If you have ever watched “Wedding Planner,” “Bridezillas” or any other wedding show or movie, you may already have an ideal perspective of what the event planning and industry may look and feel like. To be completely truthful with you, the event planning and hospitality industry isn’t as glamorous as you may think. Let me give you a raw, unfiltered glimpse into a real day of an event planner and wedding business owner.
I am Heidi Melton, wedding/events planner and the owner of ONBB Wedding app.
Working in the events industry is a lot of fun. When I go into the office, every day truly is a surprise. Some occupations allow you a sense of routine and expectation; however, event planning and weddings, despite all the planning and details, is different everyday!
I work with corporate, non-profit, and wedding clients to plan their events from start to finish. From the linens to the layout, from their food to the beverage, we work with the client to make sure all details are both planned and executed to their vision.
I also work with outside vendors to manage other elements of the event I might not handle such as floral, entertainment, av/staging, photography, and more. When I started in the business I worked with smaller events ranging from 25 to 40 guests. I now work with events of all sizes ranging from 50 to 1000+ guests.
If you were to come shadow me for a day, the best day of the week to see me in as close of a routine, would be a Monday. Mondays are a little slower when it comes to the actual event day.
Mondays look like:
6:00am – Alarm is going off, and I am popping up out of bed ready to go get my work out on. Just kidding, I am dragging myself out of bed to start my workout, stretching, meditation/prayer, and deep breathing before I start my day. I use the Beachbody on-demand for my daily fitness. I love it because I don’t have to spend more time driving somewhere to get my work out on!
6:50am – Make my daily smoothie – 1 ½ Tbs peanut powder, 1 tsp of organic cocoa powder, ½ cup of frozen strawberries, ½ cup of other (banana, spinach, etc.) Add water and enjoy!
7:00am – Get ready for my 9 to 5pm.
8:00am – Drive into the office.
8:30am – Arrive at the office and open the building. I will turn on the lights, unlock the doors, and get my computer up and running. While my computer boots up, I go and grab a cup of coffee from the catering kitchen, and say hello to the culinary team.
8:40am – I begin reviewing my schedule for the day/week. I use both Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar. The Outlook calendar is easiest for implementing calendar reminders, invitations, and notes for clients using the same system. I sync the two calendars for my work and personal using Google Calendar so I can have the calendar easily accessible from my phone.
8:45am – Once I have a clear vision of the day and week, I move on to answering emails. I answer emails three times a day. Morning, midday, and right before I leave for the day. This way I can leave the other sections of my day for completing projects instead of just answering emails. (As you may have found out, answering emails can be a full days work if it’s constantly replied to.)
9:15am – If any of my emails are responded to right away, I will reply one more time while still in the response mode.
9:20am – I move on to completing projects. Projects in the event planning world could be a lot of things: drafting a proposal, completing a diagram, ordering linens/rental equipment, typing up event orders, etc.
The main system I use for this is called Caterease. This system is not as robust as some of the other event management systems, but has a great connection for venue space bookings and management, event order creation, and ultimately a relatively nice customer relations system. The custom relations management portion is not like some you may have seen or used to. It’s more to keep record of correspondence of phone calls, emails, and notes of meetings. The CRM doesn’t have as a robust of design elements to make it worth sending mass emails for marketing purposes, it’s more for the actual relations and tracking of the customer experience versus the marketing side.
Mondays are also meant for planning meetings and off-premise site visits. Let me break these down separately.
1.5 to 2 hours of day – Planning meetings. These are in-depth sessions with clients to walk through every detail of the event. We will first start with the overall timeline to get a good perspective of the entire event. Then move to the layout and design. Once we have the timeline, design and layout, we work through the menu and all other details of the event.
30 minutes to 1 hour of day – Off-premise site visits are meant for me to get a better understanding of the location, so I can provide the best planning solutions and details possible. The client and I walk through the off-premise location and discuss the overall event vision. I then follow up with a proposal for the event based on the client’s needs and vision.
4:00pm – At the end of the day, I follow up with any emailing prospective clients, and scheduling.
5:00pm – Leave the office and travel home.
5:30pm – I am at home running my business ONBB Weddings APP. The app is the first and only wedding resale app currently available for iPhone (android coming soon).
6:00pm – Mondays are meant for weekly planning for social media posts. Currently I use Hootsuite, but looking into other social media scheduling apps. If you know any great social media planning and scheduling app, be sure to comment them below!
6:30pm – Break for dinner with my fiance.
7:30pm – Follow up with wedding professionals on collaborative efforts. I use an emailing and project management system called Zoho. For a small business, this service is great, because it scales with you. You can use the free service or upgrade as your business grows. They have a lot of features such as CRM, emailing, project management, and many others.
8:30pm – Finish up any social media follow ups and planning.
9:00pm – Hang out on the couch with my fiance and pooch.
10:00pm – Hit the hay!
As I continue to learn and grow with both businesses, something I know now more than ever is to seek out a mentor. A mentor who has been in the thick of it, understands the highs and the lows of running their own business, and at the end of the day will be completely and unequivocally raw with you. So when you want advice on a new idea for your business, your mentor is giving you real feedback on what to do or even if it’s a good idea. Mentors are also a great resource to go to when you need a pick-me-up. Running a business is rough, don’t let anyone tell you different. If you do find someone that tells you running a business is easy, they are either lying or just crazy. You’ll have days where you’re on cloud 9 and other days where you’re in the fire pit. It’s those days when you just want to jump in the water and say “I QUIT” that your mentor is there to say, “I’ve been there too… You’re not alone.”