PP001 | Event Wedding Planner | Louise Perry

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    Wedding planner

    PP001 | Event Wedding Planner | Louise Perry

    Louise Perry - Wedding PlannerBursting with passion for planning weddings and parties, Louise speaks about why she became a planner and how she runs her business. Originally a musician & radio presenter she talks about her successful move into the events industry.

    In this episode you will discover:

    • How Louise runs her wedding planning business from the comfort of her own home.
    • How Louise manages her client portfolio.
    • What Louise does to keep her clients happy leading up to the big day, as well as during it.

    Find out more about Louise and her work as an event wedding planner at Louise Perry Weddings

    Download the PDF Transcript

    For Audio Transcript click here

    [music playing]

     

    ANNOUNCER: Toby and James are involved in amazing events all over the world. You’re listening to the Planner’s Planner Podcast: where top event professionals share real world experiences and cutting-edge ideas. Sponsored by metropolisproductions.co.uk.

    TOBY: Hello and welcome to this very first episode of the Planner’s Planner Podcast with me, Toby Goodman.

    JAMES: And me, James Eager.

    TOBY: Excellent! So this first one, we went with Louise Perry and I took the lead on it. I chatted to Louise, she’s a lovely lady. Obviously, a very experienced wedding planner now. Getting into a stride with about thirty-three years of training, I guess. But it was in fact: you, James that hooked me up with Louise. So, how did that come about?

    JAMES: Yeah, that came about from my back round – just purely as a base player. She’d put me to play in her band, and has gone on periodically over the years. And, we always seem to get into these conversations about how events run – the nuts and bolts, and that kind of thing. She was really, clearly very, very passionate… Well, she’s very passionate about it. And so, it’s of no surprise that she’s got a really flowing wedding business now.

    TOBY: Absolutely, James. So, here is Podcast number one of the Planner’s Planner with Louise Perry. Hope you enjoy it. See you at the end.

     

    [music playing]

     

    ANNOUNCER: The Planner’s Planner Podcast is sponsored by metropolisproductions.co.uk and metropolislive.com.

    TOBY: So James and I, as you know, run Metropolis. And, we’re essentially two guys stumbled into an element of planning; just because of how crazy life’s got with us, with the band…

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: And, the really interesting thing about you is: you’ve kind of morphed into a planner from being a musician. Or…

    LOUISE: Right, yes.

    TOBY: Or both. So, what happened? [laughs]

    LOUISE: [laughs] So, well… As you know, my back round is music. So, I have some profession in my whole life. I started out in musical theatre, in the West End. And then, I fell into doing radio and T.V. presenting, and ended up working for the BBC for some ten years. But, during those ten years: I still kept singing and I ran my own wedding band, if you like.

    TOBY: Yup.

    LOUISE: And we’d do between, sort of thirty and forty weddings every year. Fairly small weddings, not massive budget ones. Just nice, local weddings that we used to do.

    TOBY: Yup.

    LOUISE: And then, my BBC job was being transferred to Manchester…

    TOBY: Uh, huh.

    LOUISE: So, it was like: “What am I going to do?” I don’t really want to move to Manchester. So, I did a bit of a commute for a year. But, I was thinking: “What am I going to do?” The singing’s going to come to an end at some point, because I’m getting too old. And, that’s just the nature of the entertainment business. That if you know, it gets to a point where as a singer at the front of a band you think: “I can’t keep doing this. My brides are at this age… I’m just getting older and older.”

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, I’ve never wanted to be the “old bird” if you like, at the front of the band. So, it was like: “What am I going to do?” And, I knew an awful lot about weddings just because we’ve played at so many. I’d seen so many good things, some bad things… I’ve met so many suppliers, I’ve worked with hundreds of photographers, –

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: – played in lots of venues… And so, my knowledge of the wedding industry was really good. And so, it was at that point – with the job relocation going to Manchester. Coming to an age when: “I can’t keep singing… What am I going to do?” So actually, I learned all about weddings and I love weddings. You have to love weddings to do this for a living. So, that was when I decided to do my training with The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners. And set up a business really, which was sort of, three years ago. So, it’s still a fairly new business.

    TOBY: Right. So, is it specifically weddings then?

    LOUISE: It is, yes. I don’t do any corporate events. I’ve organized a birthday party, but that’s about it. But, I specifically concentrate on weddings. Because, organizing a corporate event is quite different from organizing a wedding. A wedding is a very personal thing to those two people that are getting married and their immediate family. Where as a corporate doesn’t have… You’re spending someone else’s money really. Even the person that you’re organizing the event for – you’re not spending their money, you’re spending their company’s money. And, when you’re working with a client – you’re spending their money, their family’s money. It’s just, the whole approach to it is very, very different.

    TOBY: Sure. Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, that’s my area of expertise really. It’s like, if somebody said to me: Organize this corporate event. I think I’d probably go, “Ahhhh, help.”

    TOBY: Okay. But ironically, you’ve probably had… Before you’re a wedding planner, you’ve probably had just as much corporate experience. Or certainly, an amount of corporate experience as a singer.

    LOUISE: Yes, absolutely.

    TOBY: And yet, you’re just saying that that business doesn’t resonate with you.

    LOUISE: Yeah. I think it doesn’t really float my boat. And, it’s really interesting because as a singer, it didn’t float my boat either. Because I always felt, a corporate event… Whilst they are I think, easier than playing at someone’s wedding.

    TOBY: Yup, yeah.

    LOUISE: Because, at a wedding you feel: “I have to make this absolutely brilliant, and I have to get everyone in the dance floor.” I have to play the right tunes. Whereas, with a corporate event it’s like: “Well, they’re dining at on someone else’s money again.” So it’s like, well they’re going to drink, they’re going to have a good time. Whilst, I still wanted to give them a great experience… It didn’t really matter in quite the same way on the personal level. So, I never did it for me. So I sing at a wedding, the whole thing, that very personal contact with that couple on this special day was the most important thing for me.

    TOBY: Great. So, tell me about the clients then. I mean, we find, depending on the type of event that we’re doing; obviously, corporates are very different as you’ve just said. But, in terms of weddings… Who do you tend to have contact with? Because, we’ve found that our inquiries come from all sorts of different places. So, do you deal with those in a different way? I mean, like you say: the money isn’t necessarily coming from or quite often, isn’t coming from the actual bride and groom. So, do you feel like you get inquiries from parents more than brides and grooms? Or, a bit of both?

    LOUISE: No, it tends to be from the bride and groom. More often, not the bride…

    TOBY: Okay.

