• Sage Wedding Pros is committed to creating operationally and financially sustainable businesses in the wedding and events industries.

  • the next level
    strategy conference

    business planning

    hiring, & training
    at your fingertips

    downloads, tools,
    checklists, & e-books

    meet mingle share
    with wedding pros

Hire the Right Person for the Right Job

You hired Sally to do invitation assembly but you’re disappointed that she doesn’t answer the phone.

You hired Jenny to be your office manager but you think that she’s maybe made a lot of mistakes in your Quickbooks.

You hired John to be your photo editor but he hasn’t written a blog post in weeks.

Does this sound familiar?

I see this challenge every day… Overtired and overworked business owners who want more from their employees.

Creative Commons: flicker (Yoel Ben-Avraham)

Creative Commons: flicker (Yoel Ben-Avraham)

But here’s the rub…
No one is good at everything. And you have to accept that everyone has limitations to their talents. (You aren’t good at everything are you?)

So that employee who is so very artistic and creative and detailed… Have her focus on assembling wedding invites. She isn’t your superstar sales person. That’s ok!

The office manager who ultimately doesn’t know accounting probably shouldn’t be managing your books. (Unless of course you invest in some Quickbooks classes for them.) [This thought totally stresses me out. I don't know how many wedding pros' accounting I've looked at in recent years with huge errors because this job was handed to the wrong person.]

Make sure you have the RIGHT person in the RIGHT position. Focus on making the most of that person’s strengths. (And if that means you have two 10hour/week employees instead of one 20hour/week employee… in an effort to have everyone in the right role, then so be it.) You’ll be happy with their results and they’ll be happier in their job.

What do you think about this? What’s been your experience? Share in a comment below.

Here’s another post on why you should avoid hiring a ‘catch-all’ employee.

Need more help with hiring and training? Check out The People Plan.


Facebook This|Tweet This|Email This|Contact Us|Link This

REFINE Workshop: For Novice and Aspiring Wedding Planners

We have a lot of new wedding planners ask us how they can get their jump start on wedding planning. We always tell them they need 2 things:

  • learn the trade (learn the actual wedding planning – the craft)
  • learn the business (learn how to run a business – the ‘behind the scenes’)

I want to share with you a educational seminar that combines both… REFINE Workshop from The Wedding & Event Institute.


Here’s a bit about the workshop from The Wedding & Event Insitute…

The REFINE Workshop is a degree level program combining both formal online training with an intensive hands-on workshop and is the first of its kind to offer both aspects. The program is designed for aspiring and novice wedding planners who want tangible tools and solid takeaways to improve and grow their businesses.

Designed for wedding planners with less than five years in the industry seeking to start or restart their businesses correctly, our Director of Wedding Education Alison Howard, leads the hands-on workshop providing attendees with all the tools, templates, and procedures that she personally developed and uses in her own wedding planning company, Alison Howard Events.

In addition to the workshop there is also an online component, which has been developed over a number of years by the course specialists at the Wedding and Event Institute and has been given the formal ISES tick of approval. This segment can be completed either before or after attending the workshop.

Guest speakers include Christopher Confero an inspired lighting, graphic and floral designer, deemed by The Knot founder Carley Roney as the “talk of the south,” and Lauren Grove of Every Last Detail, a nationally acclaimed wedding blog with a focus on personal details and the education of brides.

We are currently offering two more dates for 2014:

  • Dallas – 29-30 September 2014
  • New York – 15-16 October 2014

Workshop Component

Day 1 – Sales and Marketing

  • Identifying Your Target Market
  • The Power of Branding
  • Selling Your Services
  • Using Social Media
  • The Pricing Point
  • Using Video within Your Marketing
  • Blogging as a Marketing Tool
  • Selling to Millennials
  • Building Effective Networks

Day 2 – Working With Clients

  • The Alison Howard Wedding Planning Process
  • The Client Experience
  • Understanding Your Client
  • Responding to Inquiries
  • Email Tips & Strategies
  • Life/Work Balance
  • Conducting Consultations
  • Coordinating a Wedding Rehearsal

Online Component

  • Trend-Spotting and Setting your Wedding Business Apart
  • The Secret of Successful Styled Shoots
  • Harnessing Inspiration & Using Story Boards
  • The Psychology of Color in Weddings
  • Branding Your Wedding Business
  • The Business of Blogging
  • Setting Up A Social Media Strategy in the Wedding Industry
  • Getting Published and Maximizing PR
  • Pricing Your Services
  • The Mindset of Selling to Wedding Clients

Upon successful completion of both the workshop and the online component you will be able to apply for Master Level Certification – CWP+M – Certified Wedding Planner Master Level™.

