PUBLICITY LESSONS LEARNED FROM WEDDING PLANNING
Here comes the bride…
It’s summer and we’re in the thick of wedding season!
As a publicist with more than 23 years of experience, I’m still learning something new about public relations every day.
Even when planning my wedding.
Exactly two years ago this week, my husband and I tied the knot with family and friends in Minnesota.
Because the groom and I are constantly traveling and living in another state, it took a lot of detail coordinating and remote planning
Vows, garters, and cake aside, a wedding is like a huge business launch or product unveiling.
In fact, ours reminded me of how clients—regardless of their size and budget—deserve proper project management and communication for success.
As in business, the reviews of our wedding mattered.
We wanted our audience (the guests) to have an amazing time.
Not only at our wedding, but at the destination, which for many is a place they’ve only seen in the movie Fargo.
Our guests invested their time and money to travel to the Midwest. It’s only fair my groom and I made the entire weekend worth their while!
Without further ado, here are five publicity lessons I learned while planning our big day.
Plan it out
I’ll admit it, organization and planning are kind of my jam and I went pretty Bridezilla about maintaining a schedule for our nuptials.
Because having a plan matters.
With weddings, you need to keep track of dresses, guest lists, music, who is standing where, who is sitting where, transportation, and if you can eat without your dress seams exploding.
These are just a few of the details you need to stay on top of.
As a former wedding planner and semi-professional bridesmaid, I’ve seen way too many brides brought to tears because of peanut gallery comments from their mothers, sisters, bridesmaids, and vendors.
The same applies to PR.
Having a publicity plan, or even a rough promotional timeline, will leave little room for input from the peanut gallery.
When in doubt, you can refer to this plan time and again to keep you moving toward your promotional goals.
Or down that aisle.
Images are everything
A picture is worth a thousand words so it’s important you invest in photography.
Trust me, this is one area not skimp on.
Especially leading up to and on your wedding day.
So do the images you use to promote your business.
After receiving our engagement photos back, it reminded me why it’s so important for brands of any size to invest in high quality images and photography for the PR and promotional efforts.
Because these visuals not only capture but tell your story, which leads to publicity and media visibility for your business.
Tell them, then tell them again
One of the first activities all the respected wedding gurus encourage is for the newly-engaged couple to set up their personalized wedding website.
Here, you can provide detailed wedding information including dates, transportation, activities, and registry specs in one place.
A few months later, brides and grooms are encouraged to send guests who may travel for the impending nuptials Save the Date announcements.
These gems are full of information and, more likely than not, direct guests back to the wedding website for more details.
Finally, as the big day approaches, the actual wedding invitations are mailed.
No matter your theme, this packet includes information the happy couple has shared numerous times via their website, Save the Dates, and word-of-mouth.
Are you catching the repetition here?
Good, you should be.
Guests compliment and appreciate receiving the same information numerous times.
They need the guidance.
It makes their lives, and their trip, easier.
The same applies to PR—you need to tell your target audience what you want them to know.
Then you need to tell them again.
Like 14 more times.
You need to impress on your audience, through constant repetition, what you want them to think or feel about your brand.
By guiding them through the journey, you’ll assure they have the best experience possible, whether it’s staying updated on your latest social media endeavors or purchasing one of your products.
Your wedding day is all about you.
Well, you and your groom.
Therefore, it is important to keep all aspects of the day personal to you both as well as your guests.
I’m biased, but feel our wedding was the perfect representation of our soon-to-be-family’s brand.
From the Costco cakes (don’t judge, they’re the best) to my veil (made from the beads from my Grandmother’s dress with our new monogram) to our hashtag (#youBlattcha, get it? Midwesterners!).
Even the readings we selected for our day were far from the typically ones shared during a wedding ceremony (Warren Buffett quotes, anyone?).
I also may have monogrammed everything that wasn’t moving.
These little personal touches are what made our wedding day ours.
The same can be said your publicity strategy.
It’s the little, personalized details that can make your brand stand out and gain you diehard brand enthusiasts and customers.
Be mindful of others
Hey, it’s your day and it’s about the two of you together.
Sadly, planning a wedding isn’t all puppies, cotton candy, and rainbows.
Not everything is going to be perfect.
Such is life.
You’ll never be able to control the perceptions or misconceptions of others.
Not all communications will go as planned.
Disasters will happen.
People may not like where their name appears on the seating chart.
You may not be able to invite everyone.
Feelings will be hurt for no particular reason at all except that weddings bring out #allthefeels.
Executing on your publicity strategy brings out the same kind of hiccups on the path to happiness.
If a customer feels they have been treated unfairly and want justice, they will hop right on to social media and complain.
Does your promotional plan account for that?
You then must make a choice; do you ignore it or handle the situation?
Hint: Handle the situation.
You also should always show your gratitude.
In the wedding world, this comes in the form of handwritten thank you cards.
In the business world, manners like thank you cards still matter.
If an employee or customer deserves acknowledgement or recognition, let them know with a personalized note.
Large or small, it’s important for your brand to create an experience your target audience will fall in love with.
Follow the tips above, and I guarantee you’ll live happily ever after in publicity bliss.
What publicity lessons have your learned from wedding season?