I wanted to take some time to address one of my most frequently asked questions to date! I get so many emails and facebook messages on this topic that I thought it would be easiest to just post about it so everyone would know the answer!
Are you ready? My most frequently asked question is…
“How did you get started in event planning and what is your job like? Can you give me any advice?”
Seriously, if I had a dime for every email I've ever received about this I think I could retire (maybe–probably not)! So here goes…
One of my first jobs after graduating from Siena College with a degree in Marketing Management was with the Office of Special Events for the City of Albany. I worked there for a few years and gained a tremendous amount of experience. I ended up as a wedding planner almost by accident! A friend I knew from working for the city was opening a wedding venue and asked me to help get them up and running. While I no longer work for the city or my friend (obviously), I fell in love with wedding planning!
To be completely honest, it wasn't love at first sight. I was really nervous that wedding planning / coordinating would be too intense; that the emotions and inevitable stress of the day (for me, not the clients) would be overwhelming. As it turns out, this is the aspect of my job that I love–I really rise to the occasion and thrive in this environment. Some might say I sparkle…
For a short period of time I worked as a wedding an event planner for a firm, but I really couldn't ignore the urge to open my own shop. This fall Katie O' Weddings and Events will be celebrating our 5th anniversary!
To answer the second part of the question, “what is my job like?” I think the most succinct answer would be: ridiculously busy. I'm sure you're not surprised by that response. But to elaborate, in addition to busy, my job is very organized and I live by my calendar. I have to schedule everything because I'm always trying to meet the needs of my clients and their busy schedules. I like that every day differs from the next–there's no monotony here! Some days I'm doing a site visit with a client in the morning and then I'll have meetings all afternoon. Some days I'm tied to my desk making phone calls, writing emails, and organizing.
And, most weeekends, I'm working. This is not easy work and I'm thankful to have an understanding and supportive spouse who helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light would be Sunday!
Last, I really love the relationship that I (and my team) have with our clients come wedding day. By the time the big day has arrived, we've had some real moments with our clients (because we feel all the feelings, too) and ride those ups and downs with them. For example, the venue they desperately wanted and was initially unavailable, but now, by some miracle, it is–YES! And, more often than not, we see our clients as our friends and we couldn't be happier or more excited for them.
If you're seriously interested in wedding/event planning, you should apply for an internship and gain some real world experience. Or if you have a family member or friend who is planning a wedding or event, ask if you can help them out and observe the process. You'll at least gain a better understanding of all of the parts that must come together to create a whole on the day of the wedding or event.
And the best part of having an internship or helping a friend? You'll know pretty quickly if it's the right fit for you.
While I jumped into wedding and event planning with two feet, I recognize that there are training and certifications programs for event planning. In my experience “hands-on” has been my saving grace. Each event I plan teaches me more and more. That being said, I look forward to learning something new with each and every event.
I hope you found this post to be helpful! Feel free to post any questions you may have in the comments and I'll do my best to respond in a timely fashion!