Post # 1
Hello UK Bees,
I moved to the UK from Dallas in February after marrying my British honey. Now that I’ve gotten settled in Manchester, I’m looking into the possibility of starting an event planning business. I’ve done a bit of internet research on what is available in the area, but am not finding much.
So tell me: Are Event/Wedding Planners common in the UK? How about Day Of Coordinators?
Is there anything else and American who is interested in doing this in England should know?
Thanks so much for your help!
Post # 3
Hi- event planning is growing in popularity. You can often do courses in event planning at some universities. I think Manchester Metropolitan Uni might do it (I know Leeds Met does).
It is often the more affleunt parts that are more likely to do event planning. I am thinking south Manchester in places like Altrincham, Knutsford, Didsbury etc.
There is very little wedding business actually in Manchester, most of it is out in the suburbs and Cheshire. You will be suprised at how few wedding dress shops are actually in Manchester- there are very few, and most of them are very cheap and tatty.
The majority of UK weddings have receptions at hotels. Most of them will come as part of a package, so catering, half a bottle of wine per person etc are included, as opposed to in the USA where you have to organise a lot of things yourself. These venues often come with their own on site day of coordinator, which most people use.
I am using a planner, and am not happy using my venues DOC as they work for the hotel and do not have our best interests at heart.
Oh and welcome to Manchester! I hope you like it! I came to university here in 1999 and never left!
Post # 4
Welcome to the UK!
As JoeyEmma said, event planning is becoming quite a big thing here and so competition is tough. My suggestion is to look at already established companies and try to get in with them as opposed to trying to build up a new company before you have any contacts. As with any industry, it’s about the people you know and the impressions you make.
Again, pretty much any venue that allows you to host a wedding on the premises will have a DOC but they won’t necessarily be called DOC’s.
Wedding culture here and etiquette is a bit different from the USA as well. Just little things like, I’ve never seen a card box at any UK wedding I’ve been to and typically you don’t send response cards with the invitation as you can buy “Wedding Attendance” cards at pretty much any stationary/card store. Laws on getting wedding licenses and things here are different – it just might be worth having a quick read up on everything so that you know where the differences are and such.
My advice is to really look at what’s in your area. Manchester is a busy city and there’s not a lot of, what I call, “specialist” bridal places. Places that deal just with wedding stationary or making veils and the like. So if you’re crafty that might be something you might want to look into.
Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide to do!
Post # 5
Hi! I’m a UK national and agree with most things that JoeyEmma says. I don’t know Manchester particularly, but I do think that Wedding Planners are an emerging role in the UK, not massively established.
I agree most hotels/venues will have an in-house “wedding planner” that will be provided as part of the service and costed in. Mine organised room and table layout, linens, running of the reception, introuduced us and the speeches, cake cutting etc. I’d never heard of the term DoC before following American Boards.
A friend did use a wedding planner for her wedding, but this was because she was having a reception in a marquee in her garden (so no coordinator was provided). During the civil ceremony in City Hall, she used the venue’s co-ordinator to make all the arrangements.
Event businesses are fairly prolific but they tend to be focused on larged scale out door events with corporate party and occasional wedding planning thrown in. Not sure how this works in Manchester, but in Cardiff these tend to be individual companies but work fairly closely with the local councils and big venues to get recommendations.
Hope this helps a bit?
Post # 6
Thanks so much for your insights ladies!
I’m located in North Manchester (the Whitefield area) and have been surprised by how many bridal shops I’ve seen in the area, but don’t know much about actually planning a wedding in the UK.
LittleMissMoo- I came across many of the differences in UK and US weddings during the planning process with my now husband. We’d be talking about some aspect and realize that neither of us understood what the other was talking about 🙂 It’s funny how things are so different, yet so similar. I am quite crafty and made all the paper products for our wedding myself, so I may look into that.
I’m just in the early stages of thinking about things, so I really appreciate all your help and input. Are there other resources (websites, books, etc.) that I should look into for UK specific planning info?
Post # 7
Dallasmanchester? Whitefield? I take it you mean you see Fairytale Brides then! Have you been to Slattery’s yet? Yummy coffee and cakes! Its a must. They also do wedding cakes. In fact they are a prime example of the problem with the UK wedding scene. They do cakes for footballers and local celebs. They are meant to be the height of cool in Manchester. My mother was dying for me to have one of their cakes. When I spoke to them about their cakes, all they do is chocolate cake, traditional fruit cake or jam and sponge. I asked about different creative flavours and they looked at me like I was mad. I am spoilt reading about the American scene where cake is such a big thing and flavours are amazing. Here we seem so behind the times. The best cake making place in the entire North West and all they can do is three dull flavours.
To be honest there are very few UK based wedding blogs of note. You might want to look here http://www.rockmywedding.co.uk/ There are forums like You and Your Wedding, but to be honest, the majority of people on those forums are brides that go for bog standard packages. There are very few blogs as well.
I would try and get some work experience with a wedding planner and also be prepared to travel. No planner in the area is going to give you work experience, so you can set up on your own, taking their contacts and their events. Therefore try and shadow somebody in an area away from here. They can show you the ropes without the fear that you will set up on their patch and steal away their business!
Post # 8
Thanks for the insights JoeyEmma!
I have been to Slattery’s a few times- it’s in walking distance from our flat 🙂 They do have some visually impressive cakes, but as you said I was surprised at the lack of flavors available. There really are some surprising differences between here and the States. My husband became much more interested in cake tastings back in Dallas once he learned that it wouldn’t be fruit cake with fondant icing… we had a Bride’s cake of Champagne cake with raspberry liquer filling and a Groom’s cake (which is a Southern tradition) of Almond cake with Orange filling. Yum!
I just feel like I might be able to bring some of the American ‘advances’ (if you’d call them that) to the English wedding scene. It may stay a pipe dream, but we’ll see.