I am afraid this is not a pretty blog post about weddings it is extremely important that anyone in the wedding industry reads this post.
I am concerned about some recent events that have come to my attention and want to share this with everyone who will read my posts.
There have been computer hackers and more alarmingly stalkers trying to meet female wedding planners on their own.
Everyone in this industry needs to be vigilant and aware for their own personal safety, here are just a few of the stories that have been bought to my attention over the past few months.
If an email sounds a bit awkward or dodgy it probably is, we can often identify these emails quite quickly and if you are ever in any doubt about an enquiry do run it past other wedding planners, either me, Bernadette at UKAWP or someone you trust.
Never, ever click on any links included in emails until you know the client.
If it is an enquiry and you are just starting an email thread and they send you a link to click, don´t click on it.
We have had a few instances here of Wedding Planners computers being hacked, taking information, chatting to their clients, overtaking their emails systems and sending different bank account details, etc. The planners I know who have been hacked have had to have their computers completely wiped clean and change every password.
More worryingly is what is happening in the UK, there is currently a man masquerading as marrying a shipping heiress with a wedding budget of 200K. He is allegedly stalking this heiress and has contacted many wedding planners to arrange meetings with them, of which it seems a few planners have attended.
This current situation is now raising concerns as it is reminiscent of the Suzy Lamplugh case in the 80´s where a lone female estate agent went missing after meeting with a man to view a property.
Bernadette Chapman is currently compiling a list of emails and evidence against this particular man to report to the UK police, he has used the names, Ian, recently changing it to Josh. If you have been contacted by this enquiry or have any questions do get in touch with Bernadette over at UKAWP.
I end this post with always be alert and aware that not all enquiries are genuine, we all have gut feelings so listen to them. Your safety is paramount so here are some tips.
If you attend meetings with clients always make sure it is in a busy public place. DO NOT arrange to meet them in a bar in the evening and be aware, even during the day, that drinks are easily spiked.
Always tell your family or a good friend where you are, particularly if you are concerned about a meeting.
Arrange to message someone regularly during your meeting having sent them your location, pre-agree for example every 30 minutes and stick to this, tell them if you don´t message and they don´t receive a reply to immediately call the local police.
Often a dodgy enquiry states their wedding budget and sends you a long list of their requirements, be aware of any type of enquiry that is not the usual format or sounds just a bit weird.
If you have any concerns always reach out to someone you can trust and run it past them or you contact me, Bernadette at UKAWP or the nearest experienced wedding planner in your area, all of us will always help and advise.
Finally there are now quite a few woman safety apps available you can download onto your smartphone, here is a good link to read more about how to protect yourself.