This has been one of my most popular posts in my blog, maybe because it was written from the bottom of my heart sharing the uncomfortable reality that we wedding planners and event organizers, live day by day.
Everytime I read it, I become aware of the enormous work involved during several months and the many eventualities that we have to deal in order to fulfill our clients wishes and dreams. What I don’t understand is how some people in the industry demean and tarnish the profession they say to love so much by being so unprofessional.
Well “such is life” my grandma used to say and “not everything is honey and milk in this life”.
If you want to be a wedding planner and fancy events organizer because you watched Jennifer Lopez movie and you still believe in fairy tales I invite you to read this with the warning of no deception.
For those who think that the wedding planner work is full of love and glamour, sorry I’m going to tell you about the dark side of the job, what almost no one sees or talks about but that every professional wedding planner suffers in silence.
Before you decide to become a successful wedding planner read and ponder if you are willing to go through each and all of these situations because I can assure you there’s no way to escape or avoid them
- Forget about nice relaxed weekends. We are raised since grade school with the idea that weekends are for relaxing and having fun. If you want to become a wedding planner you will have the most stressful moments during the weekends, on the previous hours of the wedding. Butterflies in the stomach, in the guts
- Family gatherings go to backstage. If your family is like mine, close knit where they all go places together, organize family barbecues, birthday parties and weddings you will be absent because you will be working in a wedding or a social event.
- Long and exhausting work shifts. Not only on the event day! Sometimes you will have 24 to 30 hours shifts setting and supervising all the required elements for the wedding or social event. During the high season you will to work Monday to Sunday without a free day. It’s part of the job. Your phone and WhattsApp will be active all day long and sometimes also at midnight with insistent and demanding messages from the bride that wishes immediate response even if the wedding ceremony is scheduled 6 months ahead. This is especially true with the millennial generation,-smartphone heritage-. Do you want a 9 to 5 schedule? Forget it! Not in this industry. Here everything is a priority and URGENT!
- You will suffer stingy pain in your feet, your back and your neck. Maybe colitis and gastritis. This is part of my life story. Five or six years ago I had a severe back health problem. I couldn’t find a relaxing position while sitting or laying in bed. Pain was so intense with spasms, that tears were my my constant companions. I had to undergo, for several months, a physiotherapy and rehabilitation program because my back muscles were damaged with physical and emotional stress. Mind-body is the unit that suffers the stress and you will not have a recess until you finish. You will need to choose carefully your shoes and train yourself to endure the harsh conditions and long hours of the job just like a high performance athlete.
- Your physical needs will go to the background. Maybe you will think that I’m exaggerating. Simply ask any professional wedding planner how many times she or he had to stay awake for a couple of days and has had to skip lunch, or eating a snack and to drink some water. Even restroom visits were postponed because something went wrong and the timetable went off; there was no time to lose with the fast paced arrangements to finish the set-up of the tables, decoration, lights & sound and also the church ceremony, etc,etc… If sleeping properly for 8 hours and having three meals a day is essential for you I’m sad to tell you that this is not a profession for you.
- You will feel overwhelmed but you will need to continue: There will be days where many things will go wrong and you will have to face high levels of stress, pressure and frustration. You will get to the edge of crying & running away. Bad news: you will not be allowed to do that because you are the leader of many, the “orchestra director” of the whole team and nobody can take your place and your responsibility, you are the professional wedding planner. So you will refrain from crying and you will continue working because that’s the way things are in this profession.
Some of the key skills you will need to develop, in order to survive and become successful in this industry is the ability to take quick decisions, creativity improvising a plan B to solve unexpected problems while keeping your emotions at bay. This is something I have learned from experience and I work with the participants in my workshops
- Forget about social life for a while. Success as a wedding planner comes with many sacrifices. If you were the soul of the party and you decided that it would be a good idea to organize social events because you have always enjoyed parties I have another bad news for you. Your social life will drop to almost zero. Even if you are young and energetic you will not have the desire or strength to go the the disco or from party to party. Most of the time you will be very busy working at party time. Even family reunions or parties will be missed because of your professional schedule.
- You will need to do jugglery to maintain your love life. My best advice in this area is to develop a flexible non traditional relationship so that your mate understands the nature of your work and together you can learn to have meaningful quality time.
As wedding planners we have a very demanding and absorbent job. Unfortunately we work long, long hours sometimes parties end at 6:00 A.M. or even 9:00 A.M. when you left home 1 or 2 days before the ceremony.
If your couple wants to you to be at home everyday at 7 P.M. and to be with you every weekend that can be a problem. Some couples simply cannot stand that and you will be forced to choose between your work or your mate if he or she doesn’t understand that.
- You will bump with and will have to face “bitch people” You will find people that seem to be strategically positioned to make you grow or destroy you.
Even though we work with love and dreams sometimes we will have to deal with people who are the opposite, the dark side of the industry with the specific mission of making miserable the life of others.
I didn’t believe, I wasn’t aware of how evil & mean can be some people be that they cannot tolerate the success of other people. They become bitter and look for ways to diminish and harm you with friendly ill comments and gossip. With these “friends” you don’t need foes.
The bad news is that even if you change profession you will not be exempt from these situations. We mexicans have a problem with “successful others”. It’s hard to accept and share success of other people. When somebody is becoming successful we try to diminish or ignore their achievements. The dark side of solidarity.
The good news is your professionalism with high quality work will become achievements that will prevail above bitchy people gossip.
- People will think your job is easy and that you charge a lot for your work. Toooing!! The sacrifices, long hours, stress, unexpected problems, irresponsible people from staff, purveyors, relatives of the wedding couple who will do this or that, and even sometimes the bride or groom who make changes at the last minute. There’s still people that think that your job is super easy and you charge too much. When I listened: “Just for coordinating I have to pay that much?”
Or when the bride wants to hire you for one day coordination, but wants detailed costs and budgets, your purveyors list, etc, etc. That broke my heart over and over.
Until I decided to become brave and assertive by raising my prices and to work only with couples I can engage because they value the professional work I’m doing. Now I truly enjoy my profession having learned that there are some people who use the strategy of never being satisfied to diminish your work. They are exploiters!
Final reflection: Why then we are wedding planners?
Passion & Wit is the answer. Therefore SPARKS & SOUL
I want to congratulate all the passion driven warriors in this profession for we are the living proof of success that has come with sacrifice and many times with pain. “No pain, No gain” seems to resume our process of becoming a professional wedding planner.
Not everybody has the personal traits and passion to become successful in this field.
I am using in my workshops a very useful personality profile test (MBTI & NERIS) to verify that the people that want to train with me have the personal characteristics required to develop and become professional wedding planners. Success will be driven by their passion for service.
Not everybody is willing to walk the extra mile when you are exhausted. A small mistake can crash the best organization of a wedding. You will need the skills to see the whole picture and the smallest details. It’s not an easy and forgiving profession. That is why passion for caring and sensibility for the needs of others, always eager to help and WIT skills for improvising a plan B, endurance to work under stress and long hours is what you will need.
Creativity and ability to implement a wonderful and unique experience to surpass the client expectations will give you the supreme satisfaction, the reward to continue and to enjoy your work as a professional wedding planner. Welcome to the community of SPARKS & SOUL professional wedding planners.