So most of our lovely blog readers will know by now that we were at the Wedding Fair, Bluewater a few weeks ago and were awestruck by just how many of you have a secret desire to be a wedding planner. Now we know what a fabulous job it is but we also know just how hard it is to establish yourself in a very competitive industry. So whilst we can’t profess to know the best route to achieving your dream job, to help those of you out there who want to get into the wonderful world of weddings, here are our top tips.
1. Get some experience
Easier said than done I know. Between myself and Joanne we have nearly 20 years experience working at and managing events (god that makes us sound ancient) but experience is what counts. You’ll always learn with every event you do but the basics will give you a good idea as to what it takes. We would love to be able to give work experience to everyone that asks, but as a small business our time is spent directly with clients or doing really boring admin stuff. See tip 4!
We have two wedding assistants that work with us when we need an extra pair of hands, and we have spent time and lots of energy training them for exactly what we need. Most small companies will be the same but it doesn’t mean you can’t get good experience elsewhere. See tip 2!
2.Look for alternatives
From jobs in catering, to floristry and window dressing we both had Saturday jobs that filled our passion for creativity and fuelled our desire to work in marketing and events. Going straight in as a wedding planner might not be an option but waitressing or working behind a bar can give you a basic insight into customer behaviour, what makes a good party and how to deal with the demands of a busy crowd.
3. Paid Experience Counts
Lots of you have the wedding planning bug from organising your own wedding and its a great start on the experience ladder. However paying clients will tell you exactly where you’ve gone wrong, one of your own wedding guests is unlikely too.
4. You’ll have to learn how to run your own business
This means delving the murky depths of excel spreadsheets, invoicing, the dreaded HMRC and managing sales projections and expenses claims. You’ll also need basic marketing, SEO and PR skills, lots of creativity and live in the knowledge that you won’t be earning enough to buy a Mulberry handbag each payslip for the foreseeable future.
5. Start talking
You will need the major desire to tell everyone about your business at every opportunity you get. Bar staff, the gym instructor, your hairdresser (very important) the sales assistant in Topshop, Mrs Goggins at the Post Office and the delivery blokes from Ocado are just the tip of the iceberg. So when I say everyone I really do mean everyone. You’ll need to spread the word far and wide.
6. Try before you buy
You won’t be able to afford to hire in services to begin with so until you earn enough to be able to pay a professional to do the bits you can’t, you’ll have to do it yourself, learn as you go and die trying. Quick it isn’t.
All we can say really is don’t give up. There are so many brilliant suppliers who we work with who have struggled to establish their businesses and like any other industry there really is no quick route or substitute to experience and good old fashioned hard work.
If you want more info about being a wedding planner than read Joannes interview here.
Good luck and let us know how you get on!
After meeting so many of you at the Wedding Fair at Bluewater this weekend who have still yet to find their perfect venue you’ll be pleased to know that the stunning St Clere Estate are opening their doors for viewings. Over the next few weeks you can take a look at this gorgeous new and exclusive venue at two invitation only events on Sunday 29th September and Thursday 3rd October.
For an invitation and full timings of the events drop an email to Sarah@stclere.co.uk
We’ll be there with lots of planning advice so look we’ll forward to seeing some of you then!
Photography by Jackson & Co Photography
For all you DIY wedding fans out there, we have a special treat for you today. The super talented and creative Kate from the Bake and Crafthouse in Cranbrook, has been working up some of her special crafty magic for us and is sharing with you three ways to make these super cute wedding favour bags.
Drawstring Fabric Favour Bags
1. Make a paper template adding 1cm extra on to three sides and 2cm extra added on the top edge for seam allowance.
2. Fold down the 2cm at the top and stitch on place 1cm from the edge to create a tunnel (this is for the string).
3. Fold in half inside out and stitch down the two open sides 1cm from the edge to create a pouch.
4. Trim away the excess fabric in the corner and turn the right way out.
5. Attach a safety pin to the end of a piece of string and thread it all the way through the tunnel from one side to the other.
