by: Lauren

Some of you may be familiar with the fact that I have a mission to connect couples with the best wedding vendors out there. For the past 6 years, I’ve been doing this via Every Last Detail’s exclusive vendor marketing platform, The V List.

V List membership costs a bit more than other sites, because it’s a service, not a listing. Wedding pros receive a listing on ELD, yes, but they also get admission into our members-only group, which provides them with access to publicity opportunities, as well as one-on-one access to me. In addition to this, members receive over $2000 worth of social media posts on the Every Last Detail social platforms, expanding their reach and putting them in front of hundreds of thousands of couples. So yes, it’s more expensive, but it’s also getting *something* for the money that is spent. In fact, it’s a pretty awesome deal, just $695 (with payment options too)! <<gasp, she shared her pricing!>>

However, over the last year I’ve been struggling with something. That mission I have to connect couples with vendors. You see, the truth is that I don’t have *enough* wedding vendors in The V List to be confident that I’m helping couples find the best vendors. Being that this is my mission, it pretty much breaks my heart and is on my mind EVERY DAY. Now yes, I probably am not “salesy” enough, and I don’t send enough emails or invitations to The V List.

And I know what you’re thinking, “Have you thought about lowering pricing so you can get more vendors?” Sure, it’s been a thought, but one that quickly disappears because of the service and exposure that we provide. And I don’t want to do away with that service and exposure, because I know THAT is what is important, not just being listed on a website. Not to mention- I’m looking for the BEST wedding vendors… ones that are successful and making money, not ones that are looking for the cheapest deals!

The other piece of the puzzle is that I am a firm believer in getting something for the money that you spend. I am always telling wedding pros that you must invest in something that is actively working for you. It’s why I provide SO MUCH to my members- valued at way beyond what they actually pay. So the option of providing a lesser option, of say, just a profile on ELD, is out of the question for me because quite honestly, it goes against my beliefs.

And also, I VERY MUCH believe that the power and success in marketing a wedding business online is via social media and influencer recommendations (hi!), and that all of this is a marathon, not a sprint. No magic happening over here- marketing is a long game, and results do not happen overnight.

But even after all of these thoughts, I still keep coming back to that mission. And as we get closer to engagement season, I need to make sure I’m providing couples with the BEST vendors out there.

And this is the thing- I’ve been working on a few things for newly engaged brides and grooms for the new year, and it’s becoming more and more clear to me: I need more vendors to recommend.

So here’s what I’ve decided:

I will be offering a 6 month V List Membership option from now until the end of the year.

It’s all of the same offerings as our annual membership, just cut in half for the rate of $395. Half the price (well, a little over half- gotta make the annual membership appealing still!), half the social media posts, half the time. It’s a great way to still reap the benefits of a V List Membership, but at a little bit of a lower price point, and at the same time, I can have more amazing vendors to recommend to the couples turning to ELD!

BUT, this option will only be available for a limited time- until the end of 2017! So from now until December 31st, you can get a 6 month membership to The V List, but after that it’s back to the usual annual membership!

So, what do you say? Do you want to become a V List Member and have your business marketed to (and recommended to) the thousands of couples who turn to ELD for the BEST vendors and wedding planning advice?

If your answer is yes (duh, it should be), go here –> http://theeld.com/vlistapply to submit your application!



by: Lauren

 

“Is the wedding industry dying?”

 

The past few months, maybe even year, I’ve asked myself this question and have had this underlying feeling of dread towards the changes happening in the wedding industry. I don’t know if you’ve felt it too, but it’s been weighing on my heart nearly every single day. I’m not quite sure how to put it all into words, but I just wanted to get my thoughts down, because I feel that there needs to be a conversation started regarding these changes.

I think it’s a combination of several things really.

They say that as competition increases, prices go down, and this is for sure happening. There are more and more people starting wedding businesses, which means that these newcomers are priced lower than those who are more experienced and have been in business for a longer amount of time. And we all remember what it was like to be new- you likely have a job and are doing your new business as a “side hustle”, meaning that you can easily justify your lower prices since you have other means of income. On top of that, it is very easy to market yourself and be found thanks to Instagram, and nice websites are WAY easy to make for less money.

Now don’t get me wrong, I totally support entrepreneurship, and I definitely believe that newcomers shouldn’t price themselves too high when they start out. However, I think because there are SO many newcomers, that it’s easy for couples to find a decent wedding vendor for a lesser cost. This unfortunately is leaving the experienced, higher priced vendors with less and less bookings. On the flip side, the newcomers that aren’t yet full time are either going to have to raise their prices eventually to create a full time income, or they’re going to always be doing photography as a “side hustle” because they need a full time income supplied by a “real job”.

