Today we are excited to announce a partnership with The Bridal Society – one of the leading wedding planning certification courses!
Being an expert wedding professional is not something that you wake up being. It is something that comes with time, experience, and education. And after decades of wedding planning experience, Founder Laurie Hartwell, was inspired to start educating professionals (rookie and veteran) about the fundamentals of the profession. Now, Laurie and her team travel the country teaching a two-day certification course for wedding planning professionals.
We sat down with The Bridal Society’s Founder to learn more about what inspired this yearly cross-country tour, what she wishes she had a little more time to cover, and what she is most excited for in 2017!
What was the impetus for founding The Bridal Society?
The impetus for founding The Bridal Society was to bring a higher standard to the wedding industry and to help wedding planners improve on their services. There are many types of people who take my conference: those who are in college and plan to either open a business or work for an existing company, those who have been planning weddings for a few years but want to get their certification and learn new ways to handle their business, and those who have been planning weddings for many years already and simply want a refresher and/or want to finally earn their certification and join an incredible network of other wedding planners. All of these different types of planners are welcome in the conference and are guaranteed to walk out with a fresh perspective on the industry.
How did your experience as a wedding planner prepare you for this venture?
I have been planning weddings for 23 years, so I have seen just about every scenario possible. I have also worked with some of the best wedding professionals in the business and have insight into how a wedding planner can assist them. Collaborating with some of the top wedding professionals from around the country has helped me create a well-rounded look at the industry so that I can train wedding planners to see situations from every perspective, not just their own.
TBS offers two certifications. What are the differences between the curriculums for wedding planners and wedding venue professionals?
The two curriculums run at the same time. Both our wedding venue professionals and our wedding planners learn an incredible amount of information including different ways to bring in business, how to see the wedding from all perspectives, how to work as a team, and how to keep their clients happy. Additional topics are listed on our website. Our wedding venue professionals are let out three hours early on day 1 as this time is dedicated only to independent wedding planners. In this section we talk about contracts, packages, pricing, websites, advertising, etc.
You have a large team of Regional Directors. What do each of these wedding planning professionals add to the conference experience?
Our Regional Directors are amazingly dedicated and devote time each month to the alumni experience. They write articles for our monthly eNewsletter, post reminders on our private forum Facebook forum, and personally welcome new alumni each month, offering them assistance if needed. Many of the Regional Directors also put together “Alumni Gatherings” in their area. So although they don’t necessarily help with the conferences specifically, they do help immensely with the lifetime free membership that each of our alumni receive after completing our certification conference.
You cover so much ground in two days at the conference! What are your favorite topics to teach?
I love teaching every aspect of this conference; however, if I did have to choose a few topics that I enjoy more than the others they would be: Conducting Initial Consultations with your Client, How to Close the Deal, The Art of Tact, and how to properly run wedding rehearsals.
If you could dedicate more time to one topic, which topic would that be and why?
If I could dedicate more time to one topic, that would be how to put together different types of packages. Although we do cover this subject thoroughly in class, I would love to spend more time covering the endless details involved. We will, however, have the opportunity to go over this subject in great detail during our annual alumni conference, which is coming up in January, 2017 at Chateau Elan Resort & Winery in Atlanta.
What are your goals for conference attendees?
I would love for my attendees to have great attitudes, open minds, and giving hearts. I expect them to go after what they want in their careers and to not let anything or anyone hold them back; I want them to follow their dreams while trusting themselves and their own abilities.
What are you most excited about for 2017?
It has always been my goal to support my alumni in any way possible. To help enhance our member’s businesses I am excited about the relationships we have made with top industry companies around the world. These companies include Aisle Planner, WeddingWire, BBJ Linen, AFR Event Furnishings, The Gay Wedding Institute and Xedo to name a few. All of these organizations are leaders in their field and we are proud to partner with them and are looking forward to forging more valuable relationships in 2017.
If you got to start your wedding planning career all over again (and take this course), what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to trust my instincts, only work with talented wedding professionals who care more about the client than the bottom line. I would tell myself to follow my dreams and not let anyone or anything stand in my way. I would also remind myself not to worry so much because everything works out exactly the way it is supposed to.
Are you an Aisle Planner? Keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive $200 discount code to attend an upcoming The Bridal Society conference!