    LOUISE: She obviously, you know, tends to lead the planning. I mean, I like to involve the groom as much as possible.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: It’s often, the music side that the groom will get very much involved with, which is great…

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: But, the bride tends to lead the planning. But depending on the client, some of the moms and dads don’t get involved at all, and they let the bride and groom do it with me, with the planner. But, I do have clients where mom and dad want to know everything that’s happening. And, they want to be kept in the loop about all of the details, and that’s lovely. And so, I have clients where I will speak to mom or dad individually. It’s separate to the bride and groom, and I will update them and tell them what’s happening because they want to be involved on that level. And so, you kind of approach every wedding differently really, and the dynamics of that family. But, it usually starts with the bride and groom making the initial planning.

    TOBY: Right. As we both know, that the dynamics are very different. Varying from client to client as well. And, there’s always that kind of a balance, I suppose.

    LOUISE: Totally. You know, families over the years obviously have changed. There are families that are separated and that have re-married again…

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, they’re with different partners. And so, you have to look at that – the whole, sort of the family dynamics behind it. And, you take each wedding as it comes. And, things have changed very much over the years. And obviously, often moms and dads will have different opinions on the band to book, on the photographer, and everything else. And, it’s sort of managing that. But, I tend to find that it’s still the bride and groom that will make those final decisions on everything.

    TOBY: That’s really interesting. That just made me think about those situations like broken families.

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: Places where there’s divorces involved, and people not talking to each other. I mean, I come from a… My parents are divorced. So obviously, there was a certain element of that with my wedding.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: And, when I deal with clients… Again, you go in, and you just don’t know. You know, you don’t know that backstory…

    LOUISE: No.

    TOBY: And yet, it’s so important to know isn’t it. Because, if you screw it up or you say something that’s a bit misplaced, or refer to someone: “Is he your dad?” when they’re not. And in fact, not only are they not the bride’s dad, they don’t even particularly get on that well or whatever it is. So, at what stage do you kind of ask those pretty personal questions? I mean, when perhaps you haven’t even got the job is it –

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: – when you’re pitched in for the job.

    LOUISE: No.

    TOBY: Or, you’re really upfront at the start?

    LOUISE: I think, not when you’re pitching for the job. What tends to happen with the family dynamics: is they will come out as the planning process evolves. And certainly, when you’re planning a wedding – or any kind of event – it does evolve and it can often change as you’re going through it. So, it doesn’t always come out in the beginning. And it locked to me, when they get to know you better… When you start to develop relationships – which obviously, you do. And, whilst I keep it professional with my clients… I do become their confidant, their sort of friend. Someone that does: “So, what do you think we should do about this?” which is, how you would expect it to be when you’re planning. But, it was really interesting. I had a client early this year, and I didn’t actually find out the dynamics with the family group – the immediate family group – until about two days before the wedding. When the groom suddenly turned around, he said: “I don’t think we can sit my mom there.” Because, the parents had separated. Dad had re-married. And it was like: “Oh my goodness me!” We’ve done this table plan…

    TOBY: Yup.

    LOUISE: And, we might not actually be able to put them where we’re going to put them.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: As it happens, I sat down and we talked about it. And I said, how will this work? What do you think? Maybe we’ll move them around… And, we managed to solve it. So, that didn’t come out until right at the end. When all the station, everything had been done.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And it’s obviously the point when the groom felt comfortable, really comfortable to say: “Okay, this is actually quite a difficult relationship that we have here.” And so, it doesn’t always come out in the beginning. And I guess, it’s purely because they don’t know me well enough. But as the time goes on, they feel comfortable to confide in me, if you like.

    TOBY: Sure. One other things that we’ve found is that through writing not just quotes but guides – you know, after that initial contact – we’ve managed to kind of put in a few things. And, we’re still putting in more things that I suppose, help educate our potential clients as to what needs to happen to make sure that they’re event is the most successful. So rather than asking specifically, perhaps you know: “Are your parents still together or not?” You know, “Is anyone passed away?” or anything like that. It’s quite kind of raw questions, you know.

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: You’re saying: “We need to know about these, to make sure that that we do our job to the best of our abilities.”

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: So, you’re kind of almost putting the responsibility on us to make sure that there aren’t any foul parts.

    LOUISE: Absolutely, you do need to know that information. But I think, as I’ve said, as you build that relationship it does come out. But, you do need to know because that instance… For instance, in the summer, could’ve have been a massive issue on the actual day of the wedding. As it happens, we sorted it out and everything was fine, and we didn’t need to do anything. But, it is important that you know that information. And so, we don’t suddenly find that: “Oh, you’ve forgot about this.” Stepdad is keeping the daughter away, but we want to involve the biological dad, if you like.

    TOBY: Yup.

    LOUISE: Or, we need to do something. So, the more information that you get from that client as the process goes on – I wouldn’t say necessarily in the beginning – but, as you develop that relationship; it’s so important for the smooth running. And, the family dynamics are really important.

    TOBY: Yeah, wow. So, tell me about – just going back to what you’ve just said, because I just made a note because I found that really interesting, what you were saying about updating those people and some people really wanting to be involved. And, other times it’s obviously just one person you have a point of contact with. But, you know, when you’ve got one set – possibly, two sets of parents – and the bride and groom who’ve probably both got jobs… You’ve got this pretty extensive email list. And certainly, in our experience, where you’re trying to kind of keep everyone in the loop.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: And also, not blow any surprises that perhaps… Well, I’ve got a meeting tonight. I’d just had a text from the mom who said: “Oh yeah, we’re meeting about everything but make sure you don’t mention this.”

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: And, thank God! Because, that was actually the one thing that we were really there to…

    LOUISE: Talk about it?

    TOBY: One of the big things we’re going to talk about was arranging some technology for something to happen.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: It’s a surprise for the bride. But of course, we can’t talk about that. So, that’s going to be interesting. If you’ve got a system, a way of updating… Do you just decide personally? “Okay, I’m dealing with this client this morning and all emails…” Or, is it that you put – almost like a newsletter or something – together so that once a month… I mean, you’re dealing with long lead times right? With weddings, you’re dealing with, you know, potentially a year, plus? Or…

    LOUISE: Yeah, some of them. Some of them are six months. It really depends on the time. There are an awful lot of emails, I have to say.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: Sometimes, I could spend a whole day –

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: – responding to emails without actually doing anything else.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: Because, there’s are so many. So, I prefer that it’s just the bride and the groom that are kind of in the email loop to start with.

    TOBY: Sure.

