Q&A with Mindy Weiss: Connecting and Communicating with Event Clients During a Pandemic
In the event industry, connecting in-person and building relationships has always been essential in maintaining and growing an event planning business. While a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and canceled and postponed events has made nurturing those relationships more challenging, staying connected with event clients has never been more critical.
Known as one of the industry’s most creative minds and calming presences, we chatted with Mindy Weiss, author, speaker, and wedding and event planner, to hear her advice for staying in touch, keeping clients engaged when events have been postponed, and staying inspired during a pandemic.
Allseated: What have you done to stay connected with your clients – especially wedding clients who had to postpone their original event dates?
It’s so important to stay connected to your couples because it’s hard to start over when you already have a good relationship! Event planners have always had to get creative and find a way to keep their clients’ events and weddings feel personalized and memorable – and it’s even more important today when events are far off and plans change so frequently.
I borrowed a fantastic idea from Debbie Geller, the owner of Geller Events. She sent some of her brides personalized puzzles – puzzles with a cute picture of the bride and groom.
I used the same idea and sent them to all my brides and grooms. You would think I sent them something off their registry because they were so well received. I’ve found staying connected can be something as simple as giving them a call to check in on them, sending a lovely handwritten note, or finding something fun to share like a personalized puzzle.
Allseated: How else have you adapted client communications?
On the client-side, we’ve received more questions about how we’re handling and managing events in a pandemic – it’s become part of our interview process. We’ve also changed our client contract, adding a new pandemic insert, which all planners should think about if you haven’t done so already. Besides protecting yourself, your client, and other vendors, it shows how professional and organized you are.
We’ve also had frank conversations about what events and weddings might look like. For example, we discuss if clients even want to have an event with social distancing or guests wearing masks in their pictures. Masks in particular have come up several times. I ask clients if they’re going to wait or embrace it as part of their story. It may not be a great story, but it is what it is. I explain to clients this is something you’ll tell your children, and that’s what we went through in the time of COVID. Wedding clients need to decide if they want to move ahead before the vaccine, then guests will be wearing masks and be socially distanced.
Allseated: What have you changed when working with other vendors or suppliers?
We’ve discussed having our event vendors sign a COVID liability release. We’ve also talked to vendors about taking COVID tests and showing us results. It can be a bit overwhelming thinking about having every lighting installer, every decorator, every florist, etc., take and show proof of a negative test. But it’s essential to keep everyone safe.
The organizations we all work with are incredibly professional, careful and don’t want their staff to get sick. So while we also ask every guest to take a test, we can do our part by having vendors test within 48 hours of an event and monitor anyone coming from the vendor side who has tested negative.
Allseated: How do you stay inspired and share ideas with clients?
I’m reading tons of design magazines to get inspired by what’s coming. Since there haven’t been any fashion shows, we rely more on prediction mode.
And as planners also know, clients can get inspired by something they see online and change their whole concept. I like to help them visualize the venue, show them the room, and even start placing virtual furniture in it. I try to paint a complete picture, incorporating their inspiration and fashion moment down to the floor plan and even flowers on the table.
That’s one of the reasons I’m involved with Allseated — because it’s something I use and I can talk about, but it also literally makes my job easier because many people cannot visualize an empty room.
Hear more of Mindy’s insights by watching the full video interview with Allseated’s Co-Founder and CMO, Sandy Hammer.
Mindy, in partnership with Debbie Geller, also offers a new 12 course MAD About Weddings content and program designed to reduce stress while planning a perfect wedding day.
For more about using Allseated’s digital and virtual event planning tools to stay connected and share inspiration with clients – including Allseated OPS and Vision – join one of our upcoming webinars.