Wallace says your reputation is your most important asset. She then goes on to list several iron-clad rules for helping you improve and maintain your reputation. You must remember that you are a "team player" and put your ego aside. Wedding Vendor Handbook (Sage House Publishing, $21.95) is a must-read for wedding vendors who aspire to reach the top of their profession, and want to understand all the things you need to do to get there.
After reading this book, I am looking at other wedding vendors with new eyes. You may refer a photography or catering outfit because you like them personally, but how well do they do the job they were hired to do? You only want to be referring top wedding vendors so you don't tarnish your own reputation. The Wedding Vendor Handbook lets you know what to look for.
The book also shows what a highly organized, on-top-of-everything bridal consultant Barbara Wallace is. It's no wonder she's achieved Master Bridal Consultant status. Other bridal consultants could learn a thing or two about bridal consulting from this book!
Wallace offers advice on a range of topics, such as conducting business, accepting referral fees/kickbacks, dealing with unhappy clients, networking and public speaking, terms to include in your contract, whether you should give discounts (she says no), insurance, and other valuable tips on running a successful business. She also includes anecdotes to illustrate wedding vendor etiquette and habits of good and bad wedding vendors, and suggests steps you can take to become a top wedding vendor.
Bridal consultants need to know a lot about every wedding profession, and I'm impressed with Wallace's knowledge of the wedding industry as a whole. However, she should have asked one of her top wedding videographers to proof her video section. If she had, I would not be reading, "With today's compact equipment and fast film it is virtually unnecessary for a videographer to have huge cameras and bright lights and boom microphones." Anyone speaking authoritatively on videography should know that "fast film" is a photography term, and has nothing to do with low-light shooting or video quality.
With so little knowledge of what we do, I wonder how tolerant bridal consultants will be of the brighter lights needed for HD cameras. As Wallace says in the book, "Possibly the biggest concern is having a bright light shining during the filming followed by the fear that the videographer will thrust a microphone in their guest's face for comments. As a top videographer you should be very aware of these concerns and avoid them at all costs."
Wallace talks about add-ons, but only mentions photo montages and "mini-movies" (a.k.a. Love Stories) that can be shown at the reception. She also says that webcasting or live streaming of weddings will probably become widespread very quickly. There is no mention of the Same-Day Edit or the many other add-ons that are more popular than webcasting. I hope to see more (and more accurate) information added to the videography section in the next edition of her book.
What this tells me is that videographers need to be more proactive in educating the wedding professionals they work with (lunch, anyone?). The more wedding vendors know about what we offer, the better they can help sell our services to their brides. That aside, there's great advice in this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who aspires to be a top wedding vendor.
Kris Malandruccolo is an award-winning wedding videographer based in the Chicago area.