We had a chance to catch up with busy student, Tina Smith, on her way to becoming a Certified Wedding and Event Planner. Ms. Smith is a student in Wedding and Event Planning.
Tina’s project one (1) was to design an event and bring her “A Game” to the design and event experience. We enjoyed her project and we think you’ll enjoy it too!
What 3 things would you like to share about yourself?
1. I’m a mother of four beautiful kids ages 9 to 20.
2. I’ve been married for 14 years to an amazing, wonderful and supportive husband.
3. I am fortunate to have been brought on to a hard-working, dynamic and fun team at Red Ridge Receptions.
Why did you enroll in the Certified Wedding and Event Planning and Design Programs?
I started working with Red Ridge two years ago. The owners, Chris & Bethany Eppinger, are great people to work with. We have a small team but they encourage each one of us to be and do our best. It is a family business so their expectations are very high for each of us. The business is their baby which they have worked hard for.
I know that I need to interact with each and every client with the same enthusiasm, kindness and understanding as Chris and Betheny would. Our goal at each wedding is a five star rating- anything other than that is unacceptable. At the end of each event we all spend time together discussing how we could have improved it, even when we knocked it out of the park! We are always striving to improve.
They had a lot to do with me moving in the direction of certification. I had done event planning in the past when I worked as the Executive Director at the Smithville Chamber of Commerce. I took on working at Red Ridge as a fun way to supplement my income. My regular 9 to 5 is very stressful and working at the venue provided a nice counter balance to that. When I started working with them I was bartending- but quickly realized I wanted to do more. I started helping Chris with the day of coordination and realized I loved doing that.
I have always been attracted to service work, I do and feel my best when I am helping others in some way. It is a blessing to be able to help couples have the best experience possible on their special day and I’m so lucky I get to do that with such an amazing group of people. I know that working with the premiere wedding venue in our area is going to help me become an awesome wedding coordinator.
What was the inspiration for this project?
The inspiration couple for my project was my daughter and her Fiancée. Ironically, they became engaged after I started the project. Kayla and Shelby have been together for a long time and I’ve always known someday they would marry – I just didn’t realize how soon they would get engaged! When I was mid-way through my project Shelby asked permission from my husband and I to propose to Kayla. Of course she said yes!!
Knowing both girls so closely helped me add special touches to the event. Since it was all made up I got to really have some fun with it. I think it was a great way to get the planning out of my system so that now I can really be present to what they want. Although Kayla did say that my vision was “spot on” which I took as a great compliment – if I can make my girls happy I know I can do this for other couples!
There were a lot of details the girls had not thought of – knowing things like when to send Save the dates, the option to set up a wedding website and a realistic idea about the budget has helped them put their planning into perspective.
What did you find to be the most challenging?
Staying on a budget is defiantly a challenge! You can come up with all kinds of beautiful and amazing ideas about a wedding but everything comes with a price tag. I found staying on budget to be challenging and believe that it will always be, helping someone bring their vision to life without breaking the bank will always be hard.
I participated in a lot of weddings and I have seen first hand the stress and exhaustion that helpful family and friends go through when the bride plans too much DIY. Everyone should be able to have an enjoyable time at the wedding and not be stressed out with projects and clean up. Money saving projects should be balanced out with the time and energy it will require to execute.
What was your favorite part?
I love Pinterest! It was so much fun to get creative and explore a variety of options.
What was the biggest take-away you learned?
I had a hard time working through the curriculum without an instructor. It seemed as if I was doing everything the hardest and most time consuming way possible. If I had to do it all over again I would have worked through the program much differently. In the end though I feel like the process did provide some valuable lessons for me.
Often times clients will have a vision and they know what they want but they don’t clearly communicate the expectations – or their expectations change through the process. I believe the challenges I had working through the class are similar to the challenges I will have working with clients. At least now I have clearly identified that can be an issue for me and try to avoid that experience again in the future.
What advice do you have for anyone planning to start a career in wedding and event planning?
It’s very hard work – make sure it’s a good choice for you before taking it on. As with many career choices the examples you may have been exposed to make it look like it’s fun and enjoyable. At least that’s how people who are good at their jobs make it look- what people don’t always take into consideration are the preparations, late nights, hard work and pure grit it takes to be successful.
If you choose to be a wedding coordinator you are making a promise to your clients that you are going to do everything possible to bring their vision to life. For many people this vision has been fostered for several months or years. Clients are trusting you and putting their faith in you for guidance and support. That’s a lot of pressure- you need to be up for the challenge and stress that will bring- so you better love what you’re doing!
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