wedding season. Look for current blog posts, quick responses to emails and phone calls, and positive recommendations from others (friends, vendors, etc.).
2009 Wedding Client, Portofino Bay
Look for evidence of
a well established business
with a proven track record.

2004 Wedding Client, Maison & Jardin

2. Beware of the high pressure sales pitch: The best vendors are eager for your business but not desperate.

3. Beware of Part-Timers: A part-timer (sometimes known as a ‘moonlighter’ or ‘weekend warrior’) may be able to offer a very competitive price, but do they have the equipment and experience to deliver the quality of product or service you are looking for? What is their stake in the success of your event and are they driven to ensure your complete satisfaction? Does the Vendor’s Contract protect both parties?

4. Beware of Start-Ups: The poor economy has spawned a huge number of start-up businesses; people who have lost jobs or need extra income are becoming entrepreneurs. On one hand, it’s beneficial to the market to have more affordable options, but who is the person behind the start-up? Do they have any experience with weddings? Will they grow tired of this new business venture in 6 or 9 months and leave you in the lurch? Is it worth the risk to hire someone with no track record?

5. Beware of “Free”: “Free” is a hook; it’s a term that often denotes an extra added value. Conversely, free also has no refund value, so like it or not, you’re stuck with it. (ex: “That free album you gave me was poor quality.” “The free candle centerpieces only lasted halfway through the reception.” …Get the picture?)

For additional pointers on what to look for when hiring a professional wedding planner and coordinator, please visit A Flair for Affairs website.

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Fun & Festive Wedding & Party Favors [ Kernel Encore, Orlando ]

Here’s an idea that sure to please everyone on your guest list! Custom flavored popcorn treats, wrapped & ready to go, in every color of the rainbow!

Below, our purple and lime green color theme was complimented by individual bags of custom blended flavors: Peanut Butter and Grape, Grape & Green Apple and Caramel Apple.

Popcorn by Kernel Encore, Photo by A Flair for Affairs Popcorn by Kernel Encore, Photo by A Flair for Affairs

Our guests could not believe their eyes and were so excited to receive such an original favor! Pricing is quite affordable and shipping is available to any locale. These make great gifts, too! Please visit the Kernel Encore store in Orlando or visit their online store

25

02 2009

Orlando Planners travel to attend Kelly McWilliams’ {We Wed Brunch} Event

Today started at 4 am, as I prepared for the long ride to South West Florida for the We Wed Brunch. (Thank goodness for the company of Kerline Docteur!)

Elisa Delgardio, A Flair for Affairs, & Kerline Docteur, Joi de Vie

We arrived at the most impressive(!) Miromar Lakes Beach Club at 9 am and were very excited by the great turnout. For Kerline and me this was a fabulous opportunity to exchange ideas with a whole new group of wedding professionals, and personally meet Kelly McWilliams (Weddings By Socialites), a well respected colleague. Kelly’s knowledge of social media marketing and networking was truly impressive; not only did she share her own remarkable stories and experiences about with us, she did an outstanding job of coaching us to better utilize blogging and micro blogging services to enhance our professional network.

I’m so glad I made the trip because it was an absolutely wonderful day! I’m looking forward to connecting with Kelly and all my new SWFL friends at the cutting edge of SMM!

Miromar Lakes Beach Club

Miromar Lakes Beach Club

Miromar Lakes Beach Club

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Website Tune-Up

Excuse me, but I am taking a few minutes to pat myself on the back: I just completed my first website tune-up of 2009!

I won’t go into any long winded explanations or step-by-step instructions, but I can certainly recommend some key points to freshen things up for the new year! (Some of these tips may not work well for flash websites.)

5.5 FREE TIPS:

1. Check the expiration of your domain name. Tell the search engines you plan to be in business for a long time by pushing your domain renewal back for at least three to five years.

2. Update the dates and links referenced on your site. If your website footer reads “Copyright 2006″ it need to be updated immediately. Ideally you should list a span, such as: Copyright © 2001 – 2009. Also, delete references to past events that might date your site (with obvious exception to your history of work or resume of experience). Test all the internal links on your site to ensure that navigation is fully functional. Delete any outbound links that are ‘dead’.

3. Have you checked your stats lately? There’s a multitude of ways you can do this. One way is through Google’s product “Analytics“. Analytics is free and I was able to get it up and running myself. If you have some general knowledge of reading html code, and you have access to edit your site, you can probably do this yourself too, and it will cost you nothing. Otherwise, you can ask your webmaster to implement this technology on your behalf. A second option would be through your web host. Some hosting services offer tracking as part of the hosting package, or as an add on service. Statistical information regarding your website traffic is usually easy to decipher from these types of sources. There’s nothing for you to set up, per say, you just log in and review the info.

Checking your stats will give you key information about the most visited pages on your site, how long visitors spend reading or reviewing the info, how many visitors by day, week, month, etc.

4. Take a look at your page titles; that’s the information that pops up at the very top of the browser and provides the primary description for your product or service. You may want to lengthen them or shorten them. First things first: Each page on your website should have a unique title or at least be customized to reflect the content of the page. If the title bar on every page of your site reads the same, you should make the appropriate revisions to differentiate them, thereby increasing the relevance of your keywords, content and search results.

5. Purchase multiple versions of your company name. Why? For starters, this will prevent the brand confusion that results when a start up company selects the same or similar name to yours. Also, it helps customers find you even if they spell your company name incorrectly or can’t recall the exact web address (this happens ALL the time!). Think about the way you use the web and how you search for others, then reverse the process to create additional avenues for customers to find you. Then, be sure to “point” all the secondary domains to your website.

5.5 BACK UP YOUR SITE !! If you can’t do it yourself, ask your webmaster to do it for you.

One final recommendation: Don’t’ forget to run a Copyscape scan to document and protect the integrity of your content. If you are the true and original author of the content, you will surely want to know if someone has plagiarized your work. Also, plagiarizers beware: website content can be authenticated all the way back to the launch date of a site.

I welcome any comments you may have. And please feel free to share your favorite, fast & easy tune-up tips as well!

© 2009 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

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01 2009
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