Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello! Thank you so much for speaking to us today!
We are Arezoo Mana & Rasmus Clarck Sørensen; the husband and wife super team that co-own and run Denmark’s No. 1 wedding consultancy agency ‘Getting Married in Denmark’.
Denmark is the easiest country to get married for foreigners and we help many International couples; multinational, young & old, hetero & same-sex and multi-religious with their marriage in Denmark. As well as this we assist couples in getting their marriage certificates legalized with the apostille stamp after their wedding, for use in foreign offices.
A lot of couples from ALL over the world travel to Denmark every year to get married here. These couples all have wildly different circumstances, ranging from gay couples living in homophobic countries to couples simply wanting to elope or couples who have been separated by borders, and everything in between that you could imagine!
We offer several services to accommodate the different needs of some of these couples: The Essential Service, The Complete Service, The Bespoke Service, The Mayday Service, and The Apostille Service.
The most popular of our services is The Essential Service and The Complete Service.
The Essential Service is what you might consider our most ‘basic’ service and is great for couples on a budget.
The Complete Service is the opposite of The Essential Service, it costs more but we handle the entire process for the couple!
We have gone from doing 5 to 10 weddings a month to 80 to 100 weddings a month in 4 years.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Like many a great story, ours started as a love story!
Start with the low-hanging fruits, do things that you're passionate about, and make sure to teach others about it.
We met at University in Edinburgh in 2010, fell madly in love almost instantly, and got engaged 6 months later. We married in Copenhagen in December 2011 and yes, it’s our 10th anniversary this year - woohoo!
Arezoo Mana is British and I, Rasmus, am Danish. It was through the process of being an ‘international’ couple getting married in Denmark that we realized Denmark was such a popular place for couples from around the world to come and get married.
So after our wedding, we decided to set up an upmarket Scandinavian wedding magazine to give glamorous ideas and inspiration to these traveling couples coming to Denmark. This wedding magazine was called Gent & Beauty.
Gent & Beauty became very successful in its own right but we soon realized that through the magazine we were advising more and more couples on the actual process of getting married in Denmark; what documents were required, how to contact the town halls, lead times, etc.
There was, at that time, no real advice out there on HOW the process worked if you wanted to get married in Denmark and we noticed that so many couples were really struggling. I guess you could call this our “Aha” moment and so we shifted our focus and in 2014 our beloved ‘Getting Married in Denmark’ came into being.
At the time I had a small SaaS company with one main customer who provided us with a small wage that we lived off as well as Arezoo Mana’s maternity leave from the government.
Since then we have helped over 4000 couples to get married in Denmark.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
We worked on our services as if it was any other online service, the only difference is that with weddings, there are a lot more emotions involved.
Over the years the rules have changed and will keep changing so internally we had to build a structure where we as a team can adapt to bureaucratic knowledge and reflect that in the services bundles we offer and the prices.
Our services and pricing are based on the amount of responsibility we take on for the couple, rather than the “features” we provide, this has made it easier for our couples (customers) to relate to what service and experience they wish.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Arezoo came with solid communication and customer experience and Rasmus came from a SaaS company with an interest in SEO.
Our launch strategy was, to be honest, and hardworking! We would work hard on the areas we had experience in and work harder still in those areas we did not yet know.
After about a year we were joined by our first team member Leanne, who has been part of our core company ever since.
We have always hired our staff with our hearts, and that has allowed us to get the most committed and lovely team. There have of course also been mistakes made by hiring this way, but we have learned from it and I would still always recommend this way of hiring for a smaller team. Knowledge and skills can be taught, being lovely, honest, and loyal is a human characteristic that makes the base of good people, good colleagues, and a great team!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
As we went from being essentially a blog to service, we have always had our focus on long-term marketing such as organic SEO through content marketing backed up by reviews on mainly Google and Facebook.
We have also been growing Facebook and Instagram and both of these social media accounts are there with the main intention of showing the faces and the stories of the happy couples we have helped. This shows any potential new couples that we genuinely care about, we’re trustworthy and reliable.
Our next goal and rather a new project is to build a YouTube channel. It's a super fun project but it takes a lot of dedication to make it professional yet informative and fun to watch.
We are for sure not there yet, but it's a work in progress: visit our YouTube Channel.
Besides that, we are also good customers with Google Ads, Facebook Ads,
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We decided in the first week of COVID that we would come out of it stronger, which has kept us looking forward and beyond COVID although we did not know how far ahead that would be.
