Our Story

Working in the Industry

When I first entered the wedding industry 10 years ago, I had a wedding video business which operated out of my lounge room.  It was a very domestic affair.  Our house is one of those typical open plan places - a basic rectangle where the chances of getting lost are relatively slim.  What that meant though was a whole-house tidy before every client visit.

We had two young kids at that time, so for maximum results (of the kind where you don’t have to blow a fuse picking up stuff you already picked up 5 minutes earlier) the tidy was always at the very last minute before clients were due.  It was chaos!  Often my ‘cleaning’ involved kicking toys far enough under the couch that they couldn’t be spotted from standing height.  When the clients arrived, my husband would attempt to keep our kids quiet in one of our 3 bedrooms up the hall. 

One day a couple who I had a particular affinity with came to discuss their wedding video.  It was a week before their wedding and they were sitting on my lounge.  Easy targets for a 3 year old escapee.  

Mummy’s clients took an interest in Bob the Builder, and that was exciting.  The next thing we knew, Lofty (the blue crane) had been launched into orbit over my son’s head.  Twirling like a helicopter propeller it came hurtling directly at my Bride’s face and as she lurched back onto the couch it whizzed past her nose, missing it millimetres.  It was the most horrifying moment in my career as a wedding vendor. 

It was also the moment I first thought about selling that business.  Aside from the fact my child had very nearly ruined a wedding, a new idea had popped into my head and made itself resident.

The Wedlockers Concept

As a vendor, it’s hard to stand apart in the wedding industry because the market is saturated.  I had been wondering how that overwhelming choice affected the experience of customers.  It seemed as if they were spending as much effort trying to differentiate between vendors as what I was - trying to stand apart. 

So I started researching what attracts couples to book vendors.  When they trawl the internet and visit a gazillion different websites and make a hundred different enquiries, it turns out that all of them are seeking information about 2 things.  The same 2 things that differentiate every business in the wedding industry.  Product.  And Service.

It’s not rocket science.  Unless you’re getting married. 

The Customer Experience

The only way to research the available products and services in the wedding marketplace is to literally visit a bazillion supplier websites and send a few hundred enquiries.  And that’s where Google comes in.  If you’re sitting up there on the first page - well done [insert clap emoji], and GOOD F’ing luck!  How’s your inbox?  (We’re just jealous)

Have you ever received an enquiry that sounds like this though: “Please send packages”  And there’s nothing else in the email?  That’s the sound of a demoralised couple who’ve just spent 6 hours typing enquiries with bugger all revelations in response.  They’ve given up on words.  Some are more tenacious than others - you can tell which couples they are because they’ve nailed communication efficiency: “Hello.  How much?”  Qudos to that couple!

It seemed to me that making those 2 things - product and service - the subject on a search platform would empower customers to differentiate between vendors.  No more researching a bazillion different sites.  If you want bookings from couples who love what you offer, they need to see what you offer.  That’s what we do at Wedlockers.

After the Lofty-swinging incident I sold that wedding video business and added two more children to our chaos.   You’d be horrified at what I find under the couch these days.  And while we no longer have clients at our home, it’s those challenges which continue to inspire every feature on the Wedlockers platform. 

Join me.  I’m launching Wedlockers soon and you can list your business before we go live by emailing info@wedlockers.com.au.  I’ll send you the link.

New Endorsements for Wedding Industry

An article in the New York Times Magazine by Catherine Rampell gave this first hand description of the wedding marketplace: “…I thought the process of planning my own wedding would be fairly painless and practical.  That was before I entered the economically baffling world of the wedding industrial complex.”  

This frustration is almost universal across the wedding industry and highlights a chronic need to make comparison shopping easier for couples planning a wedding.  But while Rampell was largely referring to the complexities of package and pricing in her article, we believe the ability to compare service is far more critical.  Here’s why…

In other industries, the decision to purchase is generally made by comparing price and specifications.  This process is fairly straightforward when customers are familiar with the specifications available in that market.  But in the wedding industry, the number of variables in each sector of the market is enormous.

Compare the wedding industry with buying a new car for example.  Aside from the annoying absence of multi-million dollar advertising budgets, the other stark difference is the available choices across the wedding and car market.  In some sectors of the wedding market there are (conservatively) 2,000 more brands than in the automobile industry.  That’s 2,000 more wedding photographers to assess the particulars of, and 2,000 times the choice of venues. 

Aggregators

No two venues or photographers or celebrants provide the same product.  What can be achieved varies between wedding vendors and the manner in which every service is delivered is different.  The wedding industry is a veritable blur of brands & products & options. 

The sheer breadth of customisation offered by services within each segment of the market makes comparing vendors by price meaningless.  Not only is it logistically impossible to filter the wedding market by budget, but that effort becomes defunct as soon as customers consider what they really want.

When couples find a product or service they love, they’ll spend more or less to have it.  Our research found that most couples rarely stick to the budget allocated for each wedding service, putting more weight on factors other than price when finally booking a vendor.