The issue is this: it’s bringing the wedding industry as a whole down. I hate saying that. But it’s true. I’ve been hearing about more and more wedding professionals who have been in business for 10+ years having to shut down, simply because couples won’t pay them what they’re worth, and what they need to sustain.

And then there’s the issue of today’s couples altogether.

I don’t quite know what it is yet- I have a few surveys that I want to conduct to find out cold hard facts. BUT, I am hypothesizing that couples aren’t valuing services are much as they value THINGS, and therefore they don’t want to spend as much on the services associated with their wedding. I have no idea why this is a thing, or even if it’s true- especially since Millennials are supposedly quite in tune with experiences. Is it the immediacy that apps and Amazon Prime and delivery services have created as the norm? Is it that couples have become “blind” to things at weddings potentially going wrong because of an inexperienced vendor, because those stories are fewer and far between now thanks to couples hiring professionals in past years?

I do know these facts, thanks to the Splendid Insights 2017 Global Wedding Study, gathering data from couples married in 2016:

  • More couples are paying for their weddings themselves or in partnership with parents
  • 77% of couples have budgets of $30,000 or less, and 19% have budgets of $31,000 to $95,000, and 4% (was 7% in 2016)  have budgets of $96,000 or higher
  • 52% of couples reported that “speediness of email replies” was Very Important to them when hiring a wedding professional
  • 72% of couples use Pinterest for wedding-related activities, 51% use Facebook, and 24% use Instagram

But you know what else is baffling? That in 2016, according to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding reached an all time high of $35,329. I’m doing some data analysis of my own regarding wedding pro pricing (fill out the survey HERE if you haven’t already!), and I’m also currently analyzing The Knot’s numbers for past years to see what kind of changes have been happening.

Now, what can we make of those facts?

First of all, I’m almost positive the Instagram use of couples is higher for 2017. Secondly, not as many couples are spending as much on their weddings as past years. Couples are also putting a high value on customer service. As far as the average cost goes, what I’m seeing thus far is that there has been a significant increase in the amounts spent on wedding venue and engagement ring. The wedding venue increase could very well be that venues know they are going to get whatever they want to charge because they’re usually the first thing booked- I’ve heard of several situations where a couple blows their entire budget on the wedding venue because they simply don’t know any better. And then for engagement ring… it’s a PRODUCT, which reinforces my notion about products being more valuable to couples than services.

But all in all, WHO EVEN KNOWS?

So basically… wedding vendors are expected to be active on social media, super fast in their response times, all while charging less. And the thing about these items, knowing many of my friends who have well-established wedding businesses, is that it’s hard to do ALL THE THINGS when you’re busy! So, I can totally understand why less-experienced (and less-busy) vendors ARE able to do “all the things” and get those bookings. Because they have more time, they’re able to be active on social media, they’re able to be responsive to their inquiries, and they’re charging less.

And then, I would be remiss if I didn’t include wedding publications in this “circle of life”. Because the truth of the matter is this- if couples are spending less with wedding vendors, then wedding vendors are spending less on marketing and working with wedding publications. Running a wedding publication is a lot of work, and believe it or not, there is definitely overhead. Not to mention, the demand on wedding publications for speedy replies, fast publication, and updated technology/websites is pretty high- all of which are typically more than one person can handle, and therefore require money to be spent in order to have assistance in achieving these things. So if publications are making less money, some may need to shut down, or alternatively have less output in order to cut costs, and therefore, will be providing less exposure opportunities for wedding pros, and as a result, less ways for couples to find vendors. (Note: This is not foreshadowing. 😉 ELD is NOT going anywhere, don’t you worry.)

Now, I have NO IDEA what the answer to all of this is, and I definitely have more thoughts, as this is literally running through my brain ALL. THE. TIME. When it comes to ELD, I’m trying to do my part to educate couples about wedding costs, what to expect, and the importance of hiring professionals. (Sidenote: If you haven’t filled out the 2017 Wedding Pro Pricing Survey yet, you can do so here!) But above all else, I think that a conversation needs to be started in the wedding industry.

So let’s chat and start this conversation.

Is the wedding industry dying? What has your experience been? Leave a comment here, or head over to my ELD For Pros Instagram account and comment on this post. Let’s figure out how we can all support one another in this industry!



by: Lauren

Popping in here to make a little statement regarding weddings getting published. A common term I’ve seen used by wedding pros throughout the years is that a wedding or shoot gets “picked up” by a publication.

