Heather’s Top Tips, Tricks and Trends for Event Planners in 2018
QC Event School tutor, Heather Vickery, gives us her top insights into event planning trends in 2018, and other tips and tricks you’ll need along the way! Heather is the Owner and Event Director of Greatest Expectations Special Events and Weddings, one of Chicago’s most celebrated event planning and design firms.
It is hard to believe we are already closing out 2017 and about to welcome 2018. As is always the case, we are saying goodbye to some old favorite trends and welcoming in new trends, productivity tools and unique ideas.
As the technology field continues to grow and give us resources and tools to be more efficient and offer better customer service, planners are seeing a decline in the “old way” of doing business. Almost no one keeps paper files anymore. Not only is that cumbersome, but it is terrible for the environment. Let’s face it: you don’t even need to print things out to sign them anymore as there are so many ways to sign contracts digitally. Instead we are seeing a shift to cloud-based systems that elevate productivity. Planners are moving almost exclusively towards technology-driven methods for file management, communications, client management and overall planning.
Here are a few that really change the game:
Aisle Planner is everything you need to book clients with ease from initial contracts to payments and more. There is space to keep inspiration photos and style boards, as well as file management systems that can be shared with clients. There is even space to keep track of the guest list, RSVPs and seating arrangements, all with quick and easy PDF exporting ability so you can share with everyone!
I don’t know about you, but creating timelines is my least favorite parts of the job. Well, all of that is made simple with Timeline Genius. Once you import your preferred vendors and client names, the timeline genius technology does the rest with templates for specific types of events. They have pre-set templates for everything from brunch weddings to sit down dinners, Christian weddings, Jewish weddings and coming soon, same-sex weddings.
As you all know, the details of each event drastically changes the flow of the timeline. Timeline Genius takes the tedious work out of it. You can even send an electronic link to your clients and vendors allowing them easy access to the specific information they need. Want to send a wedding party timeline only? No problem – with the click of a button you have just what you need.
We all know Google Drive as not a new resource but it is well tested and dearly beloved by many. I have, personally, moved all of my client files to Google Drive. It makes for super easy file sharing with clients and creative partners. Files are easily organized and arranged for easy access and there is no hard drive space taken up on my computer. Another thing I love is that it’s completely cloud-based, so if I am out and need instant access I can get my files from any computer or device.
Asana is a cloud-based productivity software that I have fallen in love with! This tool allows you to keep track of your many events and all of the responsibilities and tasks that need to take place. You can share the responsibilities with clients and creative partners alike so that everyone sees what needs to be done, when and by whom. You can even assign deadlines and get reminders so that nothing slips through the cracks. And when you complete a task a unicorn flies over the screen! That never hurts!
I love this little app because it allows me to sign contracts, invoices, and any other important documents directly from my phone. It also works on all other devices as it saves your signature for easy use. Everything is secure and legally binding!
I know many people in the wedding industry who swear by Dubsado. It does everything from capturing leads on your website, to automatically following up with a questionnaire based on the client’s input to a full CRM management system with contracts, payments, calendar syncing, task lists and just about everything in between. While it takes some commitment to set a system like this up, once you have done it, your business is almost completely automated freeing you up to do the work you actually love instead of the boring back end business work.
It is not just planners that are using more technology! More and more clients are moving away from traditional, old-school methods of tracking guest lists, RSVPs and more. Some of my clients’ favorite resources and tools are:
This is a powerful little app for clients! It does everything from custom wedding websites, event scheduling, guest lists and RSVPs to digital cards, photo sharing, travel planning and more. There are free resources and for a small (very small) fee you can even have a customized website name. Everything is fully customizable and interactive.
Want your guests to know each other and keep in touch? Guesterly does that! It is a wonderful tool for guest connection and can be done digitally or in print!
While WeddingWire is not a new resource, it is a fierce one that allows clients to do everything from creating wedding websites, to having checklists, budgeting, seating, vendor management and more. Better yet, it is all still free to the clients!
Stay tuned for next week, when Heather tells us the top event planning trends to look forward to in 2018!