Candice Coppola AMA Event Planning Feature 2

From the Experts, Your Event Career

Candice Coppola: Ask Me Anything!

For our August Ask Me Anything event, we were lucky enough to have QC Event School tutor Candice Coppola with us once again!

This time, the Creative Director of Jubilee Events took on some major questions about event planning—from how to secure your deposit to using Instagram for brand visibility. So take a look at our latest Q&A session with Candice for answers on how to event plan like a pro!

Q. Do you have any suggestions as to how to promote your event planning business on a budget?

Candice Coppola Headshot AMA Event Planning

A: Thanks for your question! One of the most important investments you can make in your business is a solid brand and website. I do not recommend maintaining a business solely with a Facebook Page. Professional companies should have professional faces.

There are affordable website options you can pursue, like Squarespace. If you can’t afford it now, save until you are able to hire someone to create a professional website for you. I promise you it is worth every penny.

Q. How would you recommend I showcase my services without experience?

A: Thank you for your question! Come up with unique ways to create your OWN content– and you are already on the right track! Small investments in creating tablescapes or a photoshoot will help to give you visual content for your website and social media, which greatly aids in bringing in those first few sets of clients.

You have the opportunity to create content that your target client would appreciate, and that is representative of your business brand—so remember that when you set out to do a planned photoshoot, or a fun spur of the moment shoot at home!

Q. Is there a script I should use when I approach companies for an internship?

A: Good question! As a business owner I get many, many, MANY inquiries for internships and employment. As a small business, I simply don’t have opportunities for everyone who applies. During wedding season, I might not be able to respond to each inquiry because we are so busy. What catches my eye is someone who has taken the time to get to know my business and what I am about.

I also appreciate someone who writes an impassioned letter to me and supplies a resume that is interesting. Perhaps take a look at your application process, and see what you might be able to do to “stand out” amongst a sea of other folks looking for the same opportunity. It never hurts to follow up to ensure someone received your information!

Q. I have recently started my own wedding planning business. How should I approach hotels and wedding venues to promote my business?

Coppola AMA Event Planning floral decor

A: Great to hear from you and congratulations on all your business success! Marketing your company and gaining more business is something that has several steps and variables, but for the sake of giving you some insight, I would network with your local vendors and venues to try and get your name out there. Remember to network with individuals and companies that are already in front of the audience you are trying to target. Social media has become a very effective way to market your company and is also another way to network. I recommend picking one or two social media outlets (FB, IG, Snapchat, Periscope, Twitter, and Pinterest) and learn how to use them to your advantage in an effort to promote your business.

When reaching out to hotels and venues, remember that certain times of the year are EXTREMELY busy for them (i.e. wedding season). You want to play your cards right and introduce yourself to whomever is in charge during their slower season so they have time to visit your website, review your services and even give you a tour of the space. Timing makes all the difference. Remember to just be yourself and present your business and brand in a professional way, and you’ll see the return on your networking investment! I always recommend reaching out via email first rather than telephone. Hope that helps!

Q. Is there a script I should use when I approach companies for an internship?

A: Good question! As a business owner I get many, many, MANY inquiries for internships and employment. As a small business, I simply don’t have opportunities for everyone who applies. During wedding season, I might not be able to respond to each inquiry because we are so busy. What catches my eye is someone who has taken the time to get to know my business and what I am about.

I also appreciate someone who writes an impassioned letter to me and supplies a resume that is interesting. Perhaps take a look at your application process, and see what you might be able to do to “stand out” amongst a sea of other folks looking for the same opportunity. It never hurts to follow up to ensure someone received your information!

Coppola AMA Event Planning Bride and Groom

Q. What should I do if I have no access to the professional shots taken of my work at events? How can I build a presence on a platform like Instagram without any portfolio work?

A: Great question and I’m glad you are asking it! I know it’s hard when you first start out—but you have the opportunity to create your own content to get you going. Don’t hesitate to design and plan a photoshoot for your website, or create a tablescape and take photographs of it yourself for IG.

One thing you do NOT want to do is Instagram or use images you’ve found on Pinterest without proper credit to everyone involved: photographer, planner, florist, rental company, stationary company, etc. Think outside the box– you don’t need to have a wedding under your belt to showcase your talents and what you are capable of—just create it yourself!

Q. Is there a way to shadow an event planner for the day? Before jumping into a class, I would like to see what a day in the life of a planner is like.

A: Great question—and I hope to see you register for QC Event School! My company does take on interns and those interested in the industry. I recommend reaching out to a local event planning company to see if they have any internships available for their fall season so you can see if it is something you would be interested in.

Q. Do use you any software programs to help your planning process?

A: I’ve recently started using Aisle Planner and HoneyBook (within the last 30 days) for my business. So far they are good, but I don’t want to give them a ringing endorsement until I’ve used them for another 5 months to ensure they work for me! There are a lot of options out there to pursue, but remember– software should not be a system or process in your business– it should enhance or simplify a system or process you’ve established already.

I hope that makes sense. Don’t feel the need to rely on paid monthly subscriptions to anything, but rather, develop systems and processes that work for you and see if the aforementioned software can assist you in your businesses protocol.

Coppola AMA Event Planning Tips

Q. How do you handle money with your clients? Do you ask for a certain amount up front to cover deposits? I have worked with very indecisive brides who don’t want to commit, and I have to be a little more forward. I always find those situations a little awkward.

A: I hope I am understanding your question correctly. My clients pay their vendors directly and I do not take fees for the photographer, venue, caterer etc. I charge them my own fee, which I split up into payments that are due PRIOR to their event. Their initial retainer is due at signing. Indecisive clients can be a challenge and I recommend that you take the lead—which is what they’ve hired you for.

Sometimes you need to hold their hand more than other clients and encourage them to make decisions. Remind them that the vendors and companies you recommend are the best option for them and if they are still struggling, you may have to seek out a few more options for them to consider. I’ve found that indecisiveness comes from financial insecurities– so perhaps you should take a look at what your clients are spending to see if they are your target market. Hope that answers your question!

Q. What is the best way to start as an event planner? I’m looking to quit my full-time job so I can concentrate on my business, but I’m hesitant to take the plunge. Do I have to enroll in a course?

Thanks for your question! I am a firm believer that education in any industry is very important. You can certainly go about it your own way– but would you be as successful if you took the time to invest in your future and future business?

I know I am a tutor at QC Event School, but I would never put my name to or time in something I didn’t fully believe in. The courses here are wonderful and will teach you so much about the industry and how to start a business within the wedding / events industry. I posted a quote the other day and your question reminded me of it: “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Don’t take shortcuts– take the long road– it is worth it!

Inspired to learn more about becoming a professional event planner? Our wedding and event planning courses will guide you through the essential steps.

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