Friends. I can ASSURE you- editors are NOT putting names into hats and randomly picking a few. And we are most certainly not “picking up” those names off the floor! The majority of publications have specific things that they’re looking for in their features. Therefore, these publications HAND SELECT their wedding and inspiration features.

Not only that, but there could be various reasons as to why something is being selected. Various elements come into play when choosing a feature- schedule, color palette, style, location, budget, decor, the couple. There isn’t ever any kind of guarantee when it comes to what you’re submitting being selected- even if you’re SURE it’s something that the publication is going to love. For example- if we feature a blush and gold wedding this week, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to accept the next blush and gold wedding that is submitted to us. For us, it all depends on what kind of features we have coming up and when those features will be occurring.

Now, if you want an even better chance of being selected for publication, establish a relationship with publications that you like being featured with. Even more so- advertise with them. I know, I know… is it “pay to play”? I say no, because I still do reject some of our V List Members from time to time- again, because I’m making my selections based on various considerations. However, for me, it’s more about loyalty. If someone is supporting my publication (and my family and my team’s families), you bet I know who they are. And in that same breath, you bet I’m going to give them priority in having access to the platform that I’ve built that reaches thousands of brides, grooms, and professionals!

And if you want to increase your chances of being published even MORE, you want to make sure you’re submitting to a publication that is going to be a match for you based on various factors. For this, I highly recommend Matchology, which matches you to publications based on location, audience, style, and more. Matchology was created by myself and several other publishers to increase the chances of professionals being selected to be featured. Because really, we’re not just “picking up” features, and we hate saying no to submissions!



by: Lauren

There have been a few conversations happening regarding submissions lately, and so I thought I would share some of my insight and perspective on the topic!

It’s true, wedding blogs would not be in existence if it wasn’t for submissions of weddings and shoots from wedding pros. And what’s also true is that it’s pretty fun to look at pretty pictures all the time.

Back when I started blogging full time, I envisioned my days being filled with reviewing submissions all day long, surrounded by beauty all the time. The reality is, submissions and the process of blogging them are actually a very small portion of running a blog full time.

My whole thought process surrounding this topic basically started because I did a quick little poll on Facebook to ask what people expected a reasonable time frame to hear back about a submission, and the average answer has been 2 weeks.

I’ll be the first to tell you that while 2 weeks is my goal, sometimes it takes me 4 weeks, maybe even 6 weeks, to review submissions. Heck, I was even 2 months behind at one point, thanks to morning sickness and traveling. It’s because there are several aspects involved in reviewing submissions, time just being one of them. I personally have tried to stick to one day a week for submissions, dedicating most of the day to reviewing submissions and setting my editorial calendar. That didn’t end up working out, because if I was out of the office on that day, the submissions didn’t get reviewed and I fell behind. Currently, I’m dedicating portions of a few days per week to reviewing submissions, and I’ve gotten myself *somewhat* caught up, and am now able to review on a 7-10 day wait.

But those several aspects that I referred to above that are involved in reviewing submissions? I want to share more about those, because I figure it’s better for everyone to know than be kept in the dark! (Note: These are my personal opinions- I have no idea what other editors experience!)

Priority

I have always given priority to my V List Members (i.e., those who are supporting Every Last Detail financially), but this year I’m being more vocal and intentional about it. In fact, as I was writing this, I just stopped everything to review submissions from 2 V List Members. I give this priority because it’s my job to make sure that those who are paying me are getting exposure, and features are one of the ways that I can ensure this. I not only review members fist, but I also schedule them ahead of others as well, so they are featured sooner rather than later. It’s the least I can do for the people who have chosen to monetarily support Every Last Detail. Now do others do this? I’m not sure- you’ll have to ask them!

Editorial Calendar Variance

Blush weddings are THE most popular. However, not all of us want to feature blush all day every day. It would bore our readers, and it doesn’t help anyone for one feature to look the same as the next. Which is why we must make sure to include variety in our features. Sometimes that might mean waiting for the right time to feature something, it might mean scheduling it out for a few weeks or months, or it might mean turning down a gorgeous wedding. Every editor’s editorial calendar is different, and the way that they strive to achieve their variety could be different too.

Needed information or images

Sometimes, we need more information or images, and that puts a kink in our typical process. This is why it’s so important to make sure you’re providing as much info as possible with the submission, because waiting for a few images or a bride’s email address can definitely add a few weeks to your wait time.

