My Journey from Bride to Wedding Planner and Designer
As the graduate event design professor at NYU, I knew this semester was going to be different for everyone and as an event professional, I knew how much the industry was struggling by not having events all summer.
One way I could help is by connecting both the students and pros through a virtual mentorship program. My goal was to recruit the youngest generation in events to work with and be mentored by the best generation in events. Each generation can benefit from the other and can learn about the ever changing world of digital media and how the events industry is pivoting during this time.
I introduced WIPA NYC’s student mentorship program in summer 2020. We had over 40 student sign ups and within weeks I began matching student preferences with various event planning companies. Seeing students final projects come in is so rewarding and truly so so special.
I was reminded about my mentorship experience and how I got my start in the wedding and events industry. At 24 I got married to Paul and I began the pursuit of starting my own wedding planning business. There was A LOT to learn. I severely underestimated how much event planners go through on the event day, however, I was eager to learn, take ANY job, and work for free.
For 8 months, I volunteered at the venue Paul and I got married in. We worked all types of jobs. I was a bridal attendant, banquet manager, took menu orders, ran coat check, watched dinner service and plating. I was rolling tables in and out, flipping ceremonies and receptions in under 7 minutes. We were the couple that worked every job and did everything we could to learn every position and every aspect of an event. From there, I started taking on Month Of / Day Of wedding clients on my own. The venue saw my growth and began recommending me for the wedding day. I would watch how other planners ran their timelines, coordinated their staff, load-in, ceremony, etc. It was all so fascinating.
At the end of every event, Paul, myself, and our mentor would open a bottle of wine and reminisce on the night. We would go over every single event detail, sometimes until 3:00am — 4:00am (note: our events on a Saturday night typically ran until 1:00am and clean-up ran until about 2:00am). He would teach us about the load-in, where certain mistakes were made, why the kitchen got delayed, or why the ceremony did not start on time. We went through all worst and best case scenarios and how to correct them, modify, and make the timeline better. I would carry a small notebook with me and I wrote down every lesson.
When we got home, I would tell Paul how incredible I felt. How every day was something new and how much I loved events and watching the room go from a blank space to a room filled with florals and wedding dreams. I knew I wanted to quit my job and start my own business, I could feel that this was where I was meant to be. Within the first 6 months of working at the venue, I landed my first job in New York City, specifically a Month Of / Day Of client at the glamorous Cipriani Wall Street. I collected my first $3,000.00 check and I knew I had a business. The next day, I quit my job in Research and Development and incorporated LLG Events in March 2015.
My journey from mentee to mentor was incredible. I’m beyond grateful to my mentor, who chooses to remain anonymous, however he gave me the best gift I could ask for. I became an incredible wedding planner because of how much he taught me. He’s the reason I went on to become an educator at NYU to help students get their start in events.
The WIPA NYC mentorship is what I needed to grow my business and I knew I could help pros by matching them with eager hospitality and event management students. I am so grateful to my NYC network of pros who took the time to mentor a student during this time. It’s not easy being in this industry right now and I’m so thankful you gave this your all and it shows. If you’d like to participate in our next mentorship (student or pro), please sign up here!
I am grateful today and always for my event family but this thanksgiving is extra special. I’ve formed invaluable relationships during this quarantine and over the last 6 years. I love this industry so much and I love having you all part of my event family. Have a wonderful, safe, and healthy Thanksgiving!