6. Thread on a bead for decoration and tie the ends of the string to finish.
Paper Favour Bags
You can use any type of paper for these simple favour bags. I have used some lovely gardening pages from old magazines, but you can use anything you like from wrapping paper to comic books. They are perfect for a handful of sweet treats. You can play around with the sizes and just adjust your rectangles to make the perfect size. Making a template is a good idea if you have lots to do.
1. Make your template (if required) and cut out a rectangle of your chosen paper.
2. Fold in from both long sides so the paper overlaps in the middle by about 1-2cm.
3. Glue or use double-sided tape to secure this opening closed.
4. Stitch along one end, 1cm from the edge.
5. Fill with your chosen favour and stitch the top closed at a 90 degree angle to the first line of stitching. At this point you can include a little paper name tag like the ones shown.
Square Stitched Favour Bags
1. Cut squares of patterned paper using pinking shears (I used a square 12X12cm) and squares of greaseproof paper or cellophane slightly smaller (I used 10X10cm).
2. Place the greaseproof paper on top of the patterned paper and stitch around three of the sides.
3. Fill with your edible favours, chocolate drops, biscuits or sugared almonds.
4. Sew up the fourth side and add a message or name tag if you like.
Thanks so much to Kate for sharing her fab ideas with us and she’ll be back soon with her next Dolly DIY Wedding post when she’ll be showing us fabulous ideas for edible favours. In the meantime if you fancy a crafty hen do with Kate at her gorgeous Cranbrook studio find out more here.
This weeks super snap comes from Tony and Carol of AphroditeNet Photography based in Bexleyheath. Carol tells us the story behind the image…..
“We can take hundreds of photos during a wedding and within those are always ‘stand out’ shots which usually capture a special moment or emotion and this image is one of those.
“The morning of the wedding we were taking bridal preparation photographs at Orchard Cottage on Oaks Farm in Surrey. We often find the bridal preparation part of the day is one of the most difficult to plan photography for as so much depends on how the bride is feeling. Nerves can often kick in around this time and the schedule can get a bit hectic with hair and make-up being done and dresses to put on. But our bride, Carol-Anne, arrived at the cottage from her hotel looking relaxed and happy.
“What impressed us the most was her desire to make sure the three flower girls were comfortable with their outfits and were relaxed about the day ahead. The girls were a little apprehensive and so Carol-Anne took the chance to have a quiet reassuring chat. It was, quite simply, a special moment and one we’re sure they will both treasure for years to come!”
For todays super wedding snap we have a gorgeous shot by Martin Briggs Photography. As Martin says “I really like it because it contains happy people and that’s really what a wedding is all about – not the shoes, the dress or the decor, just the sharing of a beautiful day between you as a couple and your family.” We couldn’t agree more!
Have a great weekend!
The old saying “it’s the little things that mean most” could not be truer for your wedding day. You can spend hours thinking up outlandish ways to wow your guests but going back to basics is always a winning formula. Here’s six ideas to wow your guests without getting your planning pants in a right old twist.
1. It’s a Wonderful Welcome
Make sure your Groomsmen are well up to the task of welcoming your guests and creating a buzz at the very start of your big day. Choose Groomsmen whose personality shines through and are enthusiastic about their role. Then you can be sure your guests will share their excitement and anticipation whilst waiting for their gorgeous Bride to arrive.
2. Sweets for My Sweet
If your budget stretches far enough give everyone a little gift as they wait for the ceremony to start. Little bags with humbugs are great for a winter warmer and sherbet pips for some summer fizz. Don’t’ go all Willy Wonka though with a massive sweet cart – you don’t want your guests crunching their way through your wedding vowels.
Available from Etsy
3. Signature Cocktail
Mixing your own wedding cocktail is a great way to bring personality into your wedding day and give guests something other than the usual Pimms or Champagne offering. It doesn’t have to be worthy of any mixology awards, just think about serving a drink that matches your colour scheme or add a simple cordial to cava (or sparkling water for a non-alcoholic version). Give it a unique name and claim it for your own.
4. Picture Perfect
Photo booths are a great way to add a bit of fun to the evening and a great way to bridge the gap between the end of the wedding breakfast and the arrival of evening guests. As well as a good giggle on the night you’ll have some great guest snaps as the perfect reminder of the day. Check to see if your photographer offers this service as part of a wedding package or book a purpose built booth complete with funny outfits and comic hats galore.
