(Editor's Note: Today on the blog, we welcome the return of frequent guest contributor Jennifer Taylor of Taylor'd Events! Read more about Jennifer at the end of the post!)
The wedding industry is filled with conferences, tradeshows and other educational workshops at both local and national levels. Most of them can be tempting to sign up for, but realistically, you can’t attend every single one due to time and financial commitments.
The question is – how do you determine which will be the best experience and provide you with the most return on investment?
What are your goals?
First and foremost, you need to determine why you want to attend an educational event, be it a workshop or a conference. Do you want to learn more to improve your skills? Would you like to network and meet some big names in the industry? Are you trying to get a feel for things in hopes of being a speaker in the future? There are plenty of reasons to attend an event, but it’s important that you solidify your goals before browsing the options out there.
Who is going to be there?
Review the event’s website and marketing materials to see who will be speaking and what major industry leaders will be there to get an idea of how you can make the most of your attendance. Oftentimes, the caliber of experts speaks to the quality of the education so keep that in mind if you’re really looking to learn from the experts.
It may also make sense to reach out to any industry peers or post in a local networking group to see if any of your buddies will be attending as well. It always helps to have a familiar face around, so you could even plan to travel together or book a hotel room together which will help to minimize your expenditures.
Does it fit in the budget?
Yes, attending a national conference can be an investment that will pay in the long run. For the most part, this is reason enough to book your ticket. However, you must take a careful look at your finances before taking the leap – as beneficial as it can be, avoid dipping into your bottom line to attend. There’s always next year!
Can you make the time for it?
This one sounds obvious, but it’s really imperative that you look at your schedule to see if you can fit in an event. This is more important for longer conferences that can be up to a week long with travel days, so keep in mind your current obligations before pulling out your credit card. Even if you don’t have any weddings planned throughout the time you’ll be gone, you’ll need to recognize that it will still take away from your regular day-to-day tasks and planning processes.
There are a lot of things to consider when looking at educational opportunities, but if everything checks out, rest assured that you are in for a fun and enlightening experience. Don’t forget your notebook and pen!
Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners who are new to the industry and looking to grow and develop their skills.