    LOUISE: So, I do have clients where mom and dad want to know. And so now, I will maybe pick up the phone every couple of weeks and speak to mom. If that’s what mom wants, that’s actually fine.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, I will address any concerns. Got any questions? Let’s have a chat. But, it can almost get a bit confusing when you have like mom and dad. And, everyone CC’d on every email. And also, that is the chance. That if something is being arranged that they don’t know about…

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: That’s when you make that mistake.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: I also think… And, it’s not every bride. Some brides literally want to do everything by email. And, that’s fine. But, I actually think it’s quite nice to maybe once every couple of weeks, just to pick up the phone: “Is everything okay? Are you happy with everything? Do you want to have a chat about everything?” What I don’t like is for my brides to get overwhelmed with it all and stress. Because, that’s why I’m here. That’s something they should never have to deal with. So sometimes, the odd one call. And, I always say to them: “If something bother you, just pick up the phone.” Just ring me, you can ring me at any time to say: “Look Louise, I’m bothered about this.” So yeah, you do have to be careful where that email travel. It can just get a little bit too big, and too many people get involved. I prefer really, I deal with the bride and groom – people making the decisions. And then, maybe speak to or email those people that need to know afterwards.

    TOBY: Yeah. That’s right, isn’t it? And, there’s that personal… You’re just keeping that that personal thing. And, that completely goes in line with what you were saying; you know, you don’t necessarily want to get into the corporate stuff. Because, you enjoy the personal aspect of a wedding over a corporate.

    LOUISE: Yes! You know, it’s that you are involved, so involved with probably the biggest day of somebody’s life. What memories can they keep, hopefully it all comes along. But, their wedding day is like the most important day. And, I like that very personal contact that you have. Whereas, with a corporate event: you may be dealing with their events organizer. But then, you might end up speaking to someone else in their office. And so, you don’t build the same relationships. I’m very much a people person, and I like to build relationships: both with suppliers and obviously, with my clients. Whilst, you don’t quite get that with a corporate event.

    TOBY: No, and a lot of times with the corporate, there’s someone else involved, isn’t there? So, even if perhaps you’re doing the “on the day” event planning… You know, if you’re dealing with a big company – as often, we do with our corporate work. On the band side of things…

    LOUISE: Uh, huh.

    TOBY: You know, we’re dealing with a separate conferencing company. As oppose to… Let’s see, I would’ve, VP or whatever.

    LOUISE: Exactly!

    TOBY: So, it doesn’t become personal. But, yeah.

    LOUISE: I mean to say, when you’re planning it… The same principles apply, in terms of your approach to planning and organizing a corporate event and a wedding event.

    TOBY: Uh, huh.

    LOUISE: It’s just, for me… You have to love weddings to do this for a living. And, I can honestly say: There is nothing better than having spent ten, twelve months with a client. To see that bride in her wedding dress… On the day of the wedding, about to walk down an aisle. There’s just nothing better. You know, as job satisfaction goes – tell me a job that’s better than that. I can’t think of any.

    TOBY: So, at that amazing moment…

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: Where do you stand?

    LOUISE: Oh! [laughs] If I’ve got music, I have got musicians playing – I’m usually standing behind somebody, tapping them on the shoulders, when to play something.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: But, I will stand to one side – usually I have vision of certainly of any photography or videography. But, I’m usually… I’ll either be at the back of a church or a ceremony: cuing bride and groom, cuing the bride and bridesmaids. Or I will be near musicians, or where music is happening. But, I’m certainly in the back round… But, I am there for the ceremony, just to make sure it goes as it should.

    TOBY: Yeah. And, you dressed as a… A lot of planners used to wear something a bit more subtle than say, they’ll be wearing if they’re a guest. Obviously smart.

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: So, do you have a uniform? Do you have a logo going on? Or, what?

    LOUISE: No. When we’re doing set-up, we have polo shirts with logos on. So that, if I’m at someone’s house – I’ll know the parents and everything by that point. But, suppliers know if they haven’t met me before: Oh okay, that’s the person we need to speak to. On the day itself, I would usually have a smart dress on. So that, I’m not overly “guesty” but I look nice. I like to think that I look approachable. I tend to find the whole trouser suit thing, it’s very corporate interestingly enough.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, it makes it look like a wedding planner. Whereas, I want people to think I’m approachable. They can come up to me. So, I would have a nice dress on. Quite smart, not too “wedding guesty.” But still, quite approachable, I think.

    TOBY: Yeah. James and I have really been on a hilarious learning curve. I can only describe it as “really!?” Because, we just don’t think about – well, we do now.

    LOUISE: [laughs] That’s transitioning, Toby. [crosstalk]

    TOBY: But, a while ago… You know… Absolutely! I mean, we had that first bit… You know, we had the polo’s down.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: We had the branded polo’s. You know, blokes wear suits and they’re smart. So obviously, that’s what we we’re doing. But, managing people as we do – and, quite a few of them being female – you know, making sure that we got outfits right for each event.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: For the girls that work for us: you know, who sing for us, or perhaps we bring people in. I mean, it’s amazing. It’s now a total stock question now. We’re asking people: What we need to wear, what’s more appropriate? Obviously, if it’s a black tie event and such. But, if it’s a religious event and perhaps there is some people that’s slightly more traditional…

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: You know, we’ve got a whole set of clothes for the girls that are a bit more discreet than –

    LOUISE: Yeah, absolutely.

    TOBY: – say, the younger staff, all their corporate party stuff.

    LOUISE: Say for instance, we’re at a party for a jewish wedding and the girls had been asked to cover their shoulders. And, you need to adhere to their wishes, of the client, if that’s what they want the girls to be – you know, slightly more modest than not. You have to do that. And like I said, in a corporate do, you’d be dressed accordingly for an event. I think, you know… When I have obviously, assistants on the day of a wedding and they would be dressed for us, and we’d look quite smart but very approachable. I think what I really want to do is for the guests to feel: “That’s the wedding planner, we can go and ask her.”

    TOBY: Yeah. So, you’re on your own –

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: – getting clients. But, you’ve just mentioned that you in fact do have people working for you. So, how does that work?

    LOUISE: So, Louise Perry Weddings is essentially me. And, I worked from home as most independent planners do.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: We’re essentially a one man band really. So, I would do the majority of the planning. But, I have an assistant that’s always with me on the day of the weddings, and if we’re doing set-up – a day or two before she would be with me. And, she will also do admin work if I needed. So, say if I’m researching… So, at the moment I need to find for a client next year and I swing a band: a string quartet. And, I just said to her: “Look, can you just take this on for a minute and do that for me?” And, she can do that from home. She can work remotely. So, it works very well for her. [crosstalk]

    TOBY: And you… Sorry to interrupt. So, how does that work? Is it like: “I’ll pay you a day rate to sort that out.”? Or…

    LOUISE: So, I pay her for a day of work on an hourly rate. And, she just loves it. You know, I totally trust her.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: She’s there, she’s much more important than the system, because on the day itself of a wedding. So, I pay her a daily rate – which is agreed in advance – for the actual set-up day of the wedding. And, the admin work that she does at home – I pay her and hourly rate. And, she just loves that wholly. But, she’s much more valuable on the day of the wedding. And, it’s just really as important because in the same way that my clients and the guests need to know that I’m approachable… They need someone else there they can also approach. She’s very people orientated. My clients absolutely love her. I’m not quite sure what I’d do without her now, to be honest. But, you do need to have someone else that is quite like you in personality. Because, she’s dealing on the frontline and she also represents me. And, she’s also on the frontline with the guests as well. And, it’s also having an extra pair of eyes. So, sometimes we will be laying up something and I missed something, and she will see something that I might have missed, and vice-versa. She’s just really important.

