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Planners

Adding Guest Engagement Services To Your Wedding Planning Business

In this article, we'll help you to understand how to add Guest Engagement as a new service offering to your planning business.


Highlights

  1.  The Wedding Planning Business - A Competitive Environment
  2.  A New Service Offering - Guest Engagement
  3.  CalUp Templates for a New Service Package

The Wedding Planning Business - A Competitive Environment

At my first visit to WeddingMBA in November 2022, I repeatedly heard discussion of service pricing for wedding planners. As one long time planner described, there is not a huge barrier to creating a website and declaring yourself a professional wedding planner.

Often, inexperienced planners enter the fray with low & unsustainable pricing, putting pressure on pricing for the experienced planners. In this day of advanced website tools, it is difficult for a couple, hiring a wedding planner for the first and only time, to differentiate between a great experienced planner and a newbie.

As always in a local service business, true professionals have great references, compelling examples, and strong word-of-mouth marketing to keep their schedule full.

In relation to pricing, I have noticed a proliferation of service packages from wedding planners as they seek to create a well defined offering that fits a prospective client’s needs, and that can be delivered both professionally and profitably.

Well defined service packages are critical for setting client expectations, and for differentiating your specialty or focus vs. that of a less experienced planner.  From time to time, I also see some very cool personalized touches specified in planner packages (I won’t give anyone’s secrets away) that help to differentiate based on service, and not price. 

A New Service Offering - Guest Engagement

We launched CalUp with a goal of helping planners gain efficiency through improved coordination and communication with the wedding party and guests. We saw a big void in existing tools for this purpose. In early deployments, CalUp helped:

  • Keep guests & participants fully informed to preemptively answer questions.
  • Provide on-the-fly communication for participants in the event of schedule changes due to weather, transportation delays, late participants, etc.
  • Enable controlled group and 1:1 communication and photo sharing.  

Time and again, CalUp was useful in providing personalized, relevant information via the CalUp mobile app right to the fingertips of participants and guests, and photo sharing added a touch of fun.

However, we realized CalUp could help wedding planners build a new service offering and revenue stream around guest engagement, and further differentiate experienced planners from newbies. Below we’ve outlined some examples to help wedding planners consider how best to incorporate CalUp and Guest Engagement into their service offering.

CalUp Templates for a New Service Package

A CalUp wedding account can be set up in a matter of hours using CalUp Templates, or the CalUp Auto Create Tool, and is best completed in the month or two leading up to the wedding when the schedule is pretty well set and the guest list is near final.  

In addition to a standard itinerary (title, date, time, place), CalUp event items can be customized with hero images, visual meet point cues, event detail text, website links, and pdf attachments.  This lets the planner create eye pleasing events with all relevant information available to guests with the tap of a finger on the CalUp mobile app.

The communication settings for each event item can be easily customized to turn on or off photo sharing, group chat, 1:1 direct messaging, text & email reminders,  notifications, and RSVPs. 

Planners can manage the guest engagement experience, and collaborate with their couple in varying degrees depending on the service package offered. Alternatively the couple can take the lead on itinerary setup and contract with their wedding planner for event review and aspects of guest communication.

The following table provides an example of an a la carte package and a full service package and related steps and time estimates.  As a planner becomes familiar with CalUp, particularly with a familiar venue, less time is required to set up and manage CalUp guest engagement.

Using CalUp as Part of an A La Carte Package

Activity Description

A la Carte Package 

Time Estimate*

(5-10 hours)

CalUp account setup 

Planner

15 minutes

Schedule of activities defined with locations and time frames

 (30-60 days prior to wedding) 

Couple

1 hour

Setup - Wedding event itinerary, participant list import & grouping & participant event assignments

  (30-60 days prior to wedding)  

Couple

1-3 hours

Planner Itinerary and Setup Review 

Planner

1 hour

Review, finalize & publish with couple (via Zoom) 

 (15-30 days prior to wedding)

Both

1 hour

Final schedule & participant adjustments

  (within 1 week of wedding) 

Both

30 minutes

Engagement (as specific per event)

  • Wedding guest prompts (welcome, parking info, transportation departure, etc.)
  • Pre-arrival information message
  • Event reminder
  • “Take Photos” prompt
  • Monitor group chat for Q&A
  • Text alerts to individuals or event participants for on-the-fly changes, late individuals, etc.

Planner

~1 hour per day of scheduled events

Using CalUp as Part of a Full Service Package

Activity Description

Full Service Package

Time Estimate*

(10-15 hours)

CalUp account setup 

Planner

15 minutes

Schedule of activities defined with locations and time frames

 (30-60 days prior to wedding) 

Planner

2 hours

Setup - Wedding event itinerary, participant list import & grouping & participant event assignments

  (30-60 days prior to wedding)  

Planner

1-3 hours

Planner Itinerary and Setup Review 

Both

1 hour

Review, finalize & publish with couple (via Zoom) 

 (15-30 days prior to wedding)

Both

1-2 hours

Final schedule & participant adjustments

  (within 1 week of wedding) 

Both

30 minutes

Engagement (as specific per event)

  • Wedding guest prompts (welcome, parking info, transportation departure, etc.)
  • Pre-arrival information message
  • Event reminder
  • “Take Photos” prompt
  • Monitor group chat for Q&A
  • Text alerts to individuals or event participants for on-the-fly changes, late individuals, etc.

Planner

~1 hour per day of scheduled events

*Time estimates depend on the complexity of the schedule and the number of days and events the planner is involved in guest engagement.

Wrap Up

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you're interested in implementing CalUp into your planning business, our team are standing by to help get you set up. If you'd like to see how CalUp works, you can book a Free Demo with one of our team members here. Alternatively, if you'd like to try CalUp out for yourself, we're currently allowing professional planners and venues to get a Free Demo Account for a full year, allowing you to build example weddings for clients and test it out - you can request your free account here. 

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