• September 26, 2018 11:49 AM | Cherie Ronning (Administrator)

    I asked our Wedding Ghost Blogger to touch on the topic of education in our industry. His thoughts are below - and I agree totally with him!

     Fortunately or unfortunately, the barriers to a career in the wedding industry, for most professionals are pretty low. {hate me later, it truly pained me to say that}.

    Talk to any experienced wedding planner, photographer, videographer or DJ and this is EXACTLY what most are saying. I’ve personally seen dozens of ‘wedding planners’ who had fun planning their own wedding, built a website, posted their own wedding photos and ordered business cards online.

    The story is similar for many other professions as well.

    The heartbreaking news about this actually goes one step farther. There is literally nothing to get in the way of becoming a coach, mentor or educator in many of these fields.

    Both novice and experienced wedding professionals alike are falling prey to people who are launching online seminars, retreats and conferences without being an expert in their field. 

    So what is the answer to this growing problem? DO YOUR HOMEWORK

    Just like we ask couples to do their research on finding the best, most qualified professionals to meet their needs and budget; we need to do the same.  Continuing education is critical to growth and you grow from learning from the best.

    Doing your research before investing in your continuing education is only the first step, finishing the course, implementing the steps learned in your courses in small manageable pieces are the best steps to follow.

    The last step is to share the professional development and credentials on your website and social media. Educate couples that education, professionalism and experience are important part of the purchase for their wedding day.

    Beautifully designed weddings and events are only part of the equation; stressing the advantages of experience, education and relationships can help cut through the clutter.

    So, what have you done lately to set yourself and your business apart from your perceived competition? What have you done to help take your business to the next level?

    Author, Mark Kingsdorf - Wedding Ghost

  • August 28, 2018 1:59 PM | Don Richardson (Administrator)

    My good friend Chris Jaeger of Book More Weddings and the International Association of Wedding Industry Professionals (IAWIP), has a new book coming out this year entitled "100 Things You Can Do to Reach More Brides & Grooms, Get More Inquiries from Your Website, and Book More Weddings."

    Chris is definitely an Industry Expert, and very tech savvy. He shared this chapter of the upcoming book with his membership – and gave me permission to share it with all of you!

    Photo by Jon Tyson

    “Fine-tune Your Social Media Hashtag Strategy"

    Hashtags are “signals” that can be used across your social media channels to connect with a targeted audience. I think of them as similar to the smoke-signals that Native Americans used hundreds of years ago to communicate with each other.

    Hashtags are an online communication tool. Hashtags increase your social find-ability and social visibility, thereby helping you build your brand and drive traffic to your website. Used online they are words or phrases, with no spaces, preceded by a # sign. For example: #mauiweddingphotographers

    Hashtags are typically placed after your post content. I've seen some placed within the post content and I do not recommend that you do that as it distracts from the post message.

    Using the right hashtags, in the appropriate manner, will help you reach more couples in your geographical marketplace who are planning a wedding - and help you book more weddings.

    While most people associate using hashtags with Twitter and Instagram, they can also be used at Facebook or even in your blog posts!

    Action Items

    Create a list of hashtags you could be using by researching the hashtags your competition is using at Instagram. While there, see which of their posts are getting the most likes. Do you see a pattern? How many followers do they have?

    Look for “branding” hashtags used by local wedding planning websites and local wedding planning magazines in your marketplace (#mychicagowedding #capecodbride #bostonmagazine). Add these to your hashtag list. You might even use the hashtags #weddingwire and #theknot.

    Keep your hashtags easily accessible and ready-to-use (copy/paste) using Evernote.

    Use between 10 to 20 hashtags per post at Instagram, Facebook, and at the end of your blog posts.”

  • August 28, 2018 1:34 PM | Don Richardson (Administrator)

    It used to be that we were only as good as our last event. However, in this age of social media and internet marketing, millennials trust the reviews of total strangers more than anything else.

    It amazes me that wedding vendors pay good marketing money to advertise online with major wedding portals and don’t bother to update text or images, much less have reviews.

    Look at sites like Perfect Wedding Guide, the knot or Wedding Wire, and there are vendors with high positioned listings; and two or three reviews, maybe. And in many cases the reviews are outdated.