    TOBY: Yeah. [laughs] When we first did the kind of: Okay, we’re taking this on ourselves. We did essentially, the planning. I’ll never forget the time when I was supposed to cue the musicians for the bride to walk down the aisle. And of course, everyone stood up and I couldn’t cue the bride to walk down because I was in the wrong way. Or maybe, I was with the bride, I couldn’t remember. But, I then couldn’t see the musicians to tell them to start playing. So, that’s right isn’t it? That extra pair of eyes…

    LOUISE: Exactly.

    TOBY: I remember that moment of fear, very, very well.

    LOUISE: Yeah, you can’t be in two places at once. And, if you’re in a big event or a big wedding and you’ve got quite a big site… We had to do another this summer where: drinks is one area, the marquee was somewhere else, the ceremony was somewhere else. And, the bride had a huge walk on the aisle. I was with the musicians at the top of the aisle…

    TOBY: Uh, huh.

    LOUISE: I could not cue the bride or her bridesmaids because I was so far away with pretty much two hundred guests in my way to see. So, it is really important. And also, I think as a planner working on your own is quite a lonely business. I spend many hours sat in this little office…

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: You know, on a computer. So, actually on the wedding day – it’s nice to have someone else with you. And, it’s nice sometimes that she comes in her in her off time and does a bit of work from here. It’s just comforting, as well.

    TOBY: Yeah. Do you use video conferencing? Use Skype as well?

    LOUISE: I love Skype. Skype is the best invention ever.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, I use that with my clients – particularly, the clients who live overseas.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: Because obviously, we can see each other and chat to each other. And, it’s almost as good as being there. So obviously, as clients, it’s brilliant. But, even clients that live locally, we can both do the conversation at the same time. And, it’s free. It’s over the internet. It’s just such a brilliant… I have one of my clients; one of my grooms is an absolute convert, and now uses it for business. Because, he was a phone person. But now, he sees benefits of this. It’s so useful.

    TOBY: Yeah. I mean, it’s totally changed the way James and I work. We actually had an office for a while. We had an office for six months, which was incredible. Because, we kind of got some systems in place: We were seeing each other, we were keeping working hours, and all that kind of stuff.

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: But, we realized pretty quickly that in terms of the costs and the efficiency… You know, once we got our sort of systems in place: We didn’t need to do a nine to five day. And most of the time, it’s not appropriate to do that anyway. Because, our clients are looking to speak to us after hours, you know. So actually, kind of realizing that Skype was there… We should’ve done that before. That was amazing. And obviously, we’re just as suspect to you right at the beginning, you know. I’ve got an office being built in my back garden. So, that’s even better.

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: Because, that means that I’ve got now a client-facing space within the end of 25 that I’ll be able to use from January. But you know, as tonight is a classic example of James and I, will be going to see the client in their own house. Because that’s where they’re most comfortable.

    LOUISE: And, that’s exactly what I was saying. From the initial concertation stage, we would normally choose a neutral ground, because we’ve never met each other before.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: So, whether that’s in town, in London – because, most of my clients tend to be London based.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: Or, I’ll go to their home if they’re really comfortable with that. But, we tend to finish the concertation – we’ll go to a neutral ground. And then, after that… If they go ahead and help me plan their wedding. We’ll often meet at their homes. They tend not to come here that often. I tend to go to them, that’s part of the sort of, service.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: If they want to come and sit in my office, they’re more than welcome to. But, it’s interesting what you said about that working day… Because, my brides want to speak to me on the evening and on weekend.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: Because, they work. They’re busy people, they work during the day. They might respond to emails during the day. But generally, our meetings cannot be done between daytime hours. So, I will do all of my happenings. So, between my nine and three – when my children are at school.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: Take a break when they come from school. Then I will go back to the office. And, I will work on the evening. So, that my clients can talk to me. And so, this nine-to-five thing… Actually, with the wedding planning, I’m sure to say: It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work like that.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: They need to get a hold of me: On an evening, on a Saturday, on a Sunday. And so, I adapt my working day generally, to suit the client.

    TOBY: So then, that’s exactly what we’ve found. And, you’re working from home a lot. And so, the line is really blurred, don’t they?

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: You know, between that. And, that’s a really hard thing to manage.

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: You know, James isn’t married at the moment. Although obviously, I’m sure he’ll be asked to…

    LOUISE: Plan a wedding. [laughs]

    TOBY: Plan, at some point. [laughs] But, I am and I’ve got a two-month-old boy.

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: So, it’s… You know, my wife’s about to go back to work. All that kinds of stuff going on, and we’re trying to run this business – which we are doing. But, the line’s really blurring as to when you’re: “Okay, I’m not working anymore.” So, do you have any sort of tips? Because, I guess most of us that are in this situation… You know, that we’re working from home. Many of us have got families and obviously, hopefully, social lives. So, where do you draw the line? Are you good at drawing the line? Or, is it quite hard?

    LOUISE: I’m dreadful at drawing the line. And, that’s really bad. [laughs] Because, this should be a cut-off point. But, I like to let clients know… They know that if they email, I will get back to them pretty quickly. That’s just the way that I work. If I’m going away – and, I can’t speak to them or I’m going to be slow responding – I would let them know.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: I’ll say: “I’m going to be away for three days.” Dadadada. Or, if it’s a day in the week where I’ve just decided that: Okay, I need now to get this over to my family… I just won’t respond to email that day. But, they’ll get one back the next day even if that’s Sunday. So, that’s how I’ll do it. But, you just have to… I think in this industry, it is 24/7. It’s interesting, but the bride is what they call: “A millennial bride.”

    TOBY: Uh, huh.

    LOUISE: So, she’s on social media… She wants a response quickly. Because, we have all this technology at our fingertips. And so, that’s what people expect. I think, it’s just letting the clients know if you’re not going to be able to speak tomorrow… You’re taking a couple of days off. It’s just saying to them: “I’m not going to be around for a couple of days.” And to be honest, clients will only say: “Oh, have a lovely time.” Or, whatever you’re doing, that’s great. But, I think the lines are… I’m bad with that. I will be honest inside that I am very bad… Because, I’m offering the service and I like to think I’m available to talk to when they need to.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: So, I haven’t got that quite apart yet. [laughs]

    TOBY: Yeah, it’s tough. But like you say, you can’t actually operate particularly well on no sleep and with angry children and spouses, you know.

