The 7 Tools Wedding Pros Need for Client Experience
It can really be hard to sort out what wedding tools and software you truly need for your business. We are creative people, not tech people! So this week, I’m talking about the 7 wedding tools that every wedding business needs to ensure a fabulous client experience! In my opinion, making the most of wedding tools and software is the key to so much less stress in your business. And I love helping wedding pros fix their systems with my proven Wedding Client Roadmap to create an effortless, elevated wedding client experience that will attract, book, and impress the most luxurious couples - with less work than ever. My wedding business is pretty much on autopilot now, and I’m really excited to help other business owners do the same. If you missed this live, you can join me in my new Facebook group to catch these videos every Tuesday!
Before we dive in, I created a new free PDF guide that I would love to send to you. It’s called 3 Things That Completely Changed How I Sell Weddings Forever. If you want that, just pop in your email below!
So, today I wanted to walk you through the 7 tools you need for a stellar wedding client experience. Of course, there are tons of options out there, and everyone is talking about AI, or trying to sell you on a free trial of something! So I want to share my experience with you, because I don’t want you wasting time trying to make a particular tool work if it’s not really needed. We’re going to talk about everything from scheduling to payments, and I’m going to share exactly what I use in my business to provide a luxurious client experience for my couples. Later, I’ll also share some of the software that has been built specifically for wedding pros, and when to use what. By the end, you will have your very own "shopping list" for the tools you need in your wedding business!
Wedding Tool #1: An intake form
First, you need an intake form on your website. This wedding tool is really crucial for a lot of reasons. From the beginning, it sets the tone with your wedding clients, and positions you as the expert. You are the one gathering the information from them, which puts you in the driver's seat. It also shows that you are organized, and hopefully is beautifully branded along with your website, for a cohesive expereince.
Of course, an intake form also gathers the same information for every client. This saves you time and energy, and is more efficient than going back and forth with clients. Additionally, it allows you to pre-qualify your leads. With experience, you will be able to tell whether someone is a good fit. Some key things you should include on your intake form include their name, wedding date, contact info, and how they found you. The rest is up to you - but it needs to be snappy. Your wedding intake form should be 5 minutes or less for them to fill out.
Intake Form Apps
How your intake form works will depend on your existing tech. You want it to play nice with the bigger assets of your business, like your website. If you have no website, this might be a Google Form or Jotform you send out right now. Ideally, it lives on your website and is easy for clients to find. It should also be integrated with the rest of your branding. If you have a website through something like SquareSpace, they have templates for this, or you can buy prettier templates. Alternatively, if your website is on WordPress, there are plugins like WPForms, which I’ve used in the past, and works well. And if you’re using a CRM, which we will talk about later, some of them let you embed their form right on your website.
Wedding Tool #2: A calendar scheduler
The second wedding tool you need is a calendar scheduling tool. There is nothing that will kill a sale faster than going back and forth over email about a time to meet! Your wedding clients need an easy, convenient, fast way to book a call with you. People no longer have patience to figure out scheduling over email.
Calendar Scheduling Apps
One way to do this is by using a third-party app like Calendly. Calendly has a free version if you only need one type of meeting. It can also sync with your Google calendar, so you can make sure you’re never double-booked. And you can set up standing “office hours,” so that people can see when you’re available every week. I really like Calendly, because it’s simple and you just send someone a link to book.
If you’re using SquareSpace for your website, you might also like Acuity. This app was purchased by SquareSpace in 2019, and integrates well with those websites. There is no free plan, but there is a free trial. It has similar functions as Calendly, but Calendly is really focused JUST on calendars. Acuity also has more functions - payment processing, client intake forms, and more. So if you’re using SquareSpace, Acuity might be a good option to do several things, if you are not using a CRM.
In my opinion the best of all worlds is using a CRM. I will talk more about this later, but a CRM does many things at once, including calendar scheduling. For me, it’s easier to log into one piece of software that does it all. But obviously I’m still using Calendly for my non-wedding scheduling!
Wedding Tool #3: A questionnaire
The third wedding tool you need is a questionnaire. Adding a questionnaire into my wedding client workflow was a game changer! In the past, I would sit on a call for an hour and run through a thousand questions...never again! Adding a questionnaire will get you all the granular info you need - while saving you a ton of time.
In my opinion, a questionnaire is also the best way to allow your clients time and space to answer questions. It’s likely they haven’t thought of all the things you need - so doing it asynchronously is actually easier for them, too. They don’t want to be put on the spot for things like how many bridesmaids they will have, especially if you are early in the planning process.
If you can, use the same tool as your intake form. That way, you’ll have at least some standardization across what you are sending to your clients, and your clients won’t be confused. So, if you are using a free Google form or Jotform now instead of your website, use the same thing for your questionnaire. If you are using something like WPForms on your website, you can make a second form for your questionnaire. To "hide" it, just make sure you don't link to it outside of your client communications. And if you’re using a CRM, you’ll just create a new form in your CRM to collect your client details.
Wedding Tool #4: Contracts & signatures
Fourth up, you need a contract tool for your wedding business. (Please NEVER do a wedding without a contract!) I know people hate contracts and lawyers - but contracts are the best way to set expectations and boundaries with your clients. I love them, because they make everything super clear to everyone involved. Everything is right there, in black and white.
Contracts also save you when something goes wrong, like, I dunno, the last three years of owning a wedding business? A lot of wedding professionals learned our contracts were hot trash when everyone started trying to cancel weddings. So please - have a lawyer at least review your template. Lawyers are not as expensive as you think!