    You’ve probably heard the quote “if you don’t ask, the answer is ALWAYS no.” This could not be more true with wedding reviews.

    Couples come down from the wedding planning high, they head off on their honeymoon, they go back to work, school, buy a house, have kids and life after the wedding moves on. If you are a photographer or wedding filmmaker, you stand the best chance of keeping in touch for the first six months.

    It’s even worse when the bride changes her name and eventually email!

    Unfortunately, in the case of busy couples, asking might not be enough. You have to make it as easy as possible.

    I highly recommend drafting an email template. Leave space to personalize the message to the couple and for heaven sake address them by name and something personal about working with them.

    Tell them about the importance of online reviews and touch on the fact that they probably weighed those reviews when they were looking for vendors too.


    Make it is as foolproof as possible – even go as far as to tell them it is OK to cut and paste the same review in multiple locations!

    It is truly that easy. Have it drafted to send to the couple (yes, both is OK) right after the wedding. You would be absolutely amazed at the number of gushing reviews I have received while the couple was having breakfast the day after their wedding, sitting in an airport or even flying to their honeymoon.

    All of the fantastic details of their day are fresh in their mind! Obviously only send it to a couple who you know for sure where happy.

    And, it is OK to do a quick follow up about two weeks after the wedding if they have not responded.

    It’s really that easy! And so worth the investment in time.

    • Mark Kingsdorf is the owner of Wedding Ghost, a ghost blogging and content creation company working exclusively with wedding and event professionals. 
    • He is one of 65 Master Wedding Planners in the world, a Certified Same Sex Wedding Specialist, was the founder of Philadelphia based “The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants”, Wish Upon A Wedding Philadelphia and has been a contributor to Emily Post Institute, major wedding magazines and websites as well as many wedding an event industry conferences.
  • August 15, 2018 2:20 PM | Cherie Ronning (Administrator)

    Looking for an easy way to offer 1-day event insurance for your clients?

    For over 10 years, Markel has been the leader in providing complete event insurance coverage at an affordable price.

    Markel's event liability insurance helps protect your client if they cause property damage to the venue or someone is injured at the event. Up to $2 million in coverage is available and can be purchased up to 1 day before the event.

    Markel's event cancellation insurance reimburses your client for lost deposits and non-refundable amounts if your client's event needs to be cancelled or postponed due to unforeseen circumstances, such as: vendor bankruptcy, extreme weather or military deployment.

    Turn into a one-stop shop for your clients and provide them with an easy, affordable option for their event insurance needs by requesting FREE event insurance brochures from Markel.

  • August 15, 2018 12:23 PM | Cherie Ronning (Administrator)

    I have seen a lot of wedding professionals who start their business by having someone design a KILLER logo, they add it to a business card and their website and their corporate branding stops there.

    Especially in the wedding industry, your corporate branding and style overlap with your personal branding and style. WE are our businesses, WE are the face that clients, the media and our wedding colleagues see.

    In 1999 when I was beginning to launch my wedding planning business in Philadelphia, no one knew much about the men who were celebrity wedding planners. So, being a guy I really needed to stand out and be taken seriously. My education and experience as a chef and caterer would serve me well, and I was working part time with a special event floral designer and a bridal salon to become more well-rounded.

    There were several wedding planners that were big players in my market, all women, all had similar names and all branded their business with their names. Honestly, the business names all sounded the same and from a branding standpoint all sounded the same.

    I made a list of terms I wanted to convey to clients and posted them on my refrigerator, looking at them for nearly three weeks. Royal, elegant, stress-free, bold, unique were all words that came up and one night I saw the image of the queen of hearts playing card.

    At that point The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants was born. I found beautiful vintage pins that were hearts or a crown and eventually invested in bright red dress shirts. You never saw me at an industry event, wedding or tv interview without the red shirt and when wearing a suit, one of the collection of pins.

    I became known as the guy in the red shirt, people rarely knew my last name it became “Mark from the Queen of Hearts”. I had people come up and engaged me at conferences who knew me only by my reputation and red shirt.

