Why the royal wedding is good news for this franchise
As Meghan Markle and Prince Harry tie the knot this weekend one thing we won’t be seeing in the ceremony is a line-up of stormtrooper groomsmen battling each other with lightsabers. But it was part of a Star Wars themed wedding that Circle of Love franchisor Kim Williams cites as one of the most remarkable events she has planned for clients.
“They hadn’t told the father of the bride, so he was quite surprised,” Williams tells Inside Franchise Business. “It was unusual.”
Circle of Love started out in 2010 and has been franchising for seven years. Williams herself came into the business as a wedding planner with events experience, investing in her own franchise and then a second territory in Sydney, before purchasing the franchise rights in 2015.
Today the network offers beach, garden and indoor wedding ceremonies, elopement ceremonies, proposal settings and reception styling, and has a list of preferred suppliers who can provide catering and photography.
“We plan the ceremony but a week before the wedding we co-ordinate with the photographer, the caterer, the celebrant.”
It takes a special kind of individual to pull together a dream event, someone able to bring some realism to the wishlist which might be a collation of Pinterest images. Take an ocean-side proposal - an arch on the beach, scattered rose petals, and a drone to deliver the ring. A windy beach, a little drizzle, flimsy furniture can all change the effect of the day and a plan B needs to be organised, and sometimes implemented.
The average wedding organised by Circle of Love is about 120-150 guests. According to research from McCrindle, an average 326 couples take their vows every day across Australia. Sometimes the ceremony itself is a last-minute consideration and William admits she has organised a wedding in under two weeks.
“You have to have a passion for the industry. The bride and groom have to be able to trust you to give them what they want, and support them,” says Williams. That the brand has a countrywide presence and insists on good quality supplies is reassuring to customers, she says.
As a part time events franchise business, much of the work is conducted at weekends.
Franchisees can expect to offer advice on ceremony sites, the set-up and decoration. It's all about taking pressure off the client.
They are trained on how to market their services, secure venue contracts, maintain business accounts, how to handle tricky clients and how to source decorative items, An initial client base will help establish the business.
Franchisees are offered basic packages which contain chairs and wedding arch designs and use their creative spark to turn the standard into the extraordinary.
Williams has sat through 200 weddings and admits to being an avid people watcher. So what does she expect from the royal wedding? All eyes will be on Markle’s dress and bouquet and these are elements that could influence wedding trends in Australia, Williams says.
However, what has been different about this particular wedding has been the family drama surrounding the event. And that might lead to more people thinking of the value of a small, intimate wedding - even an elopement - which, says Williams, is perfect for the Circle of Love business.