3 Simple Ways To Book A Wedding Today

Imagine for a minute that you had been given an ultimatum. Let’s say you’re behind on paying your taxes and your business property is being seized. You’re going to loose your camera, lenses and all of your gear in 24 hours UNLESS you can get one new wedding contract signed with a paid deposit before then.

You’ve got 24 hours to save your business. What are you going to do?
3-simple-ways-to-book-a-wedding-today
I know this is an extreme story, but it gets you in a mindset to think creatively! I tried to think about what I would do in this situation and came up with a few ideas. Be sure to really think through these tips and the level of desperation they may convey. Put your own twist on them and make them fit your business. In other words, these aren’t going to be right for everyone as I describe them here, but don’t dismiss them as useless if you can’t use them exactly as they are, or if you need more than 24 hours to implement them!

1. Rally The Troops!

No matter where you are in your business journey, you’ve got SOMEONE who supports you! Someone believes in your vision and loves what you are doing. Those are the people who will be happy to help promote your business. Bryan Harris describes these people as “eager sneezers.” They may or may not be your target market, but they know people who are in your target market!
BUT… you don’t want to just start calling everyone and telling them that your business is failing and you’re desperate to book a wedding. So the first thing you need to do is come up with a reason to ask them to promote you to the people they know! I’ll give you an example in a minute.
When you have your reason, it is time to assemble the troops! Reach out to anyone who might be able to “sneeze on” your target market with your message. Prioritize your list by contacting the people who are most likely to help you first. Some people you might reach out to include:
  • Parents, siblings, and other family members
  • Wedding vendors, especially planners and people with whom you have a personal relationship
  • Community members, neighbors, church, coworkers
  • People who owe you favors 😉
  • Past clients (wedding or otherwise)
  • Bridal parties from previous weddings
  • Guests from previous weddings if you’ve been collecting email addresses
Don’t just email these people or send them a message on Facebook. Visit them in person or get on the phone and call them!
Remember how I said you need to come up with a reason to call? Here is an example (let’s say this is a florist that you’ve worked with recently):
“Hey _____! I’ve been looking at my marketing plan for the next 6 months and I realized that I REALLY want to work with more clients like that wedding we did last month. I really loved the attention she put into the guest experience, and you were a big part of that. My primary objective is to reach more clients like her, so I wanted to reach out and see if you happen to be working with anyone else right now that might be a good fit. [let them answer] Even if not, I’d love for you to keep me in mind when that kind of person comes to you in the future!”
BONUS POINTS: Stop by and take a print they can hang on the wall to show off their work, or press printed cards with the contact information for THEM. Include your logo/website on the back if you want (I wouldn’t), but make it a marketing piece for the other vendor so they will be compelled to hand it out and talk about you with clients!
Get creative and come up with what you might say to some of the other categories. This was just ONE example of a simple reason, but you could get far more detailed if you wanted. Just remember, the reason is important.
Random Tidbit: If you need more convincing that the “reason” is important, watch this video (because I want you to watch this video).

2. Trade Leads

If you’re friends with other photographers, you can share leads with each other when you are already booked.

I know. You’re saying “ok, but I’ve heard that tip a million times, why are you wasting my time with something I already know?”

Well, if I needed to book a wedding by tomorrow, I’d figure out which dates are the MOST popular this year (and that I’m not already booked). Then I’d reach out to a few of my friends who were photographers (call them or visit in person) and I would say, “I’ve noticed that EVERYBODY seems to be booked on ____, and ____. For some reason, I just haven’t booked either of these yet! If you’re already booked, would you consider sending anyone else who inquires about that date over my way?”  If they say yes, and you have any luck, they might even say “I just had someone inquire about that date this week, let me send them to you!”

If you aren’t having any luck with local photographers that you know personally, you could also take this request to a local Facebook Group. Just remember, if you have a REASON, people are more likely to respond.

For example (I’m not telling you to make up stories that aren’t true, but let’s assume the following is true for you):

“I just had a couple that backed out of their contract for October 15th. I’d love to fill that spot so I can give them a refund and replace the work I’ll be missing.”

or if you don’t have a drastic story…

“I’m looking to fill a spot on my calendar on [popular date] because I LOVE shooting in October and I’m bummed I don’t have that date booked! If you have any leads to send me, I’d be happy to return the favor!”

Remember, you need to use your judgment on how spammy you are being and where this may or may not be appropriate. I can think of several groups that I am part of where something like this would be perfectly acceptable. In others, I’d probably get kicked out of the group.

If you don’t want to run the risk of getting banned, why not start your own group? You could call it “The super awesome wedding lead sharing group in [my city].” Then call 10-20 photographers and tell them why you thought the group would be a good idea and ask them if they’d like to join. Some will say no, but even if you get a few who share a lead, it can be worth it for everyone involved! Bonus points if you can start it off with a few leads from recent inquiries where you were already booked. Start by giving and people will be happy to give back to you!

3. Offer A Flash Sale

I saved this one for last because I KNOW that discounts are not for everyone. In fact, I usually discourage discounting your work.

However, I also discourage having the government seize your equipment, and this exercise is about things that could work if you were desperate to book a wedding QUICKLY! 

Personally, I wouldn’t want to just publicly offer a discounted price on a package that someone else had recently booked at a higher price.

Here are a few alternative ways you could offer a flash sale.

  • Reach out to recent inquiries who decided not to book with you or didn’t respond to your follow up email. Send them an email or give them a call with a special offer if they want to take it in the next 24 hours. The more drastic the discount, the more likely this will be effective.
  • Reach out to a planner or venue and tell them you’d like to offer a special deal exclusively to their clients for the next ___ [amount of time]. Give them the option of extending that discount to their client, or taking part/all of it as a referral fee. For example, reach out to a planner (don’t forget your reason) and say you’d like to let them offer their clients $1,000 off any package. They can then decide whether to extend the full $1,000 discount to the client, extend a smaller discount to the client and keep the difference, or give the client your full price sheet and keep the $1,000 as a referral fee.
  • Run a special for a very specific kind of client. You could offer $1,000 off for any client with red hair. Or $200 off for any client who can play the guitar while riding a unicycle. Maybe in honor of National Tap Dance day (which is today, as I am writing this post), you’ll offer a $500 discount to anyone who sends you a video of themselves doing a tap dance! Or in honor of National Go Barefoot Day, you’re offering $250 for any bride who will agree not to wear shoes on her wedding day. Make it fun and use it as a way to showcase your personality! You might also use it as an excuse to attract your ideal client.

I want to hear your ideas!

What would you do if you had to book a wedding in the next 24 hours? Leave a comment with your best idea below, or come over and share it with us in the Fuel Your Photos Facebook group!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Thanks for compiling this tips! They’re great!

  2. Corey, you are rocking the market! I love it! Also love the sales aspect of this post – I think as photographers, it is so easy to forget that we are still salespeople! Having a “reason” is a genius angle. I’ve found #2 to be crucial, especially after having moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth market (seriously crucial) and I’ve once done #3 as a last resort.

  3. This is a great set of advice to find new clients. I am not a wedding photographer or an event planner, but I can use this advice in my own business.

  4. These are fantastic tips! It’s great to have some sort of plan of action to get things going during desperate times. Thanks for taking the time to write these!

  5. Having a great referral and vendor network is key! I would definitely encourage photographers to be consistent about reaching out to other vendors on a regular basis so that you remain front of mind. It will pay off when they are ready to refer someone. Great post!

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