EE005 – Tracy Butterfield – WEDx

You have likely heard of TEDx but are you familiar with WEDx?
Tracy Butterfield is the founder of Wed-X an event where she brings in experienced and respected wedding professionals to educate others in the industry on how to increase their skills and services they offer in order to give the couples they work a better experience.
She is also the founder of the Four Counties Wedding Awards which recognises people that have really gone that extra mile.
Founder of WEDx
Director of Appleby Events Ltd
Director of Development for NAWP-UK
Exceeding Expectations Links:
As seen on TV – Extreme Cake Makers 13th May – watch us on demand

Tony: This is Tony Winyard and you are listening to episode 5 of Exceeding Expectations. Today, I’m speaking with Tracey Butterfield and this episode was actually recorded at the beginning of the year. She’s a wedding and event specialist, and the founder of WEDx. We hear the value of really listening closely to what your clients tell you. Okay. So for today’s episode of Exceeding Expectations, I’m here with Tracy Butterflied. How are you doing Tracy?

Tracy: Fine, thank you. Good to see you again.

Tony: You been telling me about all the things you do. I wasn’t quite sure. I thought you were some kind of a wedding planner, but you’re heavily involved in the wedding industry and have been, for how long now?

Tracy: Oh gosh well I actually, to be fair, I did my first wedding about 25 years ago.

Tony: Right?

Tracy: Yeah, quite a few years. There was a gap in between.

Tony: You’ve been involved in weddings in many different areas, haven’t you? What kind of things have you been doing?

Tracy: Yes, I have. I can quite honestly say that I’ve probably worked in every kind of area of hospitality. I have been the wedding coordinator for two stately homes. I have been the operations manager involved with weddings in a five star hotel. I was a GM for a golf club and I used to do all kinds of events there. Plus, what else?

The Gastro Pub. I used to be the general manager of gastro-pub and probably, most time consuming was the music venue that my husband and I owned. And that basically took up every single day of the week for us and so lots and lots of events. Yeah.

Tony: Now you do WEDx?

Tracy: I do. It started off with the Four Counties Wedding Awards and they cover [Inaudible 1:57-1:59]

Tony: Okay.

Tracy: Started Once I was working as a coordinator for a venue. Mainly because I worked with so many incredible people and they kept saying, “You need an award for what you do, you’re amazing!” they kind of felt that they weren’t big enough to go into the nationals, which was crazy because they were. So, that’s where that started. Four Counties Wedding Awards started.

From that I kind of grew this amazing community of incredible sort of wedding professionals. The idea of WEDx came up sort of…I would say, what was it, 2016. Then 2017 it kind of came to fruition. They are seminars and now we have workshops as well for the wedding industry. All kinds of training, inspirational, motivational and educational.

Tony: How have people been receiving it?

Tracy: It has been incredible.

Tony: Right.

Tracy: Amazing in fact. I think even though I’ve only had two actual events, the impact has been just overwhelming. I’ve been contacted by all kinds of people who want to come and talk. Including someone from an international company who are actually flying over from France to see me in February. On top of that, it seems to filter it out into the industry. I’ve been to the bride [inaudible 03:19] launch recently and met people I’ve never met before who’ve heard of WEDx. I’ve met people at the wedding gallery up in London as well and they’ve sort of heard of WEDx. The kind of brand is definitely got out there. So it’s fantastic. Yeah.

Tony: I, suppose we should mention for any of your listeners who are on. I imagine most people should be familiar with TEDx, but in case you’re not familiar with WEDx, it’s about educational informative, entertaining events.

Tracy: That’s right motivational. Yeah.

Tony: So you have people from different areas of the wedding industry talking to other wedding professionals don’t you?

Tracy: That’s correct, yeah. They are only wedding professionals that have talked. I’ve had a lot of contact from amazing speakers but they’re not within the industry. I think the wedding industry is quite unique and you definitely need to kind of be in it to understand it. The people that are talking are…all kinds of people really. We’ve got some really like new starters that have just caused a massive sort of impact in the industry. There is some real maverick people sort of giving their ideas on things. Then there’s also leaders in their own area of the wedding industry who are then giving the business stories that they talk about how they’ve done it. Which is quite interesting really, to hear some of the stories? Like quite… tears sort of fall for some and hilarious in others. And then they also give a topic in particular that they have their expertise in. Then that’s another sort of addition. We also have a Q and A after each one as well so, yes it’s really good.

Tony: I went to your event in, was it November?

Tracy: October in yeah [inaudible 05:04]

Tony: And that was really good?

Tracy: Oh, great. Thank you.

Tony: The audiences were really engaged and there was some great speakers.