Stylistic Fit/Details

I’m pretty sure one of the most hated rejection reasons on Two Bright Lights is likely “Details are not a fit stylistically”. I hate it too, simply because it doesn’t provide enough specifics. But it’s true- sometimes things just aren’t a fit because of the style or details of a wedding. A few of the things that I just can’t look beyond, even if the photography is stunning and the rest of the wedding is amazing:

– distracting items on the table, including bad table numbers (i.e. pieces of paper in holders, salt and pepper shakers, cream and sugar, mirrors under centerpieces, etc)
– fake flowers
– linens that don’t touch the ground
– chairs that detract from the whole entire look of the wedding design

I know all of these things are details and are small in the grand scheme of things, but you must remember that a wedding publication exists to provide inspiration to brides and grooms. If we’re showcasing something that is “meh”, then that’s just going to perpetuated and doesn’t set a good example.

Not only this, but a wedding feature is meant to provide a “snapshot” of the wedding day. We can have all the gorgeous portrait photos in the world, but if we don’t have enough details to create that full snapshot, then we’re not doing our job. Because again, couples are looking for inspiration, and they want to see how other couples have created their wedding days so they can be inspired by that.

Time

Submissions do take a TON of time. Sometimes it’s time that an editor doesn’t have. (Now if it’s a huge publication/corporation with a team to specifically handle submissions, that’s another story. But I’m talking about a small team here.) And to tell you the truth, when having to choose between activities that would result in making money and handling editorial submissions, for me, the making money activities HAVE to win because I have a family and team to support.

I’ve been jotting notes down for this post here and there as I’ve been going through submissions in a day. I started at about 10am, and it’s now 3pm and submissions are pretty much all I have done all day (even though I had goals to do much, much more). It takes so long because of all the elements I mentioned above, but also because there’s the downloading of images, gathering of information, deciding when something should be posted, tracking down whether a bride answered her interview questions that you sent her 3 months ago, tracking down the 3 additional centerpiece images you requested from the photographer, making sure there aren’t two blush weddings too close together (basically just not one after another), updating submitters with their scheduled publication dates, making sure one vendor isn’t featured too much in a specific time frame, and likely a few other things that aren’t coming to mind for me right this second.

 

All this to say… after 7 years, I’ve finally developed somewhat of a system to keep this chaos somewhat organized- you don’t even want to see my spreadsheet. And I’m lucky in that I now have an editorial assistant (who you will be hearing from soon) who handles the actual creation of features now (something that I had to let go of in preparation for Baby), so the backend elements and editing are all that I have to deal with now. But I just wanted to provide you all with a glimpse of what submissions are like for an editor, and why it might take a little longer to hear back at times.

The moral of the story is this: read guidelines, do your research, and provide all of the information you possibly can about your submission, and you will make an editor’s job way easier… and make it easier for us to say “yes” to featuring you!



by: Lauren

I’ve heard it countless times over the years, and I’ve been hearing it a lot lately, so it’s time to have a little chat…

“Well, I’m booked solid, so I don’t need to market my business anymore.”

I think we all know that here at ELD we’re passionate about marketing and helping wedding pros market their business to brides and grooms. But before I get into anything, I need to mention what the term “marketing” entails:

Marketing (n): the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

In the world of being a wedding pro, “marketing” would include advertising, social media, personal connections, styled shoots, getting published, and your own blog posts.

Marketing should be an ongoing process. It’s not something that you do when business is slow, and it’s not something you stop when business is good.

You may have heard of the concept of “marketing touches”. This concept says that it takes several “touches” for a person to make a purchasing decision. These touches include the items that I just mentioned above, and they can take place over days, weeks, months, even years. The truth of the matter is that you never know who could be on the receiving end of a marketing touch. This is why you must never stop marketing your business and sharing about what you can offer people.

I’ve fallen into the trap before. I’ve gotten busy, and not shared a peep about what I offer. And you know what? I don’t get inquiries or make any sales. But when I do share every so often and on a regular basis, the inquiries and sales stay consistent. I want to hit myself over the head each and every time I fall into this trap- because believe me, it’s so easy to fall into!

And I’ve seen this happen to wedding pros as well- it’s a cycle really. You do some advertising, participate in some styled styled shoots, and stay on top of their social media and submission game. Then you get lots of bookings, get really busy, and stop everything. And then about a year later, after you get through that busy season, you hit a lull, and wonder what happened. And it breaks my heart, because I know exactly what happened, and that it could have been prevented. Because the thing that you aren’t realizing is that all of those things you were doing, they all played an integral part in getting you to that “booked and busy” point, and when you stop them, the results they yielded are also going to stop.

