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Award-winning planners ready for expansion
By Mary Ferguson 
AN award-winning wedding planning company is pushing forward its expansion plans and opening an office in Birmingham. 
The Big Day Company have been operating in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire for four and a half years and is heading North to provide a professional, cost effective service across the West Midlands. 
Managing director Dawn Rennie said: “Our biggest challenge to date has been overcoming the perception that wedding planners are for the rich and famous. This is just not so. 
“The key to our success has not only been to eliminate those sleepless nights, but equally as important, to provide effective budget management to enable couples to achieve that fairytale wedding.  
“It was a natural progression for us to open a central Birmingham office and we are very excited about the future of The Big Day Company and how many more couples we will be able to assist through doing this.” 
The company has so far been hired mainly for on-the-day coordination in the Midlands, but after a press advertising campaign and exhibiting at The National Wedding Show, they are hoping for more full package requests. 
Tina Rennie, who manages the new Birmingham office, added: “We only have one main competitor in Birmingham and there is quite a lot of business out there – there seems to be quite a market in wedding and event planning. 
“With our experience and expertise we aim to become an extension to the bridal party. Every couple can expect great service, one point of contact and the reassurance they will get everything, from creativity to guests leaving with a lasting impression of a fabulous day. 
“We leave nothing to chance and have always understood that each couple is unique and that their wedding should reflect this.  
“We just need to get the word out there that wedding planning is accessible to everyone.”

Great reaction to Scotland's first gay wedding show
SCOTLAND’S first gay wedding show has been organised by an events company after two of their wedding planners experienced difficulties arranging their own ceremony. 
Glasgow-based Dreams Above organised the show held at Tiger Tiger in the city to help Scotland’s gay couples plan their dream wedding. 
Over 60 exhibitors showcased their services at the event, including wedding planners LB Wedding Consultants. 
Director Billy McCulloch said: “We decided to organise the show after one of our partners experienced difficulties when organising his own civil partnership last year. He just couldn’t get companies to understand what he wanted for his day and as soon as he said he was gay, started hitting brick walls. 
“We looked down South and saw the shows that were going on around London and Brighton, and wondered why nothing was happening up in Scotland. Initially we wanted to test the marketplace – but we had such a great reaction from exhibitors that we had to find a bigger venue.” 
Another show is planned for March, and will take place at Edinburgh’s Caledonian Hilton, with many Glasgow exhibitors keen to take part again. 
Billy added: ‘We expect this show to be bigger as Edinburgh has a larger gay community – there is a lot value in the pink pound in Scotland. 
“It’s not that the country doesn’t embrace the gay industry, it’s just that no-one has had the idea for an exhibition like ours yet.”

Workshop aims to help planners
THE UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) have held a PR workshop for wedding planners looking for new ways to promote themselves. 
The event, held at The Berkeley Hotel in London, was taught by Paula Gardner of Do Your Own PR, and involved students working out  
their intentions and foundations of their businesses, as well as detailed information on writing press  
releases. Networking, events  
and strategic alliances were also covered. 
Kelly Chandler, director of the UKAWP, said: “The idea of arranging workshops came about since many students that we had trained on our introductory courses and many members – both new and established – were asking for additional training and learning on certain key topics. PR and raising the profile of your business was a topic that came up time and time again.” 
More workshops are planned for next ear and the next event will focus on floral design. Kelly added: “One thing which came out of the PR session was just how different we planners are.  
“Not one person had the same unique selling point and that was a great reinforcement that we can learn from each other – we don’t have to be enemies.”

‘We’ll plan your day for free’
By Louise Cordell 
AN ONLINE wedding planning business has come up with an innovative new way to attract customers – it’s offering its services for free.  
Couples who have not yet started planning their wedding, with a budget of £5,000 or over, can now have their big day organised by myweddingplanners.co.uk without paying a penny.  
The website founder, Annette Burgess, said: “Why should professional help be out of the reach of normal people? 
“What many couples don’t realise is that most suppliers will negotiate a commission or finders’ fee for the wedding planner in return for bringing a new customer to them.  
“This can often be a healthy return, even after any negotiated discounts are passed to the couple.”  
She points out that with a large team and supplier portfolio, her planners are in a better position to source and negotiate the best deals possible and, with their budget in experienced hands, the couple can relax.  
Annette added: “After all, we are supposed to enjoy getting married, not spend time struggling to fit meetings and visits into busy schedules.  
“Often the big things are the easiest to arrange, so getting your marriage licence or booking the venue can be straightforward, but where do you find a reliable high quality artist to produce bespoke wedding stationery for sensible money? Or how do you find wedding favours that truly reflect your personality without breaking the bank?” 
The company’s aim is to give every couple the chance to have their wedding planned professionally, regardless of their budget.  
Annette added: “Clearly it is impossible to have everything covered in gold leaf if you do not have the budget to do so, but couples are now able to get the absolute most for their investment by working with an organisation who are dedicated to making the wedding day the absolute best that it can be. 
“Every single couple in the UK who wants to have their wedding planned by a professional is now able to do so, simply by handing their budget over to an organisation that knows how to stretch every single penny.”
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