Swag

Every now and then, I come across helpful resources. Some directly relate to writing copy, while others are more on the indirect side. Some are free and some you have to pony up some cash to receive. I try to update this regularly, so you are in the know and have the latest 4-1-1 (that’s shorthand for info, in case you’re not as old as me).

Confession: Some of these are my own books or programs, so I do receive compensation for those items*. Some are affiliate programs so I receive some cashola if you buy. I’ll tell you this, though, I usually only tout programs/books/online courses/whatever it is that you’re looking at because I’ve used the stuff myself, liked it, and had good results from it.

Planning Software

Aisle Planner: If you are looking for a robust suite of tools to organize + manage your planning clients + weddings, you have found the right tool with Aisle Planner.  Now you can use Aisle Planner for non-wedding events too (such as photo shoots, parties, corporate events, and personal projects)! Exciting. WISH this program was around when I was a wedding planner. My good friend Meghan at Aisle Planner gave me free access to take this baby on a spin + it is magnificent. It. Is. A. Must. Meghan also wants you to enjoy 25% off for the first THREE MONTHS on her (+me), so enter promo code WeddingPlannerCopy to save.

Contracts/Forms

The Contract Shop: One thing you want to do as a wedding planner is to make sure that you dot all you “i”s and cross all your “t”s in your client contract. The Contract Shop offers a wedding/event planner contract written and reviewed by more than 20 legal professionals. You can instantly download the contract, personalize it, and start using it right away.

The Contract Shop also has contracts for wedding photographers, styled shoots, florists, videographers, and more.

Branding + Strategy Planning

Emily Ley: I adore my Emily Ley planner! I had to go back to a physical planner (+ I still use my phone too) because I was accidentally double booking (oops!). I’m good now, though. Emily Ley is a boutique lifestyle brand that embodies the inviting personal style and traditional sensibilities of its Founder and Creative Director, Emily Ley. She offers more than planners, so check out her goodies!

Blogging

The 5-day Wedding Biz Blogging CourseFree 5-day email course that walks you through getting your wedding biz blog up + running.

Wedding Biz Blogging: Wedding planners are always telling me that they don’t know the first thing about blogging. Well, have I got a GREAT source for you. Wedding Biz Blogging gets you well on your way to creating a blog that BOOKS YOU MORE WEDDINGS. I walk you through the step-by-step process you need to take to plan, write + PROMOTE your blog posts to increase the number of brides + grooms that read your blog + the number of weddings you book from your blog.

Setting Up a Wedding Biz BlogFree guide that walks you step-by-step through the techy side of setting up your blog.

Repurpose, Reuse + Recycle Your Content

Instagram for Business

Instagram: Alex Tooby is THE Instagram expert. She offers two courses to help you take your Instagram from ho-hum to wow. Her courses are Infamous to Influential and Hashtag Hero. Check one or both out if you are looking to up your Instagram game.

WordPress Themes

A Prettier Web: If you’re building a WordPress website for your wedding business or you’re looking to change the theme, but can’t afford to hire a designer to customize it quite yet, check out the WordPress themes from A Prettier Web.

Restored 316: Restored 316 offers a variety of feminine WordPress themes, which is perfect for wedding planners that are trying to attract brides and grooms as clients. All of the themes are pretty affordable. If you’re looking for a custom design. Restored 316 offers custom site-building too.

Public Relations for Wedding Industry

Sales/Selling for Wedding Industry

Domains & Hosting

SiteGround: I had my domain name, hosting + email accounts with BlueHost. After a MAJOR problem with them, I searched for and found SiteGround. I find them to be affordable and to offer all the services I need to run my business online. WordPress hosting is not a problem and they offer good customer service when (and if ) you need it. I highly recommend checking them out if you are starting an online presence or looking to move from your existing host.

NameCheap: If you need to buy your domain name, I suggest NameCheap.com. I buy all of my domain names from NameCheap.com. As their name suggests, the domain names tend to be less expensive than other places and I tend to keep my hosting and domain names at separate companies.

Email Marketing

Mailer Lite: It’s a free way to send out marketing emails that look like a pro designed it. It has all sorts of templates so if you can cut and paste copy into a template, you’re good to go. It has ALL of the features you need — including autoresponders! You have to start paying once you reach 1,001 subscribers, but plans start at $10 per month, so it’s a great program for small biz owners and entrepreneurs with lists of less than 5,000 names (although Mailer Lite does offer programs for lists that exceed 50,000 subscribers too)!