When it comes to weddings, things happen in the long term, and they happen continuously. Couples get engaged all the time. Sure, there is a popular “season” for engagements, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. I’m sure many of you book couples all throughout the year. It’s proof that you never know who is going to be looking for you and when.

You must stay continuous with your marketing efforts, regardless of how booked you are at a particular moment in time.

And I get it. I know it’s hard to continue doing all of the “marketing things” when you’re busy. But it is an imperative aspect of running your business, and there are also routes you can take that will make things a little easier for you…

  • Choose a marketing/advertising service that will do some of that marketing for you. (Shameless plug: we do that with our V List Members!)
  • Add submission prep into your workflow for each wedding.
  • Carve a few times out in your year to do styled shoots and put them on your calendar.
  • Make sure to attend a few networking events throughout the year.
  • Consider contracting with a service to handle your submissions. (I highly recommend The Tailored Submission!)
  • Use a program that makes it easy to create a “schedule” or “library” for your social media content. (I would recommend looking into CoSchedule for Facebook posts, and Later.com for Instagram!)

So friends, I implore you- please don’t fall into the “booked and busy” trap! Make sure you’re taking the steps to keep your marketing continuous so you can ensure you’re continuously reaching potential couples!



by: Lauren

It’s time for some truth y’all…

Are you tired of feeling like you’re throwing money away on advertising,

only to get nothing in return?

 

I know you are- and I’m always heartbroken when I hear these sentiments. And I can tell you this for certain- when I was a wedding pro, I most definitely was sick and tired of throwing my money away on nothing!

You see, back when I was a wedding planner, I decided to advertise with a few large websites- you know, because I believe in advertising and marketing your business. However, I ended up being sorely disappointed when they didn’t know who I was, didn’t interact with me, didn’t offer me any opportunities, and didn’t provide me with any other benefits beyond a stagnant, one-sided ad. I didn’t expect bookings or inquiries from my ads, but at the very least I expected *something* in return for the money I spent.

But that didn’t mean that I decided that advertising didn’t work. It just meant that I needed to have better expectations and knowledge about where I was spending my money, and what I was going to be receiving in return. 

It was then that I decided I was going to set out to create something that would provide something of substance to help wedding pros market their business.

 

And this friends, is how The V List was born.

 

marathonnotasprint

Marketing isn’t meant to be a one-and-done kind of thing… it’s a long term strategy, and upon implementation, you will receive long term results.

I created The V List to help wedding pros implement multiple touches of exposure into their marketing strategy. The V List is a service unlike any other available for wedding pros. It’s not the run-of-the-mill vendor directory you’re used to- it’s a marketing service and a tool you can use to grow your business.

Social media posts (worth thousands of dollars alone), a targeted audience of couples with budgets of over $25k, exposure opportunities via articles on ELD, priority in ELD editorial submissions and features- these are just a few of the things that a V List membership will get you.

Advertising and marketing your business is a marathon, not a sprint. 

 

V List membership will provide you with various, continuous marketing touches that will expand the reach of your business beyond what you could ever achieve on your own.

Friends, it’s time for you to get something in return for your hard earned money. It’s time for you to become a member of The V List.

Click here to submit your V List application!

Questions? Email us at thevlist@theeverylastdetail.com



by: Lauren

This week I celebrated 5 years of blogging full time, and if you know me, you know that I love celebrating milestones and achievement, no matter what they are! Looking back on the last 5 years, I’ve learned quite a bit. I’ve made mistakes, hit walls, and yes, I have most definitely considered “just going and getting a real job” several times. A few things cross my mind when I reminisce about the last 5 years, and because I’m all about transparency and insight, I thought I would share some of those things today (and PS- there may be something special for wedding pros at the end of this post).

5yearsbloggingfulltime

I remember that day in April when I sat down at my desk, and looking back now, my goodness did I have high hopes. I made my list of things to do, and was ready to start projects, schedule meetings, and blog blog blog. Truth be told, I was in for a rude awakening. I struggled for a good 2 years, fighting with my expectation of what constituted a “successful day”. I would look at my To Do list, and feel like a complete failure because I only got 1 or 2 things crossed off. I would always have the goal to be 2 weeks ahead in blog posts- which never (and still hasn’t) happened. I would spend whole entire days being sucked into social media. One day I even spent the whole day obsessing and over thinking about a negative comment on a blog post.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it took me a few years to get my feet on the ground as a “full time” wedding blogger. A good deal of this was my own fault though, and I’m hoping that be sharing, someone will learn from my mistake.

