Elena & Andrew envisioned their wedding day including a traditional Catholic mass surrounded by their dearest family and friends followed by a memorable evening filled with history and meaning. The results did not disappoint, to say the least.
This was my first time having the opportunity of working at The City Tavern Club and I immediately fell in love with Jordan and his team – they care just as much about the vendors who are working tirelessly to ensure a smooth wedding day for the couple as they do about the actual couple – which now means that we are really good friends, naturally.
I also had the always pleasurable opportunity of working with Megan Chase Photography once again and she captured the essence of Elena and Andrew so well that these photos take me back with a fresh set of eyes and a full heart every time I look at them. United with Love featured some recaps from this wedding on last week, as well, but I also wanted to share some of my favorites here on the blog! Elena & Andrew – thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your special day. It means the world!
So, it’s been almost 4 full months since I transitioned from Corporate America as an engineer to a full-time wedding planner and I must say – it’s not as easy as I thought it would be! Now don’t get me wrong – this is the happiest I have been in a LONG time and I am so grateful for this new normal, but there are definitely some struggles that I did not anticipate (or perhaps I did, but never took the time to troubleshoot and prepare for them).
Working from home as an entrepreneur is an absolute BLESSING – but I have a few lessons learned thus far that I’d love to share with you – regardless of whether you’re still in corporate America desiring to transitioning out OR you’re already working from home and you need a bit of insight (or just need to know that you’re not alone). Here we go!
Structure is Key.
This may differ from person to person, but I naturally flourish in days with a more disciplined structure. I get more things done. If I make a list of exactly what I plan to accomplish each day and set a time limit on these things, then I find it easier to focus on the task and not allow distractions to creep in and get me off course. For example, my MWF goal is to workout, shower, get dressed and complete my bible devotion all before 10am. With this in my head, I tend to not even entertain social media or email until 10am when I have completed my “pre-work” activities. Same goes for client work – I try to assign time frames for each client, along with a list of tasks that I need to get done within those time frames – and that has been working SO great!
Time is Money.
This sounds so money-hungry, but now that I have no corporate job to fall back on but still have financial responsibilities – it is super important to keep in mind so as to not get distracted by things that will, ultimately, not pay my bills. With this concept in mind, I find it less attractive (although I am still not totally immune to it) to mindlessly scroll on social media losing precious time that I could be using to network with other professionals or fulfill my role as an amazing and caring wedding planner for my clients – both of which will potentially bring me more business and profit.
Remember to Market & Network.
I am finding it so extremely difficult to not get so caught up in my client’s work that I forget about the other aspects of building my business. A great deal of my clients actually come from referrals from other wedding professionals, so the need to market my business to other businesses who may/may not know about it AND to form strong relationships with those within the wedding industry is CRUCIAL. I could become the best wedding planner ever and if only my clients know about it – then I’d still lose out on half of my referral base. Vendor relationships are just as important as client relationships so it’s super important to nurture your current ones and also reach out to form new ones!
My Income Has Decreased
Over these past 4 months, I’ve had to come to the realization that I no longer work for the government – which means that I no longer make the large amount of income that I used to. I can no longer afford to make unplanned purchases or mini shopping sprees because 2 weeks have rolled around and “pay day is here”. That life is long gone and the money I make now – I actually have to think about exactly how much it is, how much I need to tax, how much I have to transfer, and how much I can spend. This lifestyle is requiring a lot more financial discipline and I am loving how it’s changing my mindset towards creating good financial habits.
Boundaries are even MORE Important Now.
While practically working 2 full-time jobs, I knew that I could only have so many boundaries if I wanted to take my business to the level that would allow me to walk away from corporate America and live my dreams. I will not lie – I basically had no life for anyone – not myself, my family or friends. I lived, breathed and dreamed my business around the clock. Now that I have achieved the goal of running my business without the burden of another job – I no longer have the excuse of not having boundaries. But it’s still proving difficult to change that mindset. However, this is what I have worked so hard for – the ability to have healthy boundaries and still be able to earn a living. So it’s all about setting them and sticking to them – so I am able to live the life that I have always dreamed of. I’m getting there!
