Category Archives: Aspiring Wedding Planners

So you want to become a wedding planner…

By | Aspiring Event Planners, Aspiring Wedding Planners, Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

By Dee Gaubert | Owner, No Worries Event Planning

Growing up, I wasn’t one of those girls who gushed over weddings or dreamed of being a wedding planner.  I definitely wanted to get married one day, and I loved event design and decor, but it wasn’t a passion of mine to become a planner.  Instead, I worked in both marketing and then television production, and worked on events as part and parcel to both of these careers, and realized I could start my own event planning company. With my husband’s hours intensive and us starting a family, I needed to be able to manage my own schedule and be the ‘lead parent’ most of the time; and thus, No Worries Event Planning was born.

As I became more searchable on the web, I started getting inquiries and notes from a variety of people wanting very badly to be planners and learn more about the business. I was surprised because it’s really hard work, a serious hustle the first few years to find your clientele, and for certain temperaments, being a wedding planner is extremely stressful. But, I really loved doing it and I wanted to educate others.

To that end, here are a few pointers if you want to become a planner, that will help you reach your goal of having your own business or a thriving career in events.

One of the perks of the job? Getting to work in stunning locales.  Photo by Katie Geiberger, venue: Rancho Del Cielo.

One of the perks of the job? Getting to work in stunning locales. Photo by Katie Geiberger, venue: Rancho Del Cielo.  Florals by Peony and Plum.

Get lots of experience before becoming a full time wedding planner.

Working for years in both marketing and TV production, I developed a skill set working both in project management and events that served me well. If you haven’t done a lot of event planning, you will find yourself in unusual situations that you won’t be ready for, unless you start working for other planners right away.  Volunteer for trade organizations (like ABC, WIPA, and EPA) and help them plan and execute events, too – it’s outstanding experience, and you will start to get to know other wedding planners, as well.

Wedding planner destination wedding photography Paris

Another pinch-me moment from running No Worries: Our Paris destination weddings. This gorgeous photo is by Yann Audic of Lifestories Weddings photography.

Consult the B2B pros.

As a wedding planner, I’ve run into a lot of gray areas as far as responsibilities of the various parties involved with each element of the event.  But, I got a great lawyer and accountant from the beginning, and since then have developed a team of contractors who help me when needed for IT,  web maintenance, and other needs.  You don’t want to be held up by a last minute issue with your printer or have a contract that leaves you liable, so interview a team of B2B pros when you start your business.

Network.

Networking is the number one way I built my business, by referral from other trusted peers and colleagues. It also helps you build a support system with other planners and pros; it’s really the most fun part of doing what we do!  I love the friends I’ve made in this industry, and treasure our relationships.

For brass-tack advice and personalized consulting on creating a profitable, joyous wedding and event planning business, check out our Aspiring Planners page for thoughtfully crafted workshops and consulting packages, and please call or email me anytime:  310-562-3306 and dee@noworriesep.com.  Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2017!

Business Builders: Dealing with Negative Energy

By | Aspiring Event Planners, Aspiring Wedding Planners, Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Difficult Clients and Vendors | No Comments

Conquering Negative Energy in your Daily Work

Working in weddings, I came to find out I was in receipt of negative energy, constantly. Whether it was a client realizing what they wanted cost far more than they expected, or a family member interfering, or a vendor mistaking what the client wanted and causing an issue.  Sometimes, a vendor may mishandle the client and that causes consternation, or a legal issue comes up. Regardless, the mix of emotions and all these fallible human beings involved means, stuff happens, and as the coordinator or event planner, you are right smack in the middle of it all. Here are three tips for dealing with the negative energy that you may face on a weekly basis.

 Turn it into a positive.

There is a solution for everything.  The flower mockup not what your client expected? Hop on the phone with them, clarify what they want, discuss compromises or ideas and then share with the florist. If the florist misread the situation, ask them to provide an additional mockup at no charge. How you handle the situation helps you prove your worth to the client, foster goodwill between the couple and the vendor, and make sure there is a satisfactory product for the client.

