Today I’m chatting with Danielle Andrews, President and Co-Founder of the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada.
Danielle and I met at a Wedding Industry Conference we were both speaking at so we decided that we would discuss why you should be attending wedding conferences.
In the episode we discuss the importance of attending conferences, gaining hands-on experience, and keeping up with education in the industry.
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- Importance of attending conferences [00:00:00] * Danielle and Becca discuss the importance of attending conferences to learn from others and improve event planning skills.
- Danielle’s journey in the wedding industry [00:01:00] * Becca interviews Danielle about her journey in the wedding industry, from planning her own wedding to starting her own institute.
- Common mistakes in the wedding industry [00:07:05] * Danielle discusses the common mistake of “faking it til you make it” in the wedding industry and the importance of education and experience.
Importance of gaining experience [00:08:34] The speakers discuss the importance of gaining experience in the wedding industry and how it can be done through job shadowing and volunteering.
Building confidence and doing a photo shoot [00:10:15] The speakers talk about how experience and doing a photo shoot can help build confidence in the wedding industry.
Benefits of attending conferences [00:14:43] The speakers discuss the benefits of attending conferences, including networking, learning best practices, and experiencing different aspects of the industry.
Making the most of conferences [00:17:17] Tips on how to make the most of attending conferences, including researching seminars, networking, and attending non-wedding seminars.
Importance of positivity at conferences [00:21:27] The importance of being positive and open-minded at conferences, and how negativity can affect networking opportunities.
Recommendations for conferences [00:23:31] Recommendations for conferences based on niche, including Wedding MBA, Engage, DWP, and Love Mexico.
Importance of Education and Conferences [00:26:34] Danielle and Becca discuss the importance of education and conferences in the wedding industry, and how they constantly update their information to keep up with the changing trends and technologies.
Investing in Education [00:30:28] Becca and Danielle talk about the common mistake of dropping education when struggling with bookings, and how investing in education is an investment in your business that has a return on investment.
Aha Moments from Conferences [00:33:33] Danielle shares her recent aha moments from online trainings and in-person conferences, particularly in gaining inspiration for event design and learning about marketing through reels.
Learning Resources [00:34:11] Danielle and Becca discuss the importance of attending conferences and keeping up with education in the industry.
Imposter Syndrome [00:35:18] Danielle talks about her struggles with imposter syndrome and how gaining more information and building confidence would have helped her earlier in her career.
Conference Invitation [00:36:58] Becca invites listeners to join her at a conference in Las Vegas and talks about the importance of attending industry events.
Danielle: It’s so important to attend conferences. You’re experiencing the way people run things. And so you can look at the event that they’re hosting and you can say, oh, I would do this better. Oh, you know what? They really should have done this and, and then you’re gonna keep that as well. So it’s not only that you are learning better things, you’re learning how to do things better as well, and what not to do for your own events.
Becca: I am Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you are listening to The Wedding Pros who are Ready to Grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get going with today’s episode. Today I’m chatting with my new friend Danielle Andrews. We met a few weeks ago, a conference we were speaking at in Cyprus, and with our blonde hair and sunglasses. People kept getting us confused, so I thought I should invite my new Canadian twin onto the podcast.
Danielle is the president and co-founder of the Wedding Planner’s Institute of Canada and has over 9,000 alumni from 35 different countries around the world. She has over 20 years experience in the wedding industry and has been planning weddings since. 2000. Yes. You heard that right? You are gonna absolutely love her.
Danielle, welcome to the podcast.
Danielle: Thank you. Thank you. Pleasure to be here.
Becca: I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. We had such a good time out in Cyprus. We had a lovely little private sightseeing tour and just a lot of fun. But before we get into the real stuff, first thing I need to ask you is, Danielle, how do you look?
So good? When I was 14. In 2000, you were planning weddings. You don’t look like you’re old enough to have been planning weddings in the year 2000. Tell us your secret. I
Danielle: am so glad to hear that. It’s just good genes I think, and just keeping mentally young. You are what you think you are. So don’t dress the part, don’t, you won’t look the part.
Becca: Amazing. Do go and have a look at the pictures of Danielle over on Instagram because you will not believe it that she could have possibly been planning weddings since the year 2000, but she really, really has. And I’m glad that you look good, especially when people kept mistaking us for each other. So it’s all exactly.
