How to Upsell a Wedding
Getting couples to spend their wedding day budgets with you
The Connecticut Wedding Group in Middlefield, CT sells an average of 200 weddings per year in four different venues—a traditional lakeside pavilion facility, rustic barns in the countryside, an orchard and golf club venue, and a classic New England mansion. Owner Jonathan Jennings says, “We try to create experiences that motivate and inspire our brides to spend more money with our company—on décor, desserts and other touches—and not elsewhere.” No matter your market’s average budget, you can always add on finishing touches to increase sales.
Here are Jennings’ tips on creating memorable experiences that bring profits back into your company:
- Everything from amenities bags in hotel rooms to late night snacks are part of the touchpoints for each wedding; work with partners who can help you control as much of the guests’ experience as possible.
- Décor, décor, décor! If you are an on-premise planner, keep draping and lighting up all year round, like sheer fabric drapes that make a rustic space look more sophisticated. “Our décor profits will triple in 2013 not only because we are developing amazing options, but also because we left décor up throughout the year to show potential clients during sales appointments,” says Jennings.
- Create and market interactive dessert experiences. The over-the-top dessert table is here to stay as a part of social sharing culture; if your guests book this service with your company, rather than a bakery, then you are reaping those profits. Look for bakeries to partner with and develop an in-house pastry program, then use your expertise as a caterer to make it interactive. The Connecticut Wedding Group creates farm-fresh pies or cider donuts from apples grown at their venue’s orchard and works with food trucks to deliver locally designed cupcakes. Dessert ideas often originate with the couple and the sales associate working closely together. “Just recently we developed a milkshake late night snack with a couple for an upcoming summer wedding that is sure to be a hit. By taking the time to create what our couples want, we’ve been able to add another great dessert experience, which adds profitability.”
- Stay on top of trends! Couples want to see that you are changing and growing with new ideas each year. It’s important to follow industry influences like Preston Bailey and Colin Cowie, advises Jennings. And make sure those current décor concepts are reflected when you present locations and proposals to couples. At the barn venue, Jennings says, “We’ve produced décor to reflect the change in wedding trends from rustic burlap to homestead elegance.”
Make sure your brides and grooms know that you are the expert; find partners and staff that can help your top line grow and convince couples to add on to their basic package. At the Connecticut Wedding Group, 99 percent of couples add more than their initial package pricing intends—helping their special celebration add to your company’s profitability.
Originally printed in Catersource magazine May/June issue