You Beauty Photobooths
5. The Old Speech Sweepstake
Wedding speeches are a highly anticipated part of the day; “Who’s going to say what, will the Best Man embarrass the Groom, who’s gonna cry”. Don’t even think about not doing them. You’ll regret it. Forever. One way to bring in a bit of audience participation is doing a speech sweepstake. Everyone takes a guess on how long the speeches will last and puts in £2 to play. Whoever is the closest to the right time wins the pot of cash. Get your Ushers to do the sweepstake whilst the tables are being cleared from the main course.
6. Bring me the Barista
One thing we always hear guests asking for later into the evening is the availability of tea and coffee. Most weddings simply serve one after dinner and sometimes it’s just not enough. Guests who are driving, those who don’t drink or those who need to lay off the free bar will really appreciate something other than a Diet Coke…again. A really fun idea is to have a Barista available to mix different coffees and add a Baileys where necessary. They always go down well with a mini donut (or two) for a late night treat.
Ashleys Bride Guide
What are you planning to do to wow your guests? We’d love to know!
Featured Image: The Lovely Lens
Sometimes getting a group of girls together and just chilling out means a lot more laughs and much less stress. Spa to You is a great way to get pampered and preened in the comfort of your own home with fabulous spa treatments for all the girls.
Lauren Tucker, owner and therapist tells us “Luxury manicures, pedicures, spray tanning, facials and massage are definitely the most popular options for a hen pamper party. We also offer a great Bride-To-Be package so there’s lots of choice for everyone.
Wedding Dolls readers can get a special offer if booking before the end of June where the Bride will receive either a free 30 minute facial or a spray tan when four or more hens attend a party and have a spray tan too!
See full details of all the packages at www.spatoyou.co.uk where you can also see brilliant feedback about the service.
Happy Hen Planning!
If you’re looking for style inspiration this week then make sure you get the May/June edition of Your Kent Wedding which features The Wedding Dolls very own gorgeous wedding shoot, inspired by Swan Lake. We’re super excited as an image from the shoot made the front cover! Here’s just a sneak peek of what you’ll find inside so buy your copy today!
Many thanks to all the shoot suppliers who were just fabulous to work with as always: Rebecca Douglas Photography Florist in the Forest Isabella Grace Bridal Boutique The Beauty Aisle Little Gems Boutique Bakery The Swan West Malling Chez Bec Prettywild Design The Crop Shop West Malling and our models Jessica, Ria, Sarah & Jodie.
We hope you love it as much as we do!
Front cover and feature image courtesy of Your Kent Wedding
It’s your last chance this week to enter this fantastic competition!
We’ve teamed up with Your Kent Wedding Magazine to offer you the chance to win The Wedding Dolls for all your wedding planning needs, by way of our fabulous wedding rescue package.
The Kent Wedding team said “Organising the big day can take an incredible amount of time, and you may find it difficult to plan it all on your own. That’s why a wedding planner can help no end. We’re introducing The Wedding Dolls, aka Emma and Joanne, who advise couples on how to realise their big-day dreams.”
Joanne explained “Whether soon-to-be weds are in need of inspiration, are time-strapped or would like some ideas on how to keep within budget, we can help them to plan their nuptials in style. And, once the big day arrives, it’s so satisfying to see everything come together. We will meet with the lucky winning couple to review their plans and get them back on track with a bespoke schedule to follow and then three weeks before the big day we’ll meet with them again to finalise their plans and then be there on the day for 8 hours to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
What are you waiting for! Enter the competition here now!
This Sunday (28th April) is one of Kent’s largest wedding exhibitions at The Kent Showground in Detling, just outside Maidstone.
There’s over 200 exhibitors with a great variety of products and services from Kent’s best wedding specialists. Admission is free and there’s a great selection of prizes to be won on the day. Take a look for further information and to pre-register now for fast-track entrance.
NPhotography who we worked with on Vijay and Leanne’s wedding will be there so go say hello to Nicola and her team!
The Wedding Dolls working with NPhotography