Visualizing an ocean view can also soothe your mind. Photo by Sam Lim Studios, florals by Flower Duet.

Visualizing an ocean view can also soothe your mind. Photo by Sam Lim Studios, florals by Flower Duet.

Make sure you are not pulled into situations where you don’t belong.

Are you serving as coordinator, handling solely logistics for the day of the wedding, but your couple is asking for cost-saving strategies and a budget analysis? Kindly point them back to your contract, and reiterate you are not responsible for budget concerns. Offer to provide these services for a reasonable additional cost – but remind them that you are not responsible for anything outside of the originally agreed-to scope of services.  Sometimes, we get pulled into stressful situations in which we do not belong; stand your ground.

Have a mantra for these kinds of situations.

I had the opportunity to speak at a luncheon for a nonprofit called Penny Lane, and was inspired by all the speakers, people who came a long way to achieve outstanding success.  One of the speakers, Pastor Phil Allen Jr., said something that really stuck to me.  He said when someone presents to him an attitude or energy that is negative, he does not ‘receive’ it.  So when I know I’m heading to a meeting where I may meet up with a negative or difficult personality, first, I’ll try to empathize with them.  Usually there is a good reason for them to be the way they are; not an excuse, mind you, but a reason.  Then, I’ll arm myself with the mantra, “I do not receive that.”  You simply don’t have to take in bad energy; deflect it with the mantra, work on your work, do your job.  It’s as simple as that, though it takes a lot of practice, but working on your ability to deal with difficult situations will make you a top notch professional in not just event planning, but in every career.

Business Builders: Effective, Efficient Meetings

By | Aspiring Event Planners, Aspiring Wedding Planners, Business Builders, Business Development, Event Planning Education | No Comments

As planners, the  most effective experiences we have are meetings with clients – either via phone, Facetime, Skype, or in person.  These tend to be outstanding opportunities to regroup on loose ends, conduct discussions about complex or emotional elements of the wedding, and to offer in-depth guidance.

Move LA Conference 2013 - photo by Amy Williams Photography

Move LA Conference 2013 – photo by Amy Williams Photography

On the flip side, meetings can become overlong, full of extraneous information that do not concern your duties, or a waste of time if not everyone is prepared. Here’s how to make sure your meetings are hyper productive and effective:

  1. Send an agenda at least two days prior. A short bullet point list with talking points is essential to making sure your clients are prepared.  It also triggers elements the clients want to discuss as well, and I allow them to add items to the agenda before we meet.  Then, I can prepare to discuss that topic and not be caught off guard.
  2. Set a time frame.  I’ve had brides who lived out of state, who would chat with me on the phone for almost two hours, but we got an amazing amount of work done in that time. By contrast, you could speak with another client for 30 minutes and constantly circle the same subject over and over with nothing resolved.  Kindly ask the client to get back to you with their evolving thoughts on the matter and nicely guide them to the next subject. Starting out each call or meeting with “We have 1 hour and 15 minutes to go over everything” or even better, adding this info in the email with the agenda, will set the tone and protect you from having to outsource additional staff – work beyond normal business hours – to get all your other to-do’s done.
  3. Calendar phone calls.  Always try to set aside a formal time for phone calls.  Our job is not solely a sit-down desk job; off site meetings, driving to rehearsals, and conducting the actual events mean we need to be sure we have time to focus and get settled before heading into a phone call. This should be spelled out in your initial orientation doc or contract to the client.
  4. Write down a few key details after the meeting. If you’re like me, you’re writing or typing in notes during the meeting. But, there are so many elements to each wedding and event, that the core takeaways can get lost. I now take this famous advice to heart and write three key details unique to the event after the client has left. it helps me focus on what makes their event unique, on key logistical concerns that need special attention, and any urgent needs they may have.

By prepping both yourself and the client for each meeting and shaping the flow of discussion, you can make meetings highly productive for all involved.  Further articles on successful meetings can be found here and here.