Danielle: It’s better that hopefully it’s because I look young. You don’t look older, right?
Becca: Yeah, I hope so. I hope so. Well, lots of people often say I look young as well, so we’ll, we’ll take it. Yep, exactly. You do, you do. Thank you. Anyway, let’s get into it then. So take us back then. We’ve talked about where you started way back in the year 2000.
How did you end up in this wonderful world of the wedding industry?
Danielle: Oh boy. So I was actually planning to be a criminal lawyer and. I was taking a break between doing my undergraduate and doing law school, and I got married during that time and I planned this fabulous wedding at a major amusement park, and then I was working in finance and just to make some money for law school, and it was just, Like sucking my soul.
It was, it was soul crushing. It was awful working in finance. And so I just started planning all these parties and I was making elaborate themes and doing this and that, and my husband said to me, okay, you need to stop with putting out all this money for all these parties. Why don’t you look at wedding planning?
Like people always. Go crazy about our wedding. Why don’t you look at wedding planning? So I looked at the different courses that were available and there really wasn’t anything. I took a course through the United States, got certified, and then what happened is my sister said, well, if you love doing wedding planning, I’m gonna love doing wedding planning.
And so she went and got certified as well, and we started doing that. And back in 2000, nobody was on the internet. So my company was the only wedding planning company for all of Canada listed on the internet. So we were getting anybody that was doing any searches. We got a lot of success very quickly.
What kept on coming up, because the wedding planner movie came out just after, and my company name was the Wedding Planners. And so about six months later, J Lo was doing the wedding planner. Suddenly everybody wanted to be a wedding planner, and they kept on asking us, oh, how did you become a wedding planner?
So we’d. Give them the information. And a few years down we realized we learned way too much on the job that we should have learned in person and so, What we did is we looked at how can we get a better course is, is there something that’s better to educate wedding planners? And so we petitioned the government of Canada.
It was a yearlong process. We got approval to be, to actually open up an institute and we had to go through all the training modules, all of that. Once we got. Licensed in Canada, we had to get licensed province by province, an approved province by province, and we’re so, we’re still the only licensed institute in Canada to certify wedding planners.
Becca: That’s incredible. What an incredible story to go from working in a soul sucking job in finance to going into the fun world of weddings and then taking it even further and helping other people, but not just helping other people, but getting certified. In Canada. That’s incredible and I love that you’re still doing it all these years later.
Are you still planning weddings as well or is it mostly just education now?
Danielle: Not as much. I officiate weddings. I do help and I do do some planning, but it’s just not fair with my travel schedule cuz we are just all over the world, as you know. Because two weeks ago we were in Cyprus together, so it’s just not.
Fair to my couple, so I only take on a couple clients for that.
Becca: Just to keep your hand in and because we just love weddings. Absolutely. But you can’t work in this industry if you don’t love weddings and wedding planning movies. And I love that as well, that you say that you were the first people on the internet in Canada for wedding planning and although obviously now everyone’s on the internet, it is a reminder to us sometimes we need to be earlier adopters of things.
Things that. People don’t understand yet. If we can be one step ahead, we could be the first person on the next TikTok or the first person using AI in our business successfully.
Danielle: That’s why keeping up with your education is so important so that you can learn to do these things so that you can adopt these things early and be the first ones out there and get, because I know your focus is marketing and.
That’s absolutely such a huge part of the wedding industry and such a huge part of owning a business. Like you have to be early adopters of everything, and you have to know what you’re doing and how to go about it.
Becca: Now, I said in the intro that you have over 9,000 alumni from your programs. All over the world, which is just an incredible statistic.
So along the way, you’ve met all sorts of different people, I’m sure. Are there some common themes when you meet people, especially people just starting out in their wedding planning businesses or starting out in the industry? Are there common mistakes you see people making or common traps people fall into?
Danielle: You know what, I think there’s been some really bad advice out there to people just starting out about fake it till you make it and. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of people doing that and just misrepresenting themselves and not saying that they’re capable of more than they are and not being as educated as they should be, and so that’s a major, major.
