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Nov 24, 2009

Wedding PR Tips 101: Being Grateful Still Gives Back

In the spirit of thanksgiving, I think it is natural to reflect on what we are thankful for. For this reason I have decided to re-post about the topic of being grateful. This time please comment about what you are thankful for this year and you will be entered to win a free hour of consulting with me. We will be choosing someone at random on Monday November 30th! Have a wonderful holiday week!

I have been so fortunate to be given many great opportunities which have helped me to find my passion and has opened doors I never could have imagined. I have wonderful clients who took a chance on me when I was just starting out and an amazing family and friends support system. I try to make gratitude my attitude to show people how thankful I am to them, and I truly believe that paying it forward is the only way good things will continue to come along. What goes around comes around, right?

I am sharing this with all of you because I have found that while there is a lot of giving going on in our business, there is an awful lot of taking as well. Not a ground breaking experience- you probably knew that, but what have you personally done about it? We only get one chance or two to handle things with grace and good judgment. How you handle the fortune that is brought to you leaves a lasting impression.

Putting your hand out and taking, but not giving back does the following:

1. burns bridges 2. gives you a bad wrap 3. alienates vendors 4.Will result in a loss of referrals

I’d like to point out a specific instance that I feel gets overlooked quite a bit. A great photographer can take fabulous images of an amazing event, but then turn around and get all the public credit for this event since the images are their property. However has the photographer considered that they wouldn’t have been able to shoot such a stunning and well produced event if it weren’t for the other vendors involved? (the floral designer, the wedding planner, stationery, lighting, rentals, specialty catering companies etc.. )They wouldn’t have the proof of the work to show and proudly submit to attract more business. Therefore, as a photographer, have you given these people the appropriate extension of gratitude? Perhaps send them a lovely note, refer them future business, and at the very least get them some images so they can leverage them for their own business? Wedding planners often get the short end of the stick it seems. They can refer like crazy but often times are not as quickly referred. It does go both ways and I would like to point out that if it weren’t for the phenomenal photographers who so wonderfully capture the day, planners wouldn’t have what they need to produce more business and promote themselves either.

How about when a vendor is submitting work to a blog or a magazine? Do you all remember to include the others who helped on the collaboration? Or if you decide to blog or tweet something that “you” discovered. Did you really discover it on your own? OR did you read about it on someone else’s blog or tweet and then conveniently forget to mention that source? I’ve seen it time and time again. Why do we do this? What are we afraid of? Giving credit where its due? Thanking others for inspiring us? The more you support them, the more you will get supported. AND lets not forget that “You just Being You” as I wrote about in last week’s Tuesday Tips, is the only way to go!

What are we doing for one another that allows the goodness to continue? Personally I have helped numerous people that aren’t clients of mine just because I want to help kind hearted people. I don’t expect anything in return-except maybe for them to be nice back? maybe send a thank you note? offer to buy me a cupcake (red velvet please)? This is not a post about what people do or don’t do for me, but an example of what we need to be doing for each other. May I ask: Are you treating your staff right? Paying them what they should be paid and thanking them for all that they do? There is no way we could run a business with out them.  When you are twittering, updating your facebook status, or blogging about your own accomplishments are you also mentioning the people who have helped you achieve this? This matters. I promise. Those that collaborated with you and support you will follow your successes. This is a very high emotion industry. As vendors we give everything to what we do and often times too much of ourselves. It’s exhausting to give and give and not receive. So, yes people can get easily hurt or offended when they are left out of something or not given credit where its due.

At some point, one of us out there is given a great chance to prove themselves, one we may have received prematurely, or never thought would happen. If you want good opportunities to help grow your business, to make friends, or to receive any goodness in your direction: You have to make “gratitude your attitude”!

How do you say thank you?

image credit: Palomas Nest

xo, Leila, WeddingPR

  • Thank you, Leila! I needed to read that-so right on. I have already made a list of people/companies I would like to remember and thank before the year is over 🙂

  • Leila,

    I am truly humbled by your article and it gives pause to reflect on how I interact with my peers. I once observed you at a table with many women around vying for your attention. I was amazed at the grace with which you handled each and every one of them. Not a one was a “paying” customer and you sat freely giving of yourself. Thus being said… YOUR actions truly speak louder than your words. Thank you.

