Exciting news!! We’re starting a new blog series called “TrueTour® Insider”. Each post will feature one of our lovely members. We’ll explore the minds of industry leaders, trending topics, TrueTour tips, and more.
This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Bridal Bliss founder, Nora Sheils. Bridal Bliss consists of a team of innovative coordinators who specialize in wedding planning, elopement packages, and special event planning. Located in Lake Oswego, OR, they have gained national recognition for the work that they’ve done. For years Bridal Bliss has helped engaged couples across the pacific northwest organize the wedding of their dreams.
We think you’ll love joining the conversation:
Photo Credit: 1859 Magazine by Peter Mahar Photography
Visiting Media: What are the considerations during February around Valentine’s season, and how does this time influence the rest of the year and marketing planning?
Nora: We get a big rush of inquiries between mid-January and mid-February. As you know, a huge percentage of engagements happen around the holidays. People range the full gamut of being so excited to plan to feeling a little (or very) stressed because they want to get on the ball. So we get quite a few inquiries and we’re working with new clients, finding their venues, managing budgets and working on those initial vendor decisions.
Visiting Media: The wedding industry fascinates me because more than any other industry, you’re often getting these very sweet people who are immediately overwhelmed by the amount of planning required for an event of this size. How do you calm them down and present them with information and guide them through the process? How do you make it easy and enjoyable?
Nora: We have so many people after the initial conversation, say, “Okay I feel so much better that this is all in somebody else’s hands and I can just step back and do as I’m told.” [laughter] We take on a lot of the stress for the client early on, so they know that there’s someone there in the background to manage their checklist, make sure they aren’t forgetting anything, give them ideas and suggestions and guide them through the whole process. They also know we have their best interests at hand, so we’re always going to negotiate contracts, and if an issue comes up we’re going to deal with it and be ready with a solution for the client. The point of hiring someone like us is specifically so they can really just enjoy the experience of getting married to the love of their life!
Visiting Media: That’s great. When in the process do you introduce TrueTour to the client, and how does it help you?
Nora: Oh, TrueTour is huge for us, especially the 360° photos. It’s so helpful to help narrow down the many options and choices we have to make with the client from the beginning so as not waste my time, my clients’ time or the venue’s time doing an on-site tour when we already know it’s not a good fit. So many venues only offer still photography and video, but oftentimes these are out of context and, frankly, photoshopped and staged for effect. While beautiful, and somewhat helpful, they leave a lot to the imagination and still confirm that a tour is mandatory before even getting a sense of how your unique wedding event might look. So when you can do a 360° tour and imagine yourself there and see a couple different ways the room has been previously set or a few different ways that it can look, it’s so much more helpful for the client. Sometimes walking into a space that’s totally empty with no tables or chairs, just one big room, people are like, “Oh my God, I don’t know what to do with this!” So to see it done in several different ways is really, really helpful.
Visiting Media: That’s really interesting about not being able to fully trust a photograph… Do you think the integrity of a 360° photo is perhaps trusted and considered more authentic and reliable?
Nora: Totally. To be honest, before 360° we would send clients to websites, look through photos, and then, if they were in fact interested in a venue, we’d always be sure to tour it in person beforehand with them so they knew exactly what they were getting. A photo is a small portion of an entire space, and you don’t necessarily get the whole picture. But with the 360°, you literally get the whole picture. You can turn it around, you can go up, you can go down, you can really get a feel for the whole space.
Visiting Media: That’s great. I agree completely that oftentimes the 360˚ photo shows a space more completely – blemishes and all. It’s interesting to hear that as a benefit, not a flaw.
Nora: Absolutely. I’ve been able to dramatically cut down on site tours, and dramatically increase the quality of the tours we schedule, just because the clients trust us, trust the virtual tour and could get a better sense of what to expect. TrueTour has meant that a client can plan to tour their select top choices versus having the pressure of visiting every single possible option. That’s just exhausting and stressful for everyone! This way, we get right to the fun part – that moment when a couple look at a space, and then look at each other, and say, “This is a perfect place.”
Huge thanks to Nora for taking the time to chat with us!
What do you think? Can you see the need in your industry to save time for both yourself and your clients? We’d love to hear if and when you explore different spaces virtually during the planning process and if you enjoyed this “TrueTour Insider” post? Let us know in the comments below!
Born and raised in Portland, Nora Sheils has been smitten with weddings since she was a child. After graduating from Gonzaga University with a degree in Psychology & Business and working several years in the bridal industry, she decided it was time to take her expertise to the next level. Bridal Bliss opened its doors for business in 2002 and has since risen through the ranks as one of Portland and Seattle’s top event planning firms. Nora’s savvy leadership has guided her team to earn several awards as well as national and international recognition. She has appeared regularly as a wedding expert on several local television shows including KATU’s AM Northwest, KPTV 12’s Better Portland and MORE Good Day Oregon, KOIN 6’s Studio 6, KGW News, Weddings Portland Style, and Portland Bridal TV.
When Nora is not on the job, you can find her doing what she loves most…spending quality time with friends and family including her husband Tyler (whom she met at a wedding!) and sons, Gavin and Dylan. She also loves sitting on the board of Levé, checking out Portland’s vibrant food scene, sipping Prosecco, getting sucked into Pinterest and long chats with her mom.
Nora’s attention to details, strict standard for quality, fun enthusiasm, and comforting demeanor put her clients at ease and have catapulted her as a leader in the wedding industry.
Photo Credit for Header image: Bryan Rupp Photography