Common theme that I’m seeing, like, cause a lot of people think, oh, I planned my wedding and so that’s all I need to do. And so that was so much experience planning my own wedding. So I’m good. I, I know what I’m doing. And then they go out there and they’re just, they’re, they don’t know the laws, they don’t know the liabilities.
They, they don’t know about their insurances and, and then they don’t know about the contract negotiations and what their responsibilities are to the clients. And so unfortunately, there’s just way too many people faking it.
Becca: Yeah, that’s a really interesting piece of advice actually, because although it’s good for us to be marketing and showcasing ourselves well, we don’t wanna put ourselves in a situation where we’re gonna let someone down on their wedding day.
Do you recommend people doing work experience or getting experience in a venue first? Like when you’re speaking to planners who are saying, look, I really wanna go out and I wanna be a wedding planner. Where do you send them to start building up that experience?
Danielle: So they definitely need to get all the theory first. So once they have the education, then they definitely have to put it into practice. And so just like with any profession, after you do your education, they want you to intern for a little bit or they want you to get some hands-on experience, you do need that. what we do for our planners once they’ve taken the course is we have a volunteer program that they can.
What would happen is the established wedding planners would put out there, I need help for this wedding. Do you wanna come and work with me? And so it’s kind of a job shadowing, it’s also volunteer position and it’s you gaining experience and actually getting the hands on work with a wedding planner so that you can see what their best practices are, see what you would wanna do better, what you can learn from them, and gaining that experience.
And we say if just do a couple weddings with another wedding planner and don’t do it with the same wedding planner. Go and. Work with different wedding planners and just to see their style and see what they do and how it works for them and just to gain that experience. Cuz really working a wedding, you’re gonna learn so much and it’s gonna feel like you’ve worked 10 weddings.
And so cuz working behind the scenes of a wedding and seeing a wedding happen are two completely different things. And so getting that experience. Really is invaluable. if somebody wants to go and work with a catering company or they wanna go work with another wedding planning firm, or they wanna go work at a venue, absolutely that’s all fantastic and that all adds to it.
But nothing can beat working with an actual wedding planner doing all of it because instead of just doing one segment of the industry, you’re. Actually working all of it, and you’re managing all of it
Becca: for people that are the other end of the spectrum, so we have the people who are the fake it till you make it people, but you also have these people who feel like they’re never gonna be good enough.
They’re trying to be perfectionists all of the time, and they just don’t have the confidence presumably. Nobody ever knows it all. I’m sure people are always learning as they go. There’s always new things to learn, right?
Danielle: Oh, I’m constantly learning. I’ve been doing this for over 23 years. I’m constantly learning.
That’s why I attend so many conferences, a conference junkie. It’s not just what I’m speaking at them. I’m going and learning from everybody else as well. Cuz there’s always somebody that does something better or somebody does something faster. Somebody has a totally different take on it or different perception of something that you’ve been doing.
And so it’s amazing to go and. Talk to other wedding planners. And one thing, uh, to answer your question about for building confidence, really experience does that for you. The more you work and you work with other people, or you work on weddings yourself, you’re gonna get more and more confidence because you’re gonna be like, oh, I do know that.
I know this, I know this. And that brings more and more confidence with you. One exercise that it. Sounds really silly when I say it, but one exercise that I have noticed really helps people build their confidence is actually doing a photo shoot. And so if you do like a branding photo shoot and you bring your little props and all your little wedding planners props, you got your clipboard, you got your headsets, or you do all those things, and going and doing that and just doing empowering photos, it really seems to help your confidence because you, you’re.
You’re not just looking the part, you’re not pretending you really are that person. You, you’ve worked those weddings and so you’re showcasing your skills and that really seems to be a confidence booster. Just this. Just a little thing people can do.
Becca: Yeah. Love that. And it’s so important to get good photos anyway, because then you can feel confident showing up and being visible in your marketing too.
Now, across the years, all of these different planners you’ve worked with, all of these different people who’ve learned from you. I’m sure some of them have got on to be really successful. Some of them maybe haven’t. What do you think differentiates the people that go on and make a success of it versus those that don’t?