My big problem as that I had created this vision in my head of what being a “full time wedding blogger” would look like. In a perfect world, I would be looking through gorgeous submissions all day, styling shoots every month, and blogging every day. The truth is far from that y’all. After about 2 years of feeling like a constant failure, I finally threw away that “ideal day”. I realized that wasn’t how things would happen for me and my business. I stopped feeling like a failure, and just accepted that how I work might not be “normal”. I’ve embraced what works for me and as a result, it keeps me loving what I do.

Although, if you ask me today, I’ll tell you that I still feel like I don’t have things completely figured out- which is (personal tidbit time) one of the reasons why we don’t have kids yet. It’s been my goal for the past 5 years to not work into the evening. I still haven’t hit that goal. The reality is, even 5 years in, I’m still working 12 hour days, sometimes until 2 or 3 in the morning (one of those main reasons being that I decided to start another company with my friends too). There are never enough hours in a day or days in a week. Emails, texts, and phone calls go unanswered, and I joke that one of the only ways to truly get a hold of me is to show up at my door (sadly the truth). But it’s okay, because I know that business ownership is a constant learning experience, trying new things, evaluating what works and what doesn’t work, and always growing and changing.

All this has been brought about by me recognizing (and celebrating) my “Full time” anniversary. But you know what the funny thing about the term “full time” is? When it applies to business owners it usually doesn’t represent actual full time hours- because the amount of hours that a business owner works are typically far more than what a full time job entails. What “full time” does represent for a business owner is that their business replaces another job and provides the business owner’s income. That saying that you’ve likely seen or heard, “An entrepreneur works 80 hours a week just so they don’t have to work 40 hours a week for someone else” could not be more true!

Thankfully, I’ve been “full time” ever since that day in April 2011, but I’m sure as many business owners know, it hasn’t been all cake and flowers (I wish). And while I’m definitely a proud small business owner, when people ask me what I do- even after 5 years- I still hesitate to respond with “I’m a wedding blogger.” I usually start by saying that I own my own business, and then say that I run a website, and then if they ask, I eventually share that it’s a wedding blog. Maybe it’s because many people hear the word “blogger” and immediately think of a hobbyist, or the fashion bloggers on the news that bring in $20,000 for a social media post. Maybe it’s because I’ll never forget when I met someone who said, “So I hear you have a wedding blog. That must be so much fun.” To which I responded with, “Yeah, I love it. It’s a lot of work, but it pays the bills.” And her response: “Oh wow, so it’s like your JOB?” It’s something that I’ve wrestled with for years, and as each day passes by, I get closer and closer to “owning” what I do every day as a wedding blogger.

Of course, many people just see all the pretty and the social media that goes along with a wedding blog, and think that we just do it for fun. I mean, sure, it’s definitely a lot more fun than a normal job, but it also costs a lot of money to run and takes more hours than we have available in a day. A wedding blog is a business just like any other business, and it is paying bills and putting food on our tables. In my case specifically, I have supported my husband and I with Every Last Detail for all 5 years that I have been blogging full time. I now have 3 people on my “team” on a part-time basis, and have the responsibility of paying them, in addition to myself. This website that you’re on is a business, and a very real business at that.

The decision to go full time with my wedding blog was one that was based on deciding to offer a type of advertising that is common to the wedding world- a vendor directory. I was doing a re-design of my site back in 2011 (just before going “full time”), and I’ll never forget that moment when my designer asked me, “So you mentioned maybe wanting to do a vendor guide. Do you want to move forward with that?” I was driving in to work (a job as a planner and designer, which was amazing) for another 12 hour day. I had never planned on a career as a wedding blogger- I thought I was working towards starting a wedding planning business. But it was that moment that I realized that if I worked really hard and put myself out there, I could turn this blog into my business and replace the income of my full time job. My personal goal had become educating brides, and a lightbulb turned on- I could reach more brides through a website than I would be able to reach in a local wedding market! And all at the same time, I could do the other thing that I love- help wedding professionals.

In my case, having been a wedding vendor myself, I knew that I wanted to offer something more than a one-sided directory listing, which is the norm for “vendor guides”. As time progressed, The V List (formally Every Last Vendor) developed. I decided that what I wanted to provide was active marketing, and not just a stagnant ad. I didn’t want people to just pay me and then receive nothing but an ad in return. I wanted to do whatever I could do on my end to make sure I was providing something of value to professionals. I wanted to make sure those paying me received a higher level of consideration when it came to getting featured on ELD. I wanted to develop relationships with those people, and facilitate relationships between them as well. And so, the Every Last Detail “vendor guide” evolved into more of a marketing service than a directory listing- what is today known as a V List Membership.

