Should you add “virtual wedding planner” to your range of services? You’re probably halfway there already.
Wedding planners already do a lot of their work virtually. Yet, a perspective persists that branding your wedding business as “virtual” will confuse clients or devalue your gold-standard work. This article looks at how some planners use the title virtual wedding planner as an added value, and maybe you’ll be inspired to expand your offerings to clients.
At the extreme, I know a virtual event planner in Peru but plans events in New York City, relying on her network to execute things locally. While she may have moved from NY to South America, her work and clients did not.
A Virtual Wedding Planner Is Not A Virtual Assistant
I believe that most of the stigma around calling oneself a virtual wedding planner comes from places like Fiverr and UpWork. There, virtual assistants include wedding planning amongst their other chores like answering emails and scheduling meetings.
Virtual assistants can be a massive help to any wedding business. Still, no, it’s not the same as being a virtual wedding planner. So let’s get this out in the open right away. A virtual wedding planner is a wedding planner who does a lot of their work online. Sounds just like a regular day at work, right? Right.
And that’s my point. You’re a wedding planner. But by adding “virtual” as a scoped-out service, just like you might offer day-of coordination, you open yourself up to more clients and more revenue.
Why Become A Virtual Wedding Planner
To answer this question, I spoke to Tayla, owner of Crowned By Thorns. She explains, “that every wedding planner has provided some form of virtual wedding planning services. Whether that be FaceTiming with a client or having a meeting over the phone, or via Zoom. I believe any part of the planning process which involves us having to rely on technology to communicate virtually incorporates virtual wedding planning services.”
In other words, you’re already using the toolkit, and you’re likely already comfortable with digital communication.
Then there are COVID restrictions. While many states and countries open up, many clients still prefer to keep their professional lives online. Adding virtual wedding planning to your portfolio signals clients that you’ll work the way they’re comfortable.
And lastly, apart from visiting venues in person or maintaining vendor relationships over a coffee, you’re really not changing all that much. Sourcing vendors is something you’re already doing virtually, even locally.
The Benefits Of Being A Virtual Wedding Planner
Tayla says, “the benefits of being a virtual wedding planner include not having to commute far distances to chat with your clients, being able to tour venues from your home, and also being able to have monthly meetings with your clients over Zoom. While the pandemic changed the world dramatically, I love that we can stay connected to clients through technology.”
And your clients love that too. Sure, Zoom fatigue is real. But for clients who don’t want to do face-to-face meetings, knowing they have the option to collaborate virtually is a selling point.
Are There Benefits For The Client?
Of course. And these are the same benefits you offer in-person clients.
“Virtual wedding planners,” Tayla says, “can go above-and-beyond similar to the traditional wedding planner would to ensure that the special day is seamless. While some virtual wedding planners may actually attend the special event, virtual wedding planners can plan to the utmost detail with vendors and a local day-of-coordinator. One of my clients may be planning an event in Colorado, and I need some help coordinating the event. Another client that lives 4+ hours away from me may need my assistance decorating an event. So, I coordinate with the client virtually and then drive 4+ hours to decorate the event if I can.”
Communication As A Virtual Wedding Planner
Communication is done the same way you already talk with clients. That is, through email, phone, Skype, and Zoom. And ThymeBase’s event planning software, of course. With client portals, comments, and file sharing, all communication can stay in one place.
So no significant changes there. I guess that’s still my main point. Adding “virtual wedding planner” to your services probably doesn’t change your workflow at all.
Getting Started As A Virtual Planner
The funny thing about this is it might not even be a conscious decision to take your business virtual.
Tayle started out as a venue coordinator and wedding planner. “I fell in love with decorating and creating special memories for my clients. A few months later, some of my friends began reaching out to me to assist them with their weddings. While some of these individuals lived locally to me, others lived 4+ hours away from me. Because of who I am, I could not turn down working with them – thus, I began to offer virtual services.”
“I chose to add on virtual wedding planning services when I started using Thumbtack and began to work with clients all over Florida. I noticed that these clients needed assistance planning events within a short amount of time. Choosing to go virtual made the most sense for my business.”
Marketing Your Virtual Wedding Planning Services
Like Tayla mentions, there are online freelancer marketplaces where people hire virtual wedding planners, including Thumbtack, Hubstaff, and Upwork. Still, based on Google searches, I’d include SEO in your marketing plan.
And of course, I’d include email marketing and just plain referrals too. These are far-flung days in which personal networks are spread across countries. Let your past clients know you’re open to virtual wedding planning. Word-of-mouth is the best way to market a virtual service!
Convincing People Virtually
Most first-step interactions with clients are through email or online forms followed by an in-person meeting. These days, however, that first live meeting occurs just as often over Zoom. So, I asked Tayla how she “closed the deal” on virtual clients.
“I do believe that a virtual wedding planner has a more strategic and challenging role at times. You have to integrate technology, social marketing advertising, and relay to clients virtually that they can still trust you like would have to if you were in person.”
She makes the point that people are pretty comfortable doing business online, and that helps. But a solid social media presence is absolutely critical. “Clients purchase services at a higher rate now due to social media. It is imperative that my company has an amazing social image and incredible marketing material.”
Social proof on Instagram and great reviews on the Knot will assuage skeptical clients every time.
Give It A Shot?
So why not try it out? You don’t even need to announce it to the world, but you can start slow through your personal network and client referrals. And if the virtual wedding planner thing takes off, you can use these productivity tips to work less even while working with more clients.