Heather Miller, Owner of Hitched by Heather
Meet Heather of Hitched by Heather, a full service wedding boutique based out of Southern Maryland. With over 10 years experience and growing up surrounding by wedding professionals it was only a matter of time for the consulting bug to take hold. Let Heather take the stress out of planning your wedding with customized packages to meet all of your planning needs.
Location: Southern Maryland
Year Founded: 2012
Education/Background: Certified Wedding Planner
Favorite quote: “She believed she could so she did”
Be yourself and don’t let anyone dull your sparkle. There will be stress, doubt and naysayers. Follow your passion and you will have no regrets!
Can you give an introduction to Hitched by Heather? What decision led you to start a wedding planning company?
Hitched by Heather is a full service wedding boutique. We plan, coordinate and design weddings throughout Washington DC, Maryland and Virgina with the occasional destination event. I built this company on lessons learned, endless work, a boat load of passion and the grace of God.
Weddings are a part of my DNA. I grew up in my Grandmothers wedding boutique and was the assistant to my wedding photographer Mom. The question wasn’t “if” I would do weddings, but when. Every career decision I made from 18 was geared toward owning my own business ASAP.
Would you be willing to share how you started your company (IE: funding, branding, and advertising)? What surprised you about this process? Was there anything that was more difficult or easier than you expected?
When it came to a name, company and branding, I wanted to be as authentic as possible. This wedding industry can look a lot alike and I wanted “me” to shine through. I built my own website, helped design all artwork and had a hand in everything that was HBH. Taking advice from other industry experts is highly advised, but you must shape everything to your needs and style. Clients will be able to tell if you are experienced in your field or regurgitated the latest copy of Martha Stewart Weddings.
Anyone can start a company with $75 and a name. The hardest part of the “getting started” process for me was naming and website. I knew my business model, vision and type of weddings I wanted and who my clients were. I just had to show the world what was in my head.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to wedding planners just getting started?
My biggest piece of advice I have for other wedding planners is don’t just throw money into advertising. Not every marketing avenue is for you and in the beginning, you won’t have the funds to be wasteful. I only advertise on three different outlets where I know my brides are searching for the best. For the first 2 years, I only advertised on one website where I got 40% of my brides. The rest were word of mouth. Find your perfect client, then research where they will do most of their dreaming.
With 10 years of experience what would you say are the three main ingredients to a successful business?
Don’t bite off more than what you can chew. When you have a lot of passion to put in your company, it is easy to get a little ahead of yourself. Take your time and make sure you are doing what you love while being authentic.
Pray about every decision. I bring God into every aspect of my business, big or small. I also consult with my super business savvy hubby who keeps me smiling even on hard days.
What wedding planning tips can you offer couples looking to plan their wedding?
My top 3 tips for couples getting married are:
1. Make a budget and stick to it. Even if you are undecided, it will make vendor decisions MUCH easier and realistic. When you dream big, that long fall to reality can hurt if you don’t budget properly.
2. Bring out your personality. Your guests are celebrating you and your love. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I rarely turn a couples idea down. You can always tweak personal touches to flow beautifully with your wedding.
3. Make sure you purchase wedding insurance in the form of a wedding planner. You spend one year or more planning for one day. Don’t leave perfection to chance.
In business there can be self doubt, which hinders people from trying new ventures. Did you have any doubts along the way? If so, how did you overcome them or what words of encouragement can you offer others?
Self doubt is a very real thing with every aspect of life. I would say more so for business owners. In the very early stages of starting my business, I would often compare myself to other professionals in the industry. BIG MISTAKE. I quickly learned that you run your own race. When you are working hard and have your nose to the grindstone, there isn’t enough time to see what everyone is doing around you. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with other professionals. Chances are, they could take an industry pep talk as well. I don’t see myself as having “competition” around the area. I look at every other planner as a colleague that has their own twist on weddings. There is more than enough to go around! Find your niche and stay true to your passion.
What does a typical day at Hitched by Heather look like? What productivity tools do you use to get work done (This can be an app, software, book, etc)?
I am in my office by 8am every morning. I respond to email, consult my Day Designer, and update folders. My favorite productivity tools are 17 Hats and I Do for Professionals. For years, I built my own forms and updated information by hand. When I became “official,” it was time to hang with the big dogs and get in the iCloud. It will change how you operate and streamline your planner life.
What can we look for from your company in the coming years?
Hitched by Heather is constantly growing. I have already doubled my weddings from two years ago. I will continue to inspire and dream big with clients who want to take their wedding to the next level.
Be sure to check out Hitched by Heather and follow their social media channels.