Now I’ll be honest- it has been incredibly difficult to break free of the typical stereotype of “vendor guide”. There were many that came before me who offered nothing of substance in return for money that a wedding pro paid them. In fact, many of my competitors still do that, and I’m constantly fighting that comparison and that view of “vendor guides”. Could I just knock down my prices and just offer a profile, nothing else included? Sure. But quite honestly, that doesn’t work for me, and just as I had to throw away my flawed concept of an “ideal day”, I did away with trying to fit into the “norm” of what I offer as a publication. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because now I can sleep at night, knowing that I and my team are working hard for those who support ELD. It’s what what keeps me going.

All this to say that I am truly indebted to those business owners who have worked with us at Every Last Detail. They have helped me find my passion and do what I love. Friends, I encourage you to support your fellow business owners (wedding bloggers included) in whatever way you can. By doing so, you help them put food on their table, and hopefully you will also be supported by them. Support is the best gift you could ever give anyone, and in my opinion, the best networking and marketing tool as well.

 

Special Offer


 And now all of this brings me to something special! Wedding business owners, I want to give something back to you, because quite honestly, I would be nowhere without you.

 

For the rest of this month, in celebration of my 5 year “Full Time” anniversary, I will be offering new members of The V List* the choice of one the following for free:

– 4 extra Instagram posts (4 Instagram posts in addition to the 4 that are already included with membership, $600 value)
– Featured Vendor Upgrade (Have your profile displayed at the top of V List search results for 1 month, $175 value)
– Insight Session (One hour consultation with Lauren on your branding, website, social media, submissions, and more, $195 value)

To take advantage of this special offer, click below to submit your application for The V List- and don’t forget to select which complimentary offer you want!

CLICK HERE

 

And of course I most certainly cannot forget about my existing V List members, because y’all are the reason for my thankfulness! If you are an existing member, you will have the opportunity to purchase any of the above offerings at a very discounted rate, OR you can renew your membership early and receive the same as above! See the V List Facebook Group, Instagram page, and your email for details!

Questions? Feel free to email us at thevlist@theeverylastdetail.com!

And if you want more info about The V List in general, click here

 

*Note: This special is only applicable with purchase of an annual membership for $595, and does not apply to our other payment options. Participation in the special is pending approval of application. 



by: Lauren

I’ve been seeing quite a few comments and posts lately regarding wedding blogs, alluding to the fact that they are all the same, will only feature certain things, and only showcase a specific type of photography. As someone who is very connected to the wedding blog community and who features a variety of weddings and styles of photography, I have to say something.

weddingblogssame

Let me start by saying that there aren’t just a small handful of wedding blogs- there are hundreds of wedding blogs out there. Each and every online publication was started because that editor felt that she (or he) had something to offer the wedding world that wasn’t already out there. That “something” could be showcasing a certain style of wedding, providing advice, or even just sharing inspiration- and it can be made evident by taking a look at recent posts on the publication. If it seems like a blog is only publishing a specific type of wedding or style, that’s likely on purpose, and because that is what they decided to establish as their niche. Just as you, as a wedding pro, have your ideal client, wedding blogs also have an ideal audience.

PLEASE stop categorizing wedding blogs as all being the same.

 

Please stop lumping all wedding blogs together into this negative, unhelpful category of “wedding blogs only feature X, Y, or Z”. I realize that you may only be aware of the big, popular publications, but there *are* others out there. I know that half the battle as wedding pros is just knowing about those blogs, so I recommend taking a look here for a list of many different wedding blogs that you may not have heard of before. Because saying that all wedding blogs will only feature X, Y, or Z? That basically says that a) you don’t want to do the research to find other publications to submit to or b) that you only want to submit to a publication that features X, Y, or Z.

And while we do talk to one another on a regular basis (thank you Facebook groups), we didn’t all get together and say, “Let’s only feature film photography and boho brides.” Are both of those things gorgeous? Absolutely. Do some publications only feature those styles? Absolutely. If it’s evident that a publication is only featuring that, then that’s their decided niche and focus. If that’s not your ideal couple or style, then please don’t waste your time submitting to that publication. Do your research to find publications that are featuring your ideal couple, because I promise you, they are out there! (PS- At ELD, our main requirements are that there are details, professional vendors involved in the wedding, and great photography! No style stipulations here!)