Danielle: I think it has a lot to do with their drive because yes, we’ve had some very, very successful people. Like one of our planners, she is Drake’s planner now. She’s traveling all over the world and planning parties for him. And so like we’ve had some major success stories, but it really comes down to drive.
And also it’s the whole creating a brand as well. So it, and they’re marking themselves and they’re really putting themselves behind their business. And so it does come down to what you were saying about confidence and so showcasing themselves, showcasing them, their skills, and really putting themselves out there that makes a huge difference.
As opposed to the people who are not putting themselves out there. There’s a big difference between people who are, there’s only 40% of wedding planners get published in magazines. There’s nothing stopping anybody from getting published in a magazine. You just have to put yourself out there for it.
There’s nothing media loves to talk to wedding planners, so anything that’s with wedding planners, media loves to talk to wedding planners, but if you don’t put yourself out there, you’re not gonna get that. And these are the things that you need to get to be. In people’s faces and to actually get more business because they are seeing you and they’re like, oh, I need to work with her, or I need to work with that.
And so really it is all about putting yourself out there, having that confidence, showcasing what you can do, and reaching out to people as well. Being visible, being at different conferences, getting yourself speaking engagements. And just really being out there.
Becca: Yes, get yourself out there. Take action and just ask.
It’s something I say a lot to my clients is just ask. The worst that can happen is someone ignores you or says no, but if you never ask, you never get. I had a client of mine and there’s a TV show here, I don’t know if you have it in Canada, called Married at First Sight and she saw that they were gonna start using celebrants instead of registrars, and she’s a celebrant.
So she just contacted them and said, if you need a celebrant for your show, I’d love to be part of it. She just asked, and she’s now been on two series of it here in the uk and she would never have got that if she hadn’t have just asked the question. So you’ve gotta just put yourself out there and ask.
Now you’ve referred to yourself Danielle, as a conference junkie. That’s where we met at a conference. And I know that you speak and you exhibit and you attend lots and lots of different conferences all over the world. What do you think the benefits are for people listening, other wedding pros, wedding planners of taking time out of their business, spending money out of their budget to attend these kind of conferences?
Danielle: Oh my goodness, there’s so many benefits to it. It’s. Way more than just the education part of it because for, I find that conferences are hit or miss, so some seminars you’re gonna get something from some seminars you’re not gonna get the things from, but you need to attend. There’s always gonna be one aha moment that you’re gonna get from that, and that can be worth the entire cost of the conference.
Two. The networking aspect of it. That is such a huge aspect. So much more actually happens at a conference after, like you and I connected after the conference and so it really, I don’t know, the networking is just amazing and the, what you’re doing is you’re sharing best practices with people. You’re finding out better ways of doing things.
You’re finding out what’s new and exciting in the industry. It’s so important to attend conferences you’re experiencing. The way people run things. And so you can look at the event that they’re hosting, you can say, oh, I would do this better. Oh, you know what, they really should have done this, and, and then you’re gonna keep that as well.
So it’s not only that you are learning better things, you’re learning how to do things better as well, and what not to do. For your own events? It’s, I, I don’t know. I just, I absolutely love attending the conferences and just seeing, I don’t just attend wedding conferences. I attend event conferences, catering, conferences, floral conferences, and just seeing all the different aspects of the industry and the way that people do things and then sharing all the best experiences and best practices really go so long.
And then from. Destination aspect. If you’re looking at destination weddings, it’s so important to actually get out and experience the travel part of it because how can you assist your clients with their destination wedding if you don’t travel yourself and haven’t experienced it and really gotten out there?
Because every country’s completely different and the culture is so different and you’re not gonna know until you actually are there and experience it.
Becca: So true. And I think people. In the industry, do undervalue conferences, and I think especially here in the uk, we don’t have a lot of the big conferences that you have in North America.
But actually I also think that’s because here we just don’t value how much impact that can have on our business. And often when people go to conferences, they just. Don’t make the most of their time there. A bit like we were talking about some of your students, how some of them do really well and some of them just don’t make the most of the opportunity.
I definitely see that when people are attending conferences, they’ll say, I didn’t get anything out of that. And when you dig deeper, they didn’t talk to anyone. They didn’t attend very much. They just, they had the wrong expectations. So if someone is going to a conference, how can they make the most of their time there?
What things should they be definitely doing and what things shouldn’t they be doing?
Danielle: I think they need to look at what seminars are going to be available and who the speakers are, and research those. If you look at it from an aspect of what are areas in my business that I need to improve, or what are some skills that I need to improve?
What are my learning goals for this conference, and then. Because a lot of conferences have multiple seminars going on at the same time and have the different breakouts, and so you really have to be careful about what you’re choosing. When I go to, say, for example, the special event, so that’s a huge one that is in North America, and it’s all about the different special events, and so it’s meeting planners, it’s wedding planners, all of that.
I always go to the non-wedding ones So every single seminar that I attend has nothing to do with weddings because I wanna see the other aspects of the industry and how can we put that into the wedding industry and make weddings better. And so I wanna see how they do things in catering. I wanna see how they do the things for large conferences or for fundraisers or things like that.
So really look at where you’re lacking for floral conferences. I’ve done so many floral conferences, I will never be a florist. I’ve learned that, but I also just wanna know how to tweak things and how, if I could need to step in, I can actually step in and I can fix that bouquet, or I can fix that boutique or I, I know what rigging I need for the event.
And so you’re learning. So much about how to be a better wedding planner by going to these conferences. But you need to pre-plan what you’re going, what you plan to get out of it, what you want to get out of it. And the thing is, if you are in a seminar and that person is not addressing the thing that you thought was going to be addressed in it, just ask them the question.
There’s always that opportunity afterwards to ask them a question and. So you can get out what you were looking to get out of it. Or what’s gonna happen is when you go out into the ante room, there’s gonna be other planners there and you’re gonna say, oh, I was hoping I was gonna hear about this, and maybe that person’s gonna answer that question for you.
So you’re gonna get that out of it. And then you’re also going, you have to make the connections with the other planners. And so get out there, bring lots of business cards, have your. 32nd elevator pitch. Ready to say who you are, what you do, what it is that you excel at, what your niche is, and then find out about them and ask those questions and get to know the other people as well.
And then go to the parties, go to the extra events, go to all the special things, and don’t just sit back actually. Go to a group or if you see somebody else’s by themselves, go to that person and go and talk with them. Go sit with us. Don’t stick with just the people that you are. I always find, cause my sister and I are in business together and so she is my business partner and I find that when we go to conferences together, we kind of stick to ourselves and we just, we’re on our own.
Whereas when we don’t go together to a conference, I meet so many more people, I have such a better experience. I make all these networking contacts, whereas when I’m with her, I don’t make any networking contacts. And so really I think it’s getting out of your comfort zone and. Actually getting yourself out there rather than being comfortable hanging with your friends, hanging with people that you already know, your industry contacts, actually get out and meet new people.
Cuz that’s really what it’s all about.
Becca: Yeah, that’s so true. And it is so important. And to just give everyone in the room a chance. Because if you stay in your clique and you just talk to the people you know, then people think you are not approachable and you, the whole thing can just fall down very quickly.
The other thing I. See sometimes, and I don’t know whether you have any experience with this, I’m sure you do, is people who are really negative at conferences, like I feel like people forget sometimes that they’re, maybe they’re on business or they’ve forgotten where they’ve come and they can be very negative or complain about lots of things.
And sometimes I think to myself, maybe there’s some things that you should just keep in your head.
Danielle: Absolutely. One of those things is you’re gonna be keeping people away from you as well. If you’re sitting there and being very negative, people aren’t gonna wanna spend the time with you anyway, and they’re just gonna see you as causing trouble.
And maybe they liked that seminar, maybe they did learn something, and you’ve just ruined that experience for them, and so definitely. Go being positive, be open and definitely keep that to yourself. You can talk to your spouse after, you can talk to your friends after, but you don’t need to bring that negativity on there.
People are putting so much out to be at a conference to be, to be a speaker at a conference, to be there and. Nobody knows how much work there is behind the conference. It’s cuz we, we plan and execute conferences as well. And there’s so much behind the scenes and so much goes into it and people don’t understand just how much it takes to make this actually happen.
