June 6, 2016

Ask Ashley: So You Want To Be A Wedding Planner

Ask Ashley

There are two reactions when I tell someone I own my own wedding planning business.  For some, excitement fills their eyes while they flash back to visions of Jennifer Lopez on a headset inside an ornate church and they say something along the lines of,  “oh my gosh you are so lucky.  What a fun job!” Others, usually people who have struggled to plan a wedding for themselves or their daughters say something along the lines of “bless your heart, I could never do that for a living.”  There is very little in between.  While I have to agree, that I am very lucky and I do have a lot of fun at my job, it’s not all glamour and pretty things.  The truth is, it’s not an easy job, and to do it, you really have to love it with every fiber in your being.  Today, I thought I would answer a few of the most common questions I get from people of all ages interested in becoming a wedding planner.


Q: How did you get started? 
Meagan and I got started at happy hour.  Ha ha, it’s true.  I was living in California, working for a nonprofit organization and Meagan was working for a retail company.  We had both spent the majority of our careers and lives planning various types of events.  Meagan planned fashion shows, community events and in-store events.  While I worked on gallery openings, art walks, fundraising galas and sorority recruitment.  We’d been out of college for about 7 years and we were working our butts off.  We decided,we were tired of working so hard for someone else’s dreams and it was time we work for our own. We have officially had our company now for 2 years,  although, we have technically been working on it for almost 3.  More about that later.


Q: Why did you want to be a wedding planner? For me, I loved planning any event, but the personal aspect of planning a wedding was so special.  I am a true lover of love and to me, there is no more special day than your wedding day.  Even more personally, I was looking for a way to inspire myself to love again.  What better way than to use the skills I had cultivated in event design and problem solving than be behind the scenes in someone else’s love story.  I didn’t go to school for event management or take courses on wedding planning, but I had years of experience in event planning and had planned or helped plan a handful of weddings.


Q:What is the most important skill for a wedding planner?
Problem solving!  At the end of the day, that is the bulk of what we do.  You have to be able to keep a level head and just fix things, whether that’s a broken bustle, adding an extra table of guests to the reception, deciding how to set a welcome table or handling a sick bridesmaid.  Just like in life, things happen.  As a wedding planner, you have to be ready to solve the problem and act as though nothing happened.  I also think you have to really love what you do.  As a wedding planner, you work a lot.  It’s demanding of your time, your body and your creativity.  Weekends don’t exist during wedding season.  And I’ve dislocated my shoulder trying to load up heavy things after an exhausting wedding day.  All of that though is worth it to me when a bride tells me, “this is everything I dreamed it would be.”  To be a wedding planner you have to have the vision of an artist, patience of a saint and skin of a gator.


Q: Do you deal with a lot of bridezillas?
We’ve been incredibly lucky to work with a lot very sweet souls.  I can honestly say we have never had a single bride that I would call a bridezilla.  Lets be honest, there are a lot of emotions and energies that come together during the wedding planning process.  It can be very overwhelming.  In our experience, brides have looked to us as a trusted advisor and friend that will only make the whole experience more enjoyable.  Brides know they can come to us for a third party opinion, a level head and an honest answer.
View More: http://letmeseeyousparklephoto.pass.us/yourjubilee

Q: How do you know what vendors to connect with your brides?  
Six months before we launched our company, we started networking with wedding vendors.  We asked questions.  We assisted at events.  We planned styled shoots and worked with vendors we didn’t know yet.  Then we started to work with vendors at our weddings.  We got to know their styles, pricing and the quality of their work.  Now we actually help run a networking company, which is even more helpful.  After two years of learning about other people’s businesses, when a bride comes to me and says i need a photographer and I was planning on spending $X, I can easily send them three different style photographers within their price range to consider.  It takes some studying and some time, but eventually the referral process becomes very natural.

View More: http://morganmclanephotography.pass.us/your-jubilee

Q: What’s the hardest part about owning your own company?
The biggest challenge as well as the biggest reward is that it’s all on you.  How hard you work, how late you work, how many clients you book, how much money you spend- it’s all on you.  There is no one expecting you to be at work by a certain time.  There is no one writing your paycheck.  Your success directly reflects the work you put in and the decisions you make.  I am lucky because I have a business partner.  Meagan and I bounce ideas off each other and talk out everything as a team.  We work together to create a brand, hire staff, execute events and deal with the administrative stuff.  There is no way we would have been able to grow like we have if either of us had been on our own.  I think I should also mention, that up until a couple months ago, we both still worked other jobs.  That meant, really long days and zero weekends.  It was all worth it though.  Now we have a gorgeous office to work from, incredible relationships with other creatives,  amazing weddings to show, and we are commanders of our own time.


View More: http://morganmclanephotography.pass.us/your-jubilee

Q:Are you hiring?
Short answer: Yes and No
Long answer: We really love our team and we have tried hard to cultivate an environment of growth, creativity, hard work and a lot of fun.  While we  are not hiring for any full-time positions, we are looking for 2-3 interns for wedding season (September through December or September through May).  If you have a serious obsession with weddings and events,  want to do a lot more than file paperwork and get coffee, and your friends go to you to solve all of life’s crisis’, we are looking for you. The ideal candidate can commit 5-15 hours a week to assisting with our weddings, shop and other small events.  We can guarantee that you will get real life, applicable experience in the wedding and event industry.  We’ll provide you with opportunities for creative contribution as well as valuable feedback on your performance.  You’ll have a lot of fun, but work really hard.  Wedding day burritos are on us and we might even invite you to a spin class for a little team building.  If you want to join the YJ team, please send your resume and cover letter (extra points for creativity) to AmyN@yourjubilee.com !

images by Ryan Nicole Photography, Let Me See You Sparkle & Morgan McLane Photography


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