Every wedding planner or wedding professional has a unique story about how they got started. Sometimes it’s a story of chance, sometimes it’s a story of challenges, and sometimes it’s a story of putting one foot in front of the other. And, here at APHQ, we get to meet a lot of young wedding professionals who are just starting off and diving straight in.
Today then, we are very excited to tell the story of one young and driven wedding planner – Kayla Brill of Brilliant Wedding Co. We met Kayla when she attended LVL Academy last fall and it has been great to not only see her at industry events but to support her in while she writes her own story. So, keep reading to meet Kayla and to learn all about how she got started, what starting her business was like, and her advice for other new planners!
Tell us about your path to becoming a wedding planner?
When I was in high school we used a program to help us determine two career paths we might want to go down. I (ironically or not so ironically) got event planner and lawyer. After “finding out” what jobs might be good for us, we had to job shadow a professional in each profession so I shadowed a local wedding planning company for a wedding and that was when I knew this was the right path for me!
There was only one small wedding planning company in my hometown so I knew I would need expand my horizons a bit and learn about all aspects of event planning. And, as a sought out more experience, I went from an internship to a Senior Event Manager position at a local community event production company in one season. I worked for them for three more seasons until I moved to Los Angeles and started doing experiential marketing and corporate activations. Five years later and many different types of events (like skateboarding events, overseeing the world’s largest paper airplane launch, Brett Dennen and Ziggy Marley Concerts and X Games ) I decided it was time to pursue my passion of weddings.
What was the process of starting your business like?
The process of starting my business was the most nerve wrecking time of my life to date. I thought waiting for college acceptance letters was stressful or interviewing for a new job. Boy, I was wrong!
Starting your own business, when putting everything you are and everything you have sought to become on the line for everyone to judge, to compare, and to tell you that you just might not be good enough is extremely scary… until you complete your first wedding and they tell you what you have been working so hard to hear, “We loved working with you!”
I took longer than expected to officially announce my company – I think my website was live for six months before I told my friends about it! But, I wanted to make sure I had all of the legal bases covered and that I wouldn’t fail before I did.
How did you find out about Aisle Planner?
Honestly, I think I first found out about Aisle Planner via a Google search. I then proceeded to do about three trials (yes, I used three different emails!) but I never dove into it – I didn’t give it the time to learn how to use the platform correctly. Then I was about to attend LVL Academy and could tell that all of the LVL planners used the platform. So, I decided that the client I was in the process of signing would be my first “AP” client. That’s when I learned how much time it would save me, how much more organized I could be, and that I would never have to write a color coded bulleted email with twenty different topics. I was hooked!
How has Aisle Planner helped you streamline your business?
I would say that mainly, it has helped me streamline the way I communicate with my clients. Before I started using Aisle Planner, there be a hundred email threads or pages and pages long with color codes to go through. With Aisle Planner all of my notes, questions, comments, and files are kept within each vendor’s contact page. Beyond that it has helped streamline everything in the planning process like checklists and payment reminders.
What templates did you start with?
The first templates I started to create were Notes. I currently have ceremony planning, contact sheet, design/style, floral worksheet, music worksheet, and rental worksheet templates that I use for every client. From there, I customized my project templates – creating one for each of the three main types of services that I offer. When I was creating my project templates I just kept thinking how much stress it would relieve me of!
What features did you think you were going to use the most and what do you actually use the most?
I thought that I was going to use the budget and contact features the most and while those are some of my favorites, I find that I use the design, checklist and guests/seating features the most!
Can you talk us through how you incorporated your workflow into your checklist?
I would say that my workflow in the checklist starts off with each of my main services which have a unique template. When I book a client, I use the correct project template to start their project in Aisle Planner and if the package has any customizations or add-ons I make those before inviting them in. Each project template also has my contractual obligations with the client in them. For instance, my partial package has each of the four consultations listed out as checklist items with a time frame and explanation of what will go into that consultation. From there, I go through each client’s checklist every Monday and assign him or her new tasks. I never want to overload a client so I make sure to do it weekly so everything is taken in small doses. However, sometimes clients have a lot going on so I will skip a week or two here and there to give them some time to catch up.
How do you prep everything to have it on site day-of?
I think I over prep! (But can you ever really?) When preparing documents for the day-of I export all timelines, guest lists, design boards, contacts, and seating. From there I save it into a Dropbox file and print it out putting it into a binder by Aisle Planner categories.
What are you top wishes for upcoming features or releases?
My top wishes for upcoming features would be an app and for the websites to have an RSVP function. Having an RSVP function that would automatically update the guest list with responses would be amazing! Don’t get me wrong, accessing AP via Safari on my iPhone works great but I can only imagine how amazing the app will be! Could you imagine all the work that could be cut out with having the RSVPs on the website and it automatically updating the guest list? Then all that’s left is assigning a table! There isn’t a website out there right that allows you to do all of that in one place!
Any advice for pros just starting out on Aisle Planner?
I think my biggest advice for anyone that is just starting out on Aisle Planner is to watch all the tutorial videos that are available and start with creating all of your templates. Think of all the platforms you use and ask yourself “How can I put this in Aisle Planner?” to help streamline and organize your processes. For instance, I was still using GoogleDocs for my processional, standing order and ceremony seating arrangements until not that long ago! Now they are easily organized and done within the seating feature. After creating all of your templates and putting all of your processes into Aisle Planner, start with one client and after you have them up and running start with the next.
Want to see more from Kayla? Check out her website brillianteventco.com