The wedding industrial complex isn’t changing - and that’s a good thing.  While individuality reigns in the wedding market, there are fewer restrictions on creativity and innovation.  But there is a productivity cost that this ‘wedding industrial complex’ brings to the market and its impact is not only felt by frustrated couples.

With no easy way to browse the marketplace, couples regularly seek information directly from vendors.  But one of the key measures of productivity for vendors is the conversion rate of enquiries to bookings.   And enquiries that are seeking to inform their understanding of the market do not have a high conversation rate. 

The solution is not to make vendors more similar in what they offer, but to stand them further apart.  The areas in which vendors offer expertise should be visually obvious to anyone - not just industry professionals.  Providing vendors with greater recognition is a means to achieve this. 

Receive endorsements that stand your service apart by registering your business on Wedlockers.  More info coming soon…  
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Tasmania's Celebrant Industry

To understand what the celebrant industry in Tasmania looks like to couples planning their wedding, we took an in-depth look at the modern marketplace.  The data we collated reveals why it’s so difficult for clients to research wedding celebrants and identified some interesting growth opportunities for officiants in the Tasmanian market.

One of the first issues we encountered when starting this research, was identifying whether celebrants were currently active, or not, in the wedding industry.  Not all registered celebrants are trading businesses, not all seek wedding bookings and a large proportion do not actively promote themselves online.

We wanted to understand what the industry looks like from a customer’s perspective.  Celebrants that showed no evidence of self promotion in the past 3 months were considered inactive for our purposes.  In total, there are 80 wedding celebrants in Tasmania that;
- have an up to date business presence on social media and/or
- are actively engaging with clients online and/or
- had recently received online recommendations

Tassie celebrants

The latest data from the Bureau of Statistics shows a declining number of weddings in Tasmania - with 2,356 weddings conducted in 2015, down from an average in the preceding 4 years of 2,542.  As civil celebrants are now conducting close to 80% of weddings across the state, there is plenty of work available for celebrants, and plenty of competition in the market too.  Celebrants seeking ways to stand apart and increase their bookings in upcoming seasons may find the following data of interest…

Celebrant Websites

In contrast to other sectors of the wedding market, the celebrant industry are collectively less focused on the humble website as a critical element of their sales process.  In fact, 24% of celebrants in Tasmania don’t even have a website.  Even fewer have a modern website designed to attract today’s customers.

To get an industry-wide perspective on what celebrant websites look like, we provided each with a subjective grading that describes how modern the site is.  Those described as Modern were generally designed for visual impact and had fewer words, easier navigation and quick links to social media platforms.  ‘Reasonable’ websites were those that effectively share information but lack the large images and visual impact of the more modern sites:

Tassie celebrants copy

Facebook

Social media provides many benefits for business which is why most sectors of the wedding industry spend much of their marketing efforts on social platforms including Facebook.  Around 92% of Wedding Photographers maintain a Facebook page for their business.  Comparatively, only 65% of celebrants in Tasmania have a Facebook page and only 50% have posted in the last 3 months.

Officiants in Tassie have a current average of 250 Likes per page.  The range of followers starts at 25 and the ‘most popular’ celebrant has a fairly modest high in wedding standards of 700+ Likes.  There are only 4 celebrants in Tasmania with a Facebook following that exceed an audience of 500.

For Celebrants who use the platform effectively, Facebook provides an excellent opportunity for potential customers to make a connection with you.  Customers do look on Facebook to assess celebrants and if you’re one of the few vendors providing regular up-to-date material on your page, they’ll stick around and read your material, investing their efforts in getting to know you.  

Reviews

32 Wedding Celebrants have received reviews on Facebook.  Reviews are a powerfully effective tool for enabling customers to make a connection with you.  If a Bride & Groom were reading Facebook reviews to find a celebrant in Tasmania, the number of vendors in contention drops to 40% of the industry.   Are you in that 40%?

If you haven't yet switched the review function on your Facebook page on, here’s what you’re missing out on:  98% of reviews received by Tassie Celebrants are rated 5 stars.  Four stars is the next most popular rating, accounting for slightly more than 1% of all reviews.  Less than 1% of reviews receive a 1 star rating.  84% of celebrants who receive Facebook reviews have an overall rating of 5 stars. 

Tasmania Facebook Reviews

There are 4 wedding celebrants in Tasmania who have received Google reviews.  The average rating of those reviews is 5 stars.  Tassie Brides and Grooms looking for celebrant reviews online will find the largest number on Facebook.  There were a total of 377 Facebook reviews at time of research, which is 6 times more than any other online platform.

For couples who are seeking a wedding celebrant in Tasmania, we have provided Facebook links to celebrants in Launceston and in Hobart on our Facebook page.

Instagram

Only 12.5% of Celebrants in Tasmania have a (business oriented) Instagram account.  At the time of research, followers ranged in number from 25 to 629 and not all accounts had been active in the past 3 months.

In conclusion, there are many opportunities available to Tasmanian celebrants seeking a competitive advantage in today’s wedding marketplace.  Modern websites and up to date social media pages are not the reliable norm in our southern-most state so vendors there that invest effort into their online presence will see great results.  And they’ll make life easier for customers to find and connect with celebrants online.

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