Monday, January 26, 2015

Stephanie + Jake

When a bride calls and wants us to help them plan their wedding, I am both honored and excited to be able to help them along the way. With Stephanie, she became more than a client, but more of a close friends I advocated for along the way. The LOVE between Stephanie and Jake was evident from the moment I met them both and even more noticeable when I read the vows Steph sent to me to read. I cried and knew that God had truly brought them together. I know that their love goes above and beyond any issue we dealt with after the wedding was over and clean up began.

Stephanie is a super creative, incredible designer; a hair dresser by trade...and so the elements and details of her wedding were personalized and a true reflection of the couples style. I loved how unique and special each detail was. From custom built bars, a beautiful back drop created for the ceremony, bells instead of flowers for the little ADORABLE flower girls and the head table that was to die for.

Thankful for the opportunity to witness and share in their love and for the countless opportunities we had to learn and grow. Enjoy the pictures taken by Photographer, Morgan Weber...they are stunning!

Venue: Murfin Stable-Private Venue
Caterer: Newport Grill
Videographer: Brandon Parigo
Florist: Magnolia Floral Studio
Furniture Rentals: Ruffles and Rust-A Vintage Rental Company
Transportation: Spot's Party Bus
Wedding Cake: Buckingham Cakes


Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Truth...and It Might Hurt

In the last few weeks alone, I have received many emails with resumes attached from women interested in working for EBA as an event planner. They have planned their sisters wedding, their own weddings, their cousin's birthday party and have a desire to start their own event planning company because it was so much fun. Several have asked to get together to talk about what I do on a deeper level and want to pick my brain on how they can get started on building their own business. I find this very flattering that people would truly like to learn from me. I definitely have experience now, but I do not have all the answers. I learn something new everyday, and every event or wedding!
While I initially felt annoyed by people wanting to pick my brain to start their own business; potentially taking clients from me, I realized that I too was in their shoes at one point too. I admired Tinley Innes, who I worked for as an event setter upper. I   dreamed of her amazing job and life because of the things and people she was able to meet. Remember the movie, The Wedding Planner? Well I can tell you that I don't have a head set, nor do I have a house that is immaculately organized and clean. I don't own but one black suit and while I have a sweet little office, it looks nothing like the one Jennifer Lopez had. 

