How to get started in the wedding industry
Hello lovelies! Louise here, founder of B.LOVED and I’m kicking off a special new series especially for those of you who are starting out in the industry or wondering how to start a wedding business!
Making that decision is so exciting, and I clearly remember the day my life changed and I began my journey into the wedding industry. That was almost ten years ago now, and so much has changed in my business, personal life and the wedding industry since then! Not only is B.LOVED still one of the top global wedding blogs, but I’ve launched three new businesses supporting, nurturing and advising wedding industry professionals like you to grow your business.
Today I wanted to go back to where it all started, and share some of the lessons I’ve learnt so far!
It was March 2011 when I first met Gaby (the blogger behind SouthBound Bride) in a coffee shop in Wimbledon. I was recently married, and she wanted to share my destination wedding with her readers. My interest was piqued; a regular reader of wedding blogs in the UK, South Africa and US while planning my wedding I wanted to find out more about running my own blog.
Gaby introduced me to blogging platforms, social media, coding and HTML and I quickly realised it would be a steep learning curve if I wanted to get my idea off the ground.
Two weeks later I hit publish on my very first blog post, and threw myself into a global community of wedding bloggers. In 2011 the idea of blogging was so new that there were only a handful of wedding blogs in the UK, but I quickly recognised that to stand out I needed a USP. From my own wedding planning I knew there was little inspiration in the UK targeted towards couples looking for clean, contemporary and elegant wedding ideas so I began to seek out features that fit this niche.
This early decision was crucial in creating B.LOVED’s success, attracting the right submissions from our supplier network and making our features online and on social media instantly recognisable helping to grow our audience to over 250,000 within just a few years.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was my first real branding success. I started understanding more about who my readers were, what they wanted to see and providing content that fit a specific style.
Alongside blogging, I worked full-time as a corporate interior designer, and it wasn’t long before I was asked to contribute my design skills to collaborative shoots as a concept designer and stylist. I quickly learned how to design shoots and pull together supplier teams who were a great fit for my audience. creating editorials that provided creative and fresh ideas to modern couples and got featured in top bridal publications around the world, including Style Me Pretty and Conde Nast Brides.
In 2014 I left the corporate world to become a full-time blogger, a year that culminated in winning the Wedding Blog Editor’s Choice Award. This was a pivotal moment in my business journey, and the start of an exciting new phase as changes in my personal life created new opportunities to grow and develop my business, leading to the launch of wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive, my coaching practise Louise Beukes Creative and co-founding The Brand Studio to produce on-brand visuals for businesses across the wedding & lifestyle industries.
But it was those first few years that were crucial in building the foundations of the successful business empire I run today. Here are some of the most important lessons I learned in those formative years;
If you don’t know, find out.
I knew nothing about blogging, coding or social media back in 2011 so I had to teach myself new skills using online resources and advice.
There will be plenty of times you’ll need to learn something new to move forward in your business, and there are lots of people and resources out there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Find your niche.
I made an early decision to feature creative, contemporary weddings on B.LOVED at a time when vintage weddings were a key trend. This helped me to target my brand towards a specific audience with content that was completely different to other blogs at the time.
Understanding who you want to work with, what inspires them and the help and advice they need will help you to do the same.
Don’t be afraid to say no.
In the beginning I said yes to every. Every shoot, collaboration, request and event. I met amazing people, worked on beautiful shoots and quickly got my name out there. But boy was it EXHAUSTING! It didn’t bring me clients, or make me any money either.
Over the years I’ve learnt to be a better judge of the opportunities offered to me, asking how it will benefit my business or me personally before saying yes.
For more tips on how to say no read my post on the B.LOVED Hive blog, where you’ll also find more advice, supportive community of wedding pros, training and events to help you build your own thriving wedding business.