6 Essential Parts of Email Marketing

Payment Processors

Stripe: I use Stripe for payment processing. It has comparable rates to PayPal, BUT it also gives you the platform for processing credit cards over the phone or in person. I’ve recently started using it along with an Ecwid shopping cart to process payments. One GREAT advantage of Stripe is that it automatically transfers money to your bank account, where PayPal requires you to manually move the money.

Social Media Management

Tailwind: Tailwind is a scheduler for your Pinterest pins. I use it + love it. If you use my link, you get your first month of Tailwind for FREE. As a wedding pro, if you’re not using Pinterest, start using it now. Brides + grooms are all over Pinterest AND Pinterest is the second largest search engine (second only to Google).

Recurpost: I am in L-O-V-E with Recurpost. It is a social media management tool like no other. Not only can you schedule your social media updates, but it puts your social media updates on autopilot (autopilot on steroids). You see, Recurpost stores your content in categories. You can create a schedule of your categories. Recurpost chooses content from your content library to share from the appropriate category (So you upload content one time and Recurpost uses it over and over again). You can also schedule updates for one-time use. Recurpost is my crush.

Hootsuite: You can link all of your social media accounts to Hootsuite. Then, when you want to send out an update, you can type it one time and it updates all of the social media accounts you have connected to Hootsuite. Basically, it puts your social media marketing management on AUTOPILOT. That’s yummy.

Buffer: Buffer is a social media scheduling tool. You can add your social media accounts, create an update one time, and send it out into the social media universe. The main difference between Buffer and Hootsuite is that Buffer does not allow you to monitor other people’s updates from your social media accounts (Hootsuite does). (HINT: If you’re solely looking for a tool to push updates out, then I like Buffer better. If you’re looking for something to schedule updates and monitor your social media accounts simultaneously, then Hootsuite is the better option.)

Design

PicMonkey: I love this monkey! (Maybe I just like monkeys in general because I’m a MailChimp fan too.) I use PicMonkey to create my own “teaser” photos, banners, etc. You can edit a photo online, add text, and add other embellishments. Again, you don’t have to be a design genius to figure this stuff out, but it can help you look like a genius when it comes to promoting your business.

Canva: Canva has some free pro layouts for various types of promos. Some are Instagram posts, PDF docs, FB cover photos, Twitter profile backgrounds, and more. It offers some free layouts and embellishments and some are paid (I think they are like $1 for each one you use). Awesome way to create professional looking, well…almost anything.

Stock Photos

SC Stockshop: Wedding Planners are always oooooo-ing and ahhhhhh-ing over my photos that I use for my blog posts, social media updates + Pinterest. SC Stockshop is one of the stock photo shops I use. If you want to pretty up your website, blog, or Instagram feed, check them out.

PicJumbo: Great stock photos are so hard to find! I refuse to pay for photos, but want them to look great as part of my blog posts or my teaser banners, or whatever! PicJumbo is a great resource, with fab photos, and it’s free. Register on the site and they deliver FREE and FAB stock photos to you on a pretty regular basis. Sock away those emails and when you need one for something, start looking at the pics you have on hand. Download the ones you need, when you need them.

MorgueFile: This is another FREE source that I use. The drawback is that some of the photos are obviously amateur photos. The positive is that you can search for the pics you need by subject, so it offers more options than PicJumbo in pinpointing exactly what you need.

Pinterest for Business

Marketing, Writing & Social Media Books & Ebooks

Document Sharing & Storage

Dropbox: Oh, where do I begin with how much I LOOOOOOVVVVEEE Dropbox? First, I use two computers–my desktop and my laptop. I have Dropbox installed on both computers, so whatever I write and save on one computer is AUTOMATICALLY available on the other computer. Second, I can easily share documents with my clients, colleagues, or whoever I want by sending them a quick link, so they can access it anywhere, anytime, from their own computer. Finally, I can access my files as long as I have access to the Internet, by logging into my Dropbox account online. NEVER get stuck without access to your files again! (They don’t have an affiliate program, per se, but if you sign up, I do receive extra space in my Dropbox account–oh yeah!)

Document Signing & Sending

HelloFax: Faxes don’t have to be a headache. Since I did away with my landline a long, long, time ago, but still have to send and receive faxes every once in awhile, I use HelloFax (the free version). You can have faxes arrive directly in your inbox as a PDF, where you can view, download and share them. You never have to worry about missing a fax or not knowing when it arrives. It comes straight to you. You can access your faxes from *anywhere and unlimited storage is included.

Sending faxes is just as easy. You can send faxes to multiple numbers at once, and even sign and edit them electronically! As soon as your fax arrives, you’ll receive a confirmation email.

*In addition to HelloFax, you also have the option of syncing your account with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and/or Evernote where you can send, receive and manage your faxes.