Today is the last Monday of 2015, looking back I am celebrating the most incredible year. This year, I have planned and styled 16 weddings. I spent years working most weekends (sometimes on more than one wedding per weekend), so taking on less weddings this year was a huge deal for me. I don’t regret it, not even for a moment. Having less weddings made me calmer, better, more focused and more creative. It allowed me to spend time with my family. I was able to travel. I was able to host 2 workshops and I was able to take on two last minute (very profitable) projects. AND I was able to take the whole of December off and for the first time in 10 years spend the entire December holiday with my children.
2015 has been an incredible year in terms of professional and personal growth. Out of 16 weddings I produced this year, and hundreds over the past 9 years, one wedding taught me how to finally stand up for myself. As a wedding planner my job is to plan and execute an exceptional wedding according to the proposal, the contract and the final invoice. This is the first year I refused to give into unreasonable demands outside of my role as a wedding planner. I stood my ground and said ‘no’ to the client, and the world did not end. As wedding planners we are so afraid to show any emotions or stand up for ourselves for the fear of being seen unprofessional or unaccommodating. In the past, this fear led me to taking on unreasonable risks and abuse, allocating unnecessary hours to clients who were violating the planning process and the contract. So not worth it. This was the year I refused to accept this and fought back. This decision made me empowered, more grounded and confident.
The courage partly came from attending Engage15 Engage Summit event in June. It was always a personal goal of mine and even though the trip was rather expensive given how low the rand has fallen this year, it was worth every single cent. Engage 15 gave me perspective, confidence and a great deal of insight. Global wedding planning challenges are common but South African wedding industry is legging behind. We are on par with our creativity, our talents and abilities but our public image is not there yet. There are still so many battles we need to fight to help South African public to understand and respect the role, the value and the worth of wedding planners.
Conversations at Engage15 gave me the confidence to approach my wedding planning business from a very different angle. I have reevaluated every aspect of my business, workflow, communication and as a result we finished the year better than ever before. If you have a chance to go to Engage16, then make it happen. The investment into yourself and your business will be invaluable.
This year brought exciting accolades. I was also extremely touched when my company won Top Vendor Award in the Elite Wedding Decor People’s Choice category! Top Vendor is an amazing initiative and every wedding supplier should consider entering their work. Later in the year Style Me Pretty featured a wedding with my floral work and June Bug Weddingd awarded us the category for Best Table Decor! Doing less weddings allowed me to be inspired, and helped me to fall back in love with what I do.
We ended 2015 on a massive high, with a gorgeous clear span glass marquee wedding that was just amazing! Hard work, stress, last minute problems and then everything falling into place – I really think wedding planners are adrenaline junkies because the high of a successful event is intoxicating! This wedding taught me to trust myself and my gut feeling, trust my team, and the importance of relationships between wedding suppliers. We need to look out for each other, help each other and work together. Team work is essential to the success of every wedding. Investing into your supplier network is one of the most important investments you will ever make. I am so grateful to my team and my suppliers who are exceptional.
I am excited and inspired for 2016. The rumours are rampant that I am closing my company, nothing is further form the truth. Splendid Wedding Company is stronger than ever with new wedding planners in training we are ready to plan and produce incredible weddings. My passion for growing the wedding industry and particularly the wedding planning sector is stronger than ever. We are facing some hard times in the near future, but I am confident we will get through the economic storm if we stay the course and focus on producing quality weddings without taking unprofitable projects. I hope you will take time this week and look back at your 2015 and celebrate all your achievements – personal and professional.
Wishing all South African wedding planners and wedding professionals the most incredible and prosperous 2016!