Like many other brides and grooms, I never thought I’d plan a wedding in the middle of a pandemic. Who knew? Yet, I couldn’t help notice the parallels between PR and wedding planning at this unusual moment. The following helped during this unique circumstance.
Flexibility and Adaptability
With statewide restrictions in flux, brides and grooms were and are forced to restructure their plans, whether that means having an outdoor wedding, reducing the guest list or postponing.
In PR and wedding planning, things don’t always go as desired. That's why it's crucial to have a plan B, C and D in PR and wedding planning. We know the drill. A PR crisis hits. An executive or a reporter doesn’t show for an interview. A writing assignment that you hadn’t planned for pops up. You need to be prepared in case things don’t go as planned.
Reaching out to reporters and influencers, you learn the importance of building solid foundations with people you've never met. Just as PR pros work with reporters who are new to them, we had to do the same with wedding vendors. You learn to find a connection in common, talk about things that aren’t directly connected to work and put yourself out there to develop a relationship. A trusting relationship begins.
Since we did most of our wedding planning during lockdown, we never met our vendors until the wedding day. We talked to them on the phone and FaceTime to help build relationships. As we got to know each other, we became comfortable. We knew we were seeking the same goal. The same trust is built with reporters when you’re able to collaborate and communicate with empathy and thoughtfulness.
A Clear Message
With press releases, pitches and other communications, media relations pros must ensure messaging is clear, consistent and empathetic. The same goes for wedding planning during a pandemic.
People have different comfort levels, so it is important to share clear expectations and guidelines of exactly what guests should expect when attending a wedding. We didn’t want to be blindsided by anything. Similarly, executives don’t want surprises during media interviews. They want to make sure they’re as prepared as possible with potential questions, talking points, previous articles and background on the reporter.
We made sure to communicate clearly to our guests the precautions we’d be taking to ensure they felt safe. We also were completely open and available to answer questions. The PR mantra of transparency came in handy.
Working in PR, you learn lessons daily because something always is new. The media landscape shifts. The line between editorial and sponsored content continues to blur. New technologies arrive. Reporters move jobs, change beats or, unfortunately, are furloughed or terminated.
Ultimately, we need to be on top of and stay ahead of these disruptive trends. Lucky for PR pros, we can take many of these lessons and translate them to benefit our everyday lives.
Courtney Moed is a communication specialist at Hot Paper Lantern