So just go and be pleasant and be open and receive that and you’re gonna have a much better experience if you’re going being negative. Nobody’s gonna wanna be around you anyway. Nobody likes to be around a negative person. And so you’re. If you’re going expecting to have a bad time, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Becca: That’s so true. You have to go in with that mindset. And I always think as well, once you’ve decided you’re going to something, once you’ve paid the money to go to something, you might as well make the absolute most of that opportunity, even if it isn’t how you expected, even if the seminars weren’t quite what you wanted.
It’s thinking, okay, well this hasn’t quite worked out, but what can I do to make sure I do get something out of being here rather than just sitting back and. Being a negative Nelly, as I like to call it.
Danielle: Yep, absolutely. Yeah. What blog post can I write because of this, or what podcasts can I do because of this, or what have I learned from it?
Becca: Now, as I said, we don’t have a huge amount of conferences here in the uk and as a conference junkie, I know you’ve been to absolutely loads. So if someone’s listening and thinking, I’d really like to spend some money and go to a conference, or go to an event, do you have any recommendations of where they should look?
Danielle: It definitely has to do with what your niche is and what you think you need help the most help with. For those starting out, a good place to start is always wedding mba. That is a very large one. There’s 150 seminars to choose from. 4,500 wedding planners go to it. I wouldn’t say you’re gonna get a lot out of networking from it, but you are going, there are lots of little education nuggets that you’re gonna take from there, so that’s a good starting point.
When you’re just starting out, if you are looking at high-end weddings, well then you might wanna look at the engage conferences if you’re doing destination weddings, well, DWP is the huge. It’s absolutely huge. So there’s different, whatever your niche is that you wanna do with that. If you are doing destination weddings, we always loved attending it.
Used to be called Love Mexico. Now it’s I A D W P. And so they have one coming up in Punta cana. I’m a speaker at it. So they have one coming up in punta cana in June, and then they have one in Mexico. In October, and those are fabulous conferences. If you are getting into destination weddings, you’ll make lots of great contacts.
They have fabulous parties, and then they’ve got some good education in there as well. Oh, there’s just, there’s so many. There’s so many to attend. It. You just, you get something out of every single one you really do.
Becca: So if you’re listening to this and you haven’t been to any conferences, do some research.
Think about maybe even for next year, even if you can’t make it this year, putting some budget aside and thinking about going to one of these places, cuz you definitely will get something out of it. Now, Danielle. Both you and me focus very much on wedding education. We’re both passionate about helping people improve their businesses, kind of leveling up the industry in general.
Why is that so important to you? Why does that motivate you and drive you to do what you do?
Danielle: Because so many people do it wrong. That’s, that’s, that’s where we came from because what happened, the original reason that we started with. The Institute is because a lot of people, like I said, once the Wedding planner movie came out, everybody thought that they could be a wedding planner.
Everybody thought that they should be a wedding planner. It looked like so much fun, and so it was just very romanticized. But what was happening was a lot of people were not doing things correctly and they were making. Other wedding planners have a bad name because of it. And so the way that they were handling the business, the way that they just were ignoring etiquette and not doing things the right way, not having proper insurances, it was really damaging to our profession.
And so we started out with. We need to get the best people out there. We need to make sure that people are properly educated and they know what they’re doing. And so that’s the standpoint that we took from that. Now what our goal is, we want our people to be the best of the best cuz people, when they have W P I C behind their name, people expect that is elevated.
They, they know that that is a higher level of education. They know that these people are. The best of the best. And so that’s what we really wanna do. We wanna make sure that our wedding planners are the cream of the crop, and so we constantly are putting into more and more education. That’s one of the reasons that we attend all the conferences because we are always upgrading the information.
We’re on our 15th, well now we’re almost on our 16th edition of our textbook. And. What we do is we make that available to every past student, so all of 9,000 of our past students have access to all of the new information that’s being shared. And so if, even if they took the course 20 years ago, I. They can get all the most current information because we want everybody to be updated and it, it’s free to them and we want them to be updated.
We want them to constantly be improving themselves. And so we have our online association, we have our conferences, we have seminars all the time, cuz we just want people to be the best that they can possibly be. And we want them to do it right, because if they’re not doing it right, then what’s happening is these couples are not getting like, this is the most important day of their life.
