Wedding season is in full swing and I’ve been MIA from my blog. Today has been the first time in over a month I’ve actually had enough energy and contentment to sit quietly on our patio and just write.
This season feels so different from last year it’s hard to even comprehend where I was at a year ago today. I had just finished up as campaign assistant to Minister Terry Lake in the provincial election, I was in the process of finishing up a contract planning job at the YMCA, I just finished planning my sister’s June 28th wedding, I had 9 other weddings on top of my own to plan, and we were packing our basement suite for a move to Kelowna. Last year all I kept saying to myself was to put my head down and get through it. When it came to leaving for our honeymoon in late September, I was so exhausted I bawled my eyes out for an entire hour before we left. A tantrum that resembled something of a 2 year old needing a nap crossed with feeling like you were being tortured with the worst hangover of your life.
Something had to give this year. If I wanted to be a full-time wedding planner I was going to have to make a lot of changes. It started with the move to the Okanagan but that was just the beginning. I attended a one-on-one workshop with one of California’s top wedding planners, I hired a business coach, I got creative with behind the scenes branding, I paid close attention to what blogs and magazines were looking for and got featured 11 times, I networked and marketed, and studied business books every spare hour I had time for. And when all of that was done, I raised my rates. Significantly. After 10 months of living in Kelowna, I have increased my average booking rate by 500%. Though it was really never about the money. I just wanted to raise the bar for myself. Really raise it. Enough that my brides saw and felt value in my new pricing and that I felt creative and inspired enough to make this my full-time career.
There’s no doubt I feel exhausted this season but it’s definitely different. For the first time since becoming a wedding planner I feel like every extra hour I put in and every detail I obsess over is being recognized and valued. Every lost hour of sleep and every painful step with sore feet after a wedding day is worth it. My clients are worth it.
I’m so excited to get to wake up and live my dream job every single day. I’ll be attending a styling workshop this October in Whistler with one of the most talented stylists in the US, Joy Thigpen. And I hope to continue to push to be a better entrepreneur and planner every single year.
Here’s to an amazing summer full of the most beautiful weddings.
“I didn’t ever dream of my wedding.” ” I don’t want to ‘feel like a princess for a day’.” “I don’t have a theme for my wedding day. I didn’t know weddings had themes. Do we need a theme?”
These are all such common things I hear during a consultation. And all of which are totally okay.
I dreamt of being a wedding planner, but I never dreamt of my own wedding. I dreamt of the guy I’d meet and what my life would look like but never the gown I’d wear. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming of your wedding day your entire life, not everyone feels that way. Some people might not have ever even imagined getting married. And then love happened.
Lately I’ve noticed so many couples feeling apprehensive about their wedding. “We don’t have a whole lot to spend.” “Our engagement story isn’t anything special.” “We don’t really want a glamorous wedding.” I wish that every couple realized that love is beautiful and perfect in every form. When it’s true to who you are as a couple, no other stereotype matters.
You don’t have to wear a ball gown on your wedding day to feel beautiful. You don’t have to pick a “theme” to have decor. You don’t have had dreamt of your wedding your entire life for it to be special.
It’s time to stop following everyone else’s rules and let your wedding be your own kind of beautiful.
We had friends over the other night for drinks and boardgames and they asked us, what do you like to do outside of weddings? It’s a funny question because I don’t think many people know what Royce and I are like outside of work. Even the majority of our friends only know us in a work setting. But we’re actually quite different when it’s just us. We’re really playful people. For instance, two nights ago we had an impromptu dance party in our living room and last night’s date night consisted of frozen yogurt and the movie, Sharktale. We really don’t take ourselves too seriously outside of work and I like it that way. I spend my entire day planning and organizing, when work is done I want to play. And with Royce being a ski photographer he definitely has a fun and adventurous side.
When we decided to have our own businesses, it was a big step for us in deciding the kind of life we wanted to live. And for us, it meant waking up and enjoying the long days of emails and editing. It meant a summer full of 60+ our work weeks. It meant sacrificing benefits and consistent income. But it also meant a life of freedom to do things our way. Loving ours jobs is such a freeing feeling because it allows us to embrace life in a different way.
