Online guides and How-Tos are certainly helpful, but sometimes the best way to improve your business is to get inside the mind of your customer.  As a recently engaged bride-to-be, I’ve begun touring wedding venues in search of the perfect place to host my special day.  In the past month or so, I’ve personally witnessed mistakes that venue owners or management teams have made that lost them my business.  Take my word for it, and avoid these five common mistakes when wooing your next bride to be.

Respond to Every Email

I found a venue in picturesque Vermont  that seemed like a great fit for our wedding plans.  I sent an e-mail to the venue to try and get more information on pricing and packages and the venue owner responded quickly and asked for more information about our proposed event in order to put together an estimate.  I responded within the hour and waited anxiously for a response….which never came. The venue was immediately crossed off my list as a possibility for our wedding.  A little hasty? Maybe, but all I could envision was the added stress of working with a venue where getting information was like pulling teeth.  Planning a wedding is hard enough as it is!

Be Genuine  

My fiancé and I went on a weekend trip to check out several venues in Western Massachusetts a few weeks ago.  Our first stop was at a historical inn, and the venue’s wedding planner had agreed so give us a tour.  We introduced ourselves to her, and without pausing for breath she asked in a clearly practiced way, how my fiance had proposed.  She was so clearly uninterested in the answer that I felt uncomfortable responding, and I knew instantly that we would not be booking our wedding there – I couldn’t envision entrusting my wedding day to someone who couldn’t even feign interest during a conversation.

Provide All the Info

A colleague of mine who got recently engaged was interested in a wedding venue in Southern Maine – until the sales manager there straight up refused to share their pricing and package information with her, stating that she would prefer to give her a tour before discussing rates. Eventually (four long emails later) the General Manager intervened and sent the information she requested, but it was already a lost cause – the venue was no longer an appealing options to her. The moral of the story?  Don’t stress about whether or not your pricing is going to scare off potential clients – refusing to provide the information at all is going to do way more damage than a hefty price tag ever could.

Take Your Time 

The owner of the most beautiful venues we visited was considerate enough to drive the two hours down from Manhattan to meet us and give us a tour.  The interior design was stunning, the view was beautiful, but the owner hurried us through the tour as though he had something he was running late for.  That was a huge turn off and it made me feel as though our wedding wasn’t a priority.  I understand that he’s a busy guy with a lot going on, but if I’m going to drop 30K in his pocket, I expect to be treated like a welcomed guest, not a slightly irritating interruption.

Be Upfront

My fiancé is in a rock band and I was in a sorority in college.  Our friends can get a bit…rowdy. That’s why – for us – one of the most important questions we asked each venue is whether or not they had noise restrictions.  I was miffed when several of the tour-givers at different venues replied with “Oh no, nothing like that, but we do require that…” before firing off a very pointed noise restriction.  If there are limitations or expectations associated with your venue, don’t beat around the bush: if you aren’t a good fit for the planner, trying to gloss over the inconsistencies is a major turn off.

The Takeaways

You only get one chance to make a first impression, especially when it comes to picky brides.  Make sure you get off to a good start – and avoid the chopping block – by avoiding these 4 first meeting mistakes:f

  1. Be Responsive – email or otherwise: Remember, event planners aren’t simply considering your venue – they’re also considering whether or not they’re event is safe in your hands.
  2. Be Genuine: While it may be tempting to default to questions about the proposal story, only ask questions if you’re genuinely interested in hearing the answer
  3. Provide All the Info: Being coy with requested information – especially regarding price – is never going to be an effective sales tactic
  4. Take Your Time – A good salesperson never tries to rush a sale, and you shouldn’t either.
  5. Honesty is Key – Be upfront about your venue’s limitations and expectations, or alienating the bride, or even worse, disappointing her on her big day.