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.
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!)
I think it’s so easy to get caught up in wedding plans. It happens to everyone. And if it hasn’t happened to you, you’re what I like to call, an alien. Really though. How can you not get caught up in it all? There’s a million and one things to think about from the day you get engaged to the day you walk down the aisle. And to be fair, you’ve probably never done this before. That’s a whole lotta pressure, research, and learning to do on top of potential financial stress with making it all work when you realize what weddings really cost. But you do it anyway. It’s still kind of fun, right?!
So, let’s fast forward a few months. You’ve managed to pull most of it all together. Maybe a few
glasses bottles of wine later, but the majority of your to-dos get planned. Centerpieces picked, dress bought, bridesmaids dresses ordered, invitations out, the works. Everything you were told to plan by Pinterest, countless wedding magazines, and every blog and timeline known to bride kind is now complete.
But is that what your wedding is really about? A checklist of items you are “required” to book and plan? In my world, your wedding isn’t about pleasing others. It isn’t about incorporating a theme. It’s isn’t about what anyone else wants. Your wedding day is the start of your marriage. Just you and your fiance. It’s the moment you wake up realizing you’re marrying the love of your life today. It’s saying your vows with your whole heart and believing them. It’s walking into your reception and feeling completely at home because it’s the truest reflection of who you two are. It’s not a production of should’s and shouldn’ts. You don’t have limitations on who you are as a couple, so why should your wedding day be limited to what other people think a wedding should be?
Let’s bring it back. Bring it back to what your wedding day is really about. Bring it back to you.
I believe that your wedding should be just you, in your most beautiful translation. Dearly, Created Lovely.