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Be Sage Conference Speaker: Alison Howard, The Wedding and Event Institute

We are thrilled to partner with a range of amazing speakers for our Be Sage Conference this August. When we sat down to set our curriculum for Be Sage, we asked ourselves: “What are the challenges that experienced business owners have in the wedding industry?” We came up with a list of questions and found the best people to speak on these topics.

Limelife Photography_Alison Howard Events-28We are thrilled to introduce you to Alison Howard who will be speaking on why video needs to be a part of your marketing strategy.

Alison is the Director of Wedding Education for The Wedding and Event Institute. She is a business and life coaching to aspiring and fellow entrepreneurs, hosts regular a YouTube show geared toward brides and aspiring wedding planners, facilitates yearly workshops where she teaches attendees how to break into the wedding industry and speaks on the power of video marketing for various prestigious organizations across the country. Alison Howard provides luxury wedding planning services to her clients as the owner and executive director of California-based Alison Howard Events.

She will be addressing the following questions…


Why do I need to be using video in my business?
How can video bring me sales and make me money?
What equipment do I need to make videos?
How do I get started with videos?

5 Things You’ll Learn from Alison:

  1. How to use video to differentiate from competition.
  2. How to use video to showcase personality and knowledge.
  3. What equipment is necessary to implement video into a marketing plan.
  4. How to create alternative streams of income via the use of video.
  5. How to close every sale using video marketing.

We feel pretty strongly about partnering with companies and individuals that mirror and augment our own core values. Here are 3 core values that are fundamental to Alison and how she does business:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • FUN

We hope you’ll join us this August!


Get your ticket for Be Sage Conference, by clicking here.

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Be Sage Conference Attendees to Earn Certification Credits with Wedding & Event Institute


We are thrilled to share that Be Sage Conference is an educational seminar approved by Wedding and Event Institute. Attendees will receive certification credits with WEI upon completion of the conference. The WEI certification is an accreditation program where participants must complete a business plan, a marketing plan, and educational hours. WEI is raising the bar of our industry by creating a program whereby wedding pros are asked to show competency and business sustainability. It promotes the need for continued education in the wedding industry and gives professionals a chance to earn a meaningful designation that is supported and managed in association with the WEI Advisory & Certification Board. This board is made up of 15 renowned wedding professionals (including Sage Wedding Pros) and is the only independent board of its kind within special event education.

The Be Sage conference is aimed at wedding professionals at that two-year plus point in their business and will help them to take their business to the next level. It is the perfect conference partner for the WEI Certification Program with some very tangible takeaways. As always, we commit ourselves to providing deep business education where attendees walk away with the skills to immediately implement what they have learned.

At the start of 2014 WEI launched their new Certification Program for Wedding Professionals, which offers anyone in the wedding industry the chance to become certified. WEI’s certification program is the only one in the wedding industry that focuses on business success in addition to the execution of wedding services. We have partnered with WEI because we feel strongly that the certification qualifications mirror Sage Wedding Pros’ commitment to business excellence.

There are two streams of certification. The first stream is offered through online certification courses and the second stream is offered through our certification conference partners.

By attending an approved certification conference attendees will be eligible to apply for one of three certifications:


Attending the conference is the first part of the application and attendees will receive confirmation of attendance from the conference organizers after the conference, which should be submitted with their application.

The second part of the application involves our certification exam, details of which can be found on our website or by clicking the links below. We use the word exam loosely as it is more of a project than an exam and each one is relevant to the certification that is being applied for.

The Be Sage conference is the next level in education for your wedding business. It provides 2 days of education on in-depth business practices and applications to use in your business. This isn’t just fluff and theory. This conference will give you tools to succeed. The early bird pricing for the Be Sage Conference ends soon so make sure you register, as places are limited. Take your business to the next level and Get Certified! Click here to register…



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June 26, 2014 - 1:46 pm

Leslie Wong - Hello Michelle,

I am very intrigued by the Be Sage Conference. I’m on the founding team of HoneyBook, which is a revolutionary app for wedding planners. We are growing our presence nationally from our home base of San Francisco. I’d like to chat about opportunities to be involved with the Be Sage Conference and have some time early next week or the week after.

Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you!

(925) 818-167

Sage Wedding Pros… Find us Elsewhere…

We’ve been busy!

Lately, we’ve had some great opportunities to contribute blog posts, interviews, podcasts, and vlogs to other wonderful organizations. Here’s a snippet of what we’ve been up to:

5 Ways to Ensure your Event Business is Profitable – Video interview between Michelle and Sylvia Pelligrini from Events Uncovered for Biz Bash Live

Business Planning that Isn’t Snooze-Worthy - Michelle’s Interview with Evolve Your Wedding Business Podcast

How to Discover Your Pricing Sweetspot – Guest Post on Bridal Appeal

We were selected to be on Wedding and Event Institute Advisory Board(Read what we think about learning about new trends in the wedding industry.)

We were selected as one of the top 98 small business blogs by GoDotMedia!

And we recently spoke at Trouvaille Workshop and Biz Bash Live: The Expo. It’s been a busy winter and spring!:)

And, make sure to catch Michelle here in the next few weeks:

Trade Show Camp – Webinar on “Accounting 101 – Know Your Numbers” – June 4th online

NACE Experience – Breakout Session on “Dollars & Sense” – July 15th in Baltimore

(And our own seminar, Be Sage Conference in August!)



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Meet our Thursday Therapy Hosts for Phoenix

We are thrilled to be partnered with 3 outstanding businesses in the Phoenix area for Thursday Therapy. We love the energy and vibe that Cammie, Devin, Jacob, and Kate bring to networking. We hope that you’ll join them for meeting and mingling. Check out their next event on June 5th!