I guess the long winded answer to what we like to do outside of work is whatever we feel like. And typically that’s finding new rustic coffee shops and restaurants, doing anything by water, and travelling! This weekend we’ll drive back to Saskatchewan for our first wedding of the season. Our busiest season yet. And when that’s conquered, we’ll take 2 weeks off at the end of September and cross another item off our bucket list… We’re driving to California! Oregon Coast, San Francisco, Disneyland, and many new coffee shops and campsites in between. It’s going to be ahhhmazing!
Some of Our Bucket List includes:
Driving the Oregon Coast (honeymoon)
Take a 1-on-1 workshop with an elite wedding planner (Aug 2013)
- Driving to California (Fall 2014)
- Attend a styling workshop (Oct 2014!)
- Backpacking through Europe (Fall 2015)
- Building our dream home, complete with loft attic
- Having 3 kids
- Getting our photos taken by Troy & Aimee Grover
What’s on your bucket list??
I think I talk about money so openly sometimes I forget that that isn’t normal for most people. To me, a budget is just a budget. Whether you’re spending $20,000 or $50,000 it makes no difference to me I just need to know what parameters to work within and where your priorities are. I never recommend spending more than you’re comfortable with because at the end of the day you have to live with your bank account. And financial stress takes the cake over wedding planning stress. So. much. worse.
I think there’s a common misconception that a $10,000 wedding may not be as beautiful as a $100,000 wedding and that’s really not the case. Yes, you need a reasonable budget to make core pieces of the wedding come together, but the way in which you do it can be equally as beautiful or equally as hideous regardless of how much you’re spending.
In my world, less is more. Put thought into every aspect of your wedding. Decor needs a soft hand, where money or cheap decor is never thrown at the problem. A DIY wedding can always be gorgeous and tasteful when it’s done right.
Think of your venue as the base of your wedding. This is your core. If your ceremony space is gorgeous to begin with all you need is nice chairs and it can stand on it’s own and be beautiful. If your ceremony space is not so nice, you’ll be spending the difference on bringing in different chairs, decor, and flowers to transform it into something beautiful. Same goes for reception spaces. When the base of your wedding is beautiful the amount you’ll spend to complete the look will be significantly less than if you’re starting from scratch.
Always prioritize your vendors. Don’t take average costs for everything and make a budget out of it because you’ll ended up with average everything. (Unless your budget is enormous and you can afford the best of the best of every vendor…For reality sake let’s not pretend to be celebrities.) Sit down with your fiance and decide what your top 3 priorities are. If food and wine is really important to you, then perhaps your floral budget can afford to be less and you’ll use more greenery and candles instead. If your wedding design and being stress-free is really important, then perhaps you’ll budget higher for a wedding planner and reduce your food and beverage budget. You’re not average people, so don’t create average budgets. Prioritize. Hire vendors that specialize in the area you’re most excited about.
Don’t dread making a budget. Having a budget is what will put you at ease when you don’t know what you can and can’t afford. (And the bragging rights of being on or under budget aren’t so bad either!)
A wedding day is so packed with events that it seems that it just flys by. Regardless of the fact that you probably didn’t sleep much and were wide awake as of 6am, it’s the longest and fastest day ever.
In the whirlwind of getting ready to getting to the ceremony to photos with your photographer, I think it’s really important to consider which moments deserve the time to take a breath and let it all sink in. Think about which moments you want to be private and which are to be shared with others.
I had 5 bridesmaids, my mom, 3 nieces, my soon to be sister-in-law, two photographers, and a videographer all in the room as I finished getting into my dress. My dad was about to see me for the first time and I took a breath and turned to everyone and asked if I could just share this moment with my immediate family and my photographers. It was a moment that would have been completely different had everyone else been in the room and I’m so thankful I did that. It was one of my favourite memories from our wedding day.
On my sister’s wedding night, everyone had left her hotel room, my other sister had gone to bed, and I stayed up with her for 2 hours just talking (and rehearsing her vows since she chose to memorize them). And on the night before my wedding, she did the same for me. We stayed up just relaxing and talking– knowing we should be sleeping but chose to embrace the moment anyhow.
Another wedding I was working, the mom came into the room just as I was talking to the bride alone in her wedding dress and her mom gave her a pin that was her late grandmothers. As they both started to cry, I stepped out of the room and closed the door and let them have that moment. No photographers, just them.
Whether you choose to have the photographer and videographer present for that moment is entirely up to you, but don’t be in such a rush that you forget about them. The quiet moments might be some of your favourites from the entire day.