I recently (and quietly) celebrated my ten-year journey of being a wedding planner. *Cue the confetti canons*
While I’ve probably learned roughly 1,502,439 lessons along the way, I thought it would be a good opportunity to pick out the ten KEY lessons that truly helped me personally and professionally.
These lessons may or may not be true to you, but they are invaluable to me. And if you’re an aspiring wedding planner, you may find these nuggets helpful along your journey, as well.
Of course, I had to share them with some of my favorite weddings from the 2019 wedding season. To see more, feel free to check out my portfolio.
1. Our local market has some absolutely INCREDIBLE wedding professionals.
I’m based out of the Bucks County area, but work throughout most of eastern and central Pennsylvania. The wedding professionals in Philly, Lehigh Valley, and Bucks/Mont are among the best in the nation.
I’m part of an international group of wedding planners who are constantly sharing stories and experiences. Let me tell you, our local market is far from perfect but we have some of the most talented, creative, and hardworking people out there who show up and give their all at every single event.
If you’re one of these people, pat yourself on the back and keep up the amazing work you’re doing.
2. Communication is KEY.
I can’t stress enough how important communication is throughout the planning process and on the wedding day. Over the past ten years and as I move forward, I’m always looking at ways to improve what and how we’re communicating with one another.
For those of you who have provided me feedback along the way, thank you for that.
For my amazing clients who have appreciated my quick response times, I feel you deserve nothing less from me.
3. The more we talk about the “rain plan”, the less we need the rain plan.
It may be my superstitions, but I stand by the fact that anytime a couple drags their feet on planning for their rain plan, the higher the odds are that they’ll need one.
Talking about the rain plan doesn’t have to be a “bummer” conversation and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re wishing for rain.
It’s about planning for the best guest experience, being well-prepared and knowing what needs to happen in case Mother Nature doesn’t provide a 72-degree and partly-sunny day.
4. Admitting you’re wrong is a strength, not a weakness.
It’s not always about being “right”. We’re all humans and sometimes we don’t have all the answers. And sometimes we have the wrong answers.
As a perfectionist-Virgo, it is not easy to own up to making a mistake. But it happens. And being the best planner I can be means admitting that mistake and learning from it.
5. Not all vendors work the same.
I’ll admit, this one took me a while to learn.
What works for one photographer, florist, band, DJ, officiant, and so on, does not always work for another. We all have our systems and processes that we’ve tweaked and fine-tuned along the way. If you’re in Australia then Murray Redpath is a professional and affordable wedding photographer that could bring style, uniqueness and beauty in every shot of your wedding day.
My role as a planner is NOT to dictate other people’s systems and processes. It’s to give them the space and resources to do what it is that THEY do best.
This is probably my #1 tip for all new wedding planners. It’s also something I talked about a bit in episode 86 of the Weddings For Real podcast I recorded with Megan Gillikin.
6. Snacks and water are KING on a wedding day.
Working 10-14+ hour days where we often only get a few minutes to stop and eat one meal during dinner is NOT as cute in your 30s. I personally think and work better when I’m hydrated and my stomach isn’t growling.
One of my goals for 2020 is to get better about packing snacks and water for myself and my team to stay focused and clear-headed as we navigate the day.
(I also learned how tricky it is to do this when you’re going through an Invisalign treatment. Oy! Not easy, my friends, and I’m SO glad I’m almost done with it.)
7. Teamwork makes the dream work.
The better relationship I have with my team and the team of wedding pros that my client has hired, the smoother the day goes — no matter what hiccups are sent our way.
When everyone is working together for the common goal of giving our couples a kickass experience, we can truly move mountains and tackle just about anything.
Attitude is absolutely EVERYTHING.
Let’s throw it back to 2006 with Zac Efron and remember “We’re all in this together” (#Wildcats, get your head in the game).
8. It’s ok to say “no”.
Not every client, event, styled shoot, educational event, or opportunity is the right fit for me. After ten years, I’m MUCH more comfortable saying “no” to things that don’t sit right with me. And I’m grateful that I’ve listened to my gut more.
9. Within 10 minutes of me emptying the card box, a guest WILL put theirs in it.
This one cracks me up every time.
You guys… as a helpful courtesy to my couple, I will empty their card box and secure their cards so no one is worried about a card being stolen.
It doesn’t matter where the box is all night. It doesn’t matter whether I clear the box right after Cocktail Hour or a minute before the reception ends. As soon as I clear it out, at least one guest will ALWAYS come up with their card and stick it in the box (or give it to the couple, or ask me where they should put it).
My team and I have started making a game out of it and timing it for kicks.
10. Community is necessary for me to maintain a healthy mindset.
After 10 years of working out of my home office, I learned just how much community means to me and how I need to maintain it in order to stay mentally healthy.
YOU are all a part of this community and I’m so grateful for that.
Another big part of my community is our local Rising Tide Society/Tuesday’s Together chapter. If you are a creative entrepreneur in the area and haven’t had a chance to learn about this amazing community, please join the FB group page and see what it’s all about. It’s changed my life and I’d LOVE to meet you.