100 Feature Fridays!
Wow, we are coming to the end of 2021 and I’m trying to get everything nicely tied up so that I can take a bit of a break over Christmas. This year has been a strange year in so many ways - I knew that starting a business would be challenging and it would require a lot of hard work, but I didn’t realise I’d spend so much of my time doing half of the stuff I actually have been doing!
I made the decision to go into wedding planning full time in January 2021, at a time when the country was in full lockdown and weddings were literally illegal. Looking back, that was a bold move! I knew that I wouldn’t spend much time this year working on actual weddings as they were such a rarity anyway, but I had to take the time to build up my brand, get my name out there and let the bookings start coming in. I had hoped I would be able to co-ordinate a handful (which I did) and maybe there would be a few fayres and things thrown into the mix, too (which there were). But what I hadn’t anticipated were the hours of website admin, Instagram reels, social media content planning and all of that malarkey that goes with running a business. I mean, I have some time on my hands to get it done, which is great, but it’s really not something I enjoy and something I wish wasn’t such a huge part of running a successful business these days. I like making funny reels, I understand the benefit of using socials to reach new people and to advertise my various projects but, man, it’s excessive.
What I do love, however, is connecting with different businesses. I’ve always loved sharing the little gems that I come across - in fact, it’s how I got started doing all of this in the first place. I wanted to create my website so that there could be a place that people could come to find the bits they needed for their wedding. Looking for a florist, a caterer, a band? My website tells you all about the best ones I have come across and details my first hand experiences of working with these brilliant people.
When the first lockdown happened, this was all I had to go on. An empty website with a few little articles which mentioned a couple of nice venues and cakes. That was about it. I used my time on furlough to write more and more, to get to know other local suppliers and connect with other wedding people. My website went from having just one or two tiny paragraphs to having ten, twenty, thirty businesses featured. I was writing about what they were getting up to in lockdown and how you could support them during the pandemic. I wanted to show you how epic these guys truly are. In fact, in July 2020 I decided I would “feature” one new supplier each day. That’s over thirty new businesses to share in just one month. (I told you I had a lot of time on my hands!)
I knew this had to continue, and that I wanted to make it a regular thing. I decided I would feature a new business weekly; people who I had met at previous weddings, people who I had found online who were doing great things, people I met at wedding fayres, those who I wanted to work with in the future. I started to share them once a week on a Friday. It was a chance to shout out someone I liked, to add something new and fresh to the website and to allow my catalogue of great suppliers to keep growing.
We’re now in December 2021, and we have hit an amazing milestone. We have now featured ONE HUNDRED amazing small businesses on our website. ONE HUNDRED! Venues, stylists, stationers, singers, prop hire, tipis, food, drink and more. It’s incredible to think we have featured so many brilliant people, and that we have barely even scratched the surface. There is still so much more out there, and I can’t wait to dive back in!
Sadly, some of the businesses we came to know and love are no longer trading - thank you so much, Covid. So if you look at the site I fear there may be slightly less than the advertised hundred there for you to look at… but it’s pretty darn close! And I assure you I have spent many, many, MANY hours of my life putting this all together. I hope you feel it’s worth it.
What’s amazing is that every single business featured on my page is someone I have been lucky enough to team up with, or that I have at least taken time to get to know. I don’t just sit here and copy and paste any old rubbish from people’s websites but I actually research what I can, I try to meet them for coffee or have a phone call to get to know them even better, and we send messages back and forth online all the time. It’s wonderful to think that a hundred of you have taken the time to talk to little old me. The wedding industry is a fantastically vast and varied place, and to be able to spend my days chatting to all sorts of fascinating people and uncovering new things every day is a real privilege in my book.
I hope to be able to continue doing what I do for a really long time. I hope my couples find it helpful to see some of the suppliers I have a good connection with - it certainly makes my life easier when tasked with sourcing suppliers for people to have a go-to list of fabulous people that I can pull from at a moment’s notice! I also hope suppliers enjoy me trying to indulge and learn more about their business and spread the word where I can. Ultimately it’s about making sure our suppliers are seen, and that you all get to have the best of the best on your big day because I can show you exactly where to find them!
Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to chat to me, to meet with me, send things back and forth to me, and to everyone who takes the time to read and research the brilliant people out there.
Here’s to the next hundred!
But first… I need some sleep.