Graduate Feature: Claudia Montano
Company: Claudia Montano, Weddings & Events
Location: County of Cornwall
A little bit about Claudia…
I’m an Italian girl living in the scenic County of Cornwall, and am the owner and lead planner at Claudia Montano, Weddings & Events. I’ve always got a busy mind full of ideas and love sharing my tips and advice with my followers! My guilty pleasure is baking, so if I’m not in my office or out with a client you can find me in the kitchen covered in flour!
Did you always see yourself as an event & wedding planner? Where did the dream begin?
I’ve always enjoyed weddings, whether it be watching the rom-coms, being invited to weddings, reading blogs, snooping on Pinterest, or following wedding industry pros on social media. The industry is so exciting, friendly, and busy – no two weddings are ever the same. Before enrolling with QC I was already helping family and friends with their weddings, parties, baby showers, and events. People would always tell me how organized I am, and so as my passion grew, I embarked on my professional journey from my QC course all the way to building my own company!
Photography by Olivia Whitbread-Roberts
Why did you choose to learn event and wedding planning online?
When I enrolled with QC I had only just returned from months of travelling around Thailand and visiting family in Italy. I wanted to be at home and study from a comfortable environment, returning to a classroom wasn’t what I wanted. At that point in time, studying from home was perfect for me – I was able to learn in my own time, around a full-time job, and work at my own pace.
How did your course prepare you for working in the field?
There are multitudes of behind-the-scenes details, from legal necessities to religious requirements, from business fees to business plans. The course is incredible for people beginning their adventures within the wedding industry. If you’ve never planned a wedding from start to finish you may not know all the ins and outs, and I certainly wasn’t completely clued up. I’m so thankful that QC delivered each module with such patience and important, useful information.
We see from your beautiful Gallery that you’ve planned both weddings and styled shoots. What do you like most about each?
Styled shoots are fantastic; they give you the freedom to put your own ideas and designs into the environment! You also get the ever-important opportunity to network and work with some amazing wedding professionals, plus you get to take away some fantastic shots afterwards. When planning a wedding you have to work with your couple’s ideas, and this is really where you see your couples light up! I love offering solutions and my professional opinion when the couple starts conveying their dreams; you work together as a team to make their wants and needs into a beautiful wedding style.
Photography by Olivia Whitbread-Roberts
We’re so glad to see that you have a blog! Why do you feel that having a blog is important? Is it worth the effort?
As I constantly share tips and guidance via my Facebook page I try and use the blog on my website to offer more detailed information and advice to my followers! I often take a topic that I’ve recently discussed on social media and pull it apart on my blog to offer plenty of detailed advice! I think it’s important to use your blog in ways that reflect you, and to show that you really do have the knowledge to take on certain weddings, this way you attract like-minded couples and suppliers.
As you know, many QC students have dreams of owning their own business as well. If you were to give them just one piece of advice when starting out, what would it be?
Try and gain some hands-on experience! I wish I had! Unfortunately where I live it can be quite difficult to gain work experience as a wedding planner. Hotels already have their in-house event coordinators, and there were only one or two wedding planners established in the area. For me it has been a challenge to book those first clients as I had a very small portfolio to offer, but as I have slowly built that I am now seeing more emails and calls come through. Hard work pays off in the end! Don’t give up!
We’d love to know, what has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
My biggest highlight was booking my first clients! It’s an amazing feeling! Being a wedding planner can be tough as most couples don’t see it as a ‘necessity’ compared to flowers or a photographer. You really do have to prove your worth!
What does the future hold for you?
My dream is to continue to grow! My brand has changed a little since I launched back in 2014 and I now feel confident that it portrays me and my business in the way that I had imagined; which gives me the reassurance to push forward and meet 2016 with success and determination. I also have a few little plans in mind and hope to incorporate another skill to my repertoire!