Building a Solid Social Media Marketing Foundation

Social Media marketing plays a crucial role in any wedding business – and this is precisely why you should build a truly solid foundation when it comes to marketing. How is this done? ACPWC has brought you some tips from one of the best specialists in this field – Jason Freshly. Find out more on how to apply these tips for your wedding business:

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  • Start by knowing your target audience. If you are like the vast majority of the wedding vendors out there, you already have an idea of the types of clients you would truly enjoy working with. Keep this image in mind throughout your entire Social Media marketing campaign.
  • Create content to suit your audience. If you want to attract clients you enjoy working with, make sure to share content that is suitable for them. Regardless of your campaign’s main goal (be it promoting a new product or showcasing your work), always keep in mind that your content should be appreciated by your “ideal” clients.
  • Set very clear goals. Although it may seem easy to simply “share” posts on Facebook and Pinterest, the truth is that, same as with any other type of marketing campaigns, you do need to set clear goals. Clearly define how much engagement you want for your monthly posts and make sure to measure the analytics. Also, remember to track how much website traffic your posts are generating too.

If you have always wanted to become a wedding planner, now’s your chance!  Visit ACPWC for upcoming courses.

Wedding Planner Certification Course

Wedding Planner Training Course at WMBA

The ACPWC will provide a Wedding Planner Certification course on Monday, September 14, preceding the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas, beginning Tuesday. Sept. 15 -17, 2015. Get your Wedding Planning certificate while attending the conference.

Get more information at here.

Photo source: flickr.com/ Jason A. Howie

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How To Increase Your Wedding IQ

Words are more powerful than many people would think – and this is true regardless of what field you may be active in. As a wedding professional, imagery and words are even more important, especially since they are the main means by which you attract couples towards your business.

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It is understandable then why it is so important to use the right vocabulary when communicating with your clients. How to do this, though? How to “increase” your “wedding IQ”? We have gathered some of the very best tips out there – so make sure to read on and find out more.

  • Avoid using larger-than-life words and avoid clichés. Believe it or not, a bride (or a groom) can spot these instantly and even if your service is impeccable, they may want to back off precisely because you did not give them the feeling that they could actually trust you 100%.
  • “Out of the box”, “throw under the bus”, “synergy”, “touch-base”, “win-win” – these are some of the expressions that are overused in the wedding industry. Avoid using them as much as possible – and if you really have to use them, make sure you don’t do it in an excessive way.
  • On the other hand, there are also words and expressions you should use more often precisely because they are very powerful. Some examples include “compromise”, “aesthetic”, “clairvoyant”, “effervescent”, “opulent”, “congregate” and “transient”. Keep in mind that no matter how elevated or meaningful these words may be, you should still avoid overusing them (or, even worse, using them in the wrong context).

ACPWC can help you become the wedding planner couples out there really need. With many years of experience in this field and with a passion for shaping planners that deliver impeccable services, we could be the ones to put you on your path to success. Take a look at our courses and contact us if you want to find out more!

Wedding Planner Certification Course

Wedding Planner Training Course at WMBA

The ACPWC will provide a Wedding Planner Certification course on Monday, September 14, preceding the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas, beginning Tuesday. Sept. 15 -17, 2015. Get your Wedding Planning certificate while attending the conference.

Get more information at here.

 

Photo source: flickr.com/Luke,Ma

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Common Mistakes Wedding Professionals Are Making on Their Websites

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Your website is your “front door” online, so to speak, so it is critical that you make that great first impression to entice wedding couples to learn more about how you can help them create their perfect wedding day.

While working with the professionals in this industry, I began to notice many businesses were making the same set of mistakes over and over, so in our e-book we address 10 of the most common errors we see and provide some quick tips to fix them on your own website.

In this blog post I share two of those mistakes, and you can download the full e-book for free at Wedding Business Websites.

You’re Using a Personal or Free Email Address

If you’re thinking of using your Gmail address (or Hotmail, Yahoo, Telus, etc.) as your contact email address on your wedding business website – STOP!

