Going Sideways

As a professional blogger, I spend a great deal of my time staring at wedding photographs and curating them to tell a story.

To be honest, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

If there is an exit sign or fire extinguisher in the background, I see it. If there are dirty plates on a table, they jump right out at me.

One of the biggest challenges in curating images for blogging is vertical images.

Have they been resized appropriately?

I see people posting HUGE vertical images which makes the reader have to scroll down the page to see the entire image. This is exceptionally important when you are looking at pictures on a mobile device, and most newly engaged couples are! {be sure to keep reading after the HUGE vertical image.}

Wedding Cake

Featured Image

In most cases, a featured image in a blog post loads best and uniformly as a horizontal image. If the images load at the top of the blog it keeps the reader from scrolling down too far to start the text and keeps the images consistent.

Thumbnail

When you load a vertical image into a gallery with smaller thumbnail images or if they post as a thumbnail image in a sidebar you might want to look at how much detail shows.

For instance, a wedding cake might cut out the top and bottom, showing only the middle layers leaving out a lot of detail. A tight shot of a tall centerpiece may cut off the flowers at the top and the tablescape at the base only showcasing the riser.

Wedding Cake

So, Keep in mind, for blogging and also for the body of your website horizontal images tend to work best.

Mind The Gap

No, I’m not talking about riding the London Tube when I say mind the gap.

It’s wedding award season so I’m talking about taking a serious look at how you display any of the “Best Of” awards you might receive.

Wedding Professionals - Best Of Awards - branding your wedding business - marketing in the wedding industry - wedding blogger

If you have ever walked into a restaurant and seen them proudly displaying a Best Of Award from 2010; you might have some idea what I’m talking about.

My brain automatically skips from whatever is in front of me in the restaurant to what have they done wrong in the last nine years that they have not won again. Not even once in nine years?

Wedding Professionals - Best Of Awards - branding your wedding business - marketing in the wedding industry - wedding blogger

Did they just stop displaying them? Do they have new owners? Has it really gone downhill? Do I really want to eat here?

Same thing with wedding businesses!

If you have won a wedding award in the past and have a gap of more than one year before receiving that award again; get rid of the old ones!

Start fresh!

That gap of two years or more may be enough to wipe out all of the positive juju your beautiful website, social media, and blogging have put in front of a couple.

Be proud that you have won the recent awards and move on from there!

 

 

All I Want For Christmas

The ONLY thing I want for Christmas this year is for wedding, event and catering professionals to learn how to set a table.

Wedding Ghost - Ghost Blogger - Mark Kingsdorf - Master Wedding Planner - wedding blogger - curated content - freelance writer

Don’t get me wrong, a winning lottery ticket and world peace would both be nice, but I’m OK with manageable pieces.

As a blogger and content creator for the wedding industry, few things make me this crazy. Also, from what I’ve heard in some of the wedding groups I am part of I’m not alone.

I see hundreds of submission of styled shoots that have AMAZING tablescapes; breathtaking floral designs, luxurious linen, vintage or interesting china, unique flatware, and even fun glassware.

It is pretty apparent these professionals have painstakingly taken the time curate a tabletop design that fits with the overall theme of the shoot.

However, then there are glasses placed on the wrong side of the plate or the knife is on the left and the fork on the right. Ah-mazing!

As someone who is curating images for submission, this often means that I cannot use some of the best pictures you have submitted.

I have had to select images with the specific intention of not showing that setting. Too often that means that an awesome charger plate, custom menu card or napkin accent is not showcased.

Could I go ahead and use the image anyway? Yes, I absolutely could.

But the idea of a styled shoot is to showcase the creativity and expertise of a team of professionals. Is it fair to the rental company, linen company or stationery designer who lent their talent to this team?

It’s a pretty simple process, most weddings or events follow an Informal Dinner Place Setting.

Wedding Ghost - Ghost Blogger - Mark Kingsdorf - Master Wedding Planner - wedding blogger - curated content - freelance writer

We’ve taken liberties with napkin placement and folds and often add a champagne glass to the setting but nothing else in the setting changes.

So this Christmas, take a few minutes and share a little knowledge with your colleagues; and help grant my Christmas wish!

 

 

A Blog Is More Than Real Weddings

Wedding Ghost- Mark Kingsdorf - Mission Inn Resort - same sex wedding - rhodesstudio

Recently an article I wrote was featured on the Perfect Wedding Guide Wedding Professionals Blog.

Too many times wedding pros complain that they have nothing to blog about because they don’t have enough Real Weddings to feature. Truthfully, there are a lot of other options that will help brand you as a wedding expert in your market.

Having an FAQ blog post is a great way to answer all of the questions prospective clients constantly ask. You can share that link with potential new clients and not only save time answering their questions but encourage them to read other posts on your blog.

