Introducing: Louise Perry
Today we’re turning the spotlight beam on to my fabulous business partner at Planning Redefined – the inimitable Louise Perry. As one of the world’s best wedding planners, she’s a woman whose reputation precedes her, and it goes without saying that I’m beyond thrilled to have her on board at Planning Redefined HQ.
Over to Louise to share a little bit about her journey from the West End stage to award-winning planner and teacher extraordinaire via the BBC– it’s inspiring stuff.
Perhaps unusually among wedding planners, my background is not in events. I began in the theatre and then moved into media, working for the BBC for 10 years. I’m stage school trained and spent years touring in musicals and playing in London’s West End. When I moved into broadcasting I continued to sing, playing in a band with my husband, I would sing at around 40 weddings a year, and quite simply, I fell in love with them. It wasn’t just the atmosphere and the creative details of each event we played at, it was the clients and their individual love stories.
I found myself spending more and more time getting to know our clients, and gradually felt more comfortable advising them on timescales, or suggesting local suppliers whose paths I had crossed and been impressed with at previous weddings.
Finding My Niche
By 2011, I knew my job at the BBC was being moved to Manchester and I had to think of something else I might be able to do, as a move up North with my family wasn’t an option. I was also aware that I was getting older and so gigging wasn’t something I wanted to do forever, as much as singing will always be my real love. The idea of becoming a wedding planner had fixed itself firmly in my brain, so I set about learning how. I trained 1:1 with Bernadette from The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, built myself a (frankly hideous) website and landed myself my first client.
The training I received was certainly hugely useful, but aside from this I wouldn’t recommend any new business to approach things the way I did, knowing what I know now! My website didn’t reflect who I was or the sorts of weddings I wanted to plan, and, even more crucially, I had no real idea of the figures I wanted and needed to be charging to make my new venture a profitable one. That first wedding, and several that followed, were run at a massive loss. I knew something had to change.
I began shadowing the wonderful Lisa Baker of Just Bespoke, who became something of a mentor to me. In 2013, The Brand Stylist, Fiona Humberstone, helped me to redo my website, aligning it much more closely with my brand values and the areas in which I wanted to focus. Then, in 2014, I had two big weddings for ideal clients that proved to be the real turning point in my business.
Things grew quickly from there, and by 2016 I was able to ‘retire’ from singing and go truly full time with Louise Perry Weddings.
My clients are looking for a stylish, beautifully curated celebration. They’re savvy spenders who will put emphasis on the foundations of a good party – great food, wine and entertainment. I tend to specialise in marquee weddings, they’re the ultimate blank canvas and allow each couple to really put their stamp on their wedding in a way that a bricks and mortar venue can’t.
I’m the first to admit that I’ve made mistakes, and I still make them. I’m experienced and confident, but I’m continually learning, and this is something that I never want to change. My website is undergoing its third iteration at the moment, tightening things up, and presenting a more polished and luxury user experience.
In order to build, run and sustain a business, you need to be responsive and able to grow – resting on your laurels is never an option. That’s why Planning Redefined and the continuous training it offers wedding planners is so important and why I’m so pleased to be a part of it. I also love to share my experiences and teach.
You need people skills to be a successful planner; you need an understanding of the industry that’s both deep and broad; and a good head for figures. It’s much more about the practicalities than it is the pretty.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty direct. I promise to bring authenticity and honesty to every training workshop or event with Planning Redefined. This isn’t a rose-tinted insta curation of the best bits of wedding planning – you’ll get warts-and-all, no-nonsense training, practical advice and a huge amount of information to make your wedding planning business a career, not a hobby.
If you’re a new wedding planner, or an established planner in need of a training update, mark your calendar for 19-21st November and our frankly epic three-day training workshop. You can find out more about this here, and nab your ticket at our limited time only early bird rate.
If you’ve got any questions about this event, or anything else to do with our training programmes, why not drop us a line? We’d love to hear from you.