You should always use an email that shares your domain name (e.g., in our case, we use hello@weddingbusinesswebsites.com), not your personal or free email address. Making this one change on your website will contribute to raising your credibility and professionalism. Most domain services let you set up a professional email for free or inexpensively. Alternately, there are some great email hosting providers such as Google that are highly affordable.

Your Website Has Broken Links and Errors

Broken links and errors imply poor site maintenance and means potential clients won’t be able to find information they are looking for. Worse, it automatically gives users the impression of laziness, poor attention to detail, and general lack of care for your website and possibly your business.

Explore your own website regularly to check for broken links, as external links are often changed or moved with no notice to linking sites, rendering them dead links. If you are unable to fix the link, remove it from your website altogether.

Get friends or family to proof your website and check for errors and missing information. There is nothing like a pair of fresh eyes, and it’s free too!

Brenda Cadman has been helping small business owners improve their websites since 2000. She has successfully managed both local and national marketing initiatives but these days her attention has been focused primarily on consulting and training to help wedding industry professionals to create a better website.

 

Wedding Planner Certification Course

Wedding Planner Training Course at WMBA

The ACPWC will provide a Wedding Planner Certification course on Monday, September 14, preceding the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas, beginning Tuesday. Sept. 15 -17, 2015. Get your Wedding Planning certificate while attending the conference.

Get more information at here.

 

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Happy 25th Anniversary Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants

The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants has turned 25! On this occasion, we would like to thank all of those who have been here for us over the course of the past decades. ACPWC is more than grateful to have worked with such wonderful, dedicated and professional people – and truly hope you would like to be with us in the future as well.

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The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants was created in 1990 with one purpose: that of maintaining the quality of the entire wedding planning industry. Professionalism, dedication and integrity are some of the most upheld values in the Association – and over the course of the years, we have proved that those who go through our doors always stick to the same values as well.

At the moment, ACPWC provides training and certification for those who want to become genuinely professional wedding and event planners. By bringing theory and practice together, we help our students learn all the “tricks” of this business so that they can provide true quality for the brides and grooms they will serve later on. Furthermore, all of our students create unbreakable networks that also help them plan weddings that are simply flawless from all points of view.

If you want to enroll in our course and if you want to become a professional certified wedding planner too, please visit our website and submit your application online. The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants would be more than happy to open the gates of the wedding planning world for you! We have been doing this for 25 years now – and all of our former students can confirm that we always go the extra mile to make sure our members actually succeed in the wedding industry!

Contact The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants and find out more about our training and certifications!

Wedding Planner Certification Course

Wedding Planner Training Course at WMBA

The ACPWC will provide a Wedding Planner Certification course on Monday, September 14, preceding the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas, beginning Tuesday. Sept. 15 -17, 2015. Get your Wedding Planning certificate while attending the conference.

Get more information at here.

Photo source: flickr.com/ jakrapong

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IRS Gives Free Money to Taxpayers

Renee_at_WIC_SmallIt’s not everyday that the IRS offers to GIVE you money!  Read below to see if you qualify and make sure you are claiming every credit possible.To Your Success, Renee and Team

IRS Gives Free Money to Taxpayers
By: Renee Daggett

I want free money!!  How do I get it?  Back in 1975, Congress approved this Earned Income Credit (EIC) to provide an incentive to working taxpayers.  To qualify, you must meet certain requirements.

Cash_in_PocketTo qualify, you must have earned income from employment (W-2), self-employment or another source of income.  You don’t need to have children to qualify, but the more kids you have, the higher the credit.  You can be single, head of household or married filing joint with your spouse to qualify.