If you’re not doing it properly, you’re messing with someone’s. Something they’ve been dreaming about for years and such a huge investment that they’re making, we can’t mess around with that. So we, we do have to be the best.
Becca: And it’s important, isn’t it, for people to keep on continuing with their education because things are changing all the time.
Things are changing, especially in what I do in the world of marketing. I could do a. Seminar right now today about Instagram, and we could all log on tomorrow and everything’s changed. The algorithm’s changed, the features have changed. So we’re always having to learn, but sometimes, and I’ve definitely met people like this, they get to a certain point and they think, great.
I know everything now. I don’t need to invest in education anymore. Why do you think it’s important that people keep that as a, as a priority?
Danielle: Oh, absolutely. It’s a priority because. Like you said, everything is changing, everything is updating, and so you can’t continue to do the things Covid taught us that you can’t continue to do things the exact same way.
You have to pivot, you have to adapt. And in the wedding industry, we’re trend-based, and so everything is changing every single year and we have to keep up with that. And then there’s just all the new technologies, and so I’m still a pen and paper girl, but there’s lots of people who are very much.
Embracing technology and bringing that into their weddings. And so we have to know what’s available. We need to know what the different apps are. You can’t, for example, let’s say you have one wedding planner who is doing everything on aisle planner, and so they’re being able to automate all of their intake forms and work that way, whereas somebody else is still doing it all paper files and things like that.
Well, the person who’s using aisle planner. It’s gonna have much quicker response time. It’s going to look much more professional because it’s already done and she’s ready with things to send to her clients. Whereas the person who’s just always doing it on paper, inputting it themselves, doing their own forms, they’re gonna be much slower to get back to people.
They’re gonna have to. Be like reinventing the wheel every single time. Whereas things are already automated and there’s already these charts and there’s already these things that can flow and the couple’s gonna feel much more a part of it. So we have to embrace all these new things that are coming into it.
If I did weddings the way that I did them 20 years ago, it’d be it. It’s hilarious. Some of the things, when I look back on it, like we used to say, Make sure you have a spare camera and batteries and things like that. And, and so like you have to update with the times and you have to adapt to things like that.
And so constantly learning what’s out there, what’s available,
Becca: and if you don’t adapt, you’ll just get left behind. And that’s what ends up happening. The people think that they’re doing amazing and then they get stuck in their ways and don’t keep evolving. And then all of a sudden new people come in with better processes and absolutely overtake them.
I dunno if you’ve got an answer to this question, but I’m gonna see anyway. One of the things I find, and I’m sure you come across this quite a lot as well, is that when people are down on bookings or struggling, the first thing they drop is education. So they may be part of a membership, they may have.
For course, and they think, oh, I can’t afford that now, and they leave that straight away. When it comes to your business and planning ahead, do you have like a percentage each year that you allocate towards education and conferences? How do you work that out so that it remains a priority rather than just being the first thing that gets dropped?
Danielle: For us it’s just what is in the budget and so, or what is important enough to us, and so we’ll look at what’s coming up and what’s going to be the topic of it, and how is it, how important is it for us to get to those pre covid? We were going to 11 and 12. Conferences a year. We like when I say we’re conference junkies, we are conference junkies.
And so that is something that is a priority to us, that we would never drop from the budget no matter what. The thing is, even the governments agree with you that you should be updating and you should be attending conferences because they are tax write-offs in most countries. And so in Canada, we’re allowed to write off two conferences every year.
And so you can put that into your budget. For that because the thing is, conferences have such a return on investment and so you have to look at that as it’s an investment in you. It’s an investment in your business, and you can’t drop that from there. Even if you can get to one conference a year, absolutely do it.
And there’s so many that are online as well. I find with online you’re not getting everything that you could get out if you were in person, but there are online ones that are really. Affordable. Some are free, some, some are just very affordable. And so don’t take education out of your budget. You absolutely need to be there, and the thing is you’re not going to get anything else.
That is a return on investment, that education is. You’re going to make money from it. Whatever you put out there, you’re gonna make that money. There’s gonna be that nugget that’s gonna make you that money, and you’re gonna find a different way of doing things. You’re, you’re gonna attend that conference and you’re gonna hear Becca give you this amazing marketing tip, and you’re gonna be, oh gosh, and then suddenly you’re making money because of it.