    LOUISE: No.

    TOBY: So, It’s a…

    LOUISE: Well, I do switch off. Occasionally, I will go: “Okay, it’s late and I really don’t want to do anymore this evening.” I’ve not got any call scheduled. And, I will then switch off my computer. And that’s the way I suppose that I’d do it. It’s just that, if the computer is off that’s it.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: If I’ve left it on all evening, then I still tend to go back and check emails. But, I am quite difficult at totally switching off. Because, it’s just the way I am. I like to think that, I’m there if somebody needs help or assistance. That’s what I think really.

    TOBY: So, do you have a limit on the amount of clients that you’ll take on? I mean, if you got to that stage where you go: You know what, I’ve already got three weddings in August and I just can’t deal with a fourth. Or…

    LOUISE: Do you know what, if you’re doing a full plan – I couldn’t do three in a month. It would just be too much. And, what happens is: then you’re spreading yourself a little bit thin.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, the bride doesn’t get the attention that she needs.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: So, I wouldn’t normally take more than one for planning a month. I may have to push, take two – depending on the work that’s involved. But really, for a year you want to do maybe, seven weddings. Depending on the budget that’s involved, obviously. Because, at the end of the day… Whilst, I absolutely love planning weddings… I do have to make a living out of it. So, I think you have to look at the budget of the weddings. I think that I will perhaps, I’m taking that on… That’s a slightly lower budget than this one. I might need to take another one on, from a financial point of view for me. But, I think seven weddings in a year is probably enough. In all honesty. Seven or eight, as a one man band. And, I think most planners would say the same thing.

    TOBY: So, what happens if you get to a situation where you’re – which I hope you will and I’m sure you will at some point – you know, get so many inquiries? Do you then look to employ someone? Or…

    LOUISE: I think ideally, to take the business forward… I would like to take my assistant on as a part-time solid member of the business.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: In which case, then she spends more time on a day to day basis. Seeing how I do the stuff. She didn’t see everything that goes on in the office –

    TOBY: Uh, huh.

    LOUISE: – all the phone calls, the emails and everything. I think that would be the business rule, that she works only part-time. And then, perhaps we can plan a wedding together… So that, she would take more of the planning work. In which case then, I think you could take on perhaps, three weddings in August. But, you’d have to have more help. As a one man, you couldn’t do it. And, it would be doing my other brides a total disservice –

    TOBY: Uh, huh.

    LOUISE: – by taking on all three.

    TOBY: [deep breath] So, how long did it take you to sort of… In the first few weddings you did was smaller. And so, that ease you into it I suppose…

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: How long did it take you to sort of think? You know what, I’m looking at this: There’s two hundred fifty guests involved. I know exactly what I’m going to have to do. I’ve got my processes, and I’ve got my systems down. And, this is what’s going to happen. And, it’s just a matter of executing these different things at different stages. How many events did you have to do to be confident that that was the case? Or…

    LOUISE: Do you know what I think, Toby? You are actually still learning on the job.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: Again, I think most planners would say the same thing. Because, there’s always something that will trip you up. Now, the couple will never know that. But, there’ll always be something that you think: Oh God! That little hiccup could’ve been alleviated by doing this planning process.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, it’s one of those things, you don’t need any qualifications to be a wedding planner.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: You can do training. And I would always recommend that you Alliance of Wedding Planners.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, I’m very much an active member of the UK Alliance. I did my training with them. And, I was very much part of everything that they do. But, there are no formal qualifications. So essentially, It is a job you learn on. I have a useful back round, because I have been at so many weddings from a music point of view.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: But, the actual planning process and the executing of a whole wedding is still something you learn as you go. Fortunately, there’s never any major issue that’s happened. I like to think – obviously, we’re always planning – that I’m pretty organized. You know, I do have systems in place. And, I’ve got my “to do” list and we work through it. And, we work with a planning process in a very systematic fashion.

    TOBY: Uh, huh.

    LOUISE: The things that we need to do to deliver that wedding, to the best that it can be.

    TOBY: Sure.

    LOUISE: Because, every wedding that I do is totally different… And, every bride is totally different. There are still things that you are learning as you go. And, I’d be worried if that ever stopped, really. Because then, it would mean that I’m almost delivering: “Oh, I’ve done that before so just do this the same again.”

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, I don’t ever want to do that. I want everyone to be a totally unique experience.

    TOBY: Yeah. There is a real danger of that. You and I would’ve both seen that with bands.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: Just kind of trotting out the same twenty four songs.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: And, in the same order. And, it does look monotonous and it does sound monotonous. And, people aren’t engaged. You know, as soon as you see members of the band on stage, you aren’t engaged with it. Then, you’re not going to have the best possible things. So, that’s really interesting… To make sure that you’re almost actively changing it.

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: And, you’re seeking ways of making things unique. And, I suppose that, looking back at what we’ve done with the planning elements that we’ve done… They aren’t necessarily massive things. But, they’re just those tiny things that come from asking the clients a bit more about themselves and about their tastes. Or about, you know… To know where did you propose, or what.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: It could be something so relevant.

    LOUISE: You do. You need to know them. I ask them that sort of things. And, when we do the concertation at the beginning, I ask them: “So, you’ve been to weddings. What did you like about that wedding? What do you dislike about weddings?” And as often, you know, when you start asking these questions they go: “Oh, I hate that.” Or, “I hate chair cuppers.” And often, something simple like that will start to build a picture of that bride and groom. And, perhaps the bride will show me: “Have a look at these dresses.” Or, I had a bride when I met them at the concertation – she showed me her shoes. She’s already bought the shoes, and these are quite well-known shoes by a very famous designer.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: All in “Sex and the City”. And, she got these Manolo Blahnik shoes out, these blue shoes. And, at that point, got a bit more about her.

    TOBY: Yup.

    LOUISE: And, that’s really important. Obviously, these things, it evolves in a process developed as you go. But, I need to get to get a little bit about that bride and groom.

    TOBY: Yeah. And, you’re always storing them aren’t you.

    LOUISE: Always!

    TOBY: If she’d shown me her shoes, I would’ve gone: “Oh, nice shoes.” [laughs]

    LOUISE: Yeah, because you’re a bloke. I’ve got the shoes and I: “Oh, Manolo Blahnik shoes!”

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: That helped me to get a bit more about her.

    TOBY: A real funny one which you must have seen from a band point of view is when they say: “You know, we love all types of music but we really don’t want any cheesy music.” I’ll say, you know for me, it’s just straight away go: “Oh, okay. No Abba then.”

    LOUISE: Exactly, that’s what I’ll say.

    TOBY: [laughs] And then, they go: “Oh no.”