If you are married and have at least one child, there are 4 tests that you must meet to qualify:
1. The relationship of the child (son/daughter/adopted child/stepchild/foster child/grandchild/sibling/niece/nephew)
2. The age of the child (younger than you, younger than 19 or younger than 24 and a full-time student, or disabled)
3. Residency (child must live with you in the US for more than ½ the year)
4. Must file a joint return (child cannot file a joint return)

If you are married and have no children, you must meet 3 tests:
1. You and your spouse must have lived in the US more than ½ the year
2. You or your spouse must be between the ages of 25 and 64
3. You or your spouse cannot qualify as a dependent of another person

In order to qualify in 2014, your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be less than:
•$46,997 for single or HOH filers ($52,427 married filing jointly) with 3 or more qualifying children
•$43,756 for single or HOH filers ($49,186 married filing jointly) with 2 qualifying children
•$38,511 for single or HOH filers ($43,941 married filing jointly) with 1 qualifying child
•$14,590 for single or HOH filers ($20,020 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

Tax Year 2014 maximum credit:
• $6,143 with 3 or more qualifying children
• $5,460 with 2 qualifying children
•$3,305 with 1 qualifying child
• $496 with no qualifying children

60% of the errors in filing this credit are due to 3 things:
1. Claiming a child who does not meet the age, relationship, residency or joint return test mentioned above
2. Filing as a single or head of household when legally married
3. Over or under reporting income or business expenses to maximize the credit

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Did You Know?

•Thank you for being a fan of Admin Books!  Please help us share business tips by suggesting to your friends to “like” our Facebook pagewww.facebook.com/adminbooks

•In an audit, the IRS will look closely at the following expenses: travel, entertainment, meals, and auto deductions.

•If you receive an audit letter from the IRS or Franchise Tax Board it could mean that their computer pulled your number.  Certain numbers can trigger this: high mortgage interest, high charitable contributions, high business expenses, business losses for many years, no W-2 for Officers, high travel expenses, etc.

 

Speech_Bubble“The first great gift
we can bestow on others is
a good example.”

~Thomas Morell, Librettist

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Keep the Receipt or Lose the Deduction!

Renee_at_WIC_SmallIt is amazing that a small piece of paper can bring either relief or discouragement.  Do you know how IMPORTANT your receipts are when you are in an audit situation?  The thing that bugs me is that the IRS can deem a deduction disallowed because the burden of proof is on the taxpayer.  And, if you don’t have your ducks in a row, they fall out of formation and it can cost you money.  I hope this article below gives you insight to protect all your deductions.

To Your Success, Renee

Keep the Receipt or Lose the Deduction!
by Renee Daggett

Time after time, there are rulings from the IRS stating someone lost their deduction due to bad record keeping.

Karen Hough had to pay $100,849 in taxes because she “estimated” the business expenses.  She relied on her testimony to prove the deductions, while the IRS required documentation.  She did not have cancelled checks or receipts.  The IRS could see she spent money, but because she could not prove the items purchased, the deductions were denied.  There were no excuses.

I had someone ask me why they should keep their receipts when they charge all their business expenses on a credit card.  The reason why you keep a legible receipt is that if you are in an audit, the IRS will NOT accept the line on a credit card statement showing a store purchase.  They need the original receipt or a readable copy.  If you don’t have the receipt, the auditor can say that you purchased school supplies for your kids and not believe you purchased office supplies for your business.  The deduction would be denied.  Do you save all your receipts?  Do you copy the thermal receipts because they will fade after 2-3 years?

To keep your record keeping life as simple as possible, have one business checking account.  Run everything through this account.  This way you can track income and expenses in one place.  I pay $1 a month to have my business checks mailed back to me so I don’t have to print copies of checks online.  I know most banks go back months or even a few years, but if you are audited, it can be 3 years later and who wants to print each check online?  Plus, I work with many banks and some don’t go back 3 years.  I have had clients have to pay large bank fees to get copies of checks.  No fun!

The IRS requires that you keep a log of your business miles.  This includes starting and ending odometer, date, business miles driven and business purpose.  Your calendar and your receipts will help indicate where you drove.  Don’t forget to count your deposit runs to the bank!

You need to train yourself (and your staff) NOT to use cash.  Cash is so hard to track.  If you lose the receipt, you probably won’t remember what you purchased…thus missing a deduction you were allowed to take.

