Shortly after my engagement, several of my friends and family members commented that I would surely be great at planning a wedding because I work in public relations.
While special-event planning makes up only a very small portion of my responsibilities, I quickly realized that the important components of planning a wedding are very similar to the tasks a PR agency performs for a client.
From determining my priorities to reaching out to the right specialists, the steps I have taken to plan my wedding have helped me reflect on my own professional responsibilities.
1. Determine your priorities
The first steps in planning a wedding are often setting the budget and determining the priorities. While some brides may choose to purchase a $5,000 dress, others would rather use the money for flowers or food.
The same holds true when working with a client. Prioritize which areas are most important to the client and decide what resources should be allotted to meet the needs. While some clients may choose to focus their priorities on media relations and speaking opportunities, others may decide that social media is the primary objective. By determining your clients’ top priorities early on, it is easier to meet their expectations.
2. Create a plan
Big (or small) ideas are rarely executed unless there is a thoughtful plan
with an actionable timeline. Pinterest is filled with pins illustrating wedding to-do lists based on the date for the big day.
Likewise, PR professionals must establish a timeline for project tasks and completion. By creating a project plan that details when each task should be completed, you hold yourself accountable and stay on track. While a plan provides a good framework, keep in mind that it must be flexible to accommodate changes or issues.
3. Know how you want to reach your audience
After a couple determines their priorities in a wedding, it is important to decide how they want the wedding to feel and what will represent them best. While some brides may prefer a large, formal wedding with everyone they know and more, others prefer smaller, more personal weddings.
Equally, some clients may prefer a broad media relations campaign that is mostly press release driven, while others will prefer a targeted media plan that is high-touch and includes personalized briefings and pitches. If your client is a business-to-business software company, a speaking opportunity at a large consumer electronics event is not as good of a fit as being an expert participant in a panel discussion directed at chief information officers.
Much like prioritizing a wedding guest list, it is important to prioritize the audiences that best fit your brand.
4. Ask for help when you need it.
One person rarely pulls off an entire wedding—much like PR campaigns and projects. As soon as you realize the need for additional help, enlist people on your team and give assignments that fit their workload and skillset.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to hire consultants or specialists for projects you cannot complete. Whether you need to hire a freelance graphic designer or videographer, make sure you have the best people to get the job done.
5. Stay organized
There are countless paper and online resources available to keep wedding planning organized. From online to-do lists to wedding binders, keeping all of the details organized and easy to access helps tremendously with compiling information and answering any questions that might come up.
Similarly, well-organized and updated to-do lists
, calendars and documents help keep any PR person sane. Keeping separate notebooks for different clients or projects helps organize pertinent information for immediate reference.
Whether you are planning a wedding or coordinating a PR project, it is important to understand that what you are doing represents you or your client’s brand. Take time to make sure everything is executed to the best of your ability so that you can be proud of your work and what it represents.
Mamie Cargile is an account executive at Cookerly Public Relations. Mamie provides media relations, research and writing support for clients primarily in the areas of healthcare, energy and professional services. Find Mamie on Twitter @Mamie24.