    LOUISE: Oh, we want Dancing Queen. That’s what they’ll say.

    TOBY: There’s always like a little caveat. And so, to trust a client who’s talking about cheesy music in not recommended I think. We always just ask: What does cheesy mean to you? Because, you know, that’s so important. And also, making it inclusive. Making sure that the set is inclusive. We had one client that was really into Heavy Metal, you know.

    LOUISE: Alright, excellent.

    TOBY: Which was interesting because the bride and groom were into Heavy Metal, but the parents are paying.

    LOUISE: Heavy metal? [unintelligible] Too much? [unintelligible]

    TOBY: Exactly. That we had to kind of work out a nice compromise, you know.

    LOUISE: But that’s Toby, about building the trust with a client. Because, you – as the musician – are the expert. You know they might get with a lot of songs on your playlist. What you know will get everyone in the dance floor. And, at every wedding they work. So, it’s getting them to trust us to do what we do best. In the same way that I have to get my clients, you make all the decisions. I will not make your decisions for you. I will give you my opinion. And, as your wedding planner, you need to trust me. But, I’m only going to give you the best options. You need to trust me to do my job, as to why I’m telling you: This will work, and this won’t work. It’s the same for you as a musician. They have to trust you.

    TOBY: Yeah, sure. But then, you have to earn the trust.

    LOUISE: You do. Again, that comes with the whole… Over a period of time, I think they do. I think, they hired you as a professional to do a job. And so, with that comes: Take my advice or don’t. And, if you don’t perhaps, take my advice because you want to do it this way… Just understand the implications of why I’ve suggested we do it this way. That’s all. But, they’re always with a final process. Their decision, is their decision. I will just give you options to make that decision.

    TOBY: Is there ever been a situation where you thought: Well if you make that decision, my reputation’s going to be in tatters. So, I just can’t let you. Or…

    LOUISE: Fortunately, not. I haven’t had any clients like that. I mean, there’s perhaps been times when they’ve chosen to do something perhaps that I wouldn’t. Or, I wouldn’t have gone with a certain supplier that they’ve maybe gone with.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: But, you know, all of these suppliers, when I recommend them… If I haven’t worked with them before, I’ve always done my research. So, I found out enough about them to be confident to know that they’re going to deliver what they want to do. So, we’ve never been in a position where I thought: This is just never going to work. I’m very fortunate that my brides will – and the grooms, obviously – overtime, will take my advice. But, as you’ve said: We build up that trust as we go. But, that’s why they hired me as a professional.

    TOBY: Yeah. I mean, I’ve spoken to other planning friends of ours and colleagues of ours who’ve said: They really wholeheartedly believe that what a planner would do is actually save time and money. Because, you are the experts. You know…

    LOUISE: Exactly. Certainly, saving on the time is the biggest thing. Because, most of my brides work full-time. And, some of them already have families before. On average, it’s about two hundred and fifty hours. Some of them take longer than that. You imagine, giving up all of that time to plan a wedding. As I’ve said, most of my brides are time short. From the saving of money point of view, obviously I will always negotiate, certainly with suppliers that I’ve worked with before – are quite happy to say: Well, we can give you this, we’ll knock this off. Or, we’ll give you ten percent of this. And, I don’t take commission from any suppliers. So that, I can recommend the right supplier for the right client. And, those discounts always pass back unto my client.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: But also, It’s like, I can shop around. So, if somebody’s quoting some of the other for two hundred chairs… I have the time to look around so watch it up and come up there to get that a little bit cheaper. So, they may not have time to do that so I will save the money. So often, some of my fee can be offset in savings they will make on the planning. It’s a falsy for people to think: Oh my God. I wedding planner is going to cost me. It’s only for people that have got lots of money.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: That’s silly nonsense. And, I’ve worked with clients with huge budgets and clients that have the average wedding budget.

    TOBY: What is the average wedding budget?

    LOUISE: I think now, it’s about twenty two and a half each.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, perhaps that’s not the average budget for wedding, but I did – as the business is building. And, it’s still as I’ve said, still quite a new business. I’ve taken on clients who only had fifteen thousand pound budget.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: And, we’ve made that work. For me, it’s worth it because it’s been a portfolio building exercise when I was starting out. So, I have been happy to do it.

    TOBY: Uh, huh.

    LOUISE: And, I mean now I have to say, I probably wouldn’t take a budget that low. Because, as I’ve gone on my fees, I’ve gone out. And, that’s relative to the industry. But certainly, you don’t have to have a fifty grand budget to hire a wedding planner. You could have a twenty five grand budget to hire a wedding planner. You know, so I think it’s just a fallacy to think it’s only for people that have lots of money. It’s not. What you’re doing is getting professional help. It’s like, if you want someone to fix your boiler… You get a plumber. If you’re going to get someone to do your car, you’re going to get a mechanic. You want someone to organize your wedding, you get a planner.

    TOBY: Yeah. It’s funny how people kind of throughout the process, realize how involved it is. Do you get people that are calling for help, perhaps a few months into their engagement? They don’t necessarily straight away say: Right, we need a planner. So, maybe they already booked a venue.

    LOUISE: Yeah.

    TOBY: Or, they’ve already done some stuff.

    LOUISE: Yeah, absolutely. So, in terms of as a company… But, most of my clients will hire me to do the whole thing. So, to help them plan the whole of their wedding. And I would say, that’s not me taking control of it… That’s just me assisting them of finding all the suppliers and pulling the whole thing together.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: Some clients will come: They’ve booked the venue, the photographer, they’ve got their band. They’ve done so much. And, they’ve literally gone: “Okay, I can’t do anymore. I’m getting stressed. It’s getting nearer.” And so, then I pick up at that when It’s called like a departure plan. And we’ll do the same thing. We’ll sit down, we’ll have a concertation and see what’s been done and what hasn’t been done. And then, I will still put a proposal together. And a fee for that amount of work that’s done. So, they can come to me at any point in the planning process. Even six weeks before they got: “Oh my goodness! I can’t deal with it anymore. I’m too stressed.”

    TOBY: Yeah. So, how do they find you then? Obviously, you’ve been doing it for a couple of years? Or…

    LOUISE: We’d come to the end of year three, so. 2015 will be year 4. So, it’s still a new business. I think, the very first wedding I did – funny enough – was for one of the moms at school. And, I did that for nothing. And, it was the real eye-opener because it was a marquee wedding. And, any planner will tell you: They are the most complicated to do. Because, you bring in everything from the last teaspoon.

    TOBY: Yup.