Tracy: Yeah, they do like to get involved and I think that, that’s exactly how I want it. We have a little bit cheesy music. That’s quite important to me as a kind of music lover. I do try and find things that are going to keep people engaged. I’m particularly kind of constantly looking for people to come and talk that are going to give that to the audience. So, yeah.

Tony: Moving on to Exceeding Expectations. We were talking before we started recording that you’ve done in your order, many weddings that you’ve kind of been a part of in some way or other. And you’ve got some examples and stories of ways that you’ve been able to exceed your client’s expectations. Could you tell me?

Tracy: Yes of course oh, gosh. I mean anyone in weddings will understand there are probably thousands and thousands of stories that we can all tell or maybe we shouldn’t tell but yeah, there are lots and lots of stories. I think for me in particular, I’ve been really lucky to work on weddings from all kind of sort of areas and different people that are going to come along and have, their wedding. And it’s been amazing. I’ve been very fortunate.

I would probably say that for me, it’s really important for me just to really listen to what they’re discussing for their wedding and what they really wanted for their wedding because quite honestly, they are going to book their wedding. They’re going to expect to pay what they have to pay and they know what they’re booking, they know what they’re getting. But what they don’t know is that for me in particular and I’m sure there are others that really listen and they say something like, for example, there was a lady who had really gone full out at this wedding. It was amazing. They then decided that, you know, just having a walk round to looking to see how everything was going to go. She mentioned something about, a retro sweet that she used to have when she was a child. Loved it, couldn’t get hold of it for love nor money.

Now, she didn’t ask me to get that for her, but what I did do is I listened to that and I just tried everything to make sure I found those sweets, which I did. I put them in a bag; put them on her chair so that when she came in to have her dinner after the ceremony, she sat down as well. She saw the sweets luckily and just burst into tears, and it was just that small detail. She said, “You don’t know how much that means to me.” They’d spent a lot of money on that wedding. It wasn’t about what they had expected. This was something that they really didn’t expect and it was only a few pounds and it wasn’t massive big deal for anyone else, but for her it was really, really important. So lovely.

Tony: You were sharing this just now about when you met them a couple years later in a bar or something?

Tracy: Well, yes , I met her in a restaurant and she literally stood, it was a restaurant that she…a place that she owned and she ran and she stood up and she said to me, I need to tell everybody that this is the lady that made my wedding amazing. She was the one that got the sweets. Yeah she shouted out and told everyone; quite embarrassing. Butt was really lovely to think that, you know, a few years later, that was the thing that stood out for her.

Tony: It shows a difference such a small detail can make doesn’t it?

Tracy: Oh gosh yeah. Really does. Yeah. A massive difference. I think even, another wedding I can think of that, being the fact that I’m a music lover and my husband’s a musician. Someone, I’ve mentioned this as part of a conversation and the groom actually contacted me and said, “My wife or future wife really loves this particular song, but what I want to get a rock guitarist to play it at the church for a surprise.”

I said, “Right, okay, well, I know musicians and I know some musicians. Let me see what I can do.” I managed to contact someone I knew this was not his thing he doesn’t do weddings at all. He’s on stages across the world and he’s doing all sorts of stuff. Gave him this song, I said, “Is there any way you could learn this?” And he said, “Yeah, yeah fine.” Obviously brought it down a bit. We sorted it out between the groom, myself and the musician. He played at the ceremony, and literally, she walked in, he was there at the front playing this song, in a rocky kind of way, and of course she was just overwhelmed. It was another thing where somebody had actually come up to me afterwards and said , “You just made the day. It made a difference.” And I think that’s part of it. Yeah. It was really lovely.

Tony: It’s such a nice feeling to…exceeding their expectations it gives them such enjoyment and that gives you enjoyment as well?

Tracy: It really does yeah. I think it’s, if you were in weddings, you enjoy your job. If you’re in a particular field of industry that you really enjoy and you’re really into it and you’re passionate about it. Just to have something like that, it’s just really rewarding. It’s just makes a big difference and you don’t do it for that reason. That’s not why you’re doing it but to have that as a reward is fascinating. It’s wonderful. Yeah, it’s really nice to feel.

Tony: It’s interesting that you say that you don’t do it for that reason but from that I’m imagining you’ve had referrals or that’s [inaudible 10:20] things.

Tracy: Yeah, it certainly has with the weddings in particular. Yes. Yeah obviously they, everyone that was at the wedding at the end of the day, we’re coming up and saying, you know, thank you for the things you’ve done for them and yeah, I did have referrals and weddings were booked after that. So it does, it does make a difference in that respect, yeah.

Tony: It shows to yeah…I mean, it’s great to do it in itself because it gives them a great feeling, which gives you a great feeling, but then it also leads to more work.

