We spoke to the lovely Kiri, owner of Tiger Lily Weddings and Events to find out more about her business and what her company can offer couples for their wedding day.
What is the name of your business and what service do you provide?
Tiger Lily Weddings & Events is a wedding and event planning service for the modern professional couple. My calm and confident approach ensures our couples don’t miss a moment.
Do you work on your own or are there others who work with you?
At the moment I wear all the hats in my business. I do all of the planning, marketing, networking, finances, everything that goes into being a business owner. Depending on the size and intricacy of each wedding, I may need to hire some coordination assistants for the day or outsource something that I am not that skilled at. When I’m working at a wedding where it’s a blank canvas (meaning you have to bring everything in - caterers, crockery, linen etc) and there is a lot of logistical work involved then it’s definitely a job for extra sets of hands.
What made you choose this career?
Actually it’s kind of a funny story. I can’t remember what came first, the chicken or the egg, with these two things that got me thinking. When I was 19 my friends and I had booked tickets to the Desperate & Dateless ball. I don’t even know if these events are around anymore, I am showing my age. I received the confirmation letter via snail mail and it was signed off ‘Jane Doe, Event Coordinator’. I had never heard of that job before and it got me thinking. It sounded like the perfect job for me. I think around about the same time I was going to a TAFE open day with my mum because I was thinking of doing a DJ course. I loved to party back in the day so I had my heart set on being a DJ. At the open day I saw info on an Event Management course and decided that was more suited for me. As I continued my studies I came across a Wedding Planning correspondence course and I thought all my Christmases had come at once it was perfect for my hopeless romantic personality.
I am always thinking of the future and where I want to be, what I want to do and how I am going to make those dreams a reality. Like many women I had always dreamed of being a mum. So I knew the flexibility of having my own wedding planning business was absolutely perfect and would give me the balance that I needed to be the mum that I wanted to be while also having a ridiculously rewarding career.
What do you love most about what you do?
I absolutely love seeing everything come together on the wedding day. It is such a joyous moment when all of the different details that you have been working on together with your couple, actually start being pieced together. All of your suppliers arrive and are busy working away to create their masterpieces. Of course it all wouldn't be possible if my beautiful couples didn't put their trust in me from day one and chose me to share their love story. I love getting to know my clients and we become very close because we are spending a lot of time together on their personal planning journey.
What’s the most difficult thing about what you do?
There is nothing really difficult about being a wedding planner, it all comes down to knowing how to manage and prioritise your time. However the most important thing is knowing how to build and maintain relationships particularly with your fellow wedding suppliers. Building trusted relationships will always alleviate anything that could go wrong or any difficult situations that arise. You have to love weddings and people in order to work in this industry, if you don’t have patience then you will struggle.
Talk us through your process of working with a couple for their wedding…
My process starts with a very informal chat usually over a coffee or a glass of wine. It’s very relaxed and we just get to know each other so we can decide if we are a good fit.
From there I put together timelines, budgets, personalised mood boards and find the perfect suppliers that I know will tick all of the clients boxes in terms of style and personality and of course it has to fit the price point.
What do you think makes you and your business unique?
I think it is so important to make couples feel comfortable and at ease. I have been told that I have a very calming nature and I really take the time to listen to what people want. Through my years of working in the industry and building up trust with other suppliers I know how to get my clients what they want for their wedding, without being aggressive or demanding. I don't need to be the loudest person in the room to negotiate the best deals for my clients.
Just quietly I have a knack for making couples parents fall in love with me and feel immediately at ease that their son or daughters wedding is in the best hands.
What are you most proud of that you have achieved with your business?
In November 2017 I organised a styled wedding photoshoot at a beautiful converted horse stables in Daylesford, Victoria. It was my first shoot and it was massive, lots of different scenes and elements to set up. All of the collaborating suppliers really bought their A game on the day, as well as in the lead up and afterwards. I submitted the images and story to a magazine and we got accepted! I was so immensely proud of our work as a team. When I got the email saying that our shoot was going to be published in a magazine I was absolutely speechless and burst into tears. It was such an amazing feeling that someone else recognised the beauty in our shoot. I had to wait about three months for the magazine to come out and I bought 10 copies.
What advice do you have for couples when choosing a vendor in your field?
Always go with your gut, if you feel comfortable and confident when meeting a wedding planner then that speaks volumes to how easy the whole journey will be. Never choose based on price, always choose based on feeling.
What one thing do you wish every couple knew before their wedding?
I wish that couples had more of an open mind when it comes to wedding budgets. I don’t say that because I hope everyone spends lots of money. I say that because many couples have a pre-conceived idea of how much weddings cost and often comment that things are ‘expensive’ or that ‘suppliers increase their prices when they hear the W word’ which is absolutely untrue. There is a lot more work involved in providing a product or service for a wedding, than perhaps for a birthday. You don’t get a do-over for a wedding, but you get another birthday next year. So couples expect better quality, better service, they expect nothing but the best which is of course what they should receive. There is also a lot more communications with a wedding couple, than a birthday client. So we factor that into our pricing as well.
Are there any new or exciting things happening or coming up for your business?
I am working on some big projects for the industry in the form of wedding business educational events to help business owners start and grow their businesses. I am also working on new initiatives for couples in the DIY wedding sector. So watch this space for exciting things to come.
What goals are you hoping to achieve in the business in the next year?
I hope to get the above mentioned projects off the ground with events to be held in 2020. Of course I would love to work with more amazing couples and organise some destination weddings in stunning locations so I can really get the creative juices flowing and get out of my comfort zone working in another country.
What’s your most memorable moment so far from a wedding you have worked on?
On a recent wedding our photographer almost passed out just as the girls were on their way to line up for the processional. I noticed that the photographer wasn't in her designated spot to capture the girls walking up. I had to stop the girls, run and find her, get her some water and help find the SD cards that she had misplaced.
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