Success Stories: Shannon Leahy Events

Name:  Shannon Leahy

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About Shannon: With offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Shannon Leahy Rosenbaum of Shannon Leahy Events plans and designs stunning weddings all over the world. Shannon has consistently been named one of the top wedding and event planners in the country. Shannon has been published in Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides Magazine, The Knot, Modern Luxury Brides, California Wedding Day, Today’s Bride as well as numerous blogs including Style Me Pretty, Snippet & Ink, and Once Wed. Shannon is honored to be named one of San Francisco’s top four planners by 7×7, one of the best wedding planners in the country by Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, Harper’s Bazaar, and is featured in a new book, America’s Favorite Wedding Planners: Secrets Revealed. Shannon has also authored an online course called WED School to teach aspiring wedding professionals the tips of the trade.

A Shannon Leahy wedding is characterized by clean line design, a carefully orchestrated flow and an incredible attention to every detail. She is renowned for her ability to remain calm in stressful situations and is beloved for her candor and creativity. Clients who come to Shannon for her keen eye for design, her wealth of wedding knowledge and her easygoing nature often become lifelong friends.

Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

What publicity have you received for your business?

When I first started my business in 2009, I had a lot of experience and expertise but very little in terms of a portfolio. While I was lucky to get referrals from venues I had worked with in the past for smaller jobs, I knew that to book the work I wanted I had to have a portfolio to showcase my capabilities. This was a chicken and egg situation and I quickly realized that I would need to create photoshoots to have imagery to build out a website that communicated my brand, style and taste.

While it’s common today for budding wedding companies to orchestrate photoshoots, in 2009 it was still pretty rare. I studied magazine editorials to get a sense of what would read well on the page and created my first photoshoot around the idea of a modern St. Patrick’s Day Wedding. I chose this theme because I knew it would be relevant for publications as a holiday piece and I felt there were no versions of sophisticated St. Patrick’s Day decor online. Style Me Pretty picked up this feature and ran a 3-day front page spread on the shoot. At the time they published one wedding a day and everyone in the industry woke up and read the blogs with their morning coffee, so this felt like a really big deal.

A year later Snippet and Ink ran the feature again around the holiday and this shoot has been shared countless times around the Internet. Phone calls rolled in from people who had seen the shoot online and this was my first taste of how publicity can really influence the success of a business.

Irish Wedding by Shannon Leahy

Photos by Larissa Cleveland

Recently I’ve been honored to be named one of the top wedding planners in the world by Harper’s Bazaar, Brides and Martha Stewart Weddings. These publications have huge influence and these articles are evergreen content on their sites. I feel so lucky to have received these honors and receive inquiries nearly every day from clients who have seen one or all of those lists.

Did you continue getting publicity as a deliberate part of your marketing strategy?

Yes, in the beginning we frequently sent beautiful weddings to magazines and blogs in hopes that they would publish our work, and many did. Being featured in online publications really helps with things like SEO and Pinterest, building a brand and lending credibility to a business.

Besides producing good work, how do you make sure to get featured?

We rely heavily on our photographers to submit work to magazines and blogs. These days many of the publications reach out to us for interviews for their sites which we always love participating in.

How has media changed your business?

There is a lot of pressure on wedding vendors to create work that is publishable to further their brand, but that has to come second to the Client’s experience, taste and priorities. We have worked with creative partners in the past that prioritized getting that Instagram photo or setting up that shot that will look so good in a magazine, over things that really mattered and while we love having beautiful imagery to publish, we refuse to work with people who don’t put their clients first.

Shannon Leahy event decor

Photo by Aaron Delesie

What advice do you have for wedding professionals looking to get more media attention?

Look for the white space. Meaning look for angles that have not been done before to create work worth sharing. So many new wedding professionals are keen to copy what they already see on the market, but the publications like to be ahead of the trends. They’re looking for what’s next, not what’s been done before. If you have an interesting, original idea, execute it well and then send it out to the editors, the media attention will follow.

Connect with Shannon Leahy on twitter: @sleahyevents or instagram @shannonleahyevents.

Sasha Vasilyuk is the founder of I Do PR and an award-winning journalist who has covered travel, culture and business for Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle and others.

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