These emails I have received have truly compelled me to share the truth about event planning. While I love what I do in most moments of the day, Event Planning has been rated as the 6th most stressful job and can be completely overwhelming. I can tell you in complete honesty that I had NO CLUE as to the work that was involved in planning. All I saw when working for Tinley were the fun elements; setting up decor and implementing the pretty, and sweet personalized things involved in creating a day to remember. I did not see any moments that would potentially put into perspective the labor or hours that went into this career. 
Most event planners have a hard time even selling what they do, because people do not understand the value until after the completion of their event or wedding. I can have the best referrals available to potential clients to read and they still may not understand the value of the dollar they must spend to hire someone to manage every detail of their special day. 
I have been wanting to write something on the true job description of an event planner, but while I was researching the very topic, I came across this blog post and thought I could not say what I have been thinking any better than what, Debbie Orwat, Founder & Editor of the Planner’s Lounge had to say.
Check out her website and more great advice here
So without further Ado, here is the reality-written by Debbie Orwat.
1. Weekend and evening work
Weekend events and evening client meetings take time away from family and friends. Being a wedding planner means having a work schedule that doesn’t match the standard 9-5 week day gig. If you own your business, you can set boundaries to help with this and plan other types of events to balance your schedule. However the reality is that 95% of weddings happen on Saturdays and many of your clients need to meet after work for planning meetings.
2. Physical and mental hard work
Working on the wedding day is HARD work. I remember my first wedding so well… I was beyond excited to work with my first clients but had no idea I would be so completely exhausted at the end of the night. Spending 10-15 hours on your feet and being mentally “on” is exhausting no matter how good of shape you are in. And it gets harder as you get older.
3. Wedding hangover
It’s how you feel the day after a wedding. It’s like you ran a race then went out drinking all night. In reality, you are dehydrated, sore, and tired from working a wedding (see #2).
4. Tough clients
As much as you try to weed out the clients who aren’t your ideal clients, there will be some who slip through the cracks. Having difficult clients can take its toll mentally. It’s already a stressful job but when you have clients who add to that stress, you will question why you chose this career. You have to be able to walk away from the wrong client when your intuition tells you something is wrong.
5. Emotional connection
It’s an intense industry with emotional brides and emotional mothers on a very emotional day. Many planners grow close to their clients which means you work harder because you care so much (this is a good thing). On the flip side, it is hard not to take it personally if something goes wrong or if your clients are not 100% happy with your services or ideas. If you get your feelings hurt easily, this might not be the profession for you.
6. It’s not your wedding
Working with clients means making THEIR dream and vision come true. This can be a challenge for some event planners who want to keep recreating their own wedding or imposing their vision on clients. You will end up planning a wedding that doesn’t fit your style or taste and you have to be okay with that.
7. Extreme patience
If you don’t have patience, determination and thick skin, a career in wedding planning is probably not a good fit. It will take a few years before you are comfortable in your business and comfortable working with brides. Then it will take a few more years to get your name established, make a decent living, and start seeing referrals.
8. You are not a “people” person
Planners work with many different kinds of clients and vendors. The wedding industry is very social and being a planner is probably the most social vendor category in the industry. If you are introverted, shy, or don’t like to be around people, being a planner could be a difficult career choice. This isn’t to say that you can’t overcome those personality traits but it is something to consider. Being an event planner may be the encouragement you need to overcome shyness.
9. Not able to handle stress
Being an event coordinator was just listed on as the 6th most stressful career. Out of ALL careers! Many of us choose this career because we thrive on the excitement, the challenge, and the madness that happens on the wedding day. We live to solve problems, keep everything on time, and manage 20+ vendors without breaking a sweat. If you can handle stress AND keep your cool, this might be a good career for you.
10. Multi-tasking and organization
Being a wedding planner takes multi-tasking and organization to a whole new level. Not only do you have to multi-task and remember the million things on your mind, you have to think and act quickly. During the planning process, you could be working with 10-20 different couples at a time. If you aren’t extremely organized, it will show in your work and in your reputation. If you are working with 10 couples to plan their wedding and each couple has at least 10 wedding vendors, you may be communicating with up to 100 people in a week!
11. Ego
Confidence in yourself is a big key to your success in event planning. A big ego is not.
12. No passion
Don’t embark on a wedding planning career unless you are passionate about it. To be successful and thrive, you have to LOVE what you do. Many planners make incredible sacrifices to be successful. This just doesn’t happen without BIG passion. Along with passion, integrity is just as important.
13. Making long term commitments
When you first book a new client, it’s time to celebrate victory and rejoice in a new booking. It’s exciting and you can’t wait to get started. Until you realize the client can’t make decisions to save her life, changes her mind endlessly, and her wedding ideas are stuck in the 1980’s. Despite these less-than-desirable-traits, you made a long term commitment to work with this bride for a year or more to plan the perfect wedding day. You may need to bite your tongue many times and tough it out to get through the planning process with this client.
14. Negotiation and mediation
The wedding planning process is filled with negotiations and mediation. You may be negotiating with other wedding professionals about your client’s contract, mediating the style of centerpiece between the bride and her mom, negotiating last minute rain plans with the rental company, or mediating a battle over types of appetizers with the bride and groom. If you hate mediating and negotiating, becoming a wedding planner isn’t the right career path for you.
15. Business makes no sense to you
Many wedding planners own their own business. If you are not a “big picture” thinker and don’t have any desire to learn marketing, accounting, networking, or finance, a career in wedding planning probably is not a good fit for you. You can still work in the wedding industry but will be better suited to working at a hotel or wedding venue where you can focus solely on the clients instead of running a business in addition to planning and designing weddings.
****One that I could add to this list....dealing with difficult vendors. Enough said. I am not always perfect, but as a planner, my job is help create the least amount of stress for clients. This includes weeding out vendors who may cause potential problems. 
So what now!
Now that you have read all the above, please note that I am not PERFECT and do not possess all of the elements that event planners are suppose to have. With that being said, I have had to learn to delegate the things that I am not good at. I have hired people who can be the strength in my weaknesses. 
While the points may be the negative approach, I think if I would have known the reality way back when, I would have had a different approach in starting my business myself. I would in NO WAY trade what I do, because the positives outweigh the negatives but I do want to create more awareness about what I do for those desiring a job in the service industry. EVERY job has pros and cons...lets be real, I for one would die if I sat behind a desk all day and who doesn't love a flexible schedule and a dream that comes true! 
I have worked hard to get to where I am and would not have been successful without friends, family and fellow colleagues to encourage and support me. I don't write this to discourage you from starting a business or from working in this industry, but rather to give you the whole picture, the truth about what all goes into being able to set up the fun elements of a wedding or event.

Bottom line; work hard, and you too can be what you dream!