The stories of how we came to be wedding planners start somewhere. For some, it was an interest from a young age and, for others, it meant jumping off of the corporate ladder and into the world of entrepreneurship. But no matter where your path to becoming a wedding planner started, your personal journey, your stories, and the lessons you learned all play a part in how each of us approach the business of wedding planning.
As we focus on client experience this month, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate our personal histories. Why? Because who you are today, what drives you, and why you pour your creative heart and soul into your work is influenced by where you came from and what you picked up along the way. So I am excited to share the stories of some of our Aisle Planners that put them on their paths and, in turn, help to shape each of their unique businesses.
Creativity Runs in the Family
I grew up with a mother who worked in interior design and who had a love for beautiful things. She nurtured those interests in me as well and from a young age I learned to have a passion for creating and planning parties. Whether it was a Halloween haunted house in our garage or a themed birthday party, I loved it all at an early age.
But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it was something I could make a career of! I really feel that this career chose me. After planning my own wedding, guests that had attended began approaching me and asking if they could hire me to help with their weddings. Word quickly began to spread and what started out as a favor quickly grew into a career that has blessed our family greatly for the last 12 years!
FEARON MAY EVENTS
Worked My Way Up
I really started from the bottom. When I moved home from college I started working at a golf course that did a lot of weddings. I worked every position from server, bartender, even the beverage cart girl. I really got to see a lot. They then moved me over to their sister location where I managed the entire event facility and bar & grill. I had a staff of 30 and handled all the daily routines. I met my husband while bartending at the bar! We eventually moved to Sacramento where I got a job as an event planner at a very high pace country club. We had 3 ballrooms and 2 ceremony sites and I did over 1,000 wedding and events in 2 years. I then got promoted to their sales manager where I got to work with the couples from the beginning and handle vendor referrals and contracts.
I left in 2010 to start my own business because I really wanted to work with brides who were looking for something different and not the cookie cutter wedding. While starting my business I also worked for a prop and decor company, where I learned even more about decor and design, which I think really sets me apart. Let’s see I can bartend, put draping up, negotiate contracts and if I can handle 10 weddings in one weekend (the most I ever did at the country club on a 3 day weekend, yep!) then I know I can handle one wedding a weekend and give them all my expertise and knowledge.
SATIN & SNOW
Saw an Opportunity
It certainly wasn’t part of the plan! I was always a creative kid, but when it came time to choose a career I played it safe and went into the legal field. Within three months of starting my career, a newly-engaged friend asked me for help designing her wedding reception. While looking for inspiration, I stumbled across the work of Jose Villa, Elizabeth Messina, KT Merry and other great fine art wedding photographers and my mind was blown. The weddings they shot were artful and designed with purpose and they stirred me in a way that law never could. I knew I wanted to design what I was seeing in these beautiful images but I had no idea where to start.
I noticed a hole in the local wedding industry here in Ottawa, Canada. We didn’t have a decent wedding vendor guide, so I started one called “Satin & Snowflakes” for brides seeking local fine art vendors. The blog took off and before I knew it, I was getting job offers, submissions from across the country for features and requests for design consultations. Three years and a re-brand later, I now lead a team of planners and stylists that allow me to do what I love most: designing fine art weddings.
PERFECTLY POSH EVENTS
“Dad, Can I Come?”
I fell in love with the concept of event planning around the age of eleven. My dad owns a business in the event industry and he would let me tag along with him during the setup of events where I was able to witness a blank slate of a space being transformed into something magical. The setup part of an event or wedding, when everything comes together to create a vision, is by far my favorite part of planning.
I initially thought that I wanted to be a corporate or non-profit event planner but after dabbling in that arena after college I realized that the focus of those events is usually on the ROI whereas weddings are focused on happiness, love, relationship, and family —the things that are close to my heart. I love how weddings combine the logistical part of events, beautiful designs, and meaningful relationships.
LVL WEDDINGS & EVENTS
Looking for the Right Fit
I have always known I needed to do something where I was directly helping people, but for the longest time I could not figure out the right medium in which to do this.
I started working for a planning company in Chicago, moonlighting to see if this was the path for me. I spent time learning the business and really knowing what it took to be a planner before jumping in headfirst. Then I coordinated my first wedding and was forever changed by it.
