Windsor’s Wedding Guru: Women On Top Magazine, wotmag.ca (September/October Issue)- The Wedding Guide Windsor/Essex County

My sincerest thanks to Bonnie Evans, Publisher of WOT Magazine for this article! – Sheryl Davies, Publisher, The Wedding Guide Windsor/Essex County

John Lyons Photography: Windsor Ontario, Canada

Sheryl Davies is a veteran of the wedding industry and has spent most of her early career working with brides. With 22 years of  experience in both the  wholesale   and retail industries – selling china, crystal and housewares – Sheryl became the go- to person for everything having to do with weddings. In this  capacity, she  worked with such prestigious companies as Royal Doulton, Rosenthal, Royal Worcester Spode, Orrefors crystal and others.

She set-up the bridal registry for what was the then,  the nationwide T. Eaton Company, prior to the advent of the computer!  As a display specialist and salesperson, she also created wedding and other types of trade shows. One of the many reasons Sheryl has been so successful is the amount of time she has spent learning first-hand what brides want and how they want to be treated on their special day. Davies‘ understands the bride’s psyche and knows that all brides are not just ―regular consumers when it comes to wedding planning. She knows that brides have a very small window of time to plan and execute their dream day.

Today, the bridal registry is considered equally important, but the items registered are of a completely different nature than they were in the past. Brides don‘t necessarily want formal dinnerware – but instead ask for such items as tools, barbeques, wine, books and other signature style picks for living in the 21st Century. This change is also due to the fact that, more and more, couples are actually living together for years before committing to marriage.

In 1990, Davies, purchased the franchise for The Wedding Guide Toronto and opened the first franchise in the Canadian market. Her first issue was the largest and most profitable issue ever produced for the franchisor, who started this business in 1984. To her credit and her ongoing hard work, Sheryl‘s record has yet to be broken. When she started this business, her son was just a baby and she had learned to balance and juggle a very hectic life.

Moving back to her hometown of Windsor, Ontario Canada with her husband,  John and son Jonathon, she opened The Wedding Guide Windsor/Essex County in 1992, which continues to be the leading bridal publication in the region. It is published bi-annually and serves as a benchmark for good taste and stress-free bridal planning. The mandate is to ensure that each and every bride remains organized, on-task and stress-free. Davies believes that an engagement should be the happiest time in a gal’s life and she intends to keep it that way!

With the change from traditional-to-signature-style personalized weddings, Davies is seeing dramatic changes in the style/types of weddings for which her clients are asking. One of these changes is that brides simply do not want the same type of wedding that their mother‘s had! Second marriages don‘t nece-sarily have the stigma attached to them they once had and are no longer low-key, as was the case 30 years ago! The bride will plan it completely,  just the opposite from the way she planned the wedding the first time around.

Special events, like weddings, are not new to Davies. She is the publicist and one of the key organizers of Bluesfest International, the 10th largest in North America, which is now in its 16th year. Each year, Sheryl and her three partners play host to over 30,000 festival-goers, over a 3 day weekend.

As a pioneer in social media marketing, Davies’ small business solutions company pioneered the only social application in the business with the capability of showing demo bridal videos,  and has the capability, to post to over 70 social media sites! Her Wedding Guide sits in the middle of the Facbeook page, unlike other wedding planners, who pay for the expensive ads one can see on the right-hand side of Facebook’s usual pages. Unlike the others, Davies’ clients are right smack dab in the middle of the page and pay nothing!! More important, her clients have control over their own websites. It’s a marriage of convenience and no more waiting for your web person to change your pages.

This revolutionary technology is keeping her parent company, DMS Communications very busy (dmscommunications.info); constantly working to promote her wide range of wedding vendors and other clients. Gigya, one of the largest developers of social apps has 3 of  DMS Communications websites profiles on their social optimization website, as prototypes of their technology.    Her website and blog:  http://bridaltalk.theweddingguide.ca/, is a social hit and provides gorgeous Real Wedding pictures, helping to promote her photography partners, as well as lending inspiration to future and potential brides via the comprehensive list of the area‘s most reputable local wedding professionals.

Sheryl has a knack for discovering emerging wedding trends and, loves to share them with her brides. Her blogs cover everything from ” I will to I do.” in a comprehensive upscale bridal planner. Davies believes that a bride is too stimulated by all the information available for weddings, so she spends a great deal of time on every aspect of weddings, with her vendors presented in a forum that brides love and can learn from in a relaxed atmosphere.

With out-of-the-box thinking, like “Win a $25,000 Wedding” in a 737 aircraft with Saturday Night Live’s Father Guido Sarducci (1998), and by doing plenty of media interviews, Sheryl keeps her brand fresh and alive in the psyche of both brides and advertising sponsors. Take, for example, Bridal Idol,  a karaoke contest that had Wedding Guide advertisers pledging $25,000 in prizes to the winning bridewith radio ads tagged with their businesses for a 7 week period. It’s not about too much information – it’s about providing quality information that brides can use.

Her other mandate is to spend as much time as possible assisting brides. Offering special money-saving coupons has been a boom in this economy and brides appreciate a deal but then, who doesn’t?

Considered a solid wedding expert, Davies can be found chatting with brides, wedding vendors and writing columns for her blogs. At the age of 59, and with the energy of a 30 year old, Sheryl is happiest working, listening to music, blogging and planning for the future.

She has no retirement plans and will continue minding her business with her husband/business partner, John Liedtke. It just too fulfilling to even take a second to think about retiring and if she retired, what would she do? Life is for living and Davies thrives on new adventures, challenges and meeting new people! ■

Sheryl Davies is a founding member of the Canada South Festival Network and 2009 award winner for her work in the festival industry, founding member of the Canada South Blues Society, writer for Biz X Magazine, Art Matters column and President of DMS Communications and Publisher of The Wedding Guide/ Windsor/Essex County.  She has recently been appointed to the board of eWEDnews,  a group of esteemed wedding professionals based in New York City.