For meals and entertainment expenses, you are required to document who, where, when, why and how much.  You have to indicate WHO you were with and why you entertained this person.

So how long do you need to keep your receipts?  You can amend a tax return (or be audited) 3 years back.  However, if you underestimated your income, the IRS can go back 6 years.  If you did not file or filed a fraudulent return, the IRS can go back many years as they want.  Also, if you purchase assets and they are depreciated over a period of years (5, 7, 15 years), you need the original receipt for that period of time.

Bottom line is that you need to PROVE everything you purchase for your business.  Do you have written documentation that if you were audited there would be no change in the taxes due?  I hope so!

Admin Books Can Provide Peace of Mind with
TAX RETURNS!
Here’s How:

A new client came to us seeking help to file his tax return.  We collected the data for the current years return and made sure they received every deduction allowed.  Since the client lived in another county, they found it convenient to review the return remotely, speaking to the preparer on the phone.

Admin Books noticed that on their last year’s return, they did not file 2 deductions to which they qualified.  In this return, the husband and wife were self-employed, had a good size practice, but were paying high self-employment taxes.  The client was very pleased to find out we could assist them in amending their last years return to collect a refund.  Admin Books also recommended changing the business entity in order to reduce their tax liability.  Does your preparer review the return with you line-by-line?   Are you confident that you are paying the lowest taxes required?

Tip Corner
by Renee Daggett

Our business purpose is to provide the small business owner with peace of mind.  We are passionate about helping business owners, CEOs and managers be successful in their business.

  • Set asideW-2’s, 1098 Mortgage Interest Statements, 1099-MISC, 1099-R, 1099-B, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT in a file ready to give to your tax preparer for your 2013 tax return.
  • Did you know…if you accept credit cards as payment for your services and products, you can be paying premium fees? Check to see what percentage you are payingfor Non-Qual rates. It can be 3-4%. The reason why is because of the rewards/points cards and company cards that are used get charged a higher percentage.
  • Have all 2014 bank and credit card accounts reconciled. Check for any un-cleared items in the reconciliation window. Review details of all new assets purchased for the year (what was purchased, date and amount).

Refer a Friend, Receive a Gift!

Know anyone that’s struggling with:

  • Tax returns
  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll
  • Financial management of their business

If so, please tell them about Admin Books and email Renee their information.  If your referral hires us to help them, we would like to thank you with a $25 VISA GIFT CARD!!

Complimentary Tools for YOU!

I want to make sure you are aware of several valuable items that you can take advantage of on my website compliments of Admin Books.

  • FREE business quiz
    • Audio on personal finances
    • Mileage log
    • Records Retention Guide
    • 30-min. consultation for prospective clients

 “When a man dies, if he can pass enthusiasm along to his children, he has left them an estate of incalculable value.”


~Thomas Edison, Inventor

 

 

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A Day of Design at The Mountain Winery

Mountain-Winery-Collage

Join owner and designer of Amazáe Events Inc., Crystal Lequang, for a day of design at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Crystal will be leading this one day experience on May 4th, giving you an in-depth look into event design from concept to execution. The course is open to all and is targeted towards new planners or those who have been in the industry for a few years. The curriculum will focus on clients, colors, and composition (Crystal’s 3 c’s) and will breakdown the process of a classic event from florals and tabletops to venue layout. You will also learn the importance of how the design processes impact the organization of event logistics through timelines, budgets and contracts. Gaining insight into the design portion of the industry will help your company to blossom and flourish.

Sign up now to learn how to grow your design business and capitalize on the $72 billion spent annually in the United States on weddings. Class size is limited so reserve your spot now for this design expertise class.

Get your early bird discounted ticket by April 11!

Monday, May 4, 2015
9:00am – 4:00pm

The Mountain Winery
14831 Pierce Road
Saratoga, CA 95070

Founder-and-Event-Producer1

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Questions to ask when hiring a Wedding Planner

Working with a wedding planner can be tremendously beneficial, especially if you want to have an unforgettable wedding without all the details associated with such a major event. However, keep in mind that it is important that you find the right wedding planner for you!