    LOUISE: So, that was a real, like: Oh, we are going right into this head first. Fortunately, everything was okay. They were plenty of things – you know, to throw me along the way – that, I dealt with. But, I did that for nothing. And then, obviously you have an online presence. At the most, I’m quite active with my blog, and all that sort of thing. And so, people will find you just by searching. And so, then after that I’ve got quite a small wedding that was fairly low budget. And then, the following year, I managed to pick up another couple. And again, they’ve literally just been found purely online. Purely through the website, and through people searching. Next year, it’s slightly different because I’m doing a sister of a bride… They’re due this year. I’m doing a cousin of a groom I did this year. So then, you start to build that word of mouth. Or, “You’ve been recommended to us by a florist.” Or, “You’ve been recommended to us by the venue.” So, that develops. Same for you, it develops all the time. You played at someone else’s wedding… You know, “You’ve been recommended to us.” So, now I do get those recommendations. And, people still find me certainly, online. I’ve had a couple of weddings featured on: “Rock My Wedding.” The brides love our blog, so they’ll go there. But yes, I guess now the business is developing. You do get that more recommendation thing than you did when you start.

    TOBY: Yeah. So, it takes a few years to build those referrals.

    LOUISE: Absolutely. And you know, that’s when you do some advertising. I tend to find magazine advertising doesn’t work. It’s just grand advertising. I think, your online presence is so important: And your blog, and social media. And then, it could be worth advertising on one of the nice wedding blogs. Obviously, there’s lots of them: Love My Dress, What My Wedding be Love. There’s plenty of them out there. I think that helps. And, as I’ve said, I’m quite active within the wedding planning community.

    TOBY: Have you found that you’ve got other suppliers that sent you some work as well? You know, like you said, a florist might say something. Or, you know: “Oh, we got your number from this caterer.” Or, this venue… Do you have anything like that going on?

    LOUISE: I do. Absolutely. Funny enough, I had another band actually recommend me to run a day for somebody – which is obviously, very nice. It’ll often come from somebody who started in the early, in the beginning of the planning process. So, it may be a venue or it may be a caterer. Something that they done quite early on. But, I’m still getting that purely online. I mean, it’s nice when another supplier recommends you. And, I’ve just said that I do get that now. But still, I would say fifty percent of the work is still coming from just random emails online… You know, “We’re looking of a wedding planner.”

    TOBY: Wow. Okay. Are there any sort of specific things that you pay for, in terms of Google ads or any of that stuff?

    LOUISE: I did run a Google ad thing briefly. I’m not convinced about that. Because, what you tend to find as a wedding planner – you often get lots of other wedding planners just having a look at your website and see what you’re up to. Which is fair enough, we all do it. As I’ve said, I do a lot with my blog. Which obviously helps with the search engine optimization. And so, if you put wedding planner Essex in it – for instance, which is where I’m based – that would come up quite early on. I think, even London, now you would find me. I think, it’s so important – certainly, as a wedding planner. Your website – it says a lot about you as a planner. I’ve spent a lot of money on that and developing that. And I think, as a planner that’s where you’re investment needs to be. Obviously, people then need to find it. Google ad was as I’ve said: I’m not sure of that. I think the organic search engine optimization is worth it. And obviously, you do that through the website, and to your blog. But I think, other than advertising on blogs… I probably wouldn’t spend any more on the advertising. I’d keep working on my organic listings.

    TOBY: Yeah. So, your…

    LOUISE: It’s hard work for me, but I think that’s where it needs to be.

    TOBY: So, your website – is that built on a specific platform? Is that on WordPress? Or…

    LOUISE: Yes. So, I have a new one – which has just been done the last two or three weeks, it’s finished.

    TOBY: Brilliant.

    LOUISE: That is on WordPress. Which obviously, Google likes WordPress. And so, I’ll update all of that myself with my own Weddings and stuff. And, the company that did that also did a lot of work in terms of the optimization of that. Well I think, your website is the most important thing in the wedding industry for me.

    TOBY: Wow. Yeah, I think so. So obviously, you’ve got overseas clients…

    LOUISE: Yes.

    TOBY: So, when did that happen? And presumably, that was web-driven.

    LOUISE: Yes. So, I had one this year… She was English, he was American. But, they both lived and worked in New York – they still do. Basically, they just said that we just need someone in the UK. We want it cheaper, to get married back at home, near my parents. And, she said: “We just need someone else, someone to help us.” And, this was one of the lower budget weddings. And, it was a different area for this… So, I had to find people that I’ve never worked with before. There was no suppliers that I’d worked with before. Photographer that I’ve never worked with… The venue, the cake, the flowers – everyone was from scratch. Which is actually quite hard…

    TOBY: Yup.

    LOUISE: Because, it’s like: They’re not from my area… I’ve got to start from scratch. So, that was a really useful exercise for me. Obviously, it was one of my favorite weddings. The images from it are absolutely beautiful. Of which now I have all in my website. So, we do everything by email and Skype. So, they just found me online. And, I have one client getting married next year… And she’s a New Yorker. He’s in New York as well, but he’s Greek. And they basically, just decided that London would be the best place to get married. Because, they’ve got people coming from Greece and people coming from New York, and it was a central point.

    TOBY: Excellent.

    LOUISE: And, that was a total bloop… She’s found me online… And, I said: “Look, normally we do Skype concertation if you live overseas.” I just happen to be travelling to New York that weekend…

    TOBY: No…

    LOUISE: Yeah. Absolutely random… And, I just emailed her and I said: “Look, I’m happy to meet with you for an hour. I’m coming to New York, If you don’t want to go ahead after – that’s absolutely fine. But, I’m going to be there. So, let’s meet.” And, we met. They’ve decided to go ahead. And so, now I’m planning quite a different one for me. Because, this is another logistical one… The guests are coming from all over the world to London. So, you know. They find you on all sorts of places.

    TOBY: Wow.

    LOUISE: I quite like something. As I’ve said, I don’t want to feel as a planner that: I’m repeating weddings. So, that would be quite different to anything else I’ve ever done, which is out there.

    TOBY: Yeah. And next time I suppose, you could get a trip out of New York to it… You know, if they’re willing to pay for the meeting.

    LOUISE: Oh, absolutely! If you want me to come and have a chat? I’m quite happy to get on a plane.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: My favorite city – more than happy to come over.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: I think it’ll be done by Skype from now on.

    TOBY: Sure. No, we’d be definitely happy to go… To get to New York.

    LOUISE: [laughs] Your concertation in here… [laughs]

    TOBY: That’s amazing. So, remind me and everyone else that might be listening to this where you can be found. Tell me about, not only your website but your: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest… I don’t know what else…

    LOUISE: All of those bits… And so, the website is louiseperryweddings.com.

    TOBY: Yeah.

    LOUISE: On Twitter, it’s louiseperrywed – and that’s the same for Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. They’re all exactly the same. So, if you put in Facebook: “Louise Perry Weddings,” it would come up. And, you’ll find me there.