    The Queen of Hearts logo was on the back of our business cards and our cards were handed to people back side up. Over time our team members each added something red to their wardrobe and received a piece of heart jewelry; and they became as well-known as I did.

    We also became known for sending out handwritten thank you notes on branded note cards {a lost art}, some may have been sent with sparkling, red, heart confetti. We did cards and vendor gifts for Valentine’s Day, avoiding the holiday season or New Year’s rush.

    We became known for our bold, unique style.   We worked with couples who were part of the growing ‘food network generation’ and they didn’t want boring banquet food.  We became their advocate working with some of the best caterers and venues in the region.

    Fast forward to 2018, nearly two decades later. I sold my wedding planning business over six years ago, I have relocated out of state to the beach in Florida and work as a ghost blogger and freelance writer for wedding and event professionals.

    Just last week a photographer in Philadelphia posted a new head shot on social media and he happened to be wearing a red shirt and the first question someone asked was: “Did Mark help you pick that shirt out?”

    What does your business do that makes you stand out in your market? Is your business and personal brand something that makes you memorable?

    • Mark Kingsdorf is the owner of Wedding Ghost, a ghost blogging and content creation company working exclusively with wedding and event professionals. He is one of 65 Master Wedding Planners in the world, a Certified Same Sex Wedding Specialist, was the founder of Philadelphia based “The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants”, Wish Upon A Wedding Philadelphia and has been a contributor to Emily Post Institute, major wedding magazines and websites as well as many wedding an event industry conferences.

  • August 08, 2018 2:46 PM | Don Richardson (Administrator)

    Wedding Network Podcast - Episode #1

    We all know how effective blogging can be for your business. Organic traffic, content to share, and authority in your industry, however, while we know it’s needed, finding the time can be challenging if it’s not planned for.

    A great example of your blog working for you years later — let me introduce you to Mark Kingsdorf. As a Master Wedding Planner, Mark was the founder of ‘The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants” in Philadelphia, PA.

    Getting started, there was little of a marketing budget and Mark was tech-savvy enough to see the value of starting a blog. With his attention to some SEO details (listen in to learn his tricks!), that blog is still pulling page 1 & 2 on Google Search Results even after having moved on.

    About Mark Kingsdorf

    Mark Kingsdorf, is the owner/operator of The Wedding Ghost Blogger; a blogging company working exclusively with wedding, event and hospitality professionals across the country.

    In addition to being one of 65 Master Wedding Planners in the world, Mark is also a Certified Same-Sex Wedding Specialist and has worked in the catering, wedding, and events industry in various aspects for over 30 years.

    Mark’s planning advice has been featured in Philadelphia Wedding Magazine, where he was a featured contributor, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides Magazine, The Knot, New Jersey Bride and Real Simple Magazine.

    He has also been featured On Fox Good Day, CN8 Money Matters Today, CN8 Your Morning, KYW News Radio, NBC 10!, HGTV’s Ultimate Wedding Guide and the Style Network’s “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway”.

    The Wedding Ghost Blogger Podcast Episode

    In this first episode of The Wedding Network Podcast, we focus on blogging. From actionable steps, a listener can take to how Mark works with clients as a ghost blogger.

    Mark has a vast background in the wedding and events industry. His depth of knowledge translates into his understanding of weddings from multiple perspectives.

    Having Mark as your ghostwriter involves Mark getting to know you and your company. This helps him to write in your voice and with an eye for details, select photos that showcase your business.

    Having Mark in your back pocket writing away would be great! And we know there are folks who either need to learn or want to learn and in which case we have some tips! Here are 2 of 6 actionable tips Mark covered in the podcast you can look to implement today!

    Turn off the date function on your blog. If you are writing content that will be relevant about your business for the coming year or more, it can remain a great reference to link to and folks don’t have to know what date it was published.

    Blog tags — they are great but don’t display them on your site. By displaying them, you are giving great information to your competition about what keywords you researched or are focusing on.

    After this episode, you’ll be more apt to jump back into blogging armed with some new information and tips to keep you on track.

    Looking for more? Looking to have Mark help out? You can find out more

    The Wedding Ghost Blogger

    On Facebook 

    Mark’s Personal Blog

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