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When hiring a wedding planner, make sure to ask the right questions because they will help you determine whether or not you are compatible with that particular service provider. Here are some of the most important questions to ask:

  1. What types of service do you provide and what does your service include, more precisely? There are multiple types of wedding planning services out there – from Full-service to Wedding Day Management to event design. Make sure you ask your planner about the kinds of services he/she provides and about the things included in these services too. Believe it or not, these things can differ a lot from one planner to another.
  2. How many weddings do they do in a year and what is their specialty? Each planner has his/her “special talent”. Some are amazing with wedding designing, some specialize in ethnic weddings and most are great with making sure that every tiny detail is absolutely flawless for the Big Day. Ask your planner what is their specialty and ask them how many weddings they do in a year too. This will help you determine the quality of the services offered by a particular planning service provider.
  3. Can he/she help you create a vision for your wedding while staying within your budget? Ask your planner if he/she can create a vision for your wedding so that it suits your style, personality and love story. After all, you need someone who can pull all the details together and help you create a harmonious wedding where everything flows naturally!
  4. What happens if he/she is sick and cannot attend the wedding? No matter how amazing they may be, wedding planners are human too. Ask your planner what happens if he/she cannot be there for you on the Big Day. Most of them will include specifics about this in the contract as well, but it is definitely important to ask anyway. Inquire if they are a part of an association.  If they are, they can provide another professionally trained planner.
  5. Does he/she have references or at least a portfolio you can look at? You don’t hire your pastry chef based on words only – so why would you do that with your wedding planner? Ask your planning expert if he/she can provide you with references from previous couples or if he/she can show you photos of previous weddings. This will give you a better idea of what your planner can (and cannot) do for your own Big Day.

If you are still searching for the perfect Wedding Planning Training or Design course, make sure to stop by  The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC). Our next Personalized Training course will be Friday, May 1 – Sunday, May 3.   We have an adding bonus Wedding Design course on Monday, May 4.  Deadline to register is April 22.  Space is limited.

Visit us and find out more about our association!

Photo source: flickr.com/ mikecogh

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The Power of Video in Your Business Blog

BIOGRAPHY – MARK SHEPHERD

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 Mark Shepherd, Executive Producer of Legacy Films is the founder and  past President of The Bay Area Professional Videographers Association.  In 2007, Mark graduated from ACPWC’s consultant training program and has been active with ACPWC ever since.

Learn more about Mark at www.LegacyFilmsEvents.com

THE POWER OF VIDEO MARKETING

Video Marketing is the hottest trend in the online marketing industry. Everyday 100 million internet users watch a video online and this number is expected to grow dramatically in the next few years. But does that mean it is the right format to advertise your business? The answer is yes! Did you know that people that view a product/service video are 85% more likely to buy the product?

Use of video can promote, expose and engage!  Think about the value and influence of video, the mechanics of creating and posting videos, and the best ways it can be used, like, YouTube, social media and to promote your business and achieve higher placement on search engines.

Video marketing can also be used to:

  • Develop a proven video marketing strategy that benefits your business.
  • Determine what are the three persuasive types of videos that every business needs to develop.
  • Learn how to use the power of YouTube to drive leads and sales to your business
  • Show the power of personal introduction videos.
  • Discover secrets to developing a video script that engages your viewers and gets results.
  • Find the secret to getting video testimonials for your products and services.
  • Develop a persuasive “call-to-action” that converts leads into sales.
  • Gain insider’s tips and tricks on getting the search engines to place your video higher in searches.

