The start of a year is the time people start to reassess their career, maybe this is the year they will make that step to change their life. Perhaps you were recently married and friends and family are encouraging you to plan weddings professionally?
To some the career of a wedding planner is glamorous so perhaps it’s unsurprising I get contacted frequently by those wishing to enter this exciting industry. The questions I am asked are invariably the same each time, in fact it was from advising so many ‘newbie’s’ that the idea of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners first came about back in 2004.
How not to approach wedding planners
If you are contacting other planners for advice, please use these below tips on how NOT to word your initial contact professionally.
- “I REALLY enjoyed planning my wedding; everyone said I’d make a fantastic planner.” Please, this is such a cliché, we have heard this time and time again. Sadly this wont ensure you stand out from the high volumes of similar emails we receive.
- Dear Sir/Madam – Wedding planners have a name and yes it is invariably all over their website, twitter, facebook as most planners run their own businesses. Please address them personally
- I really want to be a planner, how do I do it, where do you get your clients, what should I charge, what services should I offer, where should I advertise….. the list goes on. Most planners are happy to help but please be sensible, we are running our own businesses. We don’t have the time to spend answering an essay of questions. Short list it down to 2 questions you are curious about, assuming you have exhausted the possibilities of finding the answer to those questions online? And if you really want to know the answers to such questions, then attend a training course as I can guarantee our classroom courses give you the opportunity to fire questions at the tutors to your hearts content through the weekend.
- Can I see a copy of your proposal – When conducting the training courses for the UKAWP we teach you what should be IN a proposal but don’t give you one to use. Imagine if we did, they’d be hundreds of planners out there using the same format – it needs to sure your creativity and personality.
- Can I see a copy of your contract – again no but you can purchase one via the UKAWP which protects you and the bride.
- What is your profit? Just why would a planner tell you? This is so personal
- Pretending to be a bride – big no no, it’s disrespectful to all small businesses out there. I know some online training courses suggest you do this but at the UKAWP we feel this is very bad practice.
Can I get a job?
Very few planners in the UK take on staff, some have part time assistants and freelancers in the peak summer season but if you think you will get a lovely, well paid job working for a planner think again. It is for this reason that most planners start their own business.
So, if you don’t want to start your own business I suggest you contact large event companies or venues in your area that cater for weddings. This gives you the opportunity to gain some experience whilst receiving the security of a regular salary.
So how can I become a wedding planner?
If you are serious about becoming a wedding planner and not approaching this as a hobby or whim then you need to do some serious research and get prepared! Here are my top tips but I have condensed it (for proper training go to the UKAWP)
1. First step is sign up to the UKAWP Business Practicalities course, I know I’m biased as the training director but I think the courses are fabulous. This course really explains how to launch as a wedding planning business. View here for more information. Don’t believe me? Just look at how super fabulous our members are, most of whom have attended our training courses. We run the courses spring and autumn, all the tutors have been in business for at least 10 years so we do know what we are talking about. We pass on real life experiences throughout the weekend and answer any questions you or the other students have. Do view the brochure for more information; don’t forget if you don’t attend the spring courses you will have to wait until the autumn….
2. Research into planners in your area, what is their websites like? What services do they offer and what prices do they charge? What is their USP? How can YOU be different? How can you stand out from them?
3. Start playing with company names, jot down ideas on a notepad and keep with you for those random moments when in bed/on the train/cooking dinner when you suddenly think of an idea! Then check if this name is taken via companies house + also check if the domain name is free. Don’t choose a name you can’t have the matching website to! Make sure it is easily spelt, not too similar to another and not cheesy as the name needs to grow with you as a business.
4. Ensure your website is professionally designed, after all you your website is your shop window
5. Meet other planners for coffee in your area, far better to be friendly then start your business under animosity. Attend events run by the UKAWP, you don’t have to be a member to attend.
6. Subscribe to the UKAWP blog for tips and information on industry events
7. Sign up to twitter and start following some respected planners & suppliers out there.
8. Really think about your pricing and take into account any costs, i.e telephone, broadband, travel, stationery & your time
9. Attend the UKAWP training courses – did I mention that already?
10. Be patient, it wont happen over night
I hope this helps – best of luck for those embarking on this rewa