  • I try to say thanks as often as possible, but to drive the point home for special circumstances, I send thoughtful handmade gifts, or cook a nice dinner to show my appreciation. Small gestures from the heart go a long way to show people how much they mean to you! Great post, *thank you* for always having such helpful and inspiring information 🙂

  • Great post leila, and so true. I just wanted to take a moment and say I am thankful for my husband that has loved me no matter what for 15yrs. My 4 crazy kids for loving that I do weddings, my Mom that helps me when ever I need it, no questions asked. So thankful to God for sending amazing couples my way. I have found that being able to see into these couples lives and love, through family and friends, even though it is just for a moment is an amazing gift. Last to all the vendors & venues that I have become close friends with, I can count on, and are truly excellent at what they do, it is an honor to know and work with you!

    Thank You All!

  • I am so very grateful for my family. Not only have they supported my decision to pursue a crazy, unstable career in the entertainment industry but they’ve also been there every step of the way as I continue to enjoy working in the even crazier world of weddings. I’m thankful that my husband constantly serves as the voice of reason and lets me know when I need to slow down & take time for myself and I’m even more thankful for the smiles & hugs that my 2 little ones offer on a daily basis. This has been a tough year but also a year of small victories and I’m thankful to God for each and every one.

  • I love, love this post. I agree that sometimes wedding planners get the short end of the stick when it comes to referrals but often it is just the nature of the business. Although referrals and thank yous are always appreciated, I personally would rather work with vendors who deliver incredible work than vendors who refer me all the time and are not so pleasant to work with! I am so thankful for incredible vendors in this industry and leaders like yourself who take the time to acknowledge that great businesses are formed thanks to a great number of people giving their time, resources and efforts.

  • I am thankful to have such a great job. All the vendors I get to know, the fabulous brides I get to work with and my husband who listens to me talk about weddings non-stop. How did I get so lucky?

  • Great subject, Leila! I completely agree. I wouldn’t be the success I am without the kindness and support of other fabulous people in our industry. In addition to sending lots of thank you notes (of the handwritten, physical kind), I try to assist all engaged couples that contact me in some way, even if they can not afford to hire me. I also joined a mentoring program a couple of years ago and was matched up with a middle school student who wants to be a wedding planner when she grows up. The time commitment was only about 4 hours a week for 6 weeks, but so worth it to see a young person engaged and excited about their future. We’ve kept in touch since the program ended and she is now a sophomore in high school. It feels great to be a meaningful part of a youg person’s life.

    For those in the SF Bay Area interested in doing the same, the program I did was:

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

  • I’ve been fortunate to network with talented wedding professionals both as colleagues and as vendors for myself or clients…and I appreciate their contributions to my blog (all without expectation of sponsorship). I started to handcraft my thank you cards to my clients this week and your post is yet another reminder of the wonderful people we get to work with and why we should be ever so grateful. Many thanks!

  • Amy Kerstetter

    I’m thankful for my husband. I’m thankful that he’s supportive of my dream pursuing this wedding industry. I’m thankful that he doesn’t complain about my time away from him in order to pursue my dream and passion. I’m thankful that he doesn’t mind that in order to pursue this dream right now I gave up my full time teaching job. I’m thankful that he goes to bat for me when my family is giving me a hard time and calling me foolish. I’m thankful that he sends me daily messages of love and encouragement. I’m thankful that I’m his wife. I’m thankful that he is the first and last person and thought on my mind each day.

  • Shanna

    Thank you so much for reposting this. Gratitude is such an important virtue … and often forgotten today.

    To answer your question, simply put: I am thankful for my life. For the air in my lungs and the passion in my heart. Two years ago, one of my best friends died. She was healthy, beautiful, young. She had 19 month old twins, just a week older than my own son. Her death was impossible to explain – it was “just one of those things” that could happen at any moment and just happened to occur on Dec. 6, 2007. I think of my sweet friend every day, and since her death, I have vowed to live every day, every moment, to its fullest. I pursue my dreams and don’t look back. I am grateful for my life and for the time that I had with my friend Maggie.

  • first i am thankful for God giving me the opportunity and faith in him to pursue my passion. i am also very thankful for the fabulous couples and vendors that i have met this year, whose passion and love has truly inspired me and made me know that this is the right path for me. last but not least, i am thankful for my husband for always being there to inspire me, lift me up, and being the most supportive person i know!

  • ps. giving thanks is so very important, especially in our industry. but always make sure to do it from the heart…not for what’s in it for you!

  • What a wonderful post! I think we all get bogged down in our work and forget to thank those who have helped us. This year has been one crazy year and I am more and more thankful to God that we have a roof over our heads and food on the table. As we’ve learned to live on less and less, I have slowly become more and more thankful for what we DO have. Fantastic post – Thanks for posting!

  • I am thankful for my beautiful wife. She did so much for our wedding and it was the best day of my life. Seeing her in her dress that day literally brought me to tears. Our wedding day would have been nothing without her and the hard work she put into it. Love you Sarah. 🙂

  • lindsey

    thankful for my health, the health of my loved ones and the ability to live in a secure place.

  • Great post! The twitter and blog worlds “I am thankful for” posts leading up to Thanksgiving have given me an opportunity to reflect for longer than the last half of the actual “Thanksgiving Day” about what I am thankful for. I am so thankful for getting to do what I love to do. Some days are hard, but when I remember what it was like in my previous job, working till midnight every night, no appreciation, no creativity, I can’t thank God enough that everyday I wake up ready to get to the office, not dreading it. What a great prize to win! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • I’m so thankful to be able to pursue my passion. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to meet you, Leila, and I appreciate all that you do for the wedding industry. I try to say thanks to all the people who’ve helped me along the way to get to where I am now.

  • I’m so thankful for a supportive family who encouraged me through my college graduation and often put aside their own needs to help me in my business. I’m so thankful to be doing what I love to do!

  • I am grateful for the amazing vendors that I have been so lucky to work with. Without them, I would never be able to execute my visions. It is their talent and hard work that makes it possible for me to do what I do.

  • It seems cliche to say…but, I don’t know where to begin. But, I was just married 3 long weeks ago and everyone says how the wedding is supposed to be all about you (The Bride & Groom). but, I quickly and acutely became aware of the fact that if not for my dear friends and family, I would not have been able to have such a wonderful wedding! I had always wanted the wedding to be about my friends and family because I wanted them to have FUN. I never wanted to get married and, though I am a wedding photographer, I was NOT into it at all. But, with the constant support and encouragement from several friends in particular, I was able to muddle through all of the details and chaos that is wedding planning and not only had a WONDERFUL wedding (despite horrible weather and 4ft of snow) but I knew that all of my friends and family were having the time of their lives (so they’ve all commented extensively that it was the best wedding/party they had ever been to) and I am so, SO, SO grateful to my dear friend Casey most of all. She was the one who handled everything for me. I don’t think she will ever truly know how much I appreciate her. But, I sincerely do!! The rest of my dear friends as well….without them, none of it would have been possible. PLUS, most everyone trudged through the horrible weather and waist high snow to get to my wedding too. I am really unbelievably grateful they attended, arrived & departed safely, had a great time and I also get to be married to one of the most gentle, loving and kind men on the planet!

    Also, as a wedding photographer (just starting out on my own) I am so very grateful for the many awesome vendors I get to work with and one of my goals for the upcoming year is to find a better way to manage their information and requests for photos so that I can show my appreciation in a more timely fashion. Not sure how I will do it…but, I will do it! Thanks for the reminder about the importance of vendors. Much obliged!

