Bride With Flowers

You’ve worked your butt off at bridal shows to land your wedding consultations, so when a bride doesn’t show up to her consult, it can be pretty frustrating. Not only did you not get to meet with a bride, but you also didn’t book that perfectly good time slot for any other sessions. There’s no way to avoid the no-show scenario completely, but here are a few ways you can at least reduce the likelihood that it will happen.

First in wins
It took us a few lost brides to figure this one out, but now it seems pretty obvious. Photographers want to book a bride on the spot. They’ll offer a book-us-now one time offer so a bride that doesn’t book immediately must suffer the consequence of paying a higher rate for looking around at other photographers. To us, that seems a little too much like used car salesman trick, but other photographers are going to use it anyway. The only way to make sure another photographer doesn’t steal your bride before you meet with her is to meet her first. We’ll move around our calendar and bend over backwards in order to get a bride in ASAP. If you’re the 5th or 6th photographer in line, you’ll probably never see the bride set foot in your studio.

Get happy
Each wedding is unique, and there are cool things about every wedding – ok, some weddings the only cool thing is that you get to tell your friends the “you wouldn’t believe it” stories after it’s all over. For most weddings though, you can probably find something you’re excited about and emphasize that while you’re scheduling the consult. I come right out and say that we REALLY want to photograph their wedding because we’ve never done one there or we can’t wait to see THAT happen. I’ll even go so far as to create a small “could you imagine” moment where I put us in the photographer spot talking about the fun we’ll be having with the bride and groom. It’s a small suggestion that they’d be making the right choice by choosing us to photograph their wedding. If the bride wants us to be her photographer, she’s not as likely to be won over by another photographer before she meets with us.

Automated reminders
A bride who forgets about a consult probably puts you back in the first in wins scenario. Sure, you’ll get the consult rescheduled, but it will probably be a couple days and a few other consults in between. Having automated email reminders set up in your studio management software will make her more likely to remember the appointment. If you don’t have studio management software that will take care of automating the task, a simple phone call should do.

Create a sense of urgency
I always tell a bride when I’m booking her consult that we’re holding the date in case another bride were to call in before her consult. Then I explain that she can put a deposit down on the day of the consult to secure the date. I’m not trying to freak our brides out – it’s more about letting them know that we’re not going to be available forever. It’s kind of the scarcity principle at work. There’s a limited supply of “us”, so get it now.

Last words
In the end, a bride is going to do what she wants to do. You can’t force her to come in – and to be honest, why would you want to? Once you get your bride to show up at the consult, knock her socks off with your amazing work and make your time spent getting her to come in worth your effort.

What ways have you found that you can make sure your brides show up for their consults? Any other tips?

11 Responses to “Avoiding Wedding Consult No-Shows”

  1. Devin Webb says:

    thanks TJ!!! loved this

  2. Devin Webb says:

    well Im not to the point of booking a ton of them yet. but ya Ive had no shows to sessions a few times. plus I really dislike taking the time out for a consult and then loosing the “sale” Ive only had that happen once and it was a money thing, even though they knew my prices I think they just needed a super cheap deal…so I understood. but this is good info for furture

  3. malunggay56 says:

    Having automated email reminders set up in your studio management software will make her more likely to remember the appointment. | :P

  4. LourceyPhoto says:

    This is a real problem for us, rescheduling will be a stressful task specially if we have lots of clients that waiting in line. In my case, i always find time to remind clients especially brides a day before his/her schedule and in addition my staff will call them 3 hours prior to photo shoot. Its just a matter of communication between you and your clients.

    • TJ McDowell says:

      That’s great! I bet that cuts WAY down on the number of surprises you get. I think if we end up hiring additional employees for the studio, that would be an excellent policy.

  5. Great tip! I’m taking your advice to heart. I’ve had brides forget (or just completely disregard) a photography consultation. I think this is a universal “people are people” phenomenon, but still.. I can be your wedding photographer, but you have to help me help you!
    John Douglas
    Wedding Photographer
    Lansing, MI

    • TJ McDowell says:

      John Douglas Photography,
      People definitely forget. We’ve all got 100 things going on every day. Hopefully this helps brides have to remember one less thing.

  6. Oh goodness. This is a good article. So far, we haven’t had any no shows, but we once went to a consultation and the bride and groom surprised us there with an announcement that they’d decided to elope. It was a bit frustrating, especially since we’d been talking about meeting for a couple of months (and rescheduling it for them since they’d forgotten about it the first time), and they didn’t mention elopement when we’d confirmed the second meeting just a week or two earlier. In the end, though, it taught us a lesson about valuing our time more.

    • TJ McDowell says:

      Chicago wedding photographer,
      We’ve have customers do the consult reschedule thing too. Some of them ended up not being worth our time, but others were just busy like us. Tough to know beforehand though.