Wedding Planner Start Up Business

Pretty Please Event Planning is a wedding and event planning duo, run by Londoner Holly Poulter and Kansas-export Colleen. These two home business fanatics are passionate about creating events that ‘wow’, no matter the size or budget.

It all started when Holly decided to take over the world with clipboards and spreadsheets but then a dream start up business, planning weddings and events, came to the rescue.

Too many times they have heard people say that event planners are for the rich and famous – but these pretty-pleasers simply don’t agree.

Whether it’s for 2 or 200, in a barn or in a ballroom, they'll be out there in the muck and rain or heat and humidity working with couples to bring their dream wedding to life.

Starting up a wedding planning and evetn planning business

They have grown close links to talented suppliers to provide their clients with the best service possible. With 5 years working in events and a combined background in film, television, fashion and PR, these laadies are full to the brim with detail, creativity and dedication for any event.

They reckon that by working for affordable flat-rate hourly fees they can bridge the gap between luxury and DIY, so even the most budget-conscious of their clients will have access to a fantastic planning and design service. They seem dead keen on bringing affordability back to the industry, without skimping on style, of course.

When Holly planned her first event at the age of 15, the local paper ran the story under the ever imaginative title ‘Girls Just Want to Plan Fun’…

Holly was planning a Valentine’s Day Ball fundraiser for her embarrassingly named events company ‘Shindigs and Shenanigans’.  (We all have our moments, Holly)

She was going to take over the world with clipboards and spreadsheets and it was during a clipboard-world-take-over tour that it dawned on Holly - her dream job would be to plan weddings and events. Needless to say she gave up taking over the world and stuck to what she knows best!

iHubbub set about interviewing these pretty-pleasers to find out a bit more behind the party scenes.

Location

Based in Surrey, work a lot in London, but will go anywhere their clients go. Holly runs her home office from Surbiton.

When Did You Start Up?

Officially Pretty, Please started up in Autumn 2012 when we launched our new website and branding, but for 4 years before that I (Holly) was planning weddings solo under the name of Nearlyweds. I met Colleen while helping her with her own wedding, and it seemed like a good opportunity to rebrand and relaunch!

Why And How You Started Up?

Despite my clipboard moment mentioned above, I instead went on to university to study Film and Television Production, which really helped me hone my writing and producing skills. I loved being able to work from project to project, always doing something different and always learning from the last.

Graduating in at the height of a recession, however, quickly kills that excitement, and with a life of competition in a squeezed creative industry ahead of me, my dream of becoming a wedding planner soon resurfaced.

After graduation I got a job working in media for a charity, and I decided to really give this wedding planning thing a go. I put feelers out at my church and through friends, offering my services as a planning for expenses only, just to build my portfolio and to see if I could really do this. I was surprised at the response I got - lots of couples were getting in touch and soon enough I had real, live clients on the go. And I loved it.

Three years of weddings under my belt, I thought it might be time to start taking it seriously, and really try to make a living out of my passion. Around that time, I was working on a wedding of my friend Pete whose fianceé, Colleen, was moving to the UK from the US only a few months before the wedding, and so she needed my help.

After working with Colleen on her own wedding, it was clear she had a talent for it. Conversations soon turned into excited brainstorms and not long after that, we were working on weddings together under a new name and a new brand. It’s a very exciting time.

Biggest Challenge

For me (Holly), working with someone else after years of working on your own can be tough. I always wanted to find someone else to work with, to bounce ideas off and to keep you disciplined, and I have that in Colleen which is fantastic.

But trying to change your behaviour and actually share the load can be a difficult transition. The automatic response to do things yourself can be hard to break, but the value of working as a team is huge.

Working the majority of your time separately at your own homes can be hard, as a lot gets lost in translation over email. The benefit of having a location away from your office where we can meet in the middle is that we gel a lot better and we get a lot more done.

Advice For Home Businesses or Freelancers

Discipline is a struggle if you are working at length of time at home on your own. Have a separate space for working, don’t work near a television and think you can multi-task.

As much as you want to be able to impress and please your clients, try to respect office hours for yourself. If you have a family it might be easier to switch off, but if you live alone it can be hard to apply a ‘hometime’ to yourself. To stay sane and to keep enjoying what you’re doing it’s really important to be disciplined with that. Take breaks, drink lots and have some fruit handy!

Best Part Of Your Day

Coming back to my home office after an initial meeting with a client - it can be hard to tear me away from my moodboards and magazines when I’m buzzed from a great meeting!

Who Inspires You

I get inspired by a lot of the blogs that I read - people who are doing what they love and are excited about sharing it with others. I love reading blogs by women who seem to be doing it all - marriage, work, children, friends - because it’s proof that it can be done, and I hope that’s a place I can get to when I need to juggle all those elements.

Actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Autumn Reeser and Busy Phillips are big favourites of mine too - all incredibly busy women with full lives, but finding time to be creative at the same time.

What's Next

We’re trying out a lot of different marketing tactics at the moment, to see what works best for us. We’re also really excited to start developing some wedding planning vouchers, making it even easier for couples to use our services.

What Treats Do You offer Yourself?

Bridal magazines! I would read them anyway, but to be able to pass it off as work is brilliant.

Home Office View?

A beautiful garden, with a train line behind it - reminding me not to procrastinate too long!

Read Holly and Colleens Press Release, which iHubbub issued to their local Surrey media in our Members PR.

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