Introduction Erina: A wedding planner in Okinawa

elina

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Hi everyone! My name is Erina and I am half Japanese and Swedish and just fell in love with Okinawa. I would love to become a wedding planner there and hope to find collaborators as well as photographers and unique venues. Please let me know if you have any great recommendations ☺️

I want to be a wedding planner

皆さんこんにちは! 私の名前はエリナです。私は日本人とスウェーデン人の半分で、沖縄が好きです。 そこでウエディングプランナーになりたいですし、コラボレーターだけでなく、写真家やユニークな会場を見つけたいと思っています。 何か素晴らしいアドバイスがあれば教えてください
 
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David

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Hey, Elina!

I know that many military members (primarily English speaking) do have either weddings or wedding photos in Okinawa. It would probably benefit you to team up with a photographer or two to have in your Rolodex to include photography in your planning packages. Meeting up with individuals or restaurants to cater would nearly top off the business side of the house for you as it allows you to give your clients a pre-planned look at what their wedding could be like. Having the Japanese skills there to sell the chapel — or the wedding location — would allow you to nail it as you could deliver the cheapest idea, such as a public beach or park, to the most extravagant Okinawa has to offer, like hotel's chapel that's overlooking the western beachfront on a sunset.

I hope your venture goes well!
 

Ta-Noza

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Hi. Elina.
If you have Japanese language skills, there is a way to gain know-how by working for a Japanese company.
There is a bridal company that is looking for staff. (Watanabe-wedding、Chiyoda-bridal)
While working there, you may be able to gain know-how in planning, photography, and wedding halls, and your hopes may come true. (However, the salary is not high).
 
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elina

elina

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Hey, Elina!

I know that many military members (primarily English speaking) do have either weddings or wedding photos in Okinawa. It would probably benefit you to team up with a photographer or two to have in your Rolodex to include photography in your planning packages. Meeting up with individuals or restaurants to cater would nearly top off the business side of the house for you as it allows you to give your clients a pre-planned look at what their wedding could be like. Having the Japanese skills there to sell the chapel — or the wedding location — would allow you to nail it as you could deliver the cheapest idea, such as a public beach or park, to the most extravagant Okinawa has to offer, like hotel's chapel that's overlooking the western beachfront on a sunset.

I hope your venture goes well!
Thank you for that! I have spoken to a lot of locals and various venues but I don’t know anyone in the military so if you know any good photographers please let me know!
cheers!
 
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elina

elina

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Hi. Elina.
If you have Japanese language skills, there is a way to gain know-how by working for a Japanese company.
There is a bridal company that is looking for staff. (Watanabe-wedding、Chiyoda-bridal)
While working there, you may be able to gain know-how in planning, photography, and wedding halls, and your hopes may come true. (However, the salary is not high).
Hi! Yes I’m actually going to Phuket to work for a brilliant wedding company called Sa-mer wedding as an intern for a bit before I start. I already spoke to Watanabe wedding and they just wanted to hire me as staff but Chiyoda wedding seems to be very keen on collaborating with me which is what I want. So I’m looking for other wedding planners and companies who would like to collaborate with me. Please let me know if you know of any other! Thank you so much for your help 🙏
 

David

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@elina, It would actually make more sense to follow through with @Ta-Noza's advice. I never liked the idea of my target audience being the military or related thereof. When I was enlisted, we were told in 2006 that we were slated to leave Okinawa soon. Of course, that never happened, but it is a possibility. Also, I've been through and witnessed various lockdowns that could just financially ruin someone if their main customers were base personnel only. Working for a company and then branching out freelance would be the best move.
 
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elina

elina

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@elina, It would actually make more sense to follow through with @Ta-Noza's advice. I never liked the idea of my target audience being the military or related thereof. When I was enlisted, we were told in 2006 that we were slated to leave Okinawa soon. Of course, that never happened, but it is a possibility. Also, I've been through and witnessed various lockdowns that could just financially ruin someone if their main customers were base personnel only. Working for a company and then branching out freelance would be the best move.
Yes, I totally agree! Currently I have a Hong Kong agent that I need to start working with bit for now with Covid, it’s a little difficult. I would like to start with English speaking clients and at the moment it seems the military is my best choice but in the future I definitely would like to make Okinawa a destination wedding paradise
 

David

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It's a running joke amongst real photographers on the island that anyone with an iPhone or kit camera (a cheap crop sensor camera) is a photographer in Okinawa. This causes issues with supply and demand, and pricing, of course. You can't find too many wedding photographers able to get in the upper hundreds to thousands that'll deliver photos and videos here unless they are a part of a team or a business. You could network with the better photographers to take a split or go straight with the company, but you'll make less with the company.
 

Ta-Noza

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Last summer, I was asked by a Chinese owner of two photography studios in Mihama, Chatan, to find a photographer. (To open a new studio in Tokyo).
However, I was not able to secure a freelance photographer.
Since it is difficult to secure personnel in Okinawa, it may be faster to collaborate with overseas photographers.
 
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elina

elina

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Yes that’s exactly what my plan is. I have photographers and videographers that I work with in Thailand so I will initially fly them in each time
 
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elina

elina

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That must be expensive. Hope you can find the clients with pockets that deep for the work! :)
Oh yes the Thai photographer & videography & arial team are young and super into what they do, they mostly want to build their portfolio so it’s a great win win
 

Ta-Noza

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I have an idea for a tourism business (photography) that no one else is doing in Okinawa.
It is to target the very wealthy who come to Okinawa by superyacht. (Someone else may already be working on this.)
As you probably already know about superyachts, super rich people from all over the world sail around Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand.
They also come to Okinawa to do sightseeing and spend a lot of money. But there is no tourism planner.
Last month, Yonabaru Town announced a plan to develop a marina for superyachts.
As long as the planning is done, I think there are many business opportunities.
 
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elina

elina

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That would be pretty awesome. Okinawa definitely needs a little push and better marketing
 

David

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Last month, Yonabaru Town announced a plan to develop a marina for superyachts.
That's pretty neat to know. It sounds like that's going to be a hotspot going forward. I haven't seen any large yachts in Okinawa myself.

Maybe @elina can set up there for family photos, etc.
 

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