So you've scheduled a consultation, now what?  Does it always feel awkward sitting across the table from someone at Starbuck's with your pile of sample albums, a slideshow playing on your laptop, telling a couple why they should book you?   It should feel awkward... it is.  In fact, that's probably the least effective way to meet with (and book) wedding clients.

What if you thought differently about a wedding consultation.  What if it was more like a first date.  Sure, first dates can be awkward - but if you're on a date, you already think he/she is cute.  If a client agrees to meet with you, they already like your work - so stop focusing on that.

Instead, have a conversation.  Be interested in this couple sitting across from you.   Ask questions.  Listen to their answers.  The less you talk, and the more you listen, the better.  

 Here's a list of questions you can ask to get the conversation moving in the right direction.

1. What are you most excited about as you think about your wedding?

2. What was it that drew you towards your ceremony location?

3. When you think about your wedding day, how can I help capture that for you?

4. What are a few of the most important things you want to be sure to remember forever?

5. Tell me about how you imagine your wedding day?

6. What's your favorite "find" so far?  What's the thing you're excited about having at your wedding?

7. Do you remember the first time you knew you were going to ask her to marry you?

8. What's a story about the two of you that people don't know?

9. What was it about my photography that made you contact me?

10. What's the one thing on your registry that you can't wait to open?

11. What do your best friends say about him/her?

12. What's the most important thing for you when it comes to hiring a photographer?

13. How did you choose the other vendors you're working with?

14. Where is your favorite place to go - just the two of you?

By the way, "How did you meet?" is a bad question to start with.  It's neither original, nor all that helpful.  In fact, most couples have pretty similar answers that aren't really that exciting. And since every other photographers is going to ask, it doesn't set you a part as all that interested in them.  It's not a bad piece of information to know, but there are much better ways to get the conversation going.

What do you think?  What are some questions you've found are super helpful in getting the conversation started?