Tales of the Rookie Event Planner

It all started the Fall of 2006, SJB Weddings & Events was born. I determined that I was going to follow my gut and become an event planner. My philosophy was No Regrets! I'll try my best to make my company a success and if it fails, at least I had the guts to try. Guess what? My philosophy has changed, now failure is not an option. It's funny, but this company is like my baby. It has "ME" written all over it. When people see SJB Weddings & Events they are looking at me, because it is full of my character and values. It is truly my passion and after four years of college, two years of graduate school and seven years in corporate America, I finally realized it.

So you think you can just wake up one morning find a bride and plan her wedding and have a weekly appearance on Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? HA! What a wonderful idea that is. I wished it were that easy, but realistically we all know its not. Before you begin planning weddings, you have gotten to tackle the business stuff first.

I forgot one major part of any successful startup business … know your target market. Duh !!! I just figured I wanted to plan events and I did not think through the whole process. What type of events? For whom did I want to plan these events? What would be the cost of my services? Now after some great business advice from some seasoned event planners, I finally know what type of events I enjoy planning and who I want to plan these events for and how much to charge for these services.

Even though I was a bit late in determining my target market I think I have gotten one thing right. That is knowing the importance of relationship building. Not your relationships with clients, although that also is very important, but networking with people in the event industry. I have spent time networking with vendors, event planners through the country and even my competitors. I have found that these people have a wealth of knowledge to share and are willing to share if you just ask them. I am not saying that I have sat with my competitors and divulged my business strategies, but I have spent time getting to know them. I figure building a friendly relationship can not do anything, BUT help you.

I also joined a professional association, the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) and immediately joined the Board and became the Ways and Means Chairperson. Basically, I solicit vendors within the organization for donors to help raise monies for our association and sell raffle tickets at our monthly meetings. This position has helped me to be more confident when speaking with vendors and has helped boost my confidence. It is true what they say, "It is about who you know". And equally as important? "It is about who knows YOU!"

In spite of all of the things I did not do so right at the beginning of my journey, I am still on my way to successful Event Planner status!