For the Love of Fashion
Krystel: I was born and raised in sunny San Diego, California. I received my degree in Communications with a minor in Public Relations at Point Loma Nazarene University. I spent several years in the fashion industry, working with some of the top modeling agencies, fashion designers, and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising before stepping into the world of events where I freelanced with one of the most prestigious event production companies in Malibu, California.
In 2008 I was able to combine my love for fashion and events by founding Couture Events! Coming from the world of fashion where couture is everything, I wanted to combine all of the elements of couture into our events: quality, handmade, gorgeous, unique, and glamorous.
Karina: I always knew I had a passion for events and when I attended FIDM in 2008, it became very clear weddings was the route I wanted to take. It was the charm, the details, and the people a wedding day brings that I wanted to be a part of. One day between classes, I ran into Krystel (who happened to be the events coordinator at FIDM at the time) and she had just opened her own coordination business. I knew right then, this was my chance. I joined her internship program and shortly after, became the first hire onto Couture Events!
FRANCINE RIBEAU EVENTS
Tried This, Tried That
Actually, no. I went to school and changed my major six times because I was really unsure of what I wanted to do. In hindsight, that just means to me that I was able to touch different industries and skills, which were ultimately really important to creating my wedding planning business. I didn’t realize until later how vital it was to be able to connect to all different types of people and speak their language as a wedding planner.
I ended up graduating with a graphic design degree and an art minor. I did a number of jobs in graphic design, bartending, marketing, and PR, but I ultimately decided I wanted to do wedding planning. It sounds weird, but the reason was because every time I went to a wedding, I just felt like it was full of love. Everyone was happy, you know? It was just a really wonderful place to be, and that was the only reason I wanted to be a wedding planner: because I love that feeling of love.
While it took a while and definitely wasn’t a direct path, I ultimately knew wedding planning was what I wanted to do. One day while I was getting my eyebrows waxed by my long-time aesthetician, I said I wanted to change careers and become a wedding planner. I just didn’t know how to get started. She told me she was getting married and offered free facials for a year if I planned her wedding. I was like, “Done!”
She was my first client in 2007, and then I opened my business officially in 2008. And that’s the winding road to here.
WYNN AUSTIN EVENTS
A Bit of Serendipity
It’s a common denominator for people who work in the creative industry, never to have imagined that they would be able to have a creative vocation. I’ve always enjoyed making things, painting, and creative activities but I was raised to think that those activities were not practical careers. In high school, I started working as a bank teller and decided that I wanted to study finance since it would help me progress with the company I was with after I graduated, which is what I did. After a total of 10 years with the company, I started thinking about being creative again. I started knitting again on my lunch breaks and after work to help me cope with stress of my job. Somehow, I knew I was meant to do something else, something inside of me wanted it, but I have no idea what I wanted to do. My wedding was a very low key destination wedding in Hawaii, so I never knew about this whole world of creatives that revolve around weddings and events. One day I was in a business meeting and out of nowhere one of my business partners told me that I reminded her of her daughter. I asked what her daughter does and she said that her daughter is a wedding planner in the bay area. And there it was, a little bit of serendipity. I was intrigued that people did this for a living, so I started my research and was spellbound how many people are out there making beautiful things everyday. I decided that week, that being an event planner was what I wanted to do.
LUCKY & IN LOVE
Living the Childhood Dream
Lucky & In Love is the consummation, and the start, of a dream that I’ve had since I was a child. I knew from about the age of 10 that I wanted to be a wedding planner. Where I got that—I have no idea! It’s always felt like a calling of sorts, even if I wasn’t sure the path that I would take to get here. In college, I studied communication and public relations, which seemed to be the closest I could get to planning. After graduation, I was lucky to work in PR at an advertising agency for a few years, before moving into fashion PR, which was heavier in event planning than the traditional agency media relations. Both taught me more about owning a business than I could’ve imagined, from tracking billable hours, managing expenses and event budgets, daily communication with clients and project management. Not to mention, when working at an agency, you certainly get over the dream of working a mere 40 hours a week! Nights, Saturdays, holidays, it’s all fair game when you have paying clients. Thankfully, my work-life balance has greatly benefited from being my own boss!
We’d love to learn about your about your personal journey and share it with our community! Interested in being on of our featured planners? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat!