This past weekend I spent a good two days creating a killer backdrop for next weekend’s wedding. From Menards to Lowes, lots of sawdust, purple paint, and a run to the wholesaler, I finally put together a backdrop that I’ve been dreaming up for about a year now. When it was all done and put together I stood back and quietly whispered to myself, “boom.” I’ve noticed that whenever I put together something I love and am proud of, or even more so, when something is done that I feel is really the epitome of the HGE brand I often whisper that little four letter word. It sounds crazy and I’m sure you’d giggle a little if you heard it yourself but I think there’s more to it than an excited burst of triumph.

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See, I get a lot of emails from aspiring planners and I see a solid pattern in the questions I’m asked. Mostly I’m asked the following, “How can I make it as a successful planner?” and it’s such a loaded question really. Because there isn’t just one answer. There’s multiple answers that involve time and effort, legalities and branding, experience and talent, sacrifice and know how. And then there’s that ‘boom.’ The boom that to me is that something special you can offer to your clients and customers, that something unique that will make customers chose YOU instead of anyone else.

If you’ve been in the wedding industry for a few years, you’ll know there’s a certain something incredibly alluring about owning a professional wedding related business. I don’t need to specify what that alluring something is because I’m here and I too decided to join the masses and do my own thing (and everyone has their specific reasoning). But if you’re here and you’ve done your homework, you’ll know there’s dozens and if not hundreds of vendors in your area and market doing what you do, offering the same services you do, saying the same things you are, using similar resources as you and wanting the same things you do. In a sense that means you’re doing something right, after all you’re not totally off the mark. But chances are you could be doing some things differently too. Let me break this down a bit more for you.

There’s a few vendors in the industry that I just adore. Some I know personally, some I respect and admire from a far. But the ones I am about to list to you all have one thing in common. They have that ‘boom,’ that something special that separates them from the rest and gives them that competitive edge to stand out from the hundreds of others offering the supposed same service. My girl Caroline from Paloma’s Nest offers delicately and lovingly handmade ring bowls stamped with sweet phrases for weddings. Or for your bedside table to hold your jewels when you’re not wearing them (because that’s where mine sits). While Caroline is known best for her ring bearer bowls, I can tell you the minute I lay eyes on something if it’s a Paloma’s Nest product; whether it be a Christmas ornament, a zippered make up pouch or a tea towel printed with sweet words of wisdom. Paloma’s Nest has that ‘boom’ and the roster of clientele to prove it.

Sweet Heather Anne is a sweet little boutique bakery here in Michigan that I adore working with. Heather actually studied art in grad school and post graduation decided to merge her passions and talents with sweet treats, resulting in a very successful and one of a kind business. Whether they’re hand painted sugar cookies, wonderfully hued macarons or the most incredibly artistic and detailed cakes, I can tell you the minute I see a confection, if it’s Heather’s handiwork. Not to mention I could tell you in a blind taste test if something is hers. From organically sourced out ingredients and oddly wonderful flavor pairings, she’s got that ‘boom’ and clients across the state get that; they get they can get something special from her. And that alone is one powerful way to guarantee business success.

Here’s another vendor I really admire and love. I’m sure you know Katelyn James, a sweet and wildly talented photographer local to Virginia. You may only know her from reading her blog or following her on facebook but I’m sure you already know that she loves Mountain Dew, her adorable dog Bokeh and anything turquoise. Get to know her even better and you’ll see that aside from having the most wonderfully clean, colorful and romantic photography style she has a personality that is warm, friendly, caring and welcoming. It’s a no brainer that she’s built a successful business because she’s branded herself in a way that’s professional and personally on par. Brides and grooms dig that and I bet when they land on her website they might even say ‘boom,’ themselves. As in ‘boom, we’ve found our photographer!’

Building and maintaining a successful business overlaps so much with authentic branding and that’s a whole other discussion but finding your boom, as I like to call it these days, is crucial to finding your success. If you like wild out of the box floral arrangements (like the fabulous Saipua in New York) and you blow yourself away with your creations, ‘boom!’ The right kind of customer is going to love those arrangements too. If you drawn to travelling the world and shooting destination weddings in tropical locations, you’d be pleased to know there’s an entire market of destination couples needing and wanting your skills (I think of Nate Broshot for this kind of clientele; he’s got that ‘boom’ too). The bottom line is, offer something special, unique and different and there is guaranteed to be clients knocking on your door resulting in success (assuming you do all of those other aforementioned things too; talent is only half the battle).

Do you ever have ‘boom’ moments yourself? How did you find out what your ‘boom’ is? I’d love to know! xoxo

Oh and that gorgeous photo above was taken by Sam and Brad of Bradley James Photography. Go say hello!