Interview with luxury wedding planner, Laura Hillman
Find out how lockdown pushed Laura Hillman to finally take the plunge and launch her own luxury wedding planning business.
What’s your career background?
I have a background in luxury hospitality and events spanning 18 years in total. In 2012, I moved to London to join the early opening team of the Corinthia Hotel London. I worked my way up from Senior Event Coordinator to Head of Events & Groups, where I lead the entire wedding, event and groups teams.
It was during my seven years at this 5-star hotel where I gained valuable experience of planning luxurious and exquisite weddings and events.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I have wanted to start my own business for a number of years, but it wasn’t until the initial May 2020 lockdown (when I lost a new role I was just about to start) did I decide to take the plunge! I decided on wedding planning and venue consultancy, as this way I get to combine the things I enjoy the most – strategy and planning exceptional experiences.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I suddenly lost my full time job, so I grasped the opportunity with both hands and went for it!
What’s your USP?
I combine my experience in luxury hospitality and large scale logistics to plan and execute a seamless, relaxed and high-quality wedding day. The weddings I produce are focused on the ‘experience’, exceptional service and creating lifelong memories.
Who’s your target audience?
Modern couples living in and around London, looking for a non-traditional, elegant, and luxury wedding experience.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Via my website and Instagram.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Google Ads at the moment, and word of mouth.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Covid! I set up during 2020 and it wasn’t until June 2021, once we ‘seemed’ to be over the worst of the pandemic, did I start to see the fruits of my labour.
And your proudest moment so far?
Confirming my first booking after the 2020 lockdown started to lift.
Why is work so important to you?
It is really essential that I work within the luxury events’ industry. I enjoy high quality experiences myself, and helping others plan memorable celebrations lights me up!
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by so many other creatives within the industry, there is some exceptional talent out there! I am trying to carve my own niche and draw on inspiration from other areas of life that I enjoy such as nature, interior design and my love of high quality food! Not only that, but I will always have a deep connection with the hospitality world, and I really understand what exceptional service is, my mission is to bring this into my day-to-day work.
How do you balance your work with your family?
It is tough especially as a sole trader where I am also the bookkeeper, the social media manager and PR manager etc! I don’t have any children, but I am married and have a miniature sausage dog called Lottie who needs a LOT of attention.
It is tough during busy weeks and seasons where the demands from clients are high with evening and weekend appointments. However, one of the reasons for setting up my own business was to be able to plan hours around my personal commitments and find time each day to do something I enjoy, as well as not having a long daily commute! I am committed to this and much happier with my current work-life balance.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Take your time and don’t be in a rush, growing your business organically is much more sustainable for the long term
- Outsource as soon as you can – it will help you grow!
- If it doesn’t give you joy then focus on the areas that do
Find out more about Laura Hillman.