Attracting Luxury Wedding Clients
Do you have a unique sense of style that fits perfectly with high-end events? Are you ready for the challenge of managing big budgets and working with luxury vendors? Is your business itching for a fancy re-brand?
Sounds like a career in luxury wedding planning might be just right for you!
But, like any wedding planning business, a career in luxury wedding planning is all about the clients. Revamping your office and stepping up your services won’t do you much good if you’re not grabbing the attention of big-budget clientele. Here are our top tips for attracting those luxury wedding clients!
Work your way up
Very few wedding planners start their careers in the luxury industry. New wedding planners are usually a little short on business funds, experience, and industry connections—all things that big-budget clients are looking for in their planners!
Working in the luxury wedding industry means managing large budgets, planning intricate events, and satisfying incredibly high expectations. A strong résumé and a good portfolio aren’t just for convincing luxury leads to sign on the dotted line. You need all the experience behind that portfolio to carry through on your business promise to provide exceptional service.
So even if you dream of working in the luxury industry, start small. Booking budget clients will give you the management, problem-solving, and personal skills you need to start moving up.
Follow the high-end couples
In the luxury wedding business, many new leads come from word-of-mouth referrals. That can make it tough to break into the business. You need a referral to get a client, but you can’t get that referral without another client… you get the picture.
One way to start generating business is to meet potential luxury wedding clients on your own—and not when you’re “on the job.” Do some research to find the high-end hangouts in your area. A country club, golf club, or yacht club might be a good place to start. Your area might also have an important religious institution or charity organization with lots of community influence.
Join your organization-of-choice and get involved. This might mean putting your name forward for the board or volunteering to help with events. As well as meeting potential luxury clients, you’ll be demonstrating your skills (without an aggressive sales pitch!), making you an obvious pick for a planner when someone in your new high-end circle is getting married.
Organize a styled shoot
Like any other client, a luxury wedding client wants to know that your business is the right fit for their event. But if you’re just starting to move into the luxury industry, you may find it tough to prove that with your old portfolio. Photos of lower-budget or DIY weddings won’t show that you can deliver a luxury event.
Build up your luxury portfolio by organizing a styled shoot. You might land some luxury vendors if you try reaching out. The small scale of a styled shoot can also make it easier for regular vendors to create something a little more luxurious, especially with your stylistic input. And who knows—maybe some of your usual vendors are looking to scale up themselves!
To get some extra attention, try getting featured online or having your work published in a bridal magazine. You can plan and execute a styled shoot, then submit your photos to a high-end publication. However, if a magazine feature is your goal, you might have more success if you work out a publication deal with that magazine before you’ve even started the planning process.
When you do get to the planning part, put a lot of effort into the details. Attention to detail improves any styled shoot, but it’s absolutely essential when you’re trying to get a start in the luxury industry. Luxury wedding clients want a planner who can create a unique, immersive experience for their guests. High-end quality should go right down to the tiniest detail of their event.
Build your business’s style
Speaking of style, you’ll need one of your own. Luxury wedding clients pick a wedding planner whose unique style appeals to them. Yes, you’ll be working with your clients to personalize their event down to the very last detail—but having your own event style is still super important, as QC tutor Candice Coppola told us.
Your style comes from your own personal taste, but it’s also very much about the kind of clients you want to attract. Are you all about upscale traditional weddings? Do you take some of your style cues from particular designers? Is your signature event one that’s bold, energetic, and innovative?
Whatever your style, the luxury factor needs to be incorporated at every level of your business. From your own appearance to your website to the services you offer, you need to offer a luxury experience for your client—not just a high-end event.
Raise your prices (within reason)
If you’re going to dedicate your business to the luxury industry, you need to raise your prices. Why? Well, firstly, luxury wedding clients prioritize quality, and they’re willing to pay for it. As simple as it may seem, raising your prices indicates to potential clients that you’re the planner they’re looking for. High-end clients might get suspicious of a “luxury” planner with low rates. The client may doubt whether they’re really going to get the kind of quality they want.
Secondly, luxury weddings and events are intensive. A luxury wedding planner won’t take on as many clients as a planner specializing in budget, moderate, or DIY weddings. Instead, you’ll probably take on only a handful of clients a year. With more time spent on each wedding, an increased rate makes sense. Plus, you’ll need more money to put into maintaining your business’s luxury branding.
But don’t think that means you can rip a wealthy client off. Luxury wedding clients are willing to spend money, but they know what that money is worth. Recognize that your skill, services, and branding all entitle you to a higher rate—but don’t think you can get away with charging whatever you want.
This goes for your services and your hours. Many clients working on a tight budget appreciate a simple set-rate service that’ll help keep them in a reasonable spending range. For luxury clients, however, that’s not really a consideration. Instead, high-end clients are all about customization, and that includes your services. Check out other luxury planners’ sites to see their packages and pricing. Most luxury planners build customization into their packages, or offer a completely customizable package. Some do away with packages altogether and offer only bespoke planning services.
You’ll also need to make your work schedule a little more flexible. Luxury clients tend to be busy people. They may need to schedule appointments with you outside of your regular work hours or at short notice. Part of the luxury service you deliver also means they’ll expect you to be easily available and return their messages or emails quickly.
That doesn’t mean you can’t set boundaries, though. Even luxury planners need time to relax, spend time with friends and family, and go on vacation!