Tracy: Of course.

Tony: Yes, makes sense. Yes. So many ways.

Tracy: Yeah, definitely and I think with the WEDx events, even very simple things that with the community that I have I’m always on the lookout for something extra to give to them.

Tony: Right.

Tracy: Obviously it’s a free community that I run.

Tony: So are we talking about like a Facebook group or something?

Tracy: Yes, it’s a Facebook group, yeah. So it’s an online Facebook. It’s a private group.

Tony: Yeah.

Tracy: But that is one of those nurturing places where people support each other and give advice. I do weekly business tips. We have a show and tell every week, which can be anything from a fun thing or a business thing and we also have an introducing, which is now something that I’ve started in 2018. So each week someone writes a piece about themselves, answers some questions, picture, and just gets people to know each other; so building the community.

I have also found that when I’m at other events, I’m picking up different sort of like opportunities. So recently I’ve just teamed up with “Jo Malone”, the fragrance/scent, sort of wonderful people. They’re going to run two events for the community for me. It might seem like it works a bit, sort of, you know, not really attached to the wedding industry, but they do a bridal scent fragrance sort of event through Joe Malone. So obviously the wedding professionals will come along and it will be great for them. They’ll have a lovely time, but they’ll also pass that information onto their clients. For Joe Malone, it’s great because they obviously are going to get referrals. For me it’s satisfying to know that I’ve been able to provide something else. So, I am always on the lookout for something either for the community, for the awards or WEDx as well.

Tony: Fantastic, well I’m sure listeners have got a lot out of. Do you have any other examples?

Tracy: The other example, well actually yes, for workshops, for example, of the workshops. I start today in fact. I’m always looking for something multisensory as well.

Tony: Okay.

Tracy: Because as far as a creative is concerned for me, it’s not just about a case of you come to an event, you sit down, you listen to the information and you leave. As far as I’m concerned, I’m always looking for other things. For the one they seminars, we, as you know after dinner is the time when people kind of feel like a little bit of a nap. That’s the time when I say, right, everybody on their feet, we’re going to do heads and tails and it’s just a case of like, okay, well I didn’t expect that if they’ve never been.

Yeah so for the workshops for example. I’ve been looking at doing a bit more research into how to engage people in a small sort of environment. So scents are one of those things, lemons, and jasmine are both things that can kind of keep you awake. So we’ve got lemon cakes and we’ve got candles in the room and things that they probably won’t even notice but they will be things that will keep people engaged.

Tony: Right

Tracy: That’s part of it and consistently using your right sort of side of the brain is the creative side so during the workshops today, I’ve actually got some glass…what would you call them? Glass beads I suppose, which we on the tables that they will be playing with whilst they’re in their workshop, they won’t realise that actually that’s keeping them awake to watch the workshop.

Tony: Right.

Tracy: But it’s just little things like that for me…

Tony: Yeah.

Tracy: Is the thing that if I can provide extra things then that will be the thing that…

Tony: That’s just reminded me about the workshop that I attended also…the WEDx I attended in October. I remember you had a sofa on the stage so that after each person had spoken. They could…it was kind of a relaxed session on the sofa.

Tracy: Yeah, that’s right.

Tony: The little details like that can make it seem more warmly and more homely kinda thing.

Tracy: Yeah, I mean we set that up because obviously that’s not usually there. I kind of felt like I wanted to do a sort of, you know, Jonathan Ross kind of like interview at the end of it. And in fact that is one of the things that people do comment on a lot, how relaxed that is, and because we’re relaxed in the situation. People are happy to then ask questions. I know it’s one of those difficult ones, you know, you don’t want to stand up and say, I want to ask a question. Not that they stood up, but as you probably saw yourself, people did get engaged with it. They did ask questions. So, yeah, just the thought of, you know, behind let’s make this look comfortable/homely was enough to get people involved.

Tony: Well it definitely worked.

Tracy: Yeah. Good. Thank you.

Tony: Well, it’s been, it’s been really great speaking to you, Tracy.

Tracy: Thank you very much.

Tony: Good luck with all your WEDx, [inaudible 15:28] said you’re going to take over the world.

Tracy: I do the best. Yeah.

Tony: Yeah. Look forward to speaking soon.

Tracy: Thanks very much, Tony.

Tony: Thank you.

Tony: Next week Episode 6 will really be magical as my guest is magician Lee Smith, and we’ll discover how he miss directs his clients even more than they’re prepared for.

Thank you for listening. Please do subscribe and it will be fantastic. If you could leave a review on iTunes. I do get in touch if you know of someone who exceeds the expectations of the clients that they work for.

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