Whew! It’s officially been 3 whole months since I went full-time with Hello Love Events and I must say – it’s not as easy as it seems! But that’s for a later post (anxiously coming later this week! YAY!) This post is dedicated to the early jump-start to my 2016 wedding season!
Emily & Jeffrey were the epitome of class and grace. Both lawyers and extremely passionate about making the world a better place than when they found it – their wedding day was full of so much love, beauty and tears – lots and lots of tears (some of which were from me – I’m such a baby on wedding days!). They said their vows in a quaint, historical beauty of a church in Georgetown and then headed a block over to The City Tavern Club to celebrate! I always have such a blast working with Jordan and his team!
Lisa with Lovesome Photography captured all of the details with such amazing attention to detail that I had the hardest time choosing which ones to share! Emily & Jeffrey – I hope you two are enjoying marriage and all of the joy that comes along with the title – love you both!
Enjoy this amazing reel from their precious day! XO
So before I begin – a shoutout to one of my dear planner friends – Kat. A beautiful friend of mine who once told me (along with a whole lot of other boss ladies) that all it takes is a little bit of hard work and fairy dust. I have never forgotten your speech during C@H Round 1 – or clearly, your fairy dust.
I didn’t go to my corporate job last Monday. Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday. To be honest, I didn’t go at all last week. You may be wondering why……Well, that’s because…
April 29, 2016 marked my last full day as a civilian worker for the U.S. government. As surreal as it STILL is to me – Last week was my first full week as a FULL-TIME WEDDING PLANNER! YAYYYYYY! A dream over 4 years in the making became a realization as I submitted a full month’s notice to my corporate job the beginning of last month and walked out of those doors for the last time only just 10 days ago!
These last few days have all been a big blur – as I chose to leave my job right in the midst of wedding season! There has been absolutely no down time and I’m beginning to wonder how in the world I ever got anything done while having a full-time job. I wanted to keep this little secret of mine to myself for one week simply to setting into my new schedule and bask in this dream that I now get to call my life.
While I was working full-time, my days involved waking up at 5:00am to to get dressed and head out for the vanpoole while the rest of my family was still asleep. I would get into work around 6:45am (normally always dark outside) and would work until 3:15pm – I worked in an office with no windows – before heading out to the vanpool for the ride home. Once in the lot, I would drive to pick-up my son and usually be swamped with either client work or meetings until around 11 or 12 at night. Time with my family was slim pickings, and although I may have been physically present with them in the house, my mind was always racing figuring out what I needed to be doing with the small amount of time that I have before work the next day. Not even counting the days that required evening meetings where I would miss my family altogether and wouldn’t see my kids until the next day (if I had no more meetings, of course). That has been my life for the past 3-4 years.
Well, last Monday was somewhat of a different story (cue the waterworks). Last Monday, I woke up beside my husband. We wake up at the same time now. I woke up my daughter, held her for a minute, brushed her teeth and got her dressed, while our husband got our son dressed. We made them breakfast and I made my husband coffee (a bit too much sugar, as usual). I kissed him goodbye as he went off to work. I dropped both of my kids off to school (they both now share the same daycare within walking distance of my house), went back home and hopped on the treadmill for about 30 mins. I showered, got dressed, put on a bit of make-up and slowly walked downstairs thinking to myself, “Is this real? I this real? Is this real? Yes….it’s totally real.”
The first thing I did was tear open the curtains in my office. I let all of the bright light into my house. I opened the blinds in the next room. I made myself a cup of coffee, some eggs and bacon. Then – I sat down at my desk in my office. I prayed, read and meditated on a chapter in the bible. Then – I opened my laptop. This is where things get REALLY crazy. I worked. I worked from 10am-4:50pm. Straight (of course, with potty breaks and a lunch in-between). I worked on clients’ weddings – ALL DAY. I sent emails, organized my clients’ action items, created timelines and floorplans – I did all things Hello Love Events.
