Gift-giving is one of the most popular of the five love languages, and for good reason. When done correctly, it can strengthen the bond between the giver and recipient. As a wedding professional, gifting is a great way to surprise and delight your clients while providing the added benefit of earning referrals and gaining new business.
For many, gifting might seem like a chore whereas others might love the opportunity to get creative and serve clients with a top-tier brand experience. Wherever you may fall on the spectrum, gifting clients and creative partners remains one of the most effective yet underrated strategies for enhancing the client experience and increasing referrals.
Let’s take a look at some gifting strategies that any wedding pro can add to their business.
Make gifting a fundamental part of your business
Think about all of the aspects of your business that run like clockwork: your sales funnel, onboarding processes, invoicing procedures, and so on. Each of these elements work seamlessly within your company because you planned them out with foresight. Gifting should be one and the same.
When your gifting strategy becomes part of your workflow, you don’t have to think about rushing around to stores or contemplating what your client would appreciate.
When you create a system that gathers client details to inform your gifting ideas and follows a consistent timeline of when to hand out gifts, you don’t have to worry about last-minute details. Don’t think you’ll magically pull all of these gifts out of a hat at the right time! As with all facets of your business, being proactive is the best way to ensure it goes smoothly without a hitch.
Once you have a system in place, stick with it. It’s easy to succumb to shiny object syndrome and want to buy every distraction you see, but hold back on that desire. You made a plan with forethought, so stay on track and you can’t go wrong.
Decide how you want to gift clients
A big part of planning your gifting strategy will be deciding how many gifts you want to give each client and when those touchpoints will be in the process. I recommend gifting clients at least twice: a welcome gift to set the stage and show appreciation off the bat, and an anniversary gift to check in and prompt referrals.
We once sent a couple a gift for their new baby and it prompted them to write a review and refer us to a friend three years after the wedding.
Don’t underestimate the power of a thoughtful gift!
Align your gifting strategy with your pricing
Gifting can eat up some of your budget, so be mindful of your profit margins as you plan your approach. You are a business owner first and no gift is worth sacrificing your hard-earned revenue! Consider your pricing breakdown in order to maximize your gifting without taking a hit on your budget.
For example, the gifting strategy outlined above is for our full planning & design clients and custom packages we build. Since gifts are accounted in the pricing of those packages, we’re able to do a lot more for them.
On the other hand, our month-of clients don’t receive as many gifts because it’s a much lower profit margin on our end and we want to be able to retain that package’s price point for our budget-conscious clients. We understand that some people value affordability first and don’t want to pay for the luxury experience.
Start by figuring out the types of gifts you want to give and how many you’d like each client to receive. Then, consider how much that will cost and work backwards to factor that into your packages so you don’t lose your profit margins.
It’s not about hitting a certain dollar amount or making it a specific percentage of a package; gifts are about thoughtfulness, not dollar signs!
Gather the details you need to make gifting easy
Once you have the foundation of your gifting strategy in place, it’s time for the fun part: getting creative with ideas! Every client is unique and will appreciate different things, so you need to do some recon to gather inspiration.
If you already follow your clients on social media, you’re already partially there. People share so many details about themselves online, so pay attention and listen to what they’re saying. Note their likes and dislikes, where they travel, how they spend their time, and who they surround themselves with. You can learn so much about someone just by scrolling through their feed!
You can also use your initial questionnaire or interview to learn more. Ask about alcohol preferences, dietary restrictions, favorite restaurants, go-to desserts, and so on. All of these questions are applicable to the wedding planning process, so there aren’t any spoilers and you gain a wealth of information to plan your gifts accordingly.
If gifting isn’t your love language, don’t worry. There are so many great gift boxes out there, like Simone LeBlanc or Marigold & Grey, so you can still make an impression without worrying too much about the details.
Don’t forget your vendor friends
Since our industry partners do so much to support our business (including sending new business referrals), we love to send them gifts to show our appreciation and showcase our brand. It’s a nice way to plant a good seed with other vendors, but avoid giving with the hope of getting something in return.
Gifting is not transactional; it’s a thoughtful gesture.
We send out annual gifts to our “friendors” to let them know we love working with them and it always serves as a great way to stay top-of-mind within our network. We also send small thank you gifts when we book a client referred by a partner; if somebody has gone above and beyond to send us multiple referrals, we’ll send an extra nice gift.
Remember that gifting is not about a dollar value
Gifting is something anyone can build into their business, even if you don’t have a fortune to splurge on shopping. Never underestimate the power of small gestures! You can buy coffee for a client or vendor partner at your next meeting.
You can pass on a vendor discount or freebie to a client. You can shout out a venue or a couple’s anniversary on social media. Words and heartfelt gestures are gifts, too! For some, they are even more meaningful than something purchased online or picked up from a store.
At the end of the day, a gift is simply a token of appreciation that shows how much you care. Whether that’s a luxury food basket or a sweet handwritten note with some homemade treats, commit to demonstrating your appreciation for those around you and you’ll see that gratitude returned to you tenfold.
Margaux Fraise is the owner and creative director of Harmony Creative Studio, an award-winning boutique wedding firm in Los Angeles, CA. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Style Me Pretty, Brides, and Green Wedding Shoes, among others. With her years of experience, Margaux serves as a wedding business educator, frequent podcast guest and motivational speaker. Recently, Margaux launched her ‘Client Onboarding for Wedding Professionals’ course and hosts the twice yearly premiere online summit for wedding pros: The Wedding Summit Series.