Check out the whole article HERE.

BTW, the photo above is me with my amazing husband Chuck on our wedding day at Mission Inn Resort. The photo is by the awesome Edmund Rhodes of Rhodes Studios

Diversify Your Portfolio

What you put out you attract!

When was the last time you looked at the gallery of work you share on your website and social media? I mean really, really looked at it?

When I had my wedding planning company, I had a bride who liked the style of a vendor’s work but had some concerns as none of this vendors work showed curvy women.

If I break it down to the most basic level, it looks like this. If all of the work you feature on your wedding business website is of basic, DIY looking weddings; you are very likely to continue to attract reasonably basic, DIY weddings. The price point you can charge will typically remain reasonably low as well.

The reason being is that higher-end clients, clients who may have booked venues with higher package prices will not see the wedding they envision reflected in your portfolio.

As your business begins to grow focus on showcasing work that is more décor and detail intensive, more opulent linens, more ornate wedding cakes and be sure to mix them up. 2018 might be the year of the purple wedding; however showcasing different color palettes create broader interest as well.

 

Now that I have been PC for as long as I can stand.

The vendor I had mentioned was someone I had worked with many times but never really looked at the body of work on their site. I was astonished to see that all of their galleries showed size 00, blond, petite, white women… so I called him on it.

Does your portfolio show African American couples, South Asian couples, Latino couples, Jewish couples?

multi cultural weddings - wedding blogs - ghost bloggerIs your language inclusive to make same-sex couples feel comfortable? I’ve found that unless I am talking about a specific wedding with a bride and groom, I refrain from using terms like the bridal party or bridal suite. Instead, I opt for gender inclusive terms such as the wedding party and a ready room.

mission Inn Resort - Rhodes Studio - same sex weddings - lgbtq friendly wedding vendors
Yes, that is my husband and me

If my husband and I were looking for vendors for our wedding and saw no same-sex couples and the entire site referred to bride and groom; we would have probably moved on. Much the same way my African American, curvy bride saw no one that looked like her on the vendor’s website.

The bottom line is that diversifying the weddings you showcase will help you attract additional clients from varying orientations, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Jewish weddings- luxury weddings- Cliff Mautner Photography
Image by Cliff Mautner Photography

So at the end of the day attracting more business is the primary business goal for most people I know.

 

 

 

 

 

Styled Shoots Make Me Crazy!

OK, I said it!

1f92f

In blogging for some national sites and looking at images from styled wedding shoots that clients have been involved with, I see some crazy stuff.

Here are some things that make me crazy when I read blogs or submissions.

Do Something Unique!

I’ve seen your ‘original concept’ on Pinterest a hundred times. If it’s there, it is no longer original. Look at a new venue and build something around the interesting architectural details, the Brussels sprouts on caterers fall menu or something outside of the box.

Buy A Steamer!

More importantly, look at the details. I hate linen that is wrinkled and silverware that is set improperly. People come to you to be an expert in your field, regardless of what it is that you do. LOOK AT YOUR DETAILS!

If you are not the photographer or planner overseeing the event and your product is being represented, you should still be there protecting your best interest!

Show Something You Can Sell

I see centerpieces that are HUNDREDS of dollars, even thousands of dollars with the rest of the tabletop. If this concept is more than a slight reach for your current higher end client, you might not be helping yourself. Can your clients afford to do ten, fifteen or twenty of these tables?

Is it showcasing something you really can and want to reproduce over and over again?

Does it showcase something that is your brand? Don’t get talked into being part of a photo shoot that isn’t a product that represents you.

If you are planning a photo shoot and looking to submit it somewhere, don’t be afraid to talk to the publication to see what they are looking for.

When you submit please, please, please make sure that the images you share on your blog or send to a publication match the story you tell. The photos need to support the story you tell.

Once again, images are not read by search engines, the SEO rich text is.

You’re welcome!

 

 

Did You Blog Harry and Meghan’s Wedding?

If not, you may have missed a Royal opportunity!

royal wedding- Prince Harry - Megan Markel - Royal wedding - wedding blogger - blogger - blog - wedding

Seriously, it is sort of like being a sports writer and ignoring the World Series or the Stanley Cup.

When couples engage wedding industry professionals they most often want to work with professionals who are up to date on the trends of the day and what is going on in their industry.

Regardless of what it is that you do, there was some element of the wedding for you to focus on what relates to your business.

The fact that nearly everything they did will set trends in the industry is reason enough to look at the entire day.

Focusing on personalization of the wedding is a great start. Meghan potentially picked the gown designer for some very specific reasons. The designer she chose is British and the first female artistic director of the iconic French design house Givenchy, and she is a working, single mom.

