I often get asked why I do what I do, not having started out in events or weddings.
Where did I come from?
What seems like an eternity ago I was a senior marketing manager, I worked for a company I loved, with great colleagues and clients.
This was work I grew up with from 21 and got a lot out of delivering.
However, in 2000 when I married for the second time, I started to take stock.
My daughter was 3 and, mainly due to work, I had barely spent any time with her. Finding myself in San Francisco late on a Friday might sound fantastic to many Brits, but not when your tiny child is in West Oxfordshire – a good 12 hours, and Heaven knows how many air miles, away.
I was also more than a bit sick of banging on the glass ceiling, which certainly existed in retail finance back then. I hope not so much now ladies!
What to do?
Did I know what I would do? Nope – I had no idea, other than I wanted to work for myself.
So I filled out one of those online questionnaires. It asked all sorts, and for the first time ever I did it just for me. I didn’t think about how a boss might be evaluating my responses.
The answer? Party planning!
My immediate reaction
Well I just laughed. I worked for a large American organisation and we had ‘people who did that’.
Weirdly, the idea wouldn’t leave me. Soon after I attended a friend’s wedding. I found myself furious with the venue/ caterer (in fact most suppliers involved) as everything was messy and ‘un-thought-out’. I realised perhaps ‘the computer was right’ after all.
I straightened some linen, fiddled with some favours and gave the bride a big hug. I realised that, actually, delivering a great event, whatever it may be, is enormously important to the hosts. Even more so if it’s a wedding. So that is my ‘why?’ when it comes to what I do.
It’s about Project Management – oh, and People!
At the end of the day, organising a wedding, party or event is a project. It’s often a pretty one and almost always a fun one, but it’s a project. That’s what I’d done in marketing roles for years.
Events of all types are ultimately about people and people make me tick – people are my ‘why?’. It can be someone’s smile when their launch party goes well or a beautiful bride seeing her day come together perfectly.
I think I rest my case with regard to why I became a planner.
My kids saw a lot more of me than they would have done growing up and, clearly, I have never looked back.
Oh and that little 3 year old even helped out sometimes before she left for Uni 3 years ago and her brother knows more than the average 17 year old lad about weddings!
But not everyone can hire a wedding planner
However, over the last 16 years of planning, I’ve spoken to a lot of brides who would love to have hired a planner, but felt they couldn’t afford it. I’ve also met many who genuinely wanted to plan their own wedding, but weren’t quite sure how.
So I started to think about how I could serve those brides.
For sure there’s lots of help around in the form of great magazines, blogs and apps, but I wanted actually to be there for brides in person, as much as I possibly could be.
I wanted to provide brides with all the tools and confidence to plan their own wedding without stressing and becoming overwhelmed. So I found myself creating ‘The Emboldened Bride’ training and coaching programme.
What is the programme?
It’s my online programme for brides. You get not just my time and expertise but the support and encouragement of a group of brides also planning their weddings, which is wonderful to watch.
Twelve core modules, with free ‘bonus modules’ from other industry experts.
You get gorgeous workbooks, checklists, lots of templates to tailor and lots of live training and coaching from me.
I’m currently (March/ April 2019) offering the Programme at a hugely reduced rate as I am about to make some changes when it launches again in May. So if you’d like to benefit from that you can sign up here or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re unsure if it’s for you and would like to ask me some questions.
Do I still work with brides one to one to plan their weddings? Absolutely I do – but I love doing both and I hope it shows, however each bride chooses to work with me.
Happy planning all!
Images: Dasa Wharton, Kate Nielen, Mark Wallis.