At 4:50pm (it came so quickly!!), I closed my laptop. I put my shoes on and headed out to pick-up my kids. They were thrilled to see me! I was just too tickled and just….grateful. Grateful is an understatement – it truly is. There are no words, yall. When we got back home….I just laid around. I talked with the kids, we watched some T.V. – and we had fish sticks for dinner. (Hey, I plan to get a bit fancier later on – give me time!). When my husband came home, I asked him how his day went, he asked me how mine went. We had dinner as a family. We put the kids to bed and I went to bed at around 9:00pm. And then….GUESS WHAT?!
The next day – I got to do it ALL OVER AGAIN. CRAZY! I KNOW! THIS CAN’T BE MY LIFE. BUT IT IS!!!
Some parts of me have not even come to terms of this reality yet. While you’re reading this – I’ll be getting dressed to have brunch with a new planner friend of mine – I’m heading up to Alexandria and we’re going to enjoy Thai together. Then I’ll head back, finish up some work for my spring and fall brides, and then welcome my family home and (TRY TO) unplug – it’s definitely still a work in progress! After only being able to work in the evenings for SO long, it’s been hard work trying to rewire my brain to actually understand that I don’t HAVE to do that anymore. I don’t HAVE to choose my work over my family anymore. There are set times for both and that is such a ….blessing. I am so thankful.
To all of those who have supported me – my husband, my children (oh my sweet babies), my family, my friends, MY SWEET BRIDES & GROOMS (where would I be without you!?) – you have no idea how much it means to me to share this with you. My dreams have come true – and I get to do this dream every single day. I actually no longer look forward to the weekends. Every day is a complete dream and I look forward to every one of them and the challenges and joys they bring. Thank you SO much, friends!
Olivia is excited, too! Poor girl was home sick when we did our photo session! She wasn’t too ill to get in on the confetti action, though!
To all of you chasing a dream that feels like it’s SO far away and so far out of reach – from a person who has been exactly where you are – just keep swimming. Keep surrounding yourself with positive people who will keep pushing you to chase those dreams, to work hard, to make SMART sacrifices. Those who tell you that you WILL and that it’s only a matter of time. Those who will be honest – even when the truth comes with a tad bit of bitterness. Keep praying, keep seeking Him and what He has for you. What He has is SO much better than what you could ever dream of!
I used to dream of being an engineer – of being financially secure and to be able to provide for my family. Those were MY dreams. But His dreams FOR me turned out to be SO. MUCH. BETTER.
Make today great, beautiful people. You don’t deserve to do anything less than that.
XO – Lacoya, Full-Time Wedding Planner + Designer @ Hello Love Events (WHAT?! CRAZY! BUT TRUE!)
P.S. – MUCH THANKS to my talented friend AND 2017 bride (YESSSSSS!!!!!) – Jessica Green Photography – for capturing such an exciting moment for me! Jess – you are amazing and such an inspiration for others, as well! Thank you so much for helping me to capture this moment in such an amazing way! I can’t wait to repay the favor by standing alongside you on the day that you marry your best friend! XO
I just wanted to hop on and let you all know that we will officially be away from the blog for the remainder of the week while we focus on this very special time with our families, friends, and loved ones. We do hope that we allow this time to be a time of gratefulness, giving, loving on one another, and truly realizing what the birth of Jesus Christ has done for us as sinners. We are so thankful that God loved us enough as His own to send His very only son to die on a cross so that we may have pardon from all of our wrongdoings. We are SO thankful!
We hope that you all enjoy this season with your families and look forward to seeing everyone back here next week! Merry Christmas! XO
Hello, Love! I'm Lacoya - the boss lady behind Hello Love Events! This is my happy writing place where I share the latest with HLE, business tips, personal wins, and lots of other fun stuff!
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you around here again, soon! XO