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Breaking the ice can warm things up!

Robert Nowell, Professional photographer, photography professor and VP at Sprout Studio About Robert

This print reminds me how important my role can be to my wedding couples on their wedding day.

Every couple about to be married goes about the task of asking their very closest friends to stand with them as they take their wedding vows. We call that group of friends the wedding party. The very nature of that title denotes a fun happy group.

Imagine being the wedding couple looking back at photos of their wedding and seeing bland expressions and polite smiles on the faces of their wedding party. That would not be the reaction you'd want to remember representing your wedding day I'm sure.

I chose this print to reflect a few goals I have on each and every wedding.

  1. Break the Ice
  2. Create Rapport
  3. Build Trust
  4. Start Relationships

I'll break down each of those goals in a bit but first let's have a look at the image.

In pre- wedding interviews with the bride I knew that her wedding party were not all well acquainted. They were not all close friends and had maybe met only once before. At this particular wedding we were going to start wedding party photos before the ceremony and I knew that I was going to need to break down barriers in order to get the wedding party connected and having fun.

1.Breaking the Ice

In order to help break the ice with my wedding party I always make a point of memorizing their names the week prior to the wedding. Then when I meet them all in person I make associations or tags with their names that help me remember them.

Go to this link for help remembering names:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/08/21/the-best-five-tricks-to-remember-names/#31228744501f

As I introduce myself to each member of the wedding party I repeat their name back to them. This benefits me and the other wedding party members as they now can begin to feel more confident speaking to one another. This helps break the ice.

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2. Create Rapport

I like to smile as I speak to the group and individuals and this tends to be infectious. I ask questions and laugh and joke with the group. This helps build rapport and opens lines of easy communication so they can relax and enjoy one another's company. I capitalize on the one thing they all have in common, the wedding couple. I'll encourage them to share stories and pretty soon everyone is laughing and having a good time.

3. Build Trust

One simple way to build trust in advance is to ask the wedding couple for the email address of their wedding party so I can send a letter introducing myself and expressing how excited I am to be working with them on the wedding day. I include some tips for better portraits and create value up front. I include a link to my website so they can  look at my work and I can build credibility and trust in advance. At the wedding they are more likely to honour my requests  since they have already seen the results of my work at other weddings. This always results in great cooperation from the wedding party and we all end up having a great time.

4. Start Relationships

As I continue communicating with the bride, groom and their friends and family throughout the day with a courteous, professional yet friendly manner, I usually find that by the end of the reception I have forged the beginnings of real relationships. As I start my rounds of goodbyes to the wedding couple, their families and the wedding party, we usually get more hugs than handshakes. These new relationships need to be maintained through thank you notes, and interaction through social media.

There is no better referral in my mind than having a call from someone who was in the wedding party of one of my previous brides.  Trust has already been established and we can continue to build the relationship that we began at the wedding of their close friend.

In my Facebook Live post that preceded this article, I  recommended you read the book “Love is the Killer App” by Tim Sanders.

In his book Tim suggests we want to become a “lovecat”, meaning we freely connect others, are compassionate and willing to help with no thought to what we get out of it. Most of my best referrals are a direct result of me caring for my client and putting them first.

I remember once being told the five p's of photography. “Proper Planning Permits Perfect Photos”.  I don't know about perfect, but I do believe strongly that the more I prepare in advance and keep my client's best interest at heart, the better my photography turns out.

More importantly I can keep a level of creative consistency throughout my work. Every single wedding I shoot is the single most important day in the lives of my clients so I can't afford to treat it as “just another wedding”. Every wedding and every client deserves yours and my best efforts.

Please let me know if you enjoyed this article, feel free to leave a comment below.


#Communication #Customer Experience #Relationships


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