Of paperless wedding invitations and online RSVPs via smartphones, there’s no doubt that digital age changed the way we see weddings in general.
Sure, weddings are nothing short of being a lucrative undertaking even during the pre-Internet days. It just so happen that the wedding biz embraced the digital disruption in its entirety, transitioning from a wallflower niche to a sought-after field at the time when digital age just went full circle.
Luckily, we’re all there to witness the entire scene undergo the timely metamorphosis.
Next thing we knew, more and more businesses relating to the sacred unity of two persons – both startups and established ones – started to sprout like mushrooms and quickly followed suit, aggressively leveraging in the seemingly vast horizon of the digital realm and helped the veiled industry come out of its traditional shell.
In line with this “wedding season” month, three wedding professionals share their experiences in managing their wedding-related businesses, and how to keep up with the fast-paced changes in the digital era.
The Wedding Masters:
Marc Rozen Franco is the founder of Digital Lights Images. The photography services company’s humble beginnings can be traced as early as 2010 when Franco, an avid photographer enthusiast at the time, was asked by a friend to shoot photos for an event.
Newly-wed/power couple, Pat & Ian Ruedas created their custom events design & print firm, PaperThread Studio out of their so-called “mutual weirdness”. While doing their wedding preparations, both fine arts graduates aim to steer clear from the traditional wedding designs, and capture the personalities of a certain couple through artistic DIY approach.
Cazh Manalo-Sanchez’ brainchild, Glitter Events, came out of an idea and realization when a co-worker friend asked her to host her cousin’s wedding. During her first hosting gig, she took notice of the wedding coordinator’s dynamic and intricate tasks. That was the time she decided to pursue events planning.
Challenges in the Wedding Industry
Rozen Franco: [The wedding industry] is very profitable. But of course, the main challenge is how to market your service and style. Personally, I started out by charging minimal fees. This is how I started building a strong portfolio. Having one greatly contributes to your success.
Cazh Sanchez: Getting recognized is the first challenge. In doing that, you want to gain your client’s trust and create a healthy professional relationship with them.
Pat Ruedas: Investing on the right equipment. Since we’re on the design-segment of the biz, we want to make sure our output is of good quality. Dynamics-wise, continuing to improve our services is a constant challenge. We’re on our third year now, and we’re still learning as we go along.
Marketing techniques and Style – Online and Offline
Cazh: The magic of social media does the work for us in terms of marketing. We rely heavily on social media since our line of work is mobile most of the time. We’d put up ads and promotions on our page to draw more attention for lead generation. On a more traditional approach, we join bridal fairs to meet potential clients.
Rozen: Social media as well. That’s where we showcase our portfolio at least for now. We also take advantage of Vimeo to showcase our reel. Offline, its bridal expos and at times, magazine ads, word of mouth.
Pat: Bridal expos. We don’t have a specific pattern, style, or technique as to how we market our studio online. Right now, we simply update and post new designs online through Facebook and Instagram. That’s where we get most of our referrals.
Taking Advantage of Digital Marketing
Pat: We post as many designs as we can on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. We promote everything there.
Rozen: I take advantage of its convenience, mobility, and cost & time-efficiency. Everything is just a click away! And I get to communicate with clients without having to go somewhere. So, no need to go through with the hassles of traffic and parking.
How to Handle and Keep Up with the Competition
Rozen: Just love what you do and it will automatically reflect on your work. Review your own style and update it. Don’t be afraid to learn something new. Most importantly, instill professionalism. See to it that you’re responsible and punctual. That will be your edge to your clients.
Pat: Keep on innovating. Do your own thing, and make sure that everything we do is unique and diverse.
Collaboration: Two Heads are better than One
Pat: Coming from a husband & wife team, collaboration is really essential to our operations.
Cazh: personally, I think it’s perfect. Most couples look for “all-in” packages. So collaborating with other suppliers makes practical sense. That’s also one way to earn respect, both by your clients and your collaborators. And besides, it’s great to see two or more creative people working together to fulfill the couple’s ultimate dream wedding, right?
Predicting the Future Growth of the Wedding Industry
Cazh: The number of weddings here in the country has almost doubled within the last decade. We’re on the increasing trend as we speak, so it’s safe to say that the industry will grow further.
Pat: Weddings here in the Philippines are really special, and couples are deeply invested into it.
Photo courtesy: DLI Photography
Piece of Advice Coming from Someone who’s Already “Committed” to the Wedding Biz
Rozen: Wedding coverage can be draining, so be emotionally, physically and financially ready. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time, effort, and money. Mind you, it takes a lot of passion if you really want to survive in this industry. Equipment costs a fortune. You also have to consider a lot of things, both on the client and your team’s sides. Lastly, Make sure to learn something new through constant practice and experimenting. It doesn’t matter if your next wedding job is your 100th or 1000th coverage. Treat every gig as your first, as most weddings are once in a lifetime event.
Pat: Just be yourself. Strive to establish your own brand, image, and style. Most importantly, love what you do.
Cazh: Have a lot of patience. Trust your instinct and your crazy ideas. Love your clients.
To conclude, we can all thank social media (and in some cases, celebrity influencers) for serving as an avenue to account these transformations. Since then, wedding planning became fun and convenient with the help of sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Etsy; bridal gown designers are easier to contact through their websites; Photographers and videographers can now showcase their reel on Vimeo and YouTube; candid BTS scenes on SnapChat; wedding blogs, online invitations, and DIY wedding paraphernalia; all of which can be arranged at the simple touch of a button. And if things go wrong, you can easily drop your coordinator a message via Viber or Messenger.