    TOBY: That’s amazing. I think, we’ve been talking for almost an hour…

    LOUISE: We have! Just to talk about it… See, weddings are just so fantastic to talk about.

    TOBY: There’s at least another two hours…

    LOUISE: You can do a whole series on planning, Toby.

    TOBY: Well… Guess what? Thank you very much, Louise.

    LOUISE: No problem at all.

    TOBY: Alright, I’ll see you soon.

    LOUISE: See you soon, Toby. Take care! Bye.

    TOBY: Take care.

    ANNOUNCER: You’re listening to plannerspod.com.

    TOBY: Okay, so that was my interview with Louise Perry. James, what did you think of my first rambling attempt?

    JAMES: I thought it was great. I thought it’s really fascinating, insightful look into Louise’s world. I think the main thing though, it took away from that – just on a Global level. It’s how seriously she takes every part of her business… From how she presents herself – all the way through to the marketing. You heard her talking about WordPress there… I mean, she’s really thorough, isn’t she?

    TOBY: Yeah. That’s obviously something that came a bit later – she realized that it’s starting to get a bit techier… “Google really likes WordPress.” And, stuff like that. So, she’s obviously… Certainly, in the last few months even, just shifted up massively. And, it’s looking uber-professional now, that website. You should check it out.

    JAMES: Absolutely. I mean, she’s all over Twitter and Facebook – that kind of thing. So, the marketing side: she’s really, really, really on top of. But, I think the other thing that I really enjoyed from her was managing the client expectation thing. I mean, we run a business… We have emails coming at us all hours of the day. Particularly, sometimes our client base comes alive in the evening when we’re sort of trying to have a bit of a family time, or something like that. And, how she actually handles that… How she can have a holiday for a couple of days, and still manage her client expectations.

    TOBY: Yeah. I think it was a great one for us to start with. Because, her journey really has echoed our journey… She’s got exactly the same challenges as we’ve got. She’s really passionate about it. And, she’s really always seeking to add value to what she does. But now I suppose, becoming aware as we are that you’re in danger of completely losing your life unless you start to draw boundaries with your sort of, opening and closed hours. But, still really appearing to be flexible and open to clients and all that stuff.

    JAMES: Yeah. And also, just a similar journey to us – coming from a musician. And let’s face it, she’s married to a drummer too. Toby, just remind us, how can our listeners find us?

    TOBY: They can find us on the Plannerspod website, which is: www.plannerspod.com.

    JAMES: That’s the one. Please feel free to jump on ITunes too. Leave us a review.

    TOBY: And, you can also check out what we do – our normal day-job at: www.metropolis-live.co.uk. Show the music related stuff, and the production we run from a slightly separate website: www.metropolisproductions.co.uk.

    JAMES: We also have all the usual Twitter and Facebook channels. So, feel free to ask us any questions on there.

    TOBY: Yup. All the links on our websites… Hopefully, next week, James will be taking the lead and we’ll get to see his interview star.

    JAMES: Cool! Let’s leave it there.

    TOBY: Let’s leave it there. See you next time. Cheers guys.

    JAMES: Cheers. Buh-bye.

     

    [music playing]

     

    ANNOUNCER: You’re listening to the Planner’s Planner Podcast. With Toby Goodman and James Eager. Visit plannerspod.com.

     

    [music ends]

    Show Notes

    00:35 – Toby & James give a short intro about how they came to talk to Louise.
    02:00 – Find out what Louise was doing before became a planner.
    03:30 – Why she decided to become a planner and how she used her skills from previous experiences.
    03:50 – Where Louise got her training to become a planner.
    04:15 – Why Louise only works on Weddings 99% of the time.
    04:50 – What type of event doesn’t float Louise’s boat!
    06:25 – Who Louise has contact with and where enquirys come from.
    08:00 – Understanding and managing family dynamics and family politics.
    09:15 – Finding out when it’s best to approach sensitive issues.
    11:30 – Toby talks about how he leads clients to talk about sensitive issues.
    13:30 – How to keep an entire family informed.
    14:50 – Why it’s important not to just email and how to minimise email threads!
    16:30 – Where Louise likes to build relationships.
    17:00 – Some of the differences between how a wedding and a corporate event will differ.
    18:05 – Where Louise stands during the big moment of the big day.
    18:55 – What Louise wears on an event and how she makes herself approachable without looking like a guest.
    19:55 – What Toby and James learnt about clothes on female members of Metropolis.
    21:15 – Louise talks about adhearing to customs.
    22:00 – How Louise expands her team during her events and how she gets extra admin done.
    23:00 – Why it’s important to have trusted freelancers around you that represent you well.
    23:55 – Why an extra pair of eyes is important and how Toby almost lost control of a ceremony.
    25:10 – Understanding that planning can be lonely and how Louise overcomes it.
    26:00 – Why Skype will save you time and loads of money.
    27:30 – Choosing a neautral meeting space.
    28:00 – When to expect clients to call and why 9-5 hours don’t work.
    29:00 – How Louise manages her time.
    29:30 – Toby hints that Louise might get to plan James’ Wedding?
    30:00 – Drawing the line and keeping people informed.
    30:50 – A millenial bride expects!
    31:25 – What Louise is still working on.
    32:25 – How many ‘full plans’ Louise is willing to take on per year.
    33:42 – Where Louise sees her business moving forward.
    35:00 – When Louise got confident that she had everything covered!
    36:25 – Why ‘to do’ lists are essential.
    36:50 – Toby and Louise talk about avoiding becoming complacent.
    38:30 –  How the right questions will give you a great insight into the type of Wedding your clients will love!
    39:30 – Why it’s important to qualify generic terms!
    40:30 – Building trust means you can lead the clients to help you do your best work.
    43:00 – Why planners save clients money.
    43:20 – How long it takes Louise to plan a wedding in hours!
    43:40 – How Louise saves clients money.
    44:30 – What is the average UK wedding budget.
    44:45 – Louise’s budget range and how she built her portfolio.
    46:00 – How Louise deals with events that have already been part planned.
    47:10 – How much Louise charged for her first full plan.
    47:20 – What the most complex type of wedding can be.
    47:40 – Why being online is essential to Louise’s business.
    48:00 – When Louise’s referal business has kicked in.
    48:40 – Blogs and Social media are great for leads.
    49:30 – Situations where other suppliers can help get clients.
    50:30 – Louise’s thoughts on Google ads and web.
    52:20 – Whst the most important thing is to Louise as a planner.
    52:40 – Louise talks about international work.
    53:50 – How Louise scored a meeting in New York!
    55:20 – Where to find Louise.
    56:20 – James thought about Toby’s first go at interviewing and final thoughts.
    58:30 – Where to find The Planners Planner and more about James and Toby.

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