… And more work! I wanted to make this blog about my work life as well as my personal journey through weight loss, so here goes: The event industry in Portland (and probably every where else) had swung back in full force for 2011. No more recession! Budgets are flying out the window! Well, almost. 😉

For those of you who don’t know, working in the wedding industry for us means NO VACATIONS or time off starting at the end of May through late September. I am booked out all summer! That’s why Alex and I chose September 24th for our wedding date … we can take anniversary vacations, heh heh. The height drops in October, then back up a little in November for the Holidays, and come January we are pretty dead until May … then the cycle starts all over again! It’s the total opposite when I was in school. No more summer vacations for me! That’s ok though, it’s nice to have the schedule flexibility in the off season.

I thought I would take the opportunity to answer the most common questions I get from friends and colleagues about my job. I love what I do, but it definitely has its ups and downs just like any career:

What do you do exactly? I am the fourth generation working for my family business The Party Place, an event rental company. I handle our top sales accounts which are some of the best caterers and event planners in Portland. I LOVE my clients! I am so lucky to work with such amazing and talented people. We literally talk everyday in the summer. I am even more lucky that a handful of them are helping me with my own wedding 🙂 I also create and manage our marketing materials and branding. I come up with ad campaigns and design our business cards, brochures and mailers. Another part of my branding job is coordinating and designing our bridal show booths and displays. I am also the head of the linen purchasing department so I decide what colors and fabrics to buy, and I handle all special orders.

Do you ever get sick of weddings? NO!! Every wedding is unique and I rarely ever come across bridezillas anymore. Since the wedding blogs exploded brides are becoming more and more creative, and we don’t see the same ol’ cookie-cutter white wedding anymore. Old wedding traditions are being replaced with new and fun ideas, like serving breakfast for dinner, food carts and champagne cocktail bars. I love it!

When do you normally tell people to start planning their wedding? At least a year in advance, hands DOWN! Can you get it all done in 3 months? Sure, go for it. But to get the best availability on wedding vendors and get all your ducks in a row on time I would not recommend it. So many details, contacts and time consuming projects are involved with weddings I can’t imagine how stressful it is to try to get it all done in only a few months. Oh wait! I know exactly what that’s like … I meet brides in a pinch all time lol!! And guess what? They are hot messes. Don’t be a hot mess!

How do you project what is trendy and popular for weddings? Specifically for Portland, I look at the California wedding blogs because those ideas take about a year to travel up north to here. In general I pay attention to current trends in fashion, like which fabrics the designers are using and what color palettes they choose. That’s how I project what to expect from brides visions, but my favorite weddings are those where the bride does not follow the trends at all  – she picks something that is personal to her and her fiance, and they just do what they want!

What advice would I give to brides when designing their weddings? My #1 advice would be to not just copy what all the blogs are doing. Be original! If you have a vintage theme, don’t google search “vintage weddings”, go visit your favorite antique store and get inspired by things that are non-wedding related. Or take a popular idea and put a personal spin on it to make it your own. The rustic farm/barn theme was cute when it first came out, but now barns are becoming the new church, seriously. Find motifs and themes are specific to you and your fiance, and don’t be afraid to ask your wedding vendors for suggestions!

How do you cope with the madness? Haha this is one of my favorite questions. Everyone handles it differently, but my personal choice is not to work OUTSIDE of work! I know that sounds silly, but I get emails 24 hours a day. Yup, my clients email me at 1:00am in the morning asking about serving platters and chair sashes. If I chose to answer my emails as they come, I would be on the clock all the time in summer! This would be great for my wallet, but not for my sanity. I make myself available for wedding emergencies ONLY and after I go home in the evening I turn my work completely off. Much easier said than done, I know, but I have to force myself to make time for me and my home life or else I become consumed by the stress of work. The hardest part of it is stopping the mental list-making at night. You know what I am talking about … when you are half asleep and you make a list of everything you need to do for the next day? And you think about it over and over again? STOP IT!! There is no point in making a mental list in the middle of night. Start the list when you clock in.

Has working in the wedding industry put you at an advantage when planning your own wedding? Absolutely. lol! More than anything I knew all of the resources to use and I have a lot of contacts in my address book. 😉 I go through the normal hurdles and stresses of any bride, I just had to skip the lengthy researching part. Oh, and I get an insane discount on rentals. 😉

This is such a fun industry that is constantly changing and evolving. Our business is doing extremely well and I’m so blessed to be apart of it’s growth! And never hesitate to ask me for wedding advice, I am always happy to help my friends. I could plan the whole thing if you let me 😉

xoxox Kathy