I like to define things. I like to put a little label on every project I do, to give it purpose and to give me a reason.
Back in high school my creative writing teacher gave someone shit because their poem didn’t have a title. What is the point of a poem without the title, they asked, the title tells part of the story, it tells the reader what they’re about to get into.
So here I am, a new business owner, looking for definitions and descriptions of what I do, a future bride looking for “our thing” with my stupid supportive (that is he is stupidly supportive, in a good way, not that he’s stupid and supportive) fiancé, and a friend, looking for reasons to keep my connections alive. I am always defining the aspects of my life, giving them titles.
There are at least 100 wedding planners in the Lower Mainland, if not more. Everyone and their mother think they can do this job just because they’ve done it for their own wedding. Not to diminish the quality and professionalism of service of my competitors, most of them are fabulous! But, being in the event industry as long as I have, I have seen a large number of bad planners. People who run companies by offering stupid low costs then destroying their clients special day, “planners” who charge a client of a service then don’t deliver, or destroy all of their connections by fouling up a recommendation that a friend gave them. I needed to stand out and not be looked at as a planner who is planning their own wedding so I think I can plan everyone else’s wedding! I do not want to have that reputation!
Because there are so many other planners and coordinators out there, it’s vital that an emerging company can define themselves. They need to be able to describe what they do and how it is different from the other 100 people offering their services. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this, what makes me so damn special?
The name “ThistleBEA your wedding” was my first defining factor, the name is huge and I have a weird sense of humor, it’s part of who I am. I like the idea that clients might learn this early on. We realized that if we don’t tell people to “say it out loud”, no one gets it, and when they do, I get a variety of reactions. Some people look away and force a smile, some deadpan look at me, as if they don’t get it or think it’s silly, and some laugh out loud, really laugh. Those are the people I want in my life, whether they’re as clients or friends. They subscribe to my humor, it’s a perfect fit!
So the name is a definition; another definition is my niche. What is important to us, as a business, what makes me stand out among the others? Where is my target market? That was the next thing I needed to do. What is my selling point? At first, I thought “Hey, I’m a newer planner, I have a limited number of weddings under my belt, I need to build my portfolio, so, I can offer lower prices. My selling point is lower prices.” That’s not a good selling point, not if I’m looking for longevity in my company. When you get referrals from customers who hired you because of your price, they expect the same cost, no matter where you are in your business, a year down the road or ten. No, so I need a different hook. I thought about my wedding coming up, what was important to James and I? What is my favorite part about planning my own wedding?
I realized that there were two things about my wedding that I love about planning above and beyond making all the little pieces fit in together; the ability to keep it affordable and the DIY. After our honeymoon, it’s still more than ½ the cost of an average Vancouver wedding and I love to create and make things unique!
There was once a realization among my friends about the types of video games we enjoy. Most of my friends enjoyed the story line games, one where the point was to get to the end and make a story of your character. The games all about plot. Then there were very few of us who enjoyed more sim games, the ones where you made a world and you were god, you placed people and houses and created a functioning society. That was my niche, my thing. The type of game we enjoyed directly correlated with our writing style. We are all writers, whether the writing was short stories, poems, fanfiction, or long stories that dragged on and on with no end in site.
I once created a world for a series of books I wanted to write. I created a map for this made-up world, made up a religion, a way the cities and towns worked, defined how the government was built and the differences between countries, I even developed different strains of magic. I made sure each character had a back story that defined why they were who they were. I was all about the tedious little details that only I would ever know, and those devoted fans I would undoubtedly have.
My friends who were more about the plot based games, that’s also what they primarily wrote about and were interested in. Where the story starts and how it ends and character development in the meantime.
The best writers will be able to be proficient in both, and only one or two were. I was not one of them. But I was outstanding at world building. I think about this now and realize that our taste in video games all that time ago defines what we do now.
I was a creator. I still am. I revolve my world around making awesome things and making them a reality! That is why my career choice is to be a wedding planner! I want to make these once in a life-time events tailored to these unique and totally amazing people who managed to find each other in the crazy way this world works.
My work is all about love; the love of two people, the love that goes into making something exceptional, and my love for my work.
So my niche is about what I love about my work, making it yourself. And it’s problem solving to find affordable alternatives to classic options.
The format and the theme of this bog is going to evolve a bit as I discover more about me, my business, and more precisely define what makes me special (beyond my blinding ego, that is).
I encourage all of you reading this who are planning their own wedding to think about what defines your wedding, and remember that factor as you go crazy with all the small details and the outrageous arrangements that need to be made and how insane your families are driving you. Because what defines your wedding that’s is so different from everyone else’s is your love. No matter what happens leading up to your day, its all about you and that special person. If it rains it doesn’t matter because you are marrying the love of your life. If your flowers are 40 minutes late and you’re worrying that you might not make the ceremony in time, it’s okay because they will wait for you, no matter what! They are your person (I promise, I am not watching too much Grey’s Anatomy… I’m watching just enough) and this day is about you declaring in front of your friends and family that you couldn’t imagine your life without this remarkable human being.
And hey, while you’re planning this perfect day, drop me a line, I can help!