Whether you are a budding photographer or wedding planner hopeful, you have to start somewhere. I am often asked what steps are needed to get started in the wedding planning biz and I’ve put together a few simple and practical tips below if you are just getting your feet wet.

Getting started in the wedding planning business with Rebecca Chan, Toronto wedding planner
From our Cityline segment. Photo: Mango Studios

Build a website

After I had a couple weddings under my belt years ago, I put together a website. I didn’t know what exactly I was offering for services or what I’d write about on my blog, but I knew I needed to start a website (this was in 2009). I kept updating it and changing the wording and graphics to become the website it is now. It didn’t happen overnight!

Any legitimate business in this day and age who does not have a website cannot be taken seriously.

It’s like that mentality of dressing for the job you want, not the job you have.

Start building a website, whether you have a big portfolio or not. This alone is a huge step towards the commitment to grow your business.

If you already have a website, continue to grow it and update it. I think I update my website, wording and graphics every week. And when I post a blog post or new gallery description, I read it over at least 5 times and edit/refine it. It’s not a one-time thing, but something that continually needs maintenance. The website is the first impression a potential client has of your business, so make sure it is a good one.

Early on, I decided I wanted to share tips on planning as part of my website so I made sure my blog was well integrated into my website. I did this through WordPress and I haven’t looked back. If you aren’t on a WordPress platform, I highly recommend it. Regardless if you will be blogging, it is a fairly easy and versatile platform for setting up a website and I love using it.

Get business

Easier said than done! When you are starting out, it’s hard to get a foot in the door. Eventually someone will take a chance on you and you’ll gain experience towards your next project.

Here are a few ways to get experience when you have little or no experience:

  • Volunteer to assist a wedding or event
  • Let friends and family know you are willing to help for free or at a discounted rate
  • Set up a styled shoot to get photos
  • Get experience in a related field like social events or corporate events

Figure out your service offerings

While setting up your website, you will naturally start to think about what to put on it. Once you get a bite for a potential booking, you will need to articulate what services you can offer and at what price. If you aren’t clear on your services, it won’t be clear to your customer either.

Make sure you have everything spelled out for promo purposes, and draft up invoices and contracts to ensure everyone is on the same page. It is a process and there is not one way to go about planning. Continually update your offerings to do what works best for the business and for the clients.

Get social

Beyond a website, couples are always looking to social media for inspiration and to see a glimpse into your personality and work. It is an important part of their first impression of your business, like your website.

Make sure to set up a business account for the social media platforms that is different from your personal.

I personally don’t find it very professional when a business page is clearly someone’s personal page as well, where you see a mix of baby photos and what they just ate. I stopped posting food photos a long time ago. It’s not what my couple’s are following me for!

If it works for your brand, great. But most of the time, it’s too much information and it does not help build up your brand. Keep accounts separate, especially in the beginning as you are looking to create the ‘voice’ of your company and brand.

The rest is up to you

There honestly is no other magic formula to getting your business set up. It is just damn hard work, from here on it. And hard work pays off. So work hard at building up the foundations to your business, it will be worth it in the long run.

See more from my Behind The Business blog here.

Rebecca Chan is a Toronto event designer and event planner. If you have a brand activation, media launch event, design project, trade show or a special event, connect with her today to see how we can collaborate on your next project.