It’s only women that are interested in ‘wedmin’ right? Wrong. Unmarried 27-year-old Robin Weil started his business The Wedding Planner three and a half years ago to help couples streamline the process of booking venues, photographers, bands, food and pretty much every other detail of their nuptials online by linking up brides and grooms-to-be to suppliers across the UK. Invested in by John Lewis after completing its J-Lab business accelerator programme, and with over 23,000 couples having used the site since it launched, it’s dominating the wedding sphere. Its average bride is someone who shops at Zara, wants to make her day unique, and has a modest budget of £20,000-25,000. Sounds just like us. Here, we chat to Robin about where the idea came from, plus what to expect trend-wise in 2018 as well as the biggest wedding clichés to avoid.
How does the Wedding Planner work?
Essentially, after the initial excitement of getting engaged starts to die down, and couples start thinking on a practical level, their journey starts with Wedding Planner – we often get couples coming to us at the start of their planning. We try and get as much information from them as possible in terms of area, budget, date, and then all of this feeds into our system and we recommend suppliers through the site. We’ve just added a new piece of functionality that means we’re transactional so that couples have the option of booking everything through the site.
What made you want to start the website?
I guess there aren’t many men starting wedding businesses. People tend to get into it because they’ve got married and loved planning their wedding so much that they’ve decided to plan other people’s weddings too. I launched a music agency at university called ‘Music Students for Hire’, and so many of the events that I was finding musicians for were weddings. It was the experience of coming from the supplier perspective and seeing the issues that I faced and that couples faced that led me to start The Wedding Planner, an online brand that people could trust to plan their whole wedding through. I could see an opportunity to develop technology in the wedding space and I thought it was a good industry to be in in terms of working with people on a very happy occasion, too.
What do you think are the biggest wedding clichés?
We get asked all the time to repeat the Love Actually scene with musicians popping up. Couples think that it’ll be super cheap because the musicians aren’t playing for very long but actually it’s not easy to get that right! The number of couples who ask for it is ridiculous and the number of couples who actually do it is pretty much zero. Often its either the groom or the bride’s idea to surprise the other person, just like in Love Actually. Other things on the clichéd list include barn weddings, food trucks and couples asking for Pachelbel’s Canon in D – 90% of couples still walk down the aisle to that song.
What are the big wedding trends of 2018 going to be?
We’re thinking that there are going to be less and less themed weddings this year. That was big, particularly for a 1920s theme or that kind of thing, but we’re predicting that there’s going to be a move away from that. That’s partly a concern from couples who have realised that it’s not particularly unique. Most brides are obsessed with finding the unique, and a lot of that goes down to the wedding venue. We’re seeing couples moving away from venues that offer wedding packages and instead finding random venues and seeing if there’s any way they can get married there. They’re becoming more willing to put more time into that side of the planning. We think there’s also going to be a move away in terms of colour from ‘calm’ colours, to bolder colour schemes that are less safe.
What do you think the role of Instagram is in wedding planning?
Instagram is getting bigger and bigger. Because you find that couples are on Instagram for all other aspects of their lives, it can have a big influence the style of their wedding and give them lots of ideas, it’s not somewhere that they ‘collect’ ideas, like Pinterest. Whereas Pinterest is used as quite an integral part of the wedding planning, Instagram is more for inspiration. Brides will openly talk about the details they’ve included that are purely to go on Instagram.
What’s the biggest piece of advice that you have for couples organising their own wedding now?
The biggest piece of advice is that couples feel incredibly rushed, but it doesn’t take that long to plan a wedding in reality. As long as there’s the availability, you could do it in a few days. There are a huge number of fantastic suppliers out there.
Visit the weddingplanner.co.uk to book your wedding.
Below, click through to read our definitive ranking of Love Actually's problematic relationships...
Peter and Juliet
Peter and Juliet are that couple. The ones who improbably live in a mews flat in Zone One, yet still try to spin the myth that they're struggling creative types through a combination of lo-fi sartorial choices (baker boy hats, Etsy-ish wedding dresses…) If Instagram had existed in fictional 2001, these two would've been insufferable (and they'd definitely have deployed a wedding hashtag on the big day). These two are so wrapped up in their soft-focus White Company and Waitrose lifestyle that they've neglected to notice that Peter's best mate is a Nice Guy about to go nuclear – they're not problematic so much as really, actually tedious.