The #WeddingPreneurs Lounge: How to add storytelling to weddings
We as designers or planners have a very important job: provide a memorable experience for our clients. We should let them enjoy their special day, make sure their family and friends are entertained and that everything happens as planned. But, how do you create that memorable experience? What does it take to make it memorable?
Storytelling is the answer. It sounds like an obvious answer however, it surprisingly doesn’t happen very often. Many professionals that I coach have no clue about how to incorporate storytelling, they’re too concentrated on the organizational part of the planning process. Budget, location, service providers, agreements, payments, deadlines, site inspections, walkthroughs, menu tastings, dress fittings, hair and makeup trial sessions, the timeline… With all this going on, many forget about the emotional aspect, the emotional story, what is really the reason why we, the planners, are working with our clients. Think about it for a second. Why do planners work with wedding couples? And, how many times do you write a story for your clients?
Let’s look at some ideas on how to add storytelling to your clients’ weddings. This will allow you to craft something special that they (and their guests) will remember forever. This is also a clever way to embellish a wedding that doesn’t have a lot of rich details. Storytelling will replace the visual aspect with the emotional aspect (which, in my opinion, is far more powerful).
The Power of Storytelling
If you use social media to promote your business and increase your visibility in order to get more sales, you know about the power of storytelling to get your clients’ attention, right? It’s scientifically proven that, when you share compelling stories the human brain processes the information in a way that it becomes personal. Your potential clients relate to that story, the story relates to their personal experiences. You get their attention and, as a consequence, they will get attracted to you and to what you can do for them, they will get attracted to how you can help them. This means sales!
The same exact concept can be applied to events and weddings. This is not something new.
A good example is the ability of photographers to tell a story with their pictures, right? You probably heard how the posing, how shooting techniques, and how specific lighting can contribute to the intensity of the visual story that the photographer creates for his or her clients.
As you can see, this is not something new but it’s not used to its fullest potential. So we, as wedding planners, should add to the storytelling, and you can contribute in two ways: either you are a designer (like me) so you are able to include different elements and create a vision for them where the story of the couple comes to life – or by including personal touches that will make the difference on the wedding day. Of course, you will need the help of your couple because they will need to give you hints about those elements that you can use to enhance the experience.
Today’s topic was suggested by a question about multi-racial wedding ceremonies that was sent to me on Quora. My answer focused on how I always try to blend the traditions and the culture of the couple because that’s what makes a special day for all.
A reader left her comments:
This made my day, of course but it confirmed what I mentioned at the beginning of this post about the inability of many planners to listen to their couples and provide a memorable experience that tells their story.
So… How can you add storytelling to your clients’ weddings?
It all starts with the initial consultation where you will collect all the information about them, their past, their present and their future, what they look forward to, what their expectations at the wedding will be.
What I usually do is list all the details and information I collected on three columns: Background – Ceremony – Reception
These can be anything being used throughout the wedding such as family portraits. You can display a “memory gallery” on a table during cocktail hour to encourage conversations between guests while the couple and wedding party are taking pictures.
Another detail for this Background category could be a particular flower that the bride’s grandmother loved, and the bride wants to honor her at the wedding. Great, let’s use that flower in her bouquet and in the reception centerpieces. That tells a story!
These are usually religious or cultural traditions that are incorporated into the wedding ceremony. What I absolutely love is being able to blend different cultures or religions into a beautiful ceremony with rituals from the bride’s and the groom’s heritage. Remember the post on Quora?
One of my recent couples had a rabbi to officiate the Jewish portion honoring the bride’s family, and a Shinto priest to pay respect to the groom’s Japanese traditions. The ceremony included rituals from both religions such as sake drinking and the breaking of the glass. Guests loved it! Why? Because it was an unusual combination, something that they had never experienced before or, maybe just once or twice at previous weddings. And, as I had mentioned before, people related to that. They were either Jewish or Japanese guests and they felt they were part of the ceremony, it became a very personal experience.
These can be songs or traditions that are, again, reflecting the couple’s background. Some examples can be a Polynesian performance (yes, I worked with a Hawaiian groom) or the hora dance for Jewish weddings. I also plan many middle eastern weddings and, in some cases, we schedule a full hour of high energy dancing before the dinner and that’s a great time to engage, to make friends, and have a lot of fun!
You can also include short video clips that tell the story of the couple. I’m not talking about those slideshows that we have seen too many times. Not the ones with pictures of the bride and pictures of the groom from the moment they were born until they met, dated and then got engaged. No… I consider them passive entertainment, just like TV. Guests will be forced to watch and – maybe you noticed – most of the times they can’t wait for these to be over so they can go back to chatting with friends at the table or start dancing, or go to the bar.
What I’m talking about it, clips where the couple tells their story on video. And, if possible, share something that is personal, something that maybe guests don’t know about, special messages for some of the guests attending, personal stories. Have them tell challenges they faced during their relationship, have them tell about their biggest joys together… These are things that guests will love to see and hear.
One of my recent couples produced a fabulous video clip where they told about their story in a very creative way by sharing the songs they loved to hear together during the different stages of their relationships. Guests were singing along! That’s not all: at the end of the video they asked a question to their guests: “What do you think was the first thing we noticed and liked about each other when we first met? Write down your response on the card at your place setting, and we’ll read them when we cut the cake in a couple of hours” How cool was that? Interactive, playful, engaging!
So, these are some ideas to add storytelling. Try to implement one or all of them today and help your couples create an unforgettable wedding – not only for them but also for their guests. Your couple will hear them say “This was the best wedding I went to! Best ever!” And they will thank you even more for making them happy.
~~~ TAKE ACTION ~~~ Review your current clients’ weddings and see where you can add storytelling to their vision
~~~ LEAVE A COMMENT ~~~ What is the most beautiful story you experienced at a client wedding? Share with us!
Have you scheduled your FREE Clarity Call with me yet? Let’s talk about storytelling and all those beautiful things that you can add to your expertise. Your client will love having you as their wedding professional! Pick the day and time of your choice HERE
Holistic Precision Life Coach, Brain Wellness Coach, and Life-Work Balance Strategist helping busy professionals and high achievers live and work better by prioritizing themselves. I use different modalities (epigenetics, neuroscience, chronobiology, and positive psychology) to implement effective lifestyle changes.