For more details or for registration please visit our website: www.weddingandeventinstitute.com/workshops

Facebook This|Tweet This|Email This|Contact Us|Link This

Be Sage Conference – Recap of Day 2

We’re doing recaps of Be Sage Conference this week. Make sure to catch up with our Day 1 recap here. Our conference was a HUGE hit. Experienced wedding professionals got into the nitty-gritty of how to expand their businesses.  (If you are interested in our next Be Sage Conference, make sure to sign up for more information and SPECIAL pricing at www.besageconference.com .)

The following is our recap of Day 2…

Betsy Butwin, an attorney with Friedman Iverson, taught attendees about the value of their intellectual property. And, even more exciting was her sharing how to license or franchise that intellectual property for added revenue. This is a session that was so meaty that it could have been covered in an entire day’s worth of learning.


Barbara Taylor, owner and founder of Allan Taylor, talked to attendees about how to create value in their businesses… namely, how to build a business that is worth selling (even if you don’t plan to sell it). I loved this talk! She showed attendees how to value their business. She also talked about what makes a business more saleable (more valuable).


Our final talk was led by Amy Flurry of Recipe for Press, who talk about how to get publicity. Amy walked participants through her step-by-step approach on how to pitch a story to editors. (She also gave every attendee her book! It was like Oprah visiting our conference… “EVERYONE gets BOOOOOOOKKKKKSSSS!!!” {crowd goes wild}) Amy also shared some great case studies of business owners who made some simple tweaks to their sites and branding to get more ‘press-ready’ in the eyes of magazines, blogs, etc.


If you are interested in our next Be Sage Conference, make sure to sign up for more information and SPECIAL pricing at www.besageconference.com .

Here is another recap on day 2 from Wedding & Event Institute Blog: Highlights from Day 2.


All images courtesy of  Jennifer Kathryn Photography

event venue: Greenhouse Loft

floral design: Fleur Inc.

placemats: 5 by 7 designs

Be Sage Conference book: designed by Mintwich Design, printed by StationeryHQ

“I Want Candy” table designed and sponsored by: idieh design

Gold book sponsored by: Honeybook

Attendee illustrations created by: Lauren Martin of Style Palette

“Be Organized” table sponsored by: MENGUIN


Facebook This|Tweet This|Email This|Contact Us|Link This
September 24, 2014 - 8:29 pm

Lauren Martin - Michelle,

The event looked beautiful and so fabulous! Thank you so much for reaching out to me, what an honor to create those custom illustrations for your event. I enjoyed connecting and look forward to following Be Sage in the future. All the best!

Lauren Jade
Make it a Double

September 26, 2014 - 3:54 am

Michelle Loretta - Thank you for being a part of our conference Lauren! People were so wowed by your beautiful work!!!

Be Sage Conference – Recap of Day 1

Earlier this month we put on the first Be Sage Conference and it was a huge hit! This conference was created for experienced wedding professionals who are looking for ‘next level’ education. It is our mission to provide valuable in-depth learning where people walk away with actual ‘how to’s’ that they are able to implement. (If you are interested in our next Be Sage Conference, make sure to sign up for more information and SPECIAL pricing at www.besageconference.com .)BeSage1The following is our recap of Day 1… come back tomorrow to see Day 2 (where we learned about licensing, selling a business, and getting publicity.)

We began the conference with a Meeting of the Minds. I shared the inspirational story of Sukiyabashi Jiro, the famous sushi master, and asked participants to push themselves to continue learning. As part of our launch we wanted to give attendees the opportunity to get all their dreams, goals, aspirations out of their mind and onto paper. Collaboration is a big part of Be Sage Conference… we had attendees share their ‘big ideas’.


Xochitl Gonzalez and Mayra Castillo of AaB Creates (formerly Always a Bridesmaid) led us in a discussion on How to Evolve Your Brand. These smart ladies shared how they have changed their business in the course of the last 10 years. They talked about how they went from doing 45 weddings per year to 4 weddings per year. They also shared how they separated their day-of wedding coordination business (Just About Married) from their full planning and design (Aab Creates). They led attendees through a series of exercises to help them plan the evolution and next stages of their businesses.


Kelly and I believe that it’s SUPER important to learn from leaders outside of the wedding industry. Jane Park, CEO of Julep Beauty, shared with us her secrets on How to Utilize Social Media for Market Research.  She taught attendees how to use google adwords, facebook, twitter, and other social media to test new ideas before launching them. (Julep also shared some of their fabulous beauty kits with our attendees!)BeSage4

Our final talk on Day 1 was presented by Alison Howard, Director of Education for Wedding & Event Institute. She led a talk on How to Utilize Video for Marketing. Alison shared step-by-step how she got started doing video and how it’s changed her business. She talked about the basic tools we need and how to get better quality video with some sneaky little tips. Youtube is the 2nd most searched engine (after google)… you need to be doing video!


