I started Bow Occasions in July 2010, five whole years ago, however I have not been planning weddings for that long but more on that later.
My story starts our like so many others I know, with an engagement. I got engaged in August 2009 and very quickly discovered a love for planning my wedding. At the time of starting Bow Occasions, I had worked for corporate companies for about five years in marketing and events so I had that events experience behind me however I wanted to understand more about the wedding planning side of events so I took the ICS Learn Wedding Planning Course. The course took about six months to complete and during that time I built and launched my first website using Dreamweaver.
My first website (the only screenshot I could find)
The course was great however I wanted to gain experience from those that were already working in this field and reached out to Tiffany at Grant Riley Weddings. Tiffany was so welcoming and we actually met for a coffee where we talked all things weddings and I picked her brains. Whilst I never shadowed a wedding, Tiffany did give me a little project to work on for one of her clients which I loved doing. By this point we were nearing the end of 2010 and I knew I needed to gain experience in order to build my portfolio so I posted in a well known wedding forum (which you aren’t really supposed to do) advertising my services whilst only charging expenses. Two lovely brides, Michelle and Saleema, got in touch with me about my Wedding Day Coordination offering and I booked their weddings in for 2011. I booked my first paid wedding shortly after which was a referral from a wedding planner I had been speaking to via Twitter and a party shortly after that which was my first enquiry via my website. The party was where it all went wrong for me.
Martha and Stu – My first billable wedding
It was a party for a local couple who had hired me to plan, style and coordinate the party for them. Now I’m not going to say too much here because I don’t think it’s appropriate but what happened is a prime example of going with your gut feeling when booking a client. I will write about this in another post however it is so important to follow your gut. If you feel that you and your potential client are not going to be a good fit then it’s a good idea to politely explain this to them and refer them to some other planners that you feel might be. This is what I should have done however excitement got the better of me and I wanted the experience. After this incident, I vowed that I wasn’t cut out for this and I didn’t get back into wedding planning until after my wedding the following year in 2012. It was a real knock to my confidence and whilst I wish it hadn’t happened, I truly believe it happened for a reason.
I almost had to start again. I launched with a new website and got myself back out there and started booking weddings again. I’m pleased to say that I’ve never looked back and have planned and coordinated some lovely weddings for lovely couples.
The newly launched website in 2012
I could keep writing for so much longer however I hope this has given you an insight to how I started my business and the rocky road that has led me to where I am today.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed the first post of the series and do come back in two weeks when I’ll have another post for you.