We love you! Can we meet up with you to ask you questions?
Which they will immediately forget what they wanted to say and your 30 minute meet and greet will turn into two hours of gossip! LOL
This is why I always had a 10 minute elevator speech that basically went over the highlights of my contract, which you should have out for them to look at. Start with about me, my experience, what to expect, when things are due and when you would be contacting them, time needed, what happens if you can't make it etc etc etc.
I first met up at coffee shops and clients' homes.
Then my in home office, but that was too much work to keep clean.
Then I got a studio space. I find you get more respect for a dedicated studio space and they tend to only keep you an hour instead of two when you meet up at their place or a shop.
You have lots of options now and days and special places with dedicated offices you can rent!
I usually offer beverages and snacks and have slideshows running in the background and wedding albums out for them to pick up and feel.
“How did you find me?” “Oh them! I LOVE them! I remember the priest at their wedding saying the wrong names!”
“How did you two meet?” “How did he propose?” “
“OH MY GOD that ring is gorgeous he could not have picked that out alone! LOL”
Let them get comfortable with you. Ask questions which will lead to the information they want from you.
“You have six sisters! That makes 8 bridesmaids! Well you have to include all your sisters and anyone whose wedding you were in! Don’t worry 8 is nothing. Did I tell you about my party of 14 bridesmaids?” This lets them know you are interested and yes you can handle that many and more.
A mentor of mine serves beer and wine at his meetings so I thought I would do the same.
The one time I tried I brought out a tray of beers and wine and the bride turned out to only be 20. I never offered alcohol again. Coffee, juice and water it is!
*By the way those drinks and cookies you offer are a tax deduction save your receipts!
As they are looking through the albums it is easy to talk about how they are custom made, what an heirloom they are and easier to talk them into upgrading to one.
They usually book right there. Some leave, meet with a few other photogs and then come back, but once they are comfortable with you it is usually a shoe in.
Go with your gut feeling!
I had a consultation with a couple half way through the groom broke out hysterically yelling, “OMG they are gonna kiss! OMG! THAT IS SO DISGUSTING! OMG!” A slideshow of one of my same sex weddings had come onto the screen. I should of escorted them out right there and told them I was not a good fit for them but I really wanted money!
When they book I often ask them to send me their wedding website link or their invitation so I get the same info as the guests.
Cultural Differences- Some religions will not allow photographers into the church. Some require women to cover their hair. Talk to the couple, google what to expect. Post in your photography groups for advice on what to expect.
It is not always what you think! My couple warned me things get a little crazy when the boys come in from the field. I was in the middle of a one street town that Google and my GPS did not recognize as a real city. I actually found my way by accident. Day went great. Ten o’ clock rolls around and I am expecting to be leaving because everything has died down. The bride had warned me. 10:30 the boys that had been working the field all day came to the reception and all hell broke loose. Buckets of ice dumped on the floor, cupcakes flinging across the room. You never know LOL.
Check In with them!
Afterwards I send and email thanking them for coming up and encouraging them to ask questions. Every few months until the wedding day I email again to see how things are going, anything I can help with? It gives them piece of mind and they know you have not dropped off the planet and are thinking of them.