I’ve touched on this in the past but I wanted to dive into it a little more. For those of you who don’t know, I graduated from Radford University this past May. I majored in Communication and minored in Marketing but my job is a Wedding Planner. The most common question I get when people either ask me what I majored in, knowing my career or ask me what my job is, knowing my major, is why? Why did you choose that? Why didn’t you pick Hospitality or Event Management? Why did you choose wedding planning, is it just because you think they’re pretty? Do you really think you’ll be able to do that? Wow, you’re brave, you deal with bridezillas!! But you’re so young…and on and on.
I think the last one might just be my favorite. There is a stigma about age correlating with success and validity and I’m not too sure where it came from. I think we are all guilty of this in some way or another. I tend to be surprised when I know a 21-year-old who is super successful at his/her job, owns a flat in Short Pump, VA, and is not just successful but also passionate about his/her job. Too often I am asked why I chose what I did. I love answering this question when it’s asked by someone who is truly curious and hasn’t already made their own assumptions.
I’ve been working hard the last 4 years to make my dream come true. I started assisting a company in the New River Valley my freshman year at Radford. Shortly after that, Katelyn Alsop connected me with Kat, the owner of Dear Sweetheart Events. I think I’m going to start calling Kat my fairy Godmother because instead of just sending me a nice email about her tips and tricks to becoming a successful wedding planner, she asked me if I’d want to assist her with one of her weddings!! I couldn’t say yes fast enough, I was honestly thrilled and honored.
Fast forward 3 years later, and here I am.
I booked 5 weddings in the first 6 months of being in business. 4 that would happen in the year 2017, and one for 2018. I did 6 weddings on my own by September 17th, 4 of mine and 2 on my own with Dear Sweetheart Events brides. I am currently talking with two more brides for 2018 AND 2019. Someone who I have never met has confidence in my business that I will be her planner in 2019. You know what question was never asked during the process of booking these 5 weddings and talking to 2 more potential brides? My age. My education. My monetary value. These brides are looking for someone who is dedicated, works hard, can see their vision and can make the experience of hiring me worth their money and their time.
While I know my experience is priceless, I also know that my degree helped me too. Yes, my Communication degree has helped me in the wedding industry. Three courses I took in my last semester of college were unexpectedly my favorite classes I took in all my four years. I took a nonverbal communication class solely because I had the professor a few other times and wanted to take a class with her again! Ms. Kennan taught 3 classes I took plus my internship and I fully enjoyed all of them. But do you know how important it is to understand nonverbal communication in a profession where you are making sure the most special day is absolutely perfect? When the mother says “it looks good” but her arms are crossed and she won’t make eye contact, you need to know that something needs to be done to make it look even better!! I can tell when a bride is overwhelmed just by her facial expression and I give credit to that class, 100%.
All couples are different, don’t you think? There’s diversity amongst different brides, diversity within the families and there’s diversity amongst the vendors. Can you tell where I’m going with this? Mrs. Webster taught an amazing class all about Diversity in Communication and not only did it teach me some valuable life skills but also how to go about the planning process and wedding day with so many different people around. You can’t talk to the DJ the same way you talk to the mother of the groom and communication with the caterer will surely be different from communication with the florist. A wedding that has a Jewish ceremony will be different from a wedding officiated by a friend of the family’s. As much as I love to learn from my own mistakes and experiences, I’m very grateful I was taught how to communicate in these particular situations.
Last, but certainly not least, my business and professionalism class taught by Mrs. Herbert is a class I think every student should take. I own my own business, so of course, I need to know how to be professional and look legit. Mrs. Herbert was real and honest about how the “real world” works and taught us the do’s and don’t(s) of working in a big girl/boy job. I love the education I received from Radford and I don’t regret going to school to end up getting a dream job that doesn’t require an education.
So why is it, that our society questions the attainability of a successful business in the creative world based on their age, experience, education, or monetary value but we put our faith into nurses who are 22 years old, doctors in debt and builders who majored in Teaching grades 3-5? Let’s support those who step out of the box and stop being predictable. Assumptions need to end and questions that are pure interest and not judgment need to be asked. I support and trust the 22-year-old checking my heart rate, the senior web designer who didn’t finish his college education and the mother of two who has her law degree and decided to stay home with her children to watch them grow. What about you?
p.s. if you want to know more about my education, I would love to answer your questions! Feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org