And we know that we are at the best point we have ever been now, COVID gave us the chance to focus on all the parts of our business that have been patched up over time and we feel we are ready to enter the market much stronger than before COVID hit.
COVID has been expensive and we were forced to take loans to keep the ship sailing, but going from never having any loans to starting our company, we have looked at the COVID loans as our expansion loan and we feel we have and are using it really well.
It has mainly been used to keep our staff working on internal projects and making sure we could provide our existing customers who have had their wedding postponed with the best possible service.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Things have changed a lot over the last 7 years. We’ve grown from it being just the 2 of us to the wonderful team we have today; a fabulous team of 8 wonderful, kind people who are extremely passionate about helping these couples.
From the moment we started, it has been a learning curve but GMiD is literally our 4th baby and we have loved and nurtured it from its inception.
We have had some extremely hard times, none harder than in 2019, when we were totally blindsided by 2 (now ex) employees who were rather sadly; bitter, jealous and greedy.
We put a lot of our faith in them but they totally abused our trust, our love, and the knowledge & information we gave them.
Their betrayal ran particularly deep as they were also supposed to be our friends but we took a step back, gave ourselves time to breathe and learn, and then we pressed on to make GMiD a company that was going to be, from that moment on, free from all negativity and a positive, love-filled place to be.
Now, with hindsight, it actually couldn’t have worked out better for us!
The company is now 100% more transparent, we got rid of commission-based sales meaning the team is not ‘sales’ focussed but rather focused on quality service and in our line of business that works even better, as each team member has a genuine desire to help couples who need our support.
Even though I say so myself, we now have an amazing team. We are all equal and doing this job for the love of it.
It is a total privilege to see what we have become today.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Front for our emails. It means that everything is super transparent and that nothing, no couple or no important email gets missed. The whole team can see everything that each other is doing, making us 100% stronger and more reliable than we ever were before using it. This is certainly one of the more favorite ‘tools’ we use as a company and the entire team loves it too!
Pipedrive is another extremely useful platform that we use. It enables us to keep all the important and relevant information required for couples, their own unique circumstances, the type of wedding they want, and where exactly they are in the process of getting married. It means that with a simple search we have all the information we need right there in front of us, ensuring we don’t have to trawl through potentially scores and scores of emails to find that bit of information we are looking for at that exact moment. It’s a real-time saver!
Instagram is also one of our company's extremely important ‘tools’. It truly showcases all our couples, their incredible weddings, and personal stories, and what we as a company are all about. You just need to see all those happy faces to understand why we utterly love what we do here at Getting Married in Denmark.
YouTube is the last important feature we use. Relatively speaking, we are fairly new to using this but we have realized that it is a really important form of communicating with potential new couples and a really great way of answering the more commonly asked questions, in a fun, friendly, and easy digest way. In this way it’s almost like the couple has ‘met’ us, they have seen our faces, had the question they were searching for answered by us and it helps them to feel confident in us as a company, while also potentially saving us time!
Their initial question now doesn’t need to be answered by email so it’s a win for the couples and us. Plus, making the videos is super fun to do!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I don’t really read books, to be honest, I lose concentration before most books get to the point, so a mix of Google, YouTube, and trial and error has taught me most of what I know.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
There is a lot of talk about strategies and business modeling and for sure that can work for some.
But I would say that if you have a good idea then start working your way into it.
Start with the low-hanging fruits, do things that you're passionate about, and make sure to teach others about it.
Because once you have to tell someone what you mean or how you do it, you start seeing “your thing” from a different angle and you will learn about the areas you might not have thought about.
If you are now thinking “is that not just a well-made strategy”, then you have not gotten into the part of working your way into it.
You need to build the long tail articles that show you know what your audience wants to know, learn or build. Build a website that makes it obvious that you are exactly that person or team that they should contact.
And when all this is done and you don’t have any visitors to your website, then you start cold calling your customers or partners who can direct customers to you and get them to visit your website so they indeed see that you know what you are talking about.
Making a good website (lead generator) is a long-term project and the sooner you start the faster it will start working for you, but you can't and should never stop working on it.
For me, strategy has mostly been based on a mix of gut feeling and numbers, in that order! If it does not sit right in my gut then it will not work long term and in that case, so the numbers don't matter anyway.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I believe we will be looking for an advisor and a documents specialist once the borders reopen, but we will see how it plays out.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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