A wedding blog is in existence to help you share and promote your work. Do your research to find the ones that are a fit with your ideal couple and submit your work to them so they can then do their job in helping you share and promote your work!



by: Lauren

Dear wedding pros:

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about this and that “big” publication, advertising or not advertising with X and Y. And quite frankly, it’s time someone said something.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding mean, but here it goes…

you’re looking at things all wrong!

 

allwrong

You’re looking at the numbers, the masses, the majority, and getting blinded by them.

Are those things good? Sure. Do they matter? Sure. But guess what? The numbers, the masses, the majority… they might not be your target client. In fact, the masses would be this: 76% of engaged couples are planning weddings with a budget of less than $30,000 (Splendid Insights, 2015). If you want higher budget couples, the answer is as simple as this: stop “hanging out” where low budget couples are hanging out.

What you should be looking at is your specific couple that you want to reach, and whether a platform or publication is reaching them.

 

How do you figure this out? Content. The publication or platform’s social media posts, blog post titles, what they publish, and what they publicize. Sometimes you have to read between the lines to figure out the target audience of a publication, but it SO important to do your research so you’re not throwing your money away!

You see, most publications are all about drawing in as many visitors as they can. Since the majority of couples are planning lower budget weddings, the content they write is going to be directed at drawing those couples in. This is why you see articles on major publications that are telling couples to forego hiring a professional photographer and other abominable things of the kind. Quite frankly, they couldn’t care less whether it’s wrong or right information- they just care about drawing in as many people as they can. If a platform or publication is telling brides how to have a wedding for $5,000 or not to hire a professional, that is the couple they are targeting. Simple as that.

Since our audience at Every Last Detail is one that is hiring professionals and spending over $30,000 on their wedding, I’m going to use that as the “target client” in my examples. First off, that is our audience because that is what I know. When I was a wedding planner, I didn’t plan low budget weddings. For the most part, I was able to plan weddings with budgets of over $30,000. And in doing that, I realized that it’s really hard to have a wedding using professional wedding vendors for anything less than that price point, because things cost what things cost. Hence the development of my goal of educating couples about weddings and encouraging them to hire professionals. For us at Every Last Detail, we definitely do not attract the masses, nor do we want to. When we do attract the wrong couples, they know pretty quickly that they’re in the wrong place- all thanks to the content that we have on our site.

So with those things considered, here’s an example that applies to some of my friends:

You may not want the couples who just want to replicate everything they see on Pinterest and not put any thought or personality into their wedding. You may decide that you want couples who are going to put thought and intention into their wedding planning and design, because you know that those are the weddings that are the most meaningful and enjoyable.

(Note: the above example may or may not apply to you and is in no way meant to indicate any correlation with thought, intention, or using Pinterest with wedding budget.)

Take that same “ideal client” perspective, and apply it to publishing your work and spending your marketing dollars.

Put thought and intention into where you are marketing yourself, using your ideal couple as the driving force behind your decisions.

 

Now, if your ideal couple *is* the Pinterest wedding type, then go for the masses. But if that’s not your ideal couple, get specific and direct so you can be where your ideal couple is; work with the publications and platforms that are attracting your ideal couple.

Sincerely,
A wedding blogger who wants you to succeed!
(AKA Lauren Grove)



by: Lauren

I do a lot of thinking about marketing, audiences, and ideal clients. A LOT. Like every minute of every day. Rightfully so, of course, because it’s my job to make sure that I’m attracting the right audience for my partners.

marketingaudiencesidealclient

 

In doing this, I’ve come up with a few analogies that could be applied to marketing, audiences, and your ideal client..

If you want a high quality steak, do you go to McDonalds? No- because you know McDonalds doesn’t have steak- you go to the high end steakhouse that you know has high quality steak.

 

If you are fishing, and you want to catch, let’s say, Grouper… you need a special fishing pole for that, right? So you wouldn’t just cast a net and hope that you catch Grouper- you would do what is necessary to try and ensure you’re going to catch the fish you want.

 

If you’re looking for something by Kate Spade, do you go to Walmart? No- you go to the place where you know Kate Spade is carried- whether it’s the actual store, the outlet, or a website.

 

All of this to demonstrate the fact that you must pay attention to what you want (your ideal client), and know where to find (where they are). It’s a common fact of life, and you do it every single day! So I encourage you to take this fact, and apply it to your marketing…

How? It’s simple really:

1) Submit your weddings to publications that are targeting your ideal client. [Read this]

2) Advertise with publications that target your ideal client. [Hi!]

 

Questions? Shoot me an email at lauren@theeverylastdetail.com! I’d be happy to talk about all this with you more! 🙂