5 PR lessons learned from wedding planning
Here comes the bride…summer is here and it’s wedding season! As a PR pro with more than 20 years of experience, I am still learning something new about promotions and publicity every day.
Even when planning my wedding.
In a few weeks, I’ll tie the knot in front of family and friends back home. Because the groom and I are remote, it took a lot of detail coordinating and planning from afar.
Vows, garters, and cake aside, a wedding is a lot like a huge business launch or product unveiling. In fact, it reminded me of how all PR initiatives, regardless of size or budget, deserve proper project management and communication for success.
As in business, the reviews of our wedding matter. We want our audience, in this case our guests, to have an amazing time. Not only at our wedding, but at the destination, which for many is a place they’ve only seen in a movie.
They invested their time and money to travel to the Midwest. It’s only fair my groom and I make the entire weekend worth their while!
Without further ado, here are five PR and marketing lessons I’ve learned planning our big day.
Plan it out
I’ll admit it, organization and planning are kind of my things and I’ve gone pretty Bridezilla about maintaining a plan for our nuptials.
Because having a plan matters.
With weddings, you need to keep track of dresses, guest lists, music, who is standing where, who is sitting where, transportation, and if you can eat without your dress seams exploding.
These are just a few of the details you need to stay on top of.
As a former wedding planner and semi-professional bridesmaid, I’ve seen way too many brides brought to tears because of peanut gallery comments from their mothers, sisters, bridesmaids, and vendors.
The same applies to PR.
Having a PR plan, or even a rough promotional timeline, will leave little room for input from the peanut gallery. When in doubt, you can refer to this plan time and again to keep you moving toward your promotional goals.
Images are everything
A picture is worth a thousand words so it’s important you invest in photography. Especially leading up to and on your wedding day. This is one area not skimp on.
Memories matter. So do the images you use to promote your brand or business.
After receiving our engagement photos back, I was reminded why it’s so important for brands of any size to invest in high quality images and photography for their PR and marketing efforts.
Why? Because these visuals not only capture but tell your story, which leads to publicity and media visibility for your business.
Great photography makes all the difference.
Tell them, then tell them again
One of the first activities all the respected wedding gurus encourage is for the newly engaged couple to set up their personalized wedding website. Here you can provide detailed wedding information, including dates, transportation, activities, and registry info in one place.
A few months later, brides and grooms are encouraged to send guests who may travel for the impending nuptials Save the Date announcements. These also are chockfull of information and, more likely than not, direct guests back to the wedding website for more details.
Finally, as the big day approaches, the actual wedding invitations are mailed. It includes information the happy couple has shared numerous times via their website, Save the Dates, and word-of-mouth.
Are you catching the repetition here? Good, you should be.
Guests compliment and appreciate receiving the same information numerous times. They need the guidance. It makes their lives, and their trip, easier.
Like PR, you need to tell your target audience what you want them to know about your business. You need to impress on them, through repetition, what you want them to think or feel about your brand.
By guiding them through the journey, you’ll assure they have the best experience possible, whether it’s staying updated on your latest social media endeavors or purchasing one of your products.
Your wedding day is all about you. Well, you and your groom. Therefore, it is important to keep all aspects of the day personal to you both as well as your guests.
I’m biased, but feel our wedding is going to be the perfect representation of our soon-to-be-family’s brand.
From the Costco cakes (don’t judge, they’re the best) to my veil (with our monogram made from beads taken off my Grandmother’s wedding dress) to our hashtag (#youBlattcha, get it? Midwesterners!). Even the music we selected for our day is going to be far from the typically songs played in a wedding ceremony. I also may have monogrammed everything I possibly could. These little personal touches are what will make our wedding day ours.
The same can be said your PR strategy.
It’s the little, personalized details that can make your brand stand out and gain you diehard brand enthusiasts and customers.
Be mindful of others
Hey, it’s your day and it’s about the two of you together. Sadly, planning a wedding isn’t all flowers, cotton candy, and rainbows.
Not everything is going to be perfect. That’s life.
You’ll never be able to control the perceptions or misconceptions of others. Not all communications will go as planned. Small disasters will happen.
People may not like where their name appears on the seating chart. You may not be able to invite everyone. Feelings will be hurt for no particular reason at all except that weddings bring out #allthefeels.
Executing on your PR strategy brings out the same kind of hiccups on the path to brand happiness.
If a customer feels they have been treated unfairly and want justice, they will hop right on to social media and complain. Does your promotional plan account for that? It should.
You then must make a choice; do you ignore it or handle the situation? Hint: Handle the situation.
You also should always show your gratitude. In the wedding world, this comes in the form of handwritten thank you cards.
In the digital world of business, old-fashioned manners like thank you cards still matter. If an employee or customer deserves acknowledgement or recognition, let them know with a personalized note.
Large or small, it’s important for your brand to create an experience your target audience will fall in love with. Follow the tips above, and I guarantee you’ll PR happily ever after.
What PR lessons have your learned from wedding season?