Empress Avenue gets the inside scoop on wedding planning from Sara Thom, Owner of Create Weddings & Events!
1. Tell us about yourself, your career or business.- In 2010, I decided to combine my love of weddings and my love of planning and organizing into a career that I LOVE! I took a course to become a certified wedding planner and began ‘Sara Thom Weddings’ in 2011. That transformed into ‘Create Weddings and Events’ in 2014 – a full service wedding and event planning company (packages include full wedding planning and day of coordination).
2. Describe your most recent business success and tell us about your next big goal!- My most recent business success was being chosen as a preferred wedding planner and coordinator for Soiree Lounge in Vancouver. The owner of the lounge, a wedding planner herself, was looking for someone that she could trust to refer clients of the lounge to when they are looking for day of coordination or full wedding planning. My next big goal is to hit my target for weddings booked for 2014 and increase my business each year. I have already increased my bookings over 2013 and need 3 more before I hit my target for 2014. I also have a good start on 2015 with four weddings booked.
3. Give us the ‘inside scoop’ -what does a day in your business life look like? – The weddings and events are alot of fun, but that’s not what I’m doing every day! Most days are spent emailing, phoning, researching and meeting with clients and other vendors. I’m always looking for the perfect fit for my clients… both personality wise and budget wise. I spend a ton of time looking for as many contacts as possible in the wedding and event industry!
Favorite thing about weddings: I love the uniqueness and originality of every wedding. While they mostly start with the same template (ceremony, dinner, dance) each of them take on their own personality and no two are the same!
4. What types of customers are in your business ‘pink book’ and who are you looking to connect with?- I have multiple types of customers in my ‘pink book’ and that’s the way I like it! I don’t always want the events to be the same so working with DIYers who need assistance putting it together the day to clients who want help each step of the way and everyone in between is perfect for me. I’m looking to connect with clients who want to relax and enjoy their big day and trust that I will do my job and run everything behind the scenes.
5. If you were not doing this job, what is your plan B? Are you still chasing your dream job?- As a career that I love, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have been a planner and organizer in one way or another my entire life. I feel happiest when my life in general is organized and uncluttered! It comes naturally to me so it was an easy transition to move into weddings and events. There are so many moving parts that I get to fit together in order for the day to flow smoothly.
6. Do you think it’s important to love what you do, or make good money?- I think it’s most important to love what you do. When you love your job, you are probably better at it than at something you aren’t passionate about. When you can do your job really well then I think the money follows as you book more business and get more referrals.
When you can do your job really well then I think the money follows as you book more business and get more referrals.
7. Is owning your own business as glamorous as it sounds?- There are definitely pros and cons. The best is that I get to be in total charge of my business and who I work with. On the other hand, it is a lot of work and it is certainly not a Monday to Friday, 9-5 job. I also need to constantly be working so that I am booking new clients all the time. I’m only getting paid as I book new contracts or finish up the events which means there needs to be new ones replacing what I am finishing.
8. Where did you get your education? Tell us about this experience.- I went to Simon Fraser University after high school and majored in Communications. When I decided on the path of planner and coordinator, I spent some time researching options. You don’t need to be certified or go to school to do this job, but it was important to me to get some training and felt it would help give me some ‘cred’ when I first started out looking for clients. In the end, I chose to do my course online through the QC School of Event and Wedding Planning. It allowed me to do it on my own time and at my own pace which was perfect for me. All of the projects were emailed to a dedicated instructor (a wedding and event planning professional) and I was emailed back with my marks as well as audio files with comments and suggestions from the teacher.
9. What are your favourite stores to shop at for the perfect work wardrobe?- For me, I love Banana Republic and Jacob. I prefer a pretty classic style and these stores provide great options for that. I LOVE a dress with pockets! When I’m coordinating events or weddings I always want to look professional, but I need certain things with me at all times… especially my phone in case any vendors have questions or need anything. Pockets allow me to keep it close and my hands free. I like the classic look especially for weddings- I prefer to look professional while blending in. There should be no competing of any kind with the bride that day!
10. What are your plans for expansion?– My plans for expansion are to keep networking and grow my business by word of mouth and referrals. The best compliment I can get is for a client or someone else in the industry to refer me.
11. What is your favourite travel hot spot?- I love everything about New York City. I’m a big fan of big cities and everything they have to offer (restaurants, culture, sightseeing, people watching!). The last few years though after the wedding season I’ve taken a trip to Mexico. A week of all-inclusive pampering in the sun is just what the doctor ordered!
12. Can you offer any advice for new entrepreneurs?- Make sure your business is based on something you are passionate about. The more you love what you do, the less if feels like a job. When you love what you are doing you can manage to get through the less glamorous parts of the job (it makes owning a business a lot easier).
Contact Sara Thom, Create Weddings and Events
Headquarters: Vancouver, BC
Email address: email@example.com