Don’t delay! Seats are limited. Use the following link to sign up and take your business to the next level in 2015!   http://www.acpwc.com/#!course-application/c1rj3

 

 

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Wedding Planning Tip – 5 Things Your Guests Won’t Tell You

Alan-Berg-headshot-P2ECF17-235x300

 This week ACPWC has the honor of sharing a wedding planning tip from the well known Alan Berg.  Many of you may have attended his opening and closing speeches at the 2013 Wedding MBA.  Alan has many well written articles of value on his own blog and was kind enough to share his knowledge with us for this week’s article.  As Wedding Planners, these are great tips we can share with our brides-to-be.  So we encourage you to check out Alan Berg’s blog for more great tips not only for brides, but for small businesses as well.

 

5 Things Your Guests Won’t Tell You

I remember hearing Colin Cowie speak to a group of Wedding Planners in NYC. He said that he tells his couples (who are spending millions on their weddings) that it’s not really their wedding. It’s their first chance, as a married couple, to host a party for their friends and family. That surprised me as we always think of weddings as being for and about the couple. The ceremony is definitely for and about the couple. The party that follows is a celebration of that marriage, with your closest family and friends.

If you accept that perspective, what would you do differently? If you’ve been a guest at one, or more weddings, what would you have liked to have told the newly married couple, but you couldn’t (or you and other guests just told each other, quietly at the table or afterwards)? Here are 5 things that your guests won’t tell you (unless they’re brutally honest or blunt).

1)      Your guests won’t thank you for making your Mom, sister, best friend or maid of honor work on your wedding day. They’re not wedding planners, they’re your closest family and friends. Let them mingle, dance and enjoy the day.

2)     Your guests won’t thank you for making them wait while you take pictures. Sure, they’ll eat, they’ll drink, but if it takes too long they’ll start wondering where you are. They were invited to celebrate with you.

3)     Your guests won’t tell you that you put way too many things on your wedding registry. Make it easy for them to buy you the things that you really want. It’s hard for guests to know which things you really want (like a beautiful honeymoon, fire pit or down payment on a house), when there are 250 items on there. Give them the option to contribute dollars towards your registry so you can choose how to use it. Also, understand that a gift should not be required. You invited them to share your wedding day, not to necessarily have to pay for the privilege. If they want to give a gift, make it easy.

4)     Your guests want to see, and hear your ceremony. Ask them to stay in their seats so everyone else can see. If you’ve hired professional photographer and videographer (real, experienced pros), and you share the photos with them (easy enough to do with online proofing these days), they’ll all be able to see and hear you taking your vows. Have someone ask everyone to turn off their ringers as well. You don’t want to hear a phone ringing on your wedding video. Everyone has a camera phone, but that doesn’t make them professionals. Don’t let them get in the way of the pros You’re investing good money in professional photos, let them do their job and they share it with your guests.

5)     Your guests won’t thank you for hiring the cheapest wedding vendors. They don’t care how much you paid, they only care about the end result that they see. An iPod is not a DJ. Your uncle is not a professional videographer and won’t know where to stand to not be in everyone’s way. That Craig’s List vendor you hired is cheap for a reason. Don’t hire cheap. Hire the best value, and that often means spending more. Just follow your priorities and invest in them. You won’t be happy when the photos aren’t what you wanted or the dance floor is empty.

What I’m trying to say here is that you know what it’s like to be a guest at a wedding, just try to remember that when making your choices. If it’s summer time, make sure there’s shade for your outdoor ceremony. Make sure there’s air conditioning. Don’t just pray that it won’t rain, or won’t be 110 degrees… have a real plan for it. Put yourself in the shoes of your 100, 200 or more guests and have them raving to you about how great everything was. You don’t always get kudos for doing it right, but you almost always lose points for doing it wrong. I wish you, and your guests, a very happy wedding.

Alan Berg has over 20 years of experience in the wedding industry and has au­thored three books, “If your website was an employee, would you fire it?,” “Don’t Paint The House” and “Your Attitude for Success.” Learn more at www.alanberg.com

 

Please include this attribution when you repost or share:

This copyrighted article was written by Alan Berg, professional speaker, author and business consultant – North America’s Leading Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events, and published in Beautiful Bride Magazine. To find out more about Alan Berg visit www.AlanBerg.com © 2013 Alan Berg

 

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