ONE: It’s the one year anniversary of my business, and as I mark this milestone, I’m taking some time to reflect on the wonderful whirlwind this past year has been.
Just a few weeks after my own wedding last year, my husband and I did a weekend get-away in Ojai. It was so beautiful and truly inspiring, especially after I had been feeling some post-wedding blues. We had a wonderful wedding weekend with friends and family from all over the country flying into to California for a four day affair. And then just as suddenly as they surrounded us with love in our new home state, they flew home and it was back to reality.
I was left to confront the feelings I’d been having that it was time for a career change. For months, I had no idea what that career change could or should be. I went to graduate school for non-profit management, and had given my heart and soul to that world for about 12 years. But I could feel it was time for something new, and for quite awhile I didn't know what that next step was going to be.
And then, suddenly, like the proverbial light bulb going off, it hit me while we were in Ojai: I wanted to work in the magical world of weddings.
I had never expected this, and to be honest, it still feels a bit foreign to call myself a wedding planner. As I planned my own wedding, I felt really strongly that I wasn’t interested in most of the crap that is the Wedding Industrial Complex. But, what really did speak to me were all these non-traditional, rule-breaking weddings I saw friends create and I was reading about on blogs. I realized that just as there are people out there who want to have non-cookie cutter weddings, there is also a need for wedding professionals who have a vision and set of ethics built on something different than what glossy bridal magazines have to sell (And don't get me wrong, sometimes I love those mags and pour through them too... but it's like sugar and only good in small doses!).
This new career path was being built as I planned my wedding, only I didn’t realize it at the time. Once that lightbulb went off, it came together quickly. Within a week, I came up with a name for my business, inspired by design elements of our wedding, along with a website. I went to my first bridal expo as a vendor a few weeks later with shiny new business cards, and in just those first few weeks, met some truly wonderful wedding vendors who believe in community and collaboration over competition.
TEN: I cold called and emailed several wedding planners to see if I could shadow them for free and learn the business from the inside out. After getting radio silence from some, I was able to team up with two incredible wedding planners who took a chance on me. I started shadowing with them right away, and in just a few months collaboarted on ten weddings and felt ready to start looking for my own clients.
I am eternally grateful to those first few clients who signed on with me, when I had very little to show that early on. I am equally grateful to those wedding vendors who suggested me to venues and to their clients, as all this early work built a solid foundation that I've been lucky to grow from. Along with those ten weddings I worked with other wedding planners, as of this writing, I’ve also just successfully completed my tenth wedding of my own in this first year! I know that every new business has both growth spurts and stalls, so my approach has been first to count all my damn blessings, and also look for as many ways to pay it forward as possible. A huge part of that for me has meant bringing on some amazing women to join my team, all incredibly talented and inspiring gals who I couldn’t do this work without! Read more about our growing team here.
FIVE: When I first started this company a year ago, I never considered the possibility of also incorporating floral designs. And then a bride saw my florals at a Bridal Show booth I had created just for decoration, and she said: I want you to do the florals for my wedding! I tried to explain that wasn’t a service I offered, but she was convinced I could and should create the florals for her wedding, and her enthusiasm convinced me that maybe I could(and so I did!) I’ve now gotten to work with five couples to not only coordinate their weddings but also create simple floral designs that worked with their budgets. A year ago I never would have considered myself artistic or creative, but these days it’s been fun to try new experiments.
It’s been an exhilarating year, and I’m excited to see what the year ahead holds! We've got some fantastic love stories to share, in some beautiful locations, like Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, and even Ojai!
#ForeverGrateful #OneYearinBiz #Thanksbabesforbelievinginme!