Tayler and I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural LVL Academy this weekend and we cannot express what an amazing weekend it was! We had the opportunity to meet new friends, learn new things (like how to tie a real bow tie), and had the chance to speak to this excited and driven group of young planners. And because the speech we gave is different than the speech we wrote (thank you stage fright!), I wanted to share these words with you in hopes that they inspire you as much as I was inspired while writing them.
We know first hand what it feels like to be a new wedding planner or, in general, someone starting out a new career. It can be an overwhelming experience if you are going at it without guidance or mentoring and, if you are anything like us, you probably have even second-guessed yourself at some point while searching for direction and answers. As someone looking to either break into a new field or just start on a new path, there are lots of questions that go spinning through your head.
How do I grow my network?
How do I get my foot in the door?
Should I invest in a certification?
Where am I going to get experience for my resume?
The good thing is, that each of you in this room has committed yourself to starting your journey as a planner as an empowered one – one with guidance and mentoring – that’s why you’re here. You’re here because you didn’t want to start your journey as a wedding planner alone. Rather, you wanted to start off this experience amongst like-minded and driven people who are dedicated to showing you the way. And you’ll be taking the skills you learned this weekend and stepping into the industry as someone who really knows what they are doing.
The teams at Aisle Planner and LVL Weddings are working to not only support each of the planners in our community but to push the industry forward by creating a collaborative one that supports each other with mentorship, resources, and education. Why? Because in an industry that’s always changing, we want to work towards higher standards of excellence.
From the planning process, to professionalism and training, to the client experience, we are all moving this industry forward each time we seek out opportunities to learn and grow. And each of you has just contributed to that momentum by taking the time and effort to learn everything you are this weekend. Having the tools, resources, and know how is so empowering and it is going to help you stand tall with confidence.
Because, you came here this weekend for a couple reasons, right? Mainly because you wanted to gain those valuable skills but also because you truly care about what’s at the center of our industry: the couples getting married. And all of the new skills you have will help you to create the most joyful and positive planning process for each of the couples you get to know.
The planning experience starts from the very moment a client visits your website and only grows from there. Each contact is special moment where you are telling stories, earning trust, and sharing your expertise. It’s your job to guide your couples through the process from start to finish. From consult to wedding day and sometimes well after your job has wrapped up.
This is a pretty huge responsibility and when wedding planning was my entire world, I sometimes had to work really hard to provide my couples with all of the warm and fuzzys because my process lived in so many different places. It was my strong desire to be able to dedicate myself to giving each of my couples the most wonderful and over the moon planning process that inspired me to do what I am doing now.
So, I set out to create something that would allow me to focus my energy on the people part of my job. I needed a place to keep, organize, find, and share all of the million things that I was responsible for. (You know, the paint chips, the pages from 100 magazines, the ribbons and fabric swatches,) Everything. I needed it all to be much easier than it was.
And from that need came Aisle Planner. Where the couple is still at the center of everything but, really, the planner is too. I wanted to create a space where planners could organize every little detail, where they could communicate with their brides, and where they could collaborate with their team. And I wanted to do it all in a way that packaged the beautiful mess of wedding planning all into a neat and stylish box that the bride could touch and feel. Because, the wedding planning process is such an intangible thing. It’s always been this abstract service that some people just couldn’t understand the true value of. So I was set on making Aisle Planner something that would make all of those intangible things very real.
So we anchored our tools with a comprehensive and highly functional checklist. We built in a calendar so you and your couples could keep all wedding related appointments and important dates and deadlines in one place. We incorporated a design studio where you can organize and share images, create color palettes and really define the overall vision for each wedding. And that’s just the beginning. We have so much more and there is so much more to come.
We work every day to keep pushing forward because we know that there are just as many ways to plan a wedding as there are planners. We want to be the starting point for every wedding but in a way that is flexible and respects everyone’s unique processes. That’s why we work every day to build an innovative and evolving platform.
We partner with organizations like LVL Academy because we care about you as planners. We know that the work is definitely not always glamorous and the hoops you jump through to make things happen. What we want to do is make everything as easy as possible through the core training and tools that will expedite your journey to becoming a great planner. And, in turn, we want to work with you to push the industry forward through collaboration and not competition.
And the future is exciting! As the industry shifts towards (finally) adopting some of the amazing technology we have to use, it is wide open with opportunity for people who are being exceptionally innovative. We are so excited to see how technology enhances and facilitates the planning process because we know everyone would like some extra time off.
So we are really looking forward to what 2016 has in store. This year was super foundational for us where we made some mistakes, went through some growing pains, and dove head first into the deep end of the pool but we always did it with the attitude that we were just going to make it work. Part of the process of growing is the struggle. It’s not always a cake-walk (and we have definitely had to push through times where it would have been easier to just walk away) but, when the going gets tough, remember the reason why you are here right now. Remember your passion, your purpose and your goals and surround yourself with people you know are going to tell you to keep going.
We are here with you today because we did just that. Our network of amazingly inspirational people have kept us in the game and reminding ourselves of our goals and purpose is why we are so looking forward to 2016. It’s going to be the year we come into our own and it’s going to be the year that you come into yours.
The little things that you do after you leave here tonight are a big part of your story. So be thoughtful in your journey and surround yourself with the same. You know what it is you need to do and you understand how important each step of the planning process is but you have to take a step back, you have to take it all in, and you have to put your personal touch on it. And it may not always be easy but you have the tools. That’s why you are here.
So, whatever your path, however you take the lessons you’ve learned over this weekend, know that you have the right tools, the right knowledge, and this amazing community that stands behind you. And we are so excited for the greatness that awaits.