The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. ranges between $30,000-$35,000 in total for about 110 guests. Some states such as New York and California with higher costs of living see higher averages, but this is a great starting place to really understand where you want to fall in the market. Now, the luxury wedding market refers to couples who spend $100,000-$500,000 on their weddings with the same guest count, and they represent about 3-5% of the market.
On the other hand, high-end weddings are for couples with budgets ranging from $40,000-$99,000. For many of you, this is the market that you're trying to break into or book more of - and the good news is that this represents 15-20% of the market so there is plenty of business here! That said, it's important to always remember that this market is an above-average market, which means that you need to apply an above-average marketing approach to your business in order to attract them. Through my coaching program, Planners Who Profit, I guide planners through this process - and I'm sharing some insider tips with you below!
What High-End Couples Are Looking For
Reassurance that you are the one for the job
Planning a wedding can be stressful largely because every couple knows that they have just one chance to get it right. So yes, the couple has more to spend on their wedding, but they want to ensure that they're spending that money wisely and with the right people to pull off their vision - including all of the unique details they want to be interwoven throughout the day. Most couples have also never spent $40,000-$99,0000 on anything else before in their lives - so they need reassurance that they are spending it wisely. Couples are looking for someone who can show them that they're up for the job and that they and their hard-earned $40,0000-$99,0000 are in good hands!
Those who pay premium for a wedding planner are looking for ease. They are paying for convenience in the form of time and effort savings during the journey. This is because they generally are working in high-paying and demanding jobs which are paying them enough to show this money. They don’t want to leave their 8-10 hour shift at work, to start a 4-hour shift of wedding planning when they get home. They need someone to bring ease and time savings their way. The best way to show a client this is in the way that you market your services and by making your sales process easy. That’s a preview of what they can expect when working with you and will play into whether or not they choose to hire you.
Someone to lead them through the process
Most couples are getting married for the very first time - and many are also planning a major event for the first time. When you keep this in mind, you can see why couples need a leader and not an assistant. They don’t know the next steps, so they need someone that they're confident in to lead them through the journey.
Common Marketing Mistakes That Repel High-End Couples
The words budget, affordable, or another synonym is built into your specialty or name
While no one wants to waste money, the primary motivator for couples in the high-end market is not cost. The primary motivator is getting the best possible experience for them. Using words like budget and affordable will repel these clients.
You don’t know how to leverage your past experience to set yourself up as an expert
Your ideal client isn't going to believe that you have 4-8 years of experience planning events if you're only showcasing memes, inspirational quotes, and stock images in your marketing materials. Showing up as an expert starts by using your past experience correctly to show that you know what you are doing
You consider it “bragging” to market your services and to show yourself functioning in your zone of genius online
One of the biggest things that hold event planners back from making it to the next level is the idea that marketing is the same as bragging. The truth is that marketing is your duty, especially if you are good at what you do. The world misses out on hiring you and experiencing your gift and your brilliance when you hide behind the veil of false modesty and avoid marketing.
How to Show Up For High-End Couples
Have a clearly articulated niche
In every industry, specialists get paid more than generalists, and the wedding industry is no different. Couples will pay more, and sometimes even stretch their pre-determined budgets for an event planner which a proven and clearly articulated niche that represents what they want for their wedding. This helps them rest and know that you can execute what they want because you’ve done it before.
Your work is presented well
Most couples are extremely visual, so it’s really important to present your work well both in imagery and with copy that helps them to easily understand what you do and why they should hire you. The example that I always use with my coaching clients is, “Imagine your ideal client just ended a 10-hour shift and wants to dedicate 30 minutes to find a wedding planner before bed. Can this tired potential client understand what you are trying to say with ease?”
You are findable on the web
It’s very possible to post 3 times a day and still be hard to find on the internet. Just because you have a lot of content, doesn’t mean that it's being seen by the right people and at the right time. It’s important that people are able to find you easily online both on social and search engines when they are ready to buy. So increase that SEO!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this journey into the mind and concerns of the high-end couple! Really understanding this is the first step to creating a marketing plan that attracts them to you in no time! If you’d like more in-depth teaching on marketing and sales, you can access my vault of free trainings for event planners here. I’m excited to see you continue to grow your business and show up as the leader that you are!
Hero photo courtesy of Amy Anaiz