Today, so much focus is placed on social media, getting found on Google and having a strong website that these marketing tactics have now become necessities. However, let’s not forget about smart networking! It is still an element that has put many businesses over the top! In fact, photographers, videographers, florists, limousine and entertainment companies alike, are feasting on the referrals of venues, caterers and hotels. And, it’s easy for them to do so because they get to interact at the reception site on the day of the wedding, which places them top of mind. Additionally, because venues and caterers use photos/videos to help market themselves, professional images of fantastic entertainment, centerpieces and décor can be just what it takes to seal the deal with potential clients.

So, how do invitation businesses get a piece of this “referral pie?” Well, it’s actually quite a simple concept! First, it is important to sell them on the idea that an ordinary invitation hurts the image of the venue because it can dull the anticipation of the event and lower the perceived status of the reception site. Second, and most important, there has to be something in it for the venue and/or caterer! Believe it or not, this is the easy part, because we all know that invitation businesses do more than just invitations!

One of our clients, Abbey Malcolm Letterpress + Design, a nationally known, boutique, dealer-sold stationer, works with venues and caterers in her local market to generate referrals. While she is one of the top letterpress invitation designers in the country, she has quite a following among venues and caterers in her local South Jersey market.

Here are just a few examples of custom products that Abbey offers her venues/caterers, who in turn, resell to their clients and/or include in their package:

1. Custom Menus: traditional menus in various sizes; menu place cards; tented menus; wine bottle label menus; bellyband menus (these actually wrap around napkins)

Custom Wedding Menus

2. Custom Table Numbers/Names: tented and untented menus; wine bottle table numbers/names; die-cut table numbers/names

Event Table Numbers

3. Candy Jar Tags and Signage for Candy Bars: Various shapes, including die-cut tags hung from ribbon; signage for candy bar

Candy Jar Tags and Signage

4. Signage for: photo booths, donation favors, signature drinks, guest sign-in; etc.

Wedding Signage

5. Seating Charts: She offers various styles of seating charts and the caterers/venues have the opportunity to rent beautiful frames to house them!

Wedding Seating Chart

6. Escort Cards/Place cards: tented and untented cards in various sizes; hangtags with ribbon; favor boxes that double as escort/place cards; bellyband place cards

Wedding Escort Card

7. Favors: Custom labels that adorn wine and champagne bottles; die-cut tags with ribbon; bellybands wrapped around boxed favors; stickers for cupcake containers; Sparkler packaging

Wedding Favor Wrappers

Personalized Wedding Favors

8. Custom Coasters + Napkins

Event Coasters and Napkins

The third and final key to getting recognized and enthusiastically referred is to offer stationery items and decor at a reduced price. This will allow the venue/caterer to either include these items in their initial offering or offer them as an add-on to their clients’ packages. If they feel that an invitation business is providing them added value at a reduced rate, they will be sure to keep that business at the top of its referral list.

Again, it all comes down to the fine details! One never really knows what element or offering is going to wow and inspire the client to choose one venue/caterer over another. But, we do know this… customers planning events want an event that will impress their guests and that’s where you, as invitation businesses, come in!