Okay, that’s my Ted Talk about contracts. Ideally, you have some boilerplate language that you are already using. You just need a way to edit it for each client, send it to them, and capture digital signatures.
There are tons of standalone software products out there for contract signatures, since it’s such a common need in our culture. For example, if you’ve ever signed a tax return, you probably used DocuSign or Adobe Sign. Other people are getting into this game, too. Dropbox now has a paid option called Dropbox Sign, which may be a good add-on if you already use Dropbox. But every CRM also has this as part of their core functionality.
Wedding Tool #5: A payment processor
The fifth wedding tool you need is a secure payment processor. No matter what your other tech looks like, you need a system for your clients to pay quickly and easily. Preferably, they should be able to pay on a payment plan, with a credit card. Everybody wants credit card points or miles, and no Gen Zers are going to write you a check! So you absolutely need to have a secure payment processor to handle their payments. Your processor should handle all their financial information, and you should never see a credit card number.
Most importantly, it should be as easy as possible for clients to give you money. If there is one thing in your client experience that should be frictionless, it’s payment.
You probably know about payment processors already. Stripe and Square are the two biggest players for standalone processors. They make their money by charging you fees for every payment, typically around 3.5%. Technically, PayPal is also a payment processor, but not everybody has it. It may also be seen as kind of old-school, since it rose in popularity with eBay.
In my opinion, the best bet is to find software you already need, that has built-in payment processing. For example, if you use QuickBooks, they have a built-in payment processor. If you use something like Acuity, they allow you to choose your processor. Of course, all the wedding-focused CRMs like HoneyBook (affilliate link), Rock Paper Coin, and Aisle Planner also do payment processing for you. Lastly, please do not use Venmo unless you have a business account. It’s against their terms of service, and they will shut you down.
Wedding Tool #6: A CRM
The sixth wedding tool you need for your wedding business is a CRM, or a client relationship management system. In my opinion, everyone in the wedding business should have a CRM. However, it is totally possible to hack together these other, lower-cost solutions before you invest in one platform.
The beauty of a CRM is that it is a seamless process for you and your clients. Everything is housed in one web app - your intake form, your emails, your contracts, your proposals, your payments, your questionnaires, and your scheduling. Your clients can see everything in one place, it’s easy, and it’s all beautifully branded. To me, it is worth the investment to have a tool that does it all, instead of logging in to six different things. Naturally, sometimes clients have to “learn” the tool a bit at first, but usually it’s smooth sailing.
Even if you do not have dedicated CRM software, you do still need a way to track where someone is in your client process. You need to send them the right information at the right time, follow up with them if they stop responding etc. So you definitely still need a system for this - it just might be in a spreadsheet and a calendar.
The main CRMs marketed to wedding pros are HoneyBook (affiliate link), Aisle Planner, and Rock Paper Coin. I’ve also heard of wedding pros using Dubsado or 17Hats, or other systems. But HoneyBook, Aisle Planner, and Rock Paper Coin are the three main ones. In my business, I use HoneyBook and really love it, because it does everything I want it to do - intake forms, sending brochures, scheduling, questionnaires, emails, proposals, contracts, payments, and automations.
I know that wedding planners sometimes prefer Aisle Planner, because it has all that, plus tools for things like vendor management, guest lists, and floor plan creation. Since I’m a florist, I don’t need that functionality! So HoneyBook is perfect for me, and Aisle Planner is usually perfect for planners. I am a HB educator, so if you want to try it out, you can use my affiliate link for 35% off your first year. (This is not a sponsored post - I just use it every day and really like it.)
Rock Paper Coin is the new kid on the block, and I haven’t fully tried it out yet. From my research, it seems a little more limited. For example, I couldn’t find a way to have a contact form on your website feed into the platform automatically. However, it's totally possible I missed it! I want to reiterate that even if you don’t choose to purchase any of this CRM software, you still need a system for mangling all your clients and where they are in your workflow. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to figure it out.
Wedding Tool #7: A gifting strategy
Finally, you need to think about your gifting strategy as a wedding tool in your toolbox. This is a tool I’ve used in my business to continue to surprise and delight couples. I grew up in cajun country, and there’s an old Cajun French concept called lagniappe. Mark Twain wrote about it in 1883! It’s an old custom that is still practiced in Louisiana and Alabama. Basically, when you make a big purchase, you get a little something extra for free. So in my business, my couples get lagniappe throughout the process. I send them a gift box when they book, or champagne, if I know they drink. Throughout the process, I surprise them with hand-written notes, coffee gift cards, or other wonderful, unexpected things.
A gifting strategy makes a world of difference when the reviews come in. Of course, we're anticipating their needs for their wedding, and exceeding all of their expectations there. But we're also making it fun and different, building a relationship, showing our personalities, and elevating the experience.
I typically use BoxFox for my custom gifting, and Fountain to send booze. There are a million options out there for gift boxes - and you can also make your own. But again, we’re trying to free up your time! So I suggest spending the money, and making someone else send the box.
To wrap up, you now have your "shopping list" of wedding tools. What tools are you going to use for your intake form, your scheduling, your questionnaire, your contracts, your payment processor, your CRM, and your gifting? Maybe you are like me, and you just want a CRM and Boxfox, and be done with it! Or maybe you want to test a bunch of stuff out. I’d love for you to join me in my new Facebook Group to chat about these wedding tools. I'm also going to keep going live every Tuesday at 2pm Pacific so we can continue digging into what makes a great client experience. And lastly, I'd love for you to grab my new, free PDF guide. It’s called 3 Things That Completely Changed How I Sell Weddings Forever. If you want that, just put in your email below and I’ll make sure you get it!