The gown was simplistic in style and allowed the rest of the day and the personalization to take center stage. The sixteen-foot veil had nods to Great Britain and California in the floral patterns in the lace embroidery.

The floral décor was simple and had some of the same nods to flowers handpicked from Kensington Palace including white peonies, forget-me-nots and garden roses. The flowers were favorites of Princess Diana, and Meghan’s bouquet was placed on the Grave of The Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abby. The flowers from the wedding were made into bouquets and sent to hospice patients.

Special, meaningful details of the ceremony and the music reflected the couple.

The first of the two receptions was hosted by the Queen. It was a light luncheon featuring canapes and “bowl food”. Guests at the Queen’s luncheon enjoyed:

  • Scottish Langoustines wrapped in Smoked Salmon with Citrus Crème Fraiche
  • Grilled English Asparagus wrapped in Cumbrian Ham
  • Garden Pea Panna Cotta with Quail Eggs and Lemon Verbena
  • Heritage Tomato and Basil Tartare with Balsamic Pearls
  • Poached Free Range Chicken bound in a Lightly Spiced Yoghurt with Roasted Apricot
  • Croquette of Confit Windsor Lamb, Roasted Vegetables, and Shallot Jam
  • Warm Asparagus Spears with Mozzarella and Sun-Blush Tomatoes

The evening reception was a formal sit-down dinner prepared by the royal chef. It consisted of multiple courses selected by the couple, which included seasonal ingredients sourced from the Queen’s estates.

The couple opted for a DJ and the music selections reportedly included Prince Harry’s favorite house music.

So, regardless of what you do in the wedding industry, there were elements included in the wedding that will set trends in the upcoming year that you could be discussing in your company’s blog post and helping your SEO.

Relating everything back to what you do in your business is key.

And do not forget. A call to action to call you for more information on your services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who are you?

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading wedding blogs; planners, venues, caterers, bakers, you name it I’ve looked at their websites and blogs.

I’m truly astounded at the number of businesses who claim “we are the top (fill in your favorite service) in our area”, ‘we provide personalized service and treat your wedding just like it was our own wedding”, “our team will hold your hand step by step throughout the planning process”

WHO?

Wedding ghost - blogger - wedding blogger - weddings - wedding planner - Master Wedding Planner - wedding blog

Who are you? I’m not sure about you, but I really like buying things and doing business with people I know (and like). Do you like when my server tells you their name! I like when my doctor or the guy at the garage introduces themselves.

Your first introduction to a prospective client is your website and your blog… you want to introduce yourself to them, connect with them and you want them to feel like they know you and trust you.

Additionally, including things like your name, the name of your business, the service you provide and the area you work in helps people searching the internet know they have the right site and it helps search engines catalogue you. They can’t find you if you don’t tell them about you.

“Master Wedding Planner, Mark Kingsdorf, is the owner of Wedding Ghost a freelance writer and blogger based in St Petersburg Florida; Mark writes blog and website content for wedding planners and wedding and event professionals across the country.”

Immediately you know who I am, what my credentials are, the name of my business and what services I provide. There are lots of words related to my business that attract search engines. {freelance writer, blogger, Master Wedding Planner, wedding, event professionals} not to mention my name and the business name.

An “About Us” page on your website or using several blog posts to introduce yourself and your team is a great way to really allow prospective clients to get to know you; I mean REALLY get to know you. Ideally, you want them to see a glimpse into your ‘Authentic Self’ so they can connect with you on an emotional level.

I lost my mother in my late 20’s, after battling breast cancer for more than a decade, I never ceased to amaze me when a bride or a mom commented on this fact during the planning process or our first meeting. Sharing in my biography that I founded a charity wedding cake competition in Philadelphia, Let Them Eat Cake, for City of Hope Cancer Center engaged people (both clients and other wedding professionals) who had an emotional connection to this cause.

On a much lighter side, the blog post featuring our West Highland Terrier, Saphi, was probably one of the most comments on blogs in my career. It appears there are LOTS of dog lovers out there!

saphi

It can be accomplished is a short Q & A format; writing a portion of your text in third person allows you to occasionally reinforce your name (branding you as an expert) and the name of your business and position in the market. It also makes it easier to talk about yourself when you write in third person too!

I’ve included comments on my passion for travel, my love of pizza (OK, it might be a bit of an obsession), my background as a chef and passion for healthy cooking, Disney, Yelp!, pets and my husband Chuck.

I love the people that sharing myself has attracted to my business; whether it was couples and families when I owned The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants or wedding and event professionals since launching Wedding Ghost.

Let people into your world, tell them about you, your business and the key players they will likely meet when working with you…You’ll find you attract people who are already invested in building a relationship with you.