I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason and that you should take advantage of any opportunities that may cross your path. Now, I’m not saying go into debt to create this journey…but if it means putting a plane ticket on a credit card to put you in a place that will impact your life and career…SWIPE! That’s exactly what’ve done a few times in my career and every time it’s paid off ten times fold. I wanted to share a few of my “WOW, this is really my life” moments with you and how they’ve changed my life…
I remember getting this email in my inbox about the Wedding MBA in Vegas probably 13+ years ago. I had never heard of the conference, but it was right up my ally full of educational seminars and the chance of meeting some of the biggest names in the wedding industry. I was very early in my career and to my knowledge not many people from NC was going to this conference back then. I literally traveled out there not knowing anyone after convincing my boss to purchase my conference ticket. WOW! I was hooked! That was the first time I met Peter Merry & Sonny the founder of WeddingWire, heard Alan Berg and many others upon that stage. It was also the very first time I heard Susan Southerland speak…she was an inspiration and after hearing her story I knew what I wanted my path to look like. Without her knowing, she became an inspiration and mentor. That year I was so broke I couldn’t afford her book, so she signed a color wheel for me. Now to have her as a colleague and now mentoring me as a friend still blows my mind!
That year I won a free ticket to come back the next year, so I invited Tricia & Gene with Culinary Visions to join me and every other year since then I’ve attended. Each year I bring or invite others to experience where it all started for me. Every year I meet more and more unique people in the industry, build deeper relationships with other vendors across the world and take our brand to another level. A few years ago, I happened to be sitting next to Martha Stewart’s right hand assistant. She asked me what I would be doing in a few weeks and then handed me her card along with a private invite to Martha Stewart’s Bridal Fashion Week in New York. I can’t tell you how fast I texted my Best Friend Tina, whom just happened to move to NYC. I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason. We had a blast touring NYC and going behind the scenes at Martha Stewart’s office.
There has been a few other amazing moments in my career but joining the Association of Bridal Consultants has to be the BEST. The places this association has taken me around the world and I’ve met some of the most incredible genuine people in the wedding and event industry. I remember attending the first conference in Denver right after joining… I was sitting in the Sandals certified training class and for the first time in my life I was about to use every level & title of my UNCG degree. I knew how important it was to see and touch the product that you were selling…so I went on several FAM trips the following year. I wasn’t 100% ready and confident with my knowledge, so I made sure one was the certified weddingmoon specialist programs with Sandals, quickly followed up with a MEGA FAM trip which allowed me to see three resorts in just a few days. Since that trip I’ve quickly become known for my expertise and hands on knowledge of the Sandals and Beaches brand. Seeing Grenada two weeks prior to it’s grand opening was pretty spectacular, but my favorite FAM trip has to be last year when I was able to spend a week with the entire weddingmoon’s department. I got to meet them on a personal level and see how weddings are handled first hand on resort. This is extra special to me because I am a past Sandals bride so to see both sides really was something I will never forget.
Last year I was given the opportunity to join 17 other amazing planners and share our
stories of how we got to where we are today through co-authoring The Planners Unplugged book. We were able to travel to DC for an incredible book launch and the sisterhood that has grown from this project will forever be grateful. When you have an opportunity to combine your talents with other…the world is who truly benefits!
Since becoming one of 80 Master Wedding Planners in the World, I’ve been asked to speak in other countries, states and cities to share my knowledge and experiences. I am currently heading back to UNCG for my master’s degree and hoping to create more courses for the private event industry. Who knows maybe I’ll write a textbook, create a degree and go on to get my PhD in it too!
Sometimes things just happen without your knowledge and sometimes the stars just seem to line up just right to make magical opportunities happen. My current opportunity started last year… I received an inquiry from the sweetest couple really just looking for a day of coordinator. However, after speaking with them I quickly realized they needed a lot more assistance in the logistics and design aspects. It took them a little while to decide if they wanted to go up to our next level of services but once they did, the knew they had made the right decision. I remember early in the planning Rachael mentioned she was getting her dress from Kleinfeld… that’s cool (I think was comment). I try to never let big names scare me or impress me because deep down I’m a firm believer we all put our pants on one leg at a time…right?
Fast forward a few months into the planning…actually January 3rd to be exact… why do I remember that date so well? Because the first three days of 2018 had me wanting to run back to 2017 (it had been amazing) and thus far I had frozen on the beach watching the New Year’s Day sunrise after working a 12+ NYE wedding in a different city, my pipes at my house had frozen once I got home, a wedding was canceled due to a break-up, one of my upcoming speaking engagements had been canceled… and this was all in just the first few days of the new year…. Then I got a call from NYC; I don’t really “know” people from there that would be calling me, so I ignored it…yep I ignored NYC (FYI don’t ignore NYC…lol). I was on the phone with Flowers by Gary talking about a few weddings and I get this call again… so I took the call… LIFE CHANGING!
“Hi, this is Ronnie with Kleinfeld and we are dressing for Rachael for her wedding in May. FYI all I heard was Kleinfeld, so I thought it was just a staff member, oh ok is there something I can assist you with? “Then Ronnie spoke to me as a dear friend and quickly I realized about third the way through this conversation that I was speaking with the owner himself… WOW. We probably chatted for over an hour, just learning about one another and quickly became friends. For the next few months we would speak every few weeks about the wedding and just how life was going… I still pinch myself, saying is this really happening. The wedding day came, I had the honor of assisting Rachael in her dress and we couldn’t have asked for a more magical day. Really, did I just plan and coordinate one of the sons of Kleinfeld? Will’s dad was Ronnie’s Best Friend and Will was practically Ronnie’s Godson… You just never know who your client is or who they are friends or family with. Something tells me this was all part of God’s plan.
Throughout this whole planning process Ronnie and I spoke often, Ronnie has asked how often do I come to NYC and that I should come see the store…well today’s the day! My roommate (and assistant who was there the night I got the first call and worked the wedding) jumped on a plane yesterday and are in NYC to see Ronnie, meet his team and see the behind the scenes of one of the most iconic bridal shops in the world. Stay tuned…
So the question I have for you is:
“Are you seizing all of the opportunities in front of you?”