Business, From the Experts, General Tips
7 Must-Haves for an AMAZING Destination Wedding Planning Portfolio
Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences.
Presentation really is everything. What you have in your professional portfolio for your first client meeting is essential. I’ve changed mine many times over the years. I’ll swap some items out or completely remove an element. I always like to update my destination wedding planning portfolio so it’s always current.
There’s no right or wrong way to display items in your portfolio. In fact, there isn’t a limit to the amount of content you can include. Some wedding planners will include lots of photos while others will pick a few weddings and showcase the location and details. Whatever you decide to include, make sure it represents your best work.
Below, I’ll outline the 7 things clients are looking for in a destination wedding planning portfolio. If you check off all these boxes, you’re set!
1. A variety of photos from weddings you’ve planned
If you’re new to the industry, you might have very little or nothing at all to display in your professional portfolio. I would recommend organizing some styled photoshoots to demonstrate your creative abilities and design skills.
Look for vendors who are new to the wedding industry to collaborate with. Since everyone is fairly green, you will all have the same goal. In the end, all of the styled shoot contributors will walk away with professional photos that spotlight everyone’s individual and combined talent.
For my destination wedding planning portfolio, I prefer to have it all digital. But some wedding planners prefer to have a physical portfolio book. It really doesn’t matter which medium you choose—it comes down to what you’re comfortable with.
I always have a laptop or iPad with a short slideshow of my portfolio. During the client consultation, I will show potential clients some of my work to give them an idea of what I’ve accomplished and to inspire them for their own destination wedding.
In my digital portfolio slideshow, I always include…
- A photo of the couple
- The wedding theme and colors
- Photos that show key details in décor, food, entertainment, etc.
- Photos of the wedding destination.
When meeting with a client, I may have a few slideshows I’ll use depending on the client’s choice destination. If I am showcasing a destination wedding I planned in Jamaica, I will list the available resort and off-resort venues based on their wish list. I will also list unique considerations for planning a wedding in Jamaica.
2. Details of a few destinations you’re familiar with
Not every couple has a destination in mind so having a few to discuss is ideal. If they do have a destination in mind, ask them why they chose that destination. I always like to bring examples of destination weddings in other countries as well as the budgets for those weddings. Your clients can then visualize the possible elements of the wedding and determine a starting point for their wedding budget. This isn’t something that normally local wedding planners will include in their portfolios; however, it is a great inclusion for a destination wedding planner’s portfolio.
In many cases, your clients are relying on your recommendations and expertise since they won’t have an opportunity to see the destination or venue in-person or know everything the location has to offer.
3. Sample business and wedding planning templates
You’ll want to include sample templates to show the couple. These templates will give them an idea of what’s included in your service and what to expect from you. Include a sample wedding planning timeline template, a destination wedding planning checklist, inspiration and mood board samples, as well as a sample contract to view.
4. Specific services in your destination wedding planning package
If you offer both full-service and partial-service planning for destination weddings, list what’s included in each and define the differences between those services. Don’t forget to include any specializations you may have (luxury destination wedding planning, event design, etc.). This is the time to shine and toot your own horn!
5. Satisfied client testimonials
Ask past clients to write a testimonial or review about you and your services. Always include some of these positive reviews in your portfolio. Reviews show potential clients what you’re like to work with. I like to have a few testimonials in my slideshow, each alongside a picture of the couple who wrote one. It gives them a visual of who these words are coming from.
6. Professional wedding planning certifications
Showcase the destination wedding planning course you’ve taken and the event and wedding planner certifications you’ve earned. All education is an investment and time commitment. Whenever you earn additional specializations or take part in a training workshop, mention it! You may also wish to include wedding industry associations you belong to. Couple’s want to hear and see this. They want to know you’re serious and that they’re working with a professional. You’ll be able to show them that this isn’t just a hobby for you. It’s a career choice.
Bonus tip: Provide clients with a “takeaway”
A great way to close off a client meeting is to provide something physical to the couple. Enclosed in a folder, include your business card, a list of your services, your bio, your contact information (with social media links) as well as a service contract for them to review. Providing information they can review later on keeps you front and center, especially if they’re still in the interviewing process.
The more you can demonstrate your expertise and the benefit of your services, the more likely they will hire you. Your destination wedding planning portfolio is the perfect way to promote yourself and the value you bring to every potential client! As such, make sure your portfolio looks professional and polished, no matter how big or small it may be.
Do you have any tips for building a destination wedding planning portfolio? Share them in a comment!
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