So, Just don’t take it out. That, that’s my main advice.
Becca: Absolutely. And you always do, you always get an aha moment, however long you’ve been in the industry, however much you think, you know, there’s always something like, even just this week, I put out a reel of a tip that someone shared with me a few weeks ago about text replacement on your phone so that you can just save time typing out the long URLs by just having like a three letter.
Thing that you put out there. And the amount of people that messaged me when I put the reel out yesterday saying, oh my goodness, I didn’t know I could do this. You’ve blown my mind, blah, blah. And it’s the simplest thing. And sometimes just those small things we learn at a conference we learn in a education event can transform the way we do business entirely.
Have you had a recent aha moment from any of your conferences or education that you’ve been part of that’s changed anything that you’ve done? I’m gonna put you on the spot now.
Danielle: Oh man. You really have put me on the spot for that one. You know what, I’ve been doing some online trainings and things like that, and so there has been some aha moments about reels and about marketing and things like that.
I’m trying to think of in-person ones that were Aha, I think. Mainly the most recent have been an inspiration, and so looking at the way that people are putting together things or how they’re gaining their own inspiration on an event and how they’re putting together their design, those have been aha moments for me.
Just like, oh, okay. I didn’t look at it from that perspective. And so looking at different perspectives, those have been my. My aha moments, but definitely like your education can be as simple as, like you were saying, like a reel, people’s reels or looking online, following things on TikTok or following things on Instagram and getting those little, little sound bites as well.
And then, At the actual conferences, there’s, I don’t know. I really, I’m trying to think of something that’s just a, once I incorporate it, I’m like, oh, I’ve always known that. So I dunno.
Becca: Yeah, that’s a bit like me with this whole AI revolution. Like that blew my mind a little bit when I started understanding how to do that and now I’m like, I’ve known that for ages.
It doesn’t seem so exciting anymore.
Danielle: No, exactly. Oh yeah.
Becca: Yeah. Well, there’s always more to learn and I’m sure people have had some really good aha moments in this conversation today as well. Danielle, now when I have my podcast, I always end with my guest with the same question, which is, what’s one thing you wish you’d known sooner in your own wedding business?
Danielle: I think I. It actually boils down to what we’ve been talking about this entire time. I wish I knew how to gain resources on wedding, putting and on how to learn more and how to get more access to information, and that was a huge thing. Also, we were talking about it today, about, having the confidence and not feeling like the imposter and having that imposter syndrome that.
Because a lot of times I was like, oh, oh, maybe I, I’m not good enough, or maybe I’m not strong enough, and so it. If I knew how to build my confidence, how to gain more information, how to be more sure of myself, those would’ve been great things to help me right away.
Becca: And I think it’s helpful for people listening because I know there’s lots of people listening that struggle with the imposter syndrome thing to know that that’s been a struggle for you, even though you’ve got 9,000 core students behind you, even though you’re speaking and going to conferences all over the world, we still have all those, have those moments of a little bit of lacking confidence.
Danielle: Oh, absolutely. Like I still feel it when I’m at conferences and I meet somebody and I was like, oh my goodness. Oh, they’re so successful and I still get those. So, nope, it, it never really goes away. It’s just you have to learn how to hide it better.
Becca: Absolutely, definitely true. Danielle, it’s been such a pleasure to talk with you.
If people wanna find out more about what you do about your education programs, where’s the best place for them to find you?
Danielle: Our website. So it’s very simple. It’s just W p I c.ca.
Becca: Fabulous. I’ll make sure that I link to that in the show notes. If you wanna find out more about Danielle and what she’s doing, go ahead and look in the show notes underneath this episode.
Danielle, thank you for your time today. It’s been fabulous.
Danielle: Thank you.
Becca: I just loved chatting with Danielle today. Isn’t she fabulous? I’m so glad that our paths crossed. While we are out in Cyprus and talking of conferences, I’m actually attending wedding M B A myself this year. So if you fancy a trip out to Las Vegas, it’s come to a conference with me, let me know in the dms and maybe you could join me there as well.
I’ll see you next time.
Listen to my previous episodes about my wedding conference experience: