From plum to pleasing: What wedding planning teaches you about PR basics

Almost seven months ago, I got engaged to a wonderful man, and just like any other bride, I got busy planning right away! (After properly documenting the event on Facebook, of course. Come on, it’s 2012 — what did you expect?) Quickly after creating my account on The Knot, picking up some bridal magazines, and deciding on the perfect colors, I realized that planning a wedding is a lot like public relations. Whether you fantasize about your dream wedding on a daily basis or you get queasy at the thought of “til death do us part,” everyone can learn a little something about PR from the in’s and out’s of wedding planning.

Now, I promise this post contains some very PR-relevant information. But, before we get to that…

My fiance proposing to me!

Okay, that’s it — I promise. Now, on to what wedding planning can teach you about PR…

1. Plan, plan, and plan some more. After getting over my initial engagement bliss (and telling my proposal story approximately 10,000 times), I made a master Google Doc with columns for tasks, deadlines, who’s responsible (mostly me!), and notes. Although I haven’t done everything on the list as originally planned, it helps remind me of everything that needs to be completed, including those little tasks you wouldn’t normally think of…

2. Details matter. To my fiance, plum looks the same as eggplant. To me, it means the difference between a warm and inviting shade of purple and a deep and unwelcoming shade of purple that could appear black in the wrong light. (Okay, so that was a bit of a hyperbole, but you get the point.) Either way, the little things do matter. It’s what sets companies apart. It’s what drives profit. It’s why that “little something” takes good companies to great companies. As PR pros, we tell stories, and it’s the details of those stories that make them powerful.

3. Be flexible — very flexible. Every PR pro I’ve met talks about the importance of flexibility. Well, let me tell you — if you’re not flexible, plan a wedding. I’m still a few months away from the big day, but I’ve already realized things don’t go according to plan. Therefore…

4. Know how to deal with a crisis, and have a backup plan. (Or make one — fast.) Okay, so I wouldn’t classify myself as a “bridezilla” (hopefully none of my bridesmaids or fiance would either!). However, when I got a phone call from my sister telling me that my bridal store had discontinued my bridesmaids dresses without notifying me, I was pretty upset. (At the time, only two of my five bridesmaids had the dresses, and they were non-refundable.) However, being upset didn’t fix the problem, so a few phone calls later, I had resolved the issue by deciding to have my bridemaids wear different cuts. In PR, crisis will always occur — it’s inevitable. So, take a deep breath, have a backup plan (or make one fast!), and continue on. Oh, and remember to apologize if necessary and be transparent. Always “own up” and attempt to fix the issue as best as possible. (Unfortunately, my bridal boutique did not.)

5. Consider your key stakeholders. I don’t care what anyone says — a bride who doesn’t consider her key stakeholders (fiance, parents, bridal party) is just asking for disaster. So yes, it’s your big day, but there are a lot of other people involved, too. (If you want to put your bridesmaids in a color they all hate, how happy will they be when you go to tie the knot? Not very.) Remember them. In PR, it’s never all about you. Recognize your key stakeholders and learn to please them — you’ll be glad you did.

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About Abby Ecker

PR pro and healthy living blogger in the First State
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