So you’ve fallen in love with the wedding industry and have dreamed of running your own wedding planning business but how do you get started? What steps do you need to take to get your business off the ground? This is where I come in. Below are 5 steps to take to get you started in the wedding planning industry.

Planner Chat 5 Ways to Get Started in Wedding Planning

Take a Wedding Planning Course

Whilst taking a wedding planning course isn’t a ‘must do’, it’s definitely something to consider. There are many wedding planning courses available however do your research to ensure you take one that’s right for you and your business. Things to consider are what you want to learn – is it wedding planning, wedding styling, both? Would you prefer distance learning or classroom based training?

If you prefer distance based learning then I would definitely recommend looking at the UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planning (UKAWP) who run certificates and diplomas in wedding planning, event planning, event design and styling. Think you would prefer classroom based learning then take a look at the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) who run both Business Practicalities and Step by Step workshops that are held over two days.

Intern for a local Wedding Planner

Whilst a wedding planning course can teach you the fundamentals of running a wedding planning business, nothing truly beats hands on experience. One of the best things to do is to research wedding planners local to you for internship opportunities. Check out their websites and social media profiles for any positions that may be advertised.

Something to keep in mind is that wedding planners receive so many emails from people like yourselves who want to gain experience in the industry therefore you will need to stand out so do your research. Take time to read their website, blog and social media profiles. This should give you an idea of the type of clientele they are trying to attract. Be creative, instead of sending a standard covering letter with your CV think outside the box. Personalise the cover letter to the individual business, send an inspiration board of your ideal wedding to show off your design skills, include a link to your Pinterest account.

Lastly and most importantly address the wedding planner by name. We are in a personal service industry therefore it’s pretty much guaranteed that their name will be on their website. I’ll be honest and say that any emails I receive of this nature that are addressed Dear Sir/Madam go straight in my deleted items folder.

Work for a Large Event Company or Wedding Venue

Working for a large event planning company or wedding venue will provide real insight on how events are run which you will be able to utilise when starting your wedding planning business. Perhaps you already have events experience in a corporate role, if so, this provides a great foundation to get started.

Volunteer to help family and friends with events

Not everyone is going to be able to intern for a local wedding planner or work for a large corporate company or wedding venue therefore you may need to be creative in how you gain experience. Spread the word to friends and family and offer to help organise birthday parties, hen parties and baby showers. You can even offer to help organise your work’s Christmas party.

Your Own Wedding

Whilst planning your own wedding is completely different to planning someone else’s, it will certainly put you in good stead in understanding the wedding planning process and dealing with suppliers. Not everyone likes to do this but it’s also a great wedding to include in your portfolio.

Lastly one bonus step – research, research, research

I’ll do a separate post on this soon but the internet will become your best friend. I’d recommend spending time researching all aspects of setting up and running a business and the wedding industry as a whole.

I hope you’ve found the second post in this series useful. I’d love to hear from you so do pop a comment below or send me an email.

Louise x

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I’m so excited to start this Planner Chat series for all aspiring or new wedding planners. When starting out, I found that there were limited resources on starting a creative business, let alone a wedding planing business. However five years down the line the amount of information on the internet has increased tenfold and I’ve found it so useful in growing my business so I really hope my little part of the internet helps you!

Wedding Planner Chat - Getting Started My Story

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.

Website

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 (25 of 49)

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.

Bow Occasions Website 2012

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.

Louise x

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Are you an aspiring planner who would love to start your own company but doesn’t know where to start? Or, are you a new wedding planner just getting into the industry? Well, if so, this new series is for YOU!

I’ve been meaning to start this series for a while now (read forever) but kept putting it off for several reasons; why would people care what I have to say… I’m not as experienced as planner A, B or C… you get the idea. However, I  need to do it. It’s been in my head and on paper for a long time and I just keep coming back to it so I’m letting go of my fears and just doing it! Plus I get tons of emails asking for advice when setting out and whilst I would love to reply to each and every one of you, I just don’t have time time. Now I can refer you all to this series.

The Planner Chat series will be posted bi-weekly on a Thursday with the first post starting tomorrow.  I have some awesome content lined up that I hope will help anyone looking to get into or just starting out in the wedding industry. I’m not claiming to be an expert by any means, this is just my story and my experience.

First post….  My Story!

See you tomorrow,

Louise x

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Today’s post is purely for fun! A little get to know me…

Louise - Bow Occasions

1. I love yellow! It’s a well known joke with my friends that I am obsessed with the colour yellow and in fact so is my husband – Together we have yellow kitchen cabinets, a gorgeous yellow velvet love seat and yellow accessories galore. I also have a yellow car. Yep we’re yellow obsessed.

2. I met my husband online when I was 17 and he was 20. This year we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary and three years of marriage. When we first got together I was so embarrassed about how we met that I used to make up a story about meeting through mutual friends. Oh how young I was!

3. I never wanted to get married and now I am a wife who plans weddings for other lovely couples. My mum never married so that was all I really knew. It sounds cheesy but one day something just clicked and I knew that I wanted to be his wife. It was the best day ever… at least until the day my son was born.

4. I am a mum to a soon to be 11 month old, Dominic. Parenthood is the most exhausting, challenging yet most rewarding thing I have ever done and ever will do. It’s amazing.

5.  I have a bit of OCD and have to make sure everything is switched off and locked before I go to bed or go out. I check, double check and check again.

Okay now it’s YOUR turn! Tell me something about YOU! Leave a comment below!

Louise x

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I know we’re nearly half way through January but Happy New Year everyone!

Bow Occasions Logo
For those of you that have visited before, you may notice that things look a little different round here. Bow Occasions has had a makeover. We have a gorgeous new logo designed by the lovely Taylor of Letters of Grace Calligraphy and a shiny new website designed by me using the wonder that is ProPhoto.

screenshot-hp

This redesign has been in the works for a few months now and I have been working away on it in between working on my couples weddings. It was due to go live last Monday but my little boy was poorly over Christmas so I didn’t get much time put the final touches to the site. You will still notice that there will be some small changes to the site as I tweak it further but I really hope you like the new look. Whilst I loved my old website, it just wasn’t me anymore. I wanted something fresh, modern and chic but still with a touch of colour.

I’ll be back later this week with some more posts for you all. Happy Monday.

Louise x

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