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Wedding Planner

Playing matchmaker for brides and businesses

Mark Shaffer used to work as a DJ at weddings. Now he helps organize them. Shaffer, 45, put his passion for music second after buying his first Perfect Wedding Guide franchise in Las Vegas in 1996. These franchises publish guides covering specific cities for brides planning their weddings. With the guide, they can find information about local photographers, DJs, bakeries and florists. "The bride can plan her entire wedding from one booklet," Shaffer says. Brides may be vital to his business, but Shaffer also depends on local advertisers. Having once advertised his own DJ services in the guide, he believes in its ability to help brides find reliable companies.

Though the investment for a franchise is only between $30,000 and $35,000, success depends more on personality and hard work than on money. A franchisee must be proactive, not reactive, he says. With two more Perfect Wedding Guide locations in San Diego and Riverside, California, and an additional franchise slated to open next year in nearby Orange County, it's not unusual for Shaffer to work seven days a week. "If you don't like working that hard or want to quit at 5 p.m., this is not for you," Shaffer says.

In keeping with his proactive philosophy, Shaffer took the Perfect Wedding Guide one step further by opening Bridal Showcase in June 2002. The Las Vegas store is a live version of the guide; representatives from companies featured in the guide are on hand to consult with brides preparing for their big day.

-Sara Wilson

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This article was originally published in the February 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Wedding Planner.

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