Julie Mead of The Knot Worldwide explains how WeddingPro connects event pros with clients, and shares insight into top wedding trends
By Sara Perez Webber
It’s becoming easier and easier for engaged couples to research and plan their weddings online—and for wedding vendors to connect with them. In July, The Knot and WeddingWire—two leading wedding planning resources—joined together to launch WeddingPro (weddingpro.com), the largest marketplace and community for wedding professionals. WeddingPro connects wedding professionals with the more than 13 million visitors per month who are planning weddings on The Knot and WeddingWire.
According to Julie Mead, vice president of B2B marketing at The Knot Worldwide, caterers are among the top 10 categories of professionals who have joined WeddingPro, alongside venues, photographers, florists, planners and more. What’s more, she adds, there’s less than 1 percent overlap between The Knot and WeddingWire, so most of today’s engaged couples are within reach through WeddingPro.
“We make over 1 million relevant pro recommendations per day to couples, based on what they need,” says Mead. “Couples love these because it’s like the product recommendations they see on Amazon or the TV show recommendations they see on Netflix. Pros love it because leads are more likely to convert.”
WeddingPro offers educational benefits to its vendor members, including webinars, networking events and daylong workshops across the country. “We are committed to building the community so that pros can easily meet their next collaborator, mentor, referral or even a BPF (best pro friend) to ultimately grow their businesses,” says Mead. “In fact, last year alone, we helped over 10,000 local wedding pros connect in real life through these experiences.”
Mead recently shared with Catering Magazine some of the top wedding trends she’s seeing, and tips for caterers on how to best market through social media.
CM: How are engaged couples researching wedding trends and coming up with ideas for their big day?
Mead: More than ever, couples are looking for wedding trends and ideas online, on social and through planning apps. As the largest two-sided marketplace helping couples plan their weddings, we use all our channels to make the process faster, easier and more fun from start to finish for millions of readers and followers.
CM: What are some of the top wedding food and design trends that you are seeing?
Mead: In lieu of seated or buffet-style dinners, we’re seeing more and more celebrations with heavy passed hors d’oeuvres. This allows for more mingling among guests and encourages them to hit the dance floor early! This trend also allows for more Instagrammable presentations and pairings when it comes to food and beverages.
Additionally, we’re seeing couples incorporate large grazing tables and charcuterie stations with meats, cheeses, local dried fruits, nuts and baguettes. It’s a fun way for guests to snag a quick bite throughout cocktail hour or the entire evening. Like passed hors d’oeuvres, these also make for a fantastic photo moment.
In terms of specific cuisines, we’re noticing couples are taking an international approach and pairing unique flavors together for a global fusion experience. This might include ramen, sushi, hearty make-your-own Indian- or Latin-themed bowls, or elevated French fare. This, again, ties into couples putting a personal spin on their special day. Whether incorporating their own cultural heritage or being inspired by their honeymoon to Asia, this is a fun way to share that experience with guests.
CM: Could you share some tips for catering professionals on how to best market themselves and keep up with their social media platforms?
Mead: In general, we suggest focusing your social media energy on Instagram and Facebook. Those are the first two social networks our couples tell us they use to browse ideas for their weddings, outside of The Knot and WeddingWire, of course.
Here are some tips:
- Caterers can ensure that content is being seen by using posts as a word-of-mouth tool. Make sure any posts that feature the engaged couple tag everyone in the photo, so they are more likely to share and comment, which boosts the likelihood of the posts appearing in more newsfeeds.
- Hashtag your posts. Those hashtags are still one of the best ways to be discovered on Instagram. Stick with the best practices; you can find tips for business owners on our WeddingPro blog (weddingpro.com/blog/how-to-win-with-hashtags-for-weddings).
- Embrace Instagram Stories; tag clients at a tasting, so they are encouraged to share in their own Stories.
- Ensure all content is designed to be viewed on a mobile phone, especially when it comes to imagery and video. Opt for vertical images to take up as much real estate on the phone screen as possible. If you produce videos, ensure closed captions are included so your audience can view them on-the-go. And always check your posts in preview on a phone rather than a desktop or laptop computer.
- Set up a business username through Facebook Messenger and encourage one-on-one conversations by creating a personal greeting message and auto-replies. That way, when a potential client visits your Facebook page and taps to talk to you, they’ll feel like they know you already.
CM: What are your predictions for the types of weddings that will be popular in 2020?
Mead: We’re going to see more couples focused on the environmental impacts of their day and looking to vendors who can deliver on sustainable practices.
Personalization is still at the forefront, with couples looking to their unique story and incorporating it into their day, whether that’s including cultural elements or traditions, or simply choosing a theme that speaks to them as a couple. When it comes to venues, we’re seeing the outdoors still reign, with greenhouses and campgrounds (think glamping!) having a major moment.