  • Hi Leila,
    Thank you for writing such a smart post. I love how you think! This year I have so much to be thankful for. Exactly one year ago my life was turned upside down when my Husband’s actions caused us to divorce. With no family nearby, it was my friends in the wedding industry that ran to my side to help keep me company when I thought I couldn’t go on. They helped me organize a huge garage sale to purge bad memories from the home I had shared with him. When it came time to move they came in teams to pack me, move me, and unpack me into my first apartment alone. Through all of this they kept me devoted to opening my first design studio, which took 9 months of construction, and lots of investment of time, energy, funds, patience and love. My old company name had his last name as part of it, so I had to reinvent not only myself, but my business, thus I changed from “Nicole D’Ambra Wedding Consulting” to “Nicole Lisanne Weddings & Events by Design”, changed my logo, my blog, my website, and my name. It was a new me, a new company. Many thought that since I’d been through such a tramatic event in my marriage, that I’d give up on my business in the wedding world, but I still loved what I did, and was inspired by the love I saw my couple’s sharing, and didn’t want to let go of all I had worked for. I was determined to shine above the rest, and move forward as a new stronger person with my friends by my side. I told myself at the beginning of this year, that January 1st, 2010 would be the most amazing day of my life, to look back and see what I had weathered, accomplished. I fought, and to answer you, I’m beyond grateful for my FRIENDS. I couldn’t have remained mentally stable through all of this without them. I love them, and although it was hard to take for the first time in my life, they taught me that when you are weak it’s ok to ask for help. I vowed to all of them that as soon as I was strong again I’d start giving back, I’ve started supporting my friends again, and it feels so good to be there for them, knowing what they did for me. I’ll never forget this year and what it has taught me, who it has helped me become. Now I also have the most devoted and loving boyfriend on earth, and someday I hope to share my life with him just like my couple’s do with their loved one. What a lucky girl I am! I wish you all of the luck and love in the world this new year and always! Love, Nicole

  • Thanks for writing the lovely post. Not only should we remember to give thanks during this holiday but all the time. I think as we all know we can sometimes take a lot of things for granted but it’s a great feeling to acknowledge someone as well as be on the other end and feel appreciated. It makes ALL the difference! Thus, I”m grateful for all the support and genuine care from everyone that surrounds me! ♥

  • I have so much to be thankful for but first and foremost on my list is giving an honor and thanks to God, who brings me peace in the midst of chaos and provides me never ending guidance, direction and love in my daily walk. Next, I would have to say I am thankful for a supportive (and sexy) husband and my beautiful children for understanding my passion, helping me to nurture it and allowing me the space I needed to grow. It has been invaluable to me. I am also am seriously grateful and thankful for the talented and incredibly wonderful people who work in this industry. Starting out, I had no idea that I would gain so much knowledge and help in this career choice from not only my industry peers, but also my competitors. There are things that have happened for me that would have never been possible if not for the combination of a loving and able God, a great family support system and my wonderful peers. ♥♥♥, all of you!

    Today I posted a quote on Twitter that says it all for me: You lift me, and I’ll lift you, and we’ll ascend together. – Anonymous

  • We don’t celebrate thanksgiving down under. But I am thankful everyday for my blog- so in essence for the ability to write, an internet connection, a computer. All of these things allow me to connect with extraordinary people from around the world, speak to brides every day, write about what I am passionate about and be continually inspired. Something I remember and am thankful for (almost) every day.

    I am thankful I get to live a life loving what I do.

  • Leila! I am so thankful for your blog, and all of the other blogs, social media outlets and true friends I have formed over “this here internet” it has truly broadened my horizons and helped form a more well rounded, me!

    Thank you!

  • Mary Alice at A Delightful Day

    Leila, I would have to say that I am most thankful for my wonderful husband giving me the ability to do what I love, which enables me to read inspiring blogs like yours, and continues to allow me to challenge myself everyday!!

  • Thank you for this wonderful post and reminder!

    I am most thankful for the opportunities that my grandparents and parents helped create for me. My husband and I moved from Ca to TN, 4 years ago in order to better provide for our children. There have been times when I am sad that I am not as close to some of my family and friends and then I am reminded that my parents migrated thousands of miles, overseas to America to start a better life for their kids. I dont get to see my brothers as often as Id like, but I have a beautiful family here. My husband and I get to work together and help eachother raise well-rounded children. If it weren’t for the struggles and sacrificies, my parents made for me, I don’t know that I would have the opportunities that I have today.

    Thank you Mama y Papa

    Sharon Campbell

  • I’m grateful for many things…. my loving husband, the surgeons who so skillfully cared for my eyes last month, melty cheese, furry puppies…. but I’m also incredibly grateful for people like you – who share their knowledge and inspiration so readily with the cybersphere, giving us all the opportunity to take our dreams by the reigns and steer toward success! Thank you!

  • What a lovely post Leila and thank you for sharing those words from Bob and Dawn, they’re awesome!

    I try to reflect a lot around this time of year and I think a lot about the things that really mean something in the long run. My life is overflowing with people, things and experiences to be thankful for and it is difficult to single out any “one” of those things. However, at the top of my list is an amazing wife who is the quiet strength of our family. She takes great care of our two children when I’m out photographing weddings, she provides the home support that I need to feel comfortable with a busy travel schedule, she keeps our home immaculate and the list goes on. She definitely challenges and inspires me on a daily basis and for this, I am thankful.

    Take care Leila and keep inspiring!

    -Scott Andrew

  • I am thankful that you are offering this contest! 🙂

    I am thankful for a God that unconditionally loves us and that stears us to the right path. There are so many blessings to count, mostly I’m thankful for my life. I’m thankful for my husband, my family, my business, my city, my home, my doggie. I’m blessed with health and surrounded by love. I’m thankful for weddings! I’m so thankful for all the friends and contacts I’ve met along the way. I’m thankful for the talent God has given me and I’m thankful for opportunity to be involved in one of the most important days of a person’s life! Xoxo! Thank you!!

  • A great post, Leila. While it may sound a little cheesy, I’m thankful to be part of a great community of wedding vendors who are willing to share their knowledge and do take time to express their thanks. It’s amazing how a small token of thanks can brighten up my day.

  • Great post! I am thankful for my amazing husband, for supporting and believing in me every step of the way with my new business venture. I’m also thankful for the friends and family that cheer me on, and the clients who have been nothing short of incredible, catapulting me into a successful first year that I could never have imagined. Here’s to an even better 2010!

  • This is a great post Leila! You are so inspiring and right on. Always remember where you came from and help others as I’m sure many people helped you. I know many people have helped me as I launched my company this year and I am so thankful to my family, friends and the many vendors that believe in me and my work and have given me a chance. Most importantly I am thankful and feel very blessed that God is giving me the opportunity to pursue event planning full-time. This is definitely a gift!

  • Thank you for this post! Such a wonderful reminder to have an attitude of gratitude and it is so important to keep everything in proper perspective. I am most thankful for my family, my friends and my animals. I am also thankful to be able to get up every day and pursue my own dreams and creative interests.

  • This was a wonderful post, and something most everyone ponders – but this isn’t verbally discussed too often. Today us gals at Carter & Cook Event Co celebrate our one year anniversary since we started C&C. We’ve been blessed and are incredibly thankful for the last year. We have been overwhelmed by love and kindness others in this industry have shown us as we began this crazy venture. It’s been tough and challenging starting our own business, but also very rewarding. The couples that we have had the privilege to work with have continued to push us to continue to grow and reach new goals in our business. For them, we are thankful for their thankfulness. The best thing one can receive as a wedding coordinator is the heartfelt thanks from your brides. Being thankful goes further than one can imagine. Today we celebrate and give thanks for a great year, and look forward to many more to come. Ashlyn & Heather 🙂

  • Great post, Leila! I am grateful for my husband, who quietly works behind the scenes of all my weddings. Sometime he assists in large ways, sometimes in small ways. He has assisted me so many times, doing such things as working as a parking attendant, shuttle driver, golf tournament director, equipment delivery, even driving the getaway car for the bride & groom. Whether he is present at a wedding or not, he is still helping. Sometimes the tasks are small and he does them from home, such as folding programs, wrapping favors, copying maps, etc. When I’m really on my “A” game, and do not directly need his help with weddings, he still watches our son while I am away. So many people say, “I couldn’t do it without you…” In my case that is definitely true. Because my husband is such a dedicated husband and father, I am able to have my own business and produce wonderful events. I could not do it without him. Your post reminded me of this and challenged me to be more quick to thank him and better express my appreciation.

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