Read our recap of Day 2 here! If you are interested in our next Be Sage Conference, make sure to sign up for more information and SPECIAL pricing at www.besageconference.com .

Here are a few other recaps from around the globe:

Run Your Business to Sell It (and other Lessons from Be Sage Conference) – from Always a Blogsmaid (Aab Create’s blog)
What I Learned at Be Sage Conference
– from AU Wedding Academy Blog in Australia

Highlights from Day 1 – from UK Wedding Academy Blog


Credits include:

1st Set:
image credit (clockwise from upper left): Sage Wedding Pros, Jennifer Kathryn PhotographyJennifer Kathryn PhotographyJennifer Kathryn Photography

nametags: Michelle Edgemont Design
floral design: Fleur Inc.
coasters: designed by Michelle Loretta (Sage Wedding Pros), printed by StationeryHQ

2nd Set:

image credit (clockwise from upper left): Jennifer Kathryn Photography, Sage Wedding Pros, Jennifer Kathryn PhotographyJennifer Kathryn Photography

Be Sage Conference book: designed by Mintwich Design, printed by StationeryHQ

3rd Set:

image credit: Jennifer Kathryn Photography

pencilcase: Doodledog Creative

4th Set:

image credit: Jennifer Kathryn Photography

beauty boxes: Julep Beauty

5th Set:

image credit: Jennifer Kathryn Photography

Facebook This|Tweet This|Email This|Contact Us|Link This
August 19, 2014 - 9:30 am

Jessie - Wow! I love how diverse and concrete all of the ideas and presentations were (though I didn’t expect anything less of you, Michelle!). I hope I can attend in the future.

August 19, 2014 - 11:27 am

Vicky Choy - Excellent conference ladies! It was exactly what I was looking for and one of the few truly education conferences out there. Very well done. Vicky Choy, Event Accomplished

6 Signs Your Freelancer is an Employee NOT a Contractor

The IRS rules for hiring independent contractor are pretty clear: the contractor must have complete independence from the company hiring them to do the work. However, in the wedding industry, we tend to see a lot of people not full understand what this ‘independence’ thing means.

14066870366_912293e866_zHere are 6 signs that your freelancers should be classified as an employee (NOT a 1099 independent contractor):

  1. You don’t have a contract with them.
    You must have a contract with your contractor. Otherwise, you won’t be able to prove that they were hired to do a specific job for you. (Law for Creatives* offers professional templates for working with independent contractors.)
  2. You have them fill out timesheets.
    An independent contractor should be controlling their prices and their income. Therefore, they should be invoicing YOU. (You are an independent contractor to your brides/grooms. You wouldn’t have them deciding when to pay you and how much.)
  3. You have an open-ended and/or long-term agreement with them for work.
    A company hiring an independent contractor is hiring that person for a specific job or project. That job, as defined by the contract, has a finite end date. Having contractors for extended periods of time shows that you are reliant on that person to accomplish operations withIN your business. This reliance is contrary to the independence requirement of classifying contractors.
  4. They have a company email address for YOUR company.
    Contractors should NOT have an email address with your business. If they are independent, they will operate under their own email address, which you will have no control over.
  5. You have them follow company protocol very closely.
    If you share your employee handbook with them and expect them to follow it, then they are employees, not contractors. You can hire a contractor to embrace/mirror your company values. BUT, you cannot dictate to them how they will work.
  6. You prohibit them from working for a competitor.
    Contractors can and should have a multitude of clients for which they do work. (You would never tell a graphic designer that they cannot design a website for your competitor.) If you prohibit them from working for a competitor, then they should be classified as employees.

Contractors are independent from your company. It’s even better, in the eyes of the IRS, if they have their own business. Thinking of contractors as separate businesses will help you define your relationship with them.

For example: Contractor Inc. has been hired to do A, B, C for your company from June through September. They will invoice you monthly. You have a contract that specifies the terms of the work they have agreed to do for your business.

Beware: the IRS may audit your business. If they decide that you have misclassified a worker as an independent contractor, then you could have penalties and employee back taxes due.

Need more help with contractors and employees? Check out The People Plan.

Facebook This|Tweet This|Email This|Contact Us|Link This
H o m e
C o n n e c t
S u b s c r i b e
S e a r c h