Cammie Dubina - Plan Simplicity Events

Cammie Dubina – Plan Simplicity Events

Devin Berko & Jake Burke - Something New Media

Devin Berko & Jake Burke – Something New Media

Kate DeLong - Preserve Your Flowers

Kate DeLong – Preserve Your Flowers

Kate shared with us her thoughts on networking…

How did all of you meet? 

I attended the Phoenix Bridal Show in October 2013, where I met Cammie of Plan Simplicity Events & Devin of Something New Media. We all sorta meshed from the beginning, we were newer wedding professionals on the scene, we were ready to network & mingle. Cammie had attended a Sage Wedding Pros event not top long after where she learned about Thursday Therapy & we were all hooked from there! We love to meet wedding industry leaders and create professional relationships with other wedding professionals. It’s what makes our world go round!

Why did you want to bring Thursday Therapy to Phoenix?

We can’t wait to host a fun way to meet & connect with other wedding professionals! How many times have you attended a bridal show or other bridal related event, where you wish you could have networked more? Or felt rushed during your initial conversation with a really awesome wedding vendor? This is a fun way to jump start that networking in a relaxed environment & create lasting professional relationships.

What advice do you have for those new to networking?

One piece of advice I would give to other wedding professionals in the industry is to be confident in yourself and be prepared to sell that confidence. Stop doubting yourself! Be proud of your company, what you do, what you create, or the product you sell.

Thanks Kate! We’re excited about wedding pros gathering together for fun at Thursday Therapy Phoenix!


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The Importance of Your Website’s Copy

How much attention do you pay to the words on your website? The actual text in your bio and services information? Those words matter. They can make or break your business. Not only are people attracted to interesting verbiage, but also it is a reflection of your company, your culture, your brand. Does your website copy reflect your best self?

Today’s guest post comes from Astrid Mueller (designer extraordinaire at astridmueller.com) and Jessica Fox (wordsmith wizard at foxywrites.com).

The Key Ingredients to a Successful Brand!

Are you ready?

Here they are:

Unique Brand Concept


Great Visual Brand


Branded Copy & Communication

We know, we know. You totally get that a targeted, tailored, branded visual representation of your business is essential.

But what about branded copy? Why do you need that, too?  It’s just writing – unlike graphic design, anyone can do that, right?

We won’t argue with you there.

Just about everyone can write, and we’re willing to bet that many of you are fantastic with a pen when not knee-deep in weddings. But branded copy is another beast entirely. It’s not about lofty prose, killer descriptions, or perfect grammar (although that is a must).  And it’s not something that every writer (even super awesome ones) can execute well.

Copywriting is about communication. A good brand writer has a strong understanding of your brand and gets to know your business’s goals, what sets it apart, and why it’s special.  She thinks about what appeals to your customer and gets them to act. Through word choice and a little psychology, she creates horn-tooting text that speaks to your customer in a compelling, brand-unique voice.

As the first impression we have of a company, branded graphic design is a powerful thing. It gets customers to take notice, emotionally connect, and remember a brand…so you better make it count.

Without branded copy, your visual identity is like Wonder Woman without her lasso…you need it to rope ‘em in. Or, imagine if Wonder Woman spoke like Minnie Mouse. Naturally, each has her own charm, but wouldn’t we be utterly confused by her and what she stands for?  The same holds true for your brand.

We could blather on about why every step in branding needs to be powerful and consistent, but instead we’ll show you, thanks to our recent collaboration with Print Icon, a luxury printing and design boutique in New York.

Whether in-store or online, copy and marketing pieces should always be organized to help ideal customers navigate and understand the business’s offerings:

BEFORE the rebrand:

Drafts from the client for in-store posters to explain the boutique’s services:


AFTER the rebrand:


concise, branded copy on service posters for Print Icon’s retail location


concise, branded copy on service posters for Print Icon’s retail location

Special occasions, especially launches, are another instance where personalized text is key for professional, consistent brand presentation.


This was the text draft from Print Icon for their launch invitation:

Print Icon Gilded… New possibilities in the Art of Paper

You are cordially invited to the Grand Opening of Print Icon Gilded, a unique new store and gallery celebrating new possibilities in art, paper, and the art of paper.

Our debut gallery exhibit – Parviz Shapoor’s “Welcome to my Eyes” – introduces the art of the famed Iranian writer, poet and satirist.

I hope you will join us for wine and hors d’oeuvres at our Grand Opening reception.

February 10th at 5:00 PM.

Please RSVP to: RSVP@printicon.com


The edited copy, in the used VIP invitation card for members of the press:


The tagline of a brand is one of the first customer touch points and is another important opportunity to evoke emotion:

business cards

business cards

Last, but not least, when used in company communication, a branded sign-off can enhance a business’s image:

a branded company greeting for email communication

a branded company greeting for email communication

Interested in working with Astrid Mueller, brand designer extraordinaire, or Jessica Fox, copy writing queen? Visit AstridMueller.com and Foxywrites.com, and email Astrid at Astrid(at)AstridMueller.com or Jessica.R.Fox(at)me.com…they look forward to chatting!

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May 28, 2014 - 7:31 am

Roxanne Bellamy - Great article Michelle. It’s becoming more evident that our clients are very savvy and that they want a total experience from beginning to end which definitely includes brand identity and communication. It’s a daunting task but one that needs to be executed in order to put ones best face forward.

May 28, 2014 - 7:35 am

Michelle Loretta - You are so right about that! The client experience starts the minute that the client (potential client) lands on your website.

June 6, 2014 - 10:46 pm

Astrid Mueller - Thank you so much for the feature and the great article, Michelle! Appreciate it! Many greetings and much continued inspiration and success to you!

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