16 Feb We’ve been featured in Wedding Planner Magazine!
Originally published on August 16, 2017 on weddingplannermag.com
Family: I’ve been married for 15 years, and we have two boys, 11 and 8.
Education: Bachelor of Science in marketing with a minor in studio art from Providence College in Rhode Island.
Starting the business: I had a marketing role at a venture capital firm focusing on graphic design, strategy, and corporate event planning. While I loved event planning, I wanted to be more creative and build better relationships over a longer planning process. I began planning weddings through word-of-mouth referrals and fell in love. I started my business in 2000.
Evaluating success: The happiness of my clients is truly the meter for success. There are a number of other things that account for success, including how pleased I am with the overall event design and flow.
One business mistake: I did not track the time I spent planning each wedding I worked on in the early years. Because of that error, I undercharged for my services. I would have been more confident in charging more had I seen the actual hours on paper that I dedicated to each client’s wedding.
On becoming a Master: In 2010, I earned the designation. Being an entrepreneur makes it difficult to challenge yourself to be better and better each year. Without a corporate ladder to climb, the designations through the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) gave me personal and professional goals to strive for.
Mentors: I never had a mentor when I started my business, but I did have two amazing fellow planners that I met through the ABC. Since none of us had a mentor and were finding it difficult to gain the experiences we wanted, we decided to be each other’s assistants for all weddings we booked. While we each had our own way of working and our own strengths, we learned a great deal from each other. I was able to work at venues I had never visited before and with other professionals. We even did co-op advertising from time to time. And we always referred business to each other. We maintained this business venture for at least two years, and it was the best thing I ever did for my business.
Marketing strategy: From advertising to public relations to industry identity, I want the messaging, as well as the look and feel, to be the same. I strive for a clean, polished, and professional image.
On staying fresh: While the quiet season has become shorter and shorter each year, I do find it necessary to take downtime to spend with family and friends. Rest is critical. Additionally, each year, I organize my office and files and evaluate and update my online advertising and listings. Lastly, I find it refreshing to take venue coordinators and other professionals out to lunch.
Ideal client: I love working with couples when both are involved in the planning process. I love it when couples are open minded and willing to think out of the box and give all ideas equal consideration. It’s also appreciated when couples are decisive. Not necessarily quick to make a decision, but committed when ready. My ideal client trusts me, and that is the bottom line.
Favorite business book: Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign, by Randall Rothenberg—not only is it for those who love the ins and outs of advertising, but it’s a great read for entrepreneurs, since we all need to market and advertise.
Free time: I snowboard most every weekend in the winter and, in the summer, I love going to the beach and hiking in the White Mountains. I have to exercise Monday through Friday to maintain my sanity; I get very cranky if I skip a day. I love wine, Mexican food, and Indian food. I also love to cook and entertain.
Words of wisdom: Try your hardest to balance your personal life and work. We all work too much, which makes for a successful planner; however, family is a priority and brings the most joy in life, so give it the attention it deserves. Also, find a niche in your market and serve it well.
Giving back: I have spent more than seven years on the board of the Boston Wedding Group. I help educate and mentor new planners just learning the industry, take on interns, and have been a speaker and presenter at industry seminars. I serve on the board of several local charitable organizations and my company donates to several. I also enjoy donating time to local soup kitchens with my children.
Little known fact: I played rugby for Providence College for four years. Then I played for the Beantown team in Boston for another three years. I’ve always been into sports. In high school, I was a cheerleader, field hockey player, on the tennis team and the gymnastics team. I started skiing when I was three and switched to snowboarding when I was 24.