Expert Tips for Networking at Wedding Planner Conferences

May 28, 2024 Jessica Stewart

Many of us dream of the perfect wedding day. But for some, the ultimate dream is about something else: it's about creating the perfect wedding day for others.

That career goal flourishes when you possess a magical combination of creativity, exceptional organizational skills, and a flair for making the right contacts. The ability to create connections is central to launching or growing a wedding planning business, which is why exhibitions and conferences can be helpful.

But before you attend wedding planner conferences, it's good to have a plan of action. Read on to learn some top tips for making the most of the day and making it memorable for all the right reasons.

Have a Clear Goal in Mind

Write down some objectives you want to achieve from a wedding planner conference to get the most out of it. This will help you manage your time effectively when networking.

For example, you might attend the event to meet new vendors or attend workshops to learn about the latest trends in wedding planning.

Maybe there is a particular influencer or leader you are keen to meet. Whatever your goal is, noting it in black and white will help you stay focused.

When you're networking with a purpose, you'll find it easier to move on from conversations. You won't get sidetracked on topics that might be interesting but don't serve a purpose for you.

Be Prepared to Pitch

If you're networking, you will likely want to win someone over. An elevator pitch can be a valuable way to prepare.

Though elevator pitches are more commonly associated with pitching a startup, you can use this format in any walk of life to persuade people to your idea.

A good elevator pitch is concise and unique, so you should consider ways to set yourself apart from competitors. The best pitches also avoid a dull list of features and services, focusing on benefits tailored to your audience.

Practice your pitch at home before the event to ensure it offers clarity and that you can confidently say it.

Bring Along Some Professional Business Cards

Even in the digital age, nothing is as effective as a business card you can place in someone's hand. It's a physical reminder of that conversation.

However, you need yours to stand out, so take time to create a professional design and go for a high-quality print. They should always reflect your business brand, make good use of color, and have enough information that makes it evident to a stranger what you do.

Keep the cards accessible so you can hand them out without fumbling at the bottom of a large bag. And bring a plentiful supply with you; you don't want to run out of cards right before you talk to the most important contact in the room.

Network Before and After Via Social Media

Don't forget that networking doesn't begin and end at the event. It's often good to make introductions before the big day, so a chat doesn't feel like a cold call.

After the event is your chance to follow up with the people you spoke to. Social media is a great format for this. It makes it easy to connect, and people are used to getting network requests, especially in places like LinkedIn and X.

Use these places to remind people of your conversation and that you enjoyed talking to them. Make sure you use a profile with your picture, as it's easier when people can put a face to a name. You can also use social media to livestream your experience of the event by posting thoughts, photos, and hashtags.

Research the Workshops and Seminars Before You Arrive

A wedding conference will outline details of what's available on the event day. Take the time to read through these to secure a place at any workshops or seminars you feel are valuable.

These are often valuable opportunities to network with others, and you'll also develop some helpful education. Consider questions you can pose to the speakers on the day, and keep the conversation going with other attendees after the workshop or seminar has finished.

This way, you'll actively participate and can make more of an impact. People will remember you, and you'll get knowledge that could be invaluable to your business.

Arrange Some Meetings

When you receive the agenda for the event, look at the attendees list and schedule some meetings. Reaching out before the day means you won't lose that vital time together with a new contact.

You don't need to make this too formal. It could simply be a case of offering to buy a coffee for someone so you have time to chat. It's proactive, and people will appreciate that you value their time.

It's also a more personal approach. It's easier to network once you've made contact before, even if it was something as simple as a direct message via social media. Plus, it means your contact understands why you want to speak to them so that you can keep the conversation on topic.

Help Others to Network

Networking is most effective when you stop thinking about how it can benefit you and look for ways to help others.

A straightforward way to put this into practice at a wedding planning event is to become a connection point for others. If you spot an opportunity, introduce acquaintances to each other. People will remember that you did this and will likely reciprocate, boosting future networking opportunities.

It also helps you stand out as an industry leader. By showcasing your connections at a big event, people will see you have much to offer in the wedding industry. Other business owners will want to get to know you.

Always Follow Up Promptly

Once you've made connections at a wedding planning event, you don't want to lose that momentum. You should try to follow up with your contacts as soon as possible. Keep any business cards you received on the day organized and within reach.

When following up, personalize your messages. Mention an anecdote or something unique about the conversation. It will help contacts remember who you are and what you discussed.

Choose their preferred method of contact -- the business card will provide clues. If you aren't sure, choose an easy-to-manage method. That way, if you don't get a response immediately, you can remember how to contact them again using the same format.

Suggest a Discussion Group

You could suggest a discussion group to have more involved conversations at an event. This approach is excellent for networking with peers and generating meaningful ideas and contacts.

Think of a topic before the event day and suggest it to event organizers. Invite existing contacts to participate and use those invites to widen participation. These discussions don't have to be formal parts of an event.

It could be something as simple as a chat in the coffee area. But it's a chance to collaborate in a relaxed setting on a topic that interests you.

Dress the Part

It's essential to dress professionally at networking events. It sets a strong impression. But there's another tip for getting the most from a wedding event, and that's to dress memorably.

A colorful scarf or an unusual tie ensures people remember the person they spoke to. However, don't force yourself to wear something that makes you feel uncomfortable. What you wear should reflect your personality because networking is about creating a personal connection.

Volunteer to Help Out

If you know the organizer, volunteer to help with the event. It's a natural way to meet more people and position yourself as central to the wedding planning community. Plus, volunteering will help you meet other people working behind the scenes, so it's a chance to make additional connections.

Take Plenty of Notes

When networking, you can make more of an impact by providing meaningful insights. One way to do that is to take notes during the event when there are presentations and workshops.

Review these notes afterward and use them as conversation starters. It will help people remember you as someone who is informed, has much to contribute, and has valuable knowledge about the wedding industry.

Refine Your Listening Skills

Many people need to develop their active listening skills. Active listening is all about using body language and questions when talking to someone to demonstrate that you are listening to what they have to say.

It creates a positive impression and helps you form a stronger bond with people. Try practicing active listening skills with a friend before the event.

Wedding Planner Conferences: Making the Most of Your Time

Wedding planner conferences are a fantastic way to grow your business. They'll help you connect with suppliers, customers, and other influencers who could have an exciting impact on your business. Use these networking tips to help you make the most of your time.

Have you booked your tickets for 2024's Event Planner Expo conference? It's an unmissable date on the calendar for anyone involved in event planning, and you can reserve your booth right here.

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