It makes me feel positively ancient to admit it but it's almost a decade since I ran my first workshop for wannabe wedding planners and, in one way or another, I've been coaching, helping and working with start-ups and established businesses ever since.
There are so many reasons why the wedding industry (I actually hate that phrase but that's another post for another time) continues to be such a career draw for people and this niche market is home to some of the most talented, individual, unique and caring professionals out there. There is not a day that goes by when I do not say 'I'm proud to be a part of this'. In short, the UK wedding industry totally rocks. It's vibrant, creative, passionate and friendly. It is, without doubt, bloody brilliant.
However for every reason why people want to work in this sector, there are reasons why they shouldn't. And these aren't little reasons either. They are huge, gargantuan reasons, the proverbial elephant in the room of reasons but still they manage to get ignored, whether by accident or because people have their eyes screwed shut so they can't see them. But my friends, fear not, because I will unleash my inner slab faced realist and outline them all here for you so you can, never again, plead ignorance.
So, you shouldn't work in the wedding industry if...
- ... you want to be creative all the time - every creative still has to file tax returns, deal with expenses and invoices, keep up to date with admin and make time for the mundane, especially at the start when it's unlikely you'll be able to afford other people to do this for you. Ask anyone how long they spend working on their businesses as opposed to in it and you'll see the actual time spent in creative abandon is limited.
- ... you want to work on your own - a wedding is a team effort. If you can't handle trusting the other professionals, if you want to control everything yourself or if you can't grasp the fact that you're not amazing at everything, then step away from the wedding job. The most amazing things I've ever been a part of if when I'm a tiny cog in a much bigger wheel - your Mastermind specialist subject isn't the entire industry, it's a little part of it. In short, you'll be more of a team player than you ever have been before.
- ... you desperately need a steady, full-time salary - if you're used to money appearing in your bank account on a nice, regular monthly basis without having to really stop and think where it's coming from then give yourself a slap now and repeat the words 'it's down to me to earn my money' over and over until you're saying it in your sleep. Then remember that lots of wedding professionals are amazing whilst also holding down another job because it takes a long time to build up momentum, a long time to earn back all those start-up costs and a long time to be able to pay yourself that nice regular salary. It takes a bride a long time to plan a wedding, it takes a wedding business a long time to see a regular turnover.
- ... you don't cope well with rejection - the fact is that you're going to be knocked back. Potential clients will choose someone else, potential collaborations won't pan out, promised coverage won't come off, ideas will be rejected and you're not going to be universally loved. You need to hold onto your idea in your way and be true to you and you will build up a network of like-minded wedding pals and you'll appeal to brides who think you're just the best. But it takes time, tenacity and the ability to bounce on back like a boomerang. Again. And again.
- ... you love your weekends - if every weekend is about lay-ins, long walks, late nights on the lash and happy carefree days sans responsibility then don't quit the day job. Weddings are usually at weekends, clients don't often work weekends so want to meet you then, wedding fairs/fayres/showcases/open days are at weekends and you'll have to be there. Saturdays are the new Monday.
- ... you don't have a great support network - you're going to need someone to pick you up or talk you down from crazy flights of fantasy and remind you that this is a business not a dream. You're going to need someone who can run the house/look after the kids/not go mad through loneliness when you're out doing you're thing. You're also going to need someone who doesn't go ballistic when it's 9pm on a Wednesday and you're addicted to #weddinghour on twitter. In short, you need people around you who get you and who get why this is so important to you and want nothing more than to see you fly.
- ... you want a super glam life - or, alternatively, realise that Instragram lies. For every photo posted of an award ceremony, a dinner, a cake tasting or a glam photoshoot, there are hundreds of untaken snaps of dull days at desks, crazed faces after late nights in front of a laptop or blistered feet after a long wedding day. Who wants to see pics of business plans, financial forecasts or that cup of coffee that's gone cold after a long, slightly ill-timed phone call? Yes, there are many, many great moments but, as the bride wears the unattractive underwear to hold it all together under the designer gown, wedding professionals work sodding hard to look relaxed.
- ... you're all about spontaneity - when you get into weddings, you're going to get booked up months & years in advance. Weddings require long term commitment, not just from the people taking the vows but from all those beavering away behind the scenes.
- ... you just love the romance of weddings - it is undeniably wonderful to spend your time at weddings. However, you're working now, you're not a guest and you're certainly not the bride or the centre of attention. If you've got unresolved issues about your own wedding/marriage/divorce/dress/flowers, get professional help - don't try to become the professional help that others turn to for their own big day.
- ... you think you're done with learning - if you can't keep your mind open, if you don't want to improve yourself, stretch yourself, challenge yourself and constantly constantly better yourself and help those around you to get better too then think again my friend. Whether you're reading a blog post full of stuff you didn't know, attending workshops or just meeting new people who open your eyes to new possibilities, you're going to be learning every single day.
Feeling a bit down? A bit bruised and battered? Loathing me for sucking the life out of this amazing industry? That's ok because if this is the blog equivalent of those excruciating biology lessons where your teachers told you all about sex in a way that made you never ever want to take your clothes off, let along
, Monday's post will be more like a gossipy session with your friends when everything seemed like much more fun...