My almost nine-year-old daughter asked me yesterday if I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a child or even adolescent, certainly if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never said “a wedding planner!” I recall wanting to be a veterinarian, but then realized I’d have to give shots to the animals; a genetic counselor, but then learned I’d have to deliver unsettling news to pregnant mothers. So I entered Virginia Tech and changed my major from Biology to English in my first week, intending to pursue a career in law.
I never even considered a career in event planning until my senior year. After adding a major in Communication, my capstone project in the Public Relations program led me into a career in event planning. After graduate school and some time planning educational events and doing business development for associations, the birth of my first child (aforesaid daughter!) compelled me into self-employment as a wedding planner.
Fast forward eight years, which brings us to 2019. Blame it on the mythical (or not so mythical) “seven year itch,” but I felt it was time for a change. You see, self-employment requires a very strong constitution. And wedding planning in particular requires nerves of steel, quick thinking, and confidence. SO much confidence. If you start questioning yourself, even if ever so slightly, you are bound to waver.
It’s not that I wasn’t good at what I was doing: I received awards every year. It’s not that I didn’t like it: I really, really love being a part of such a happy day. I just felt like maybe I needed a change, so I purposely stepped away for the last six months of 2019. I took time to explore other career opportunities in hospitality sales and quickly found that once you are an entrepreneur, you’re always an entrepreneur.
So here we are at the top of 2020, and I’m boldly stepping into my role as a self-employed wedding planner, with renewed confidence. I’m also serving hotel clients in hospitality sales and marketing as an independent contractor. What does this mean for my clients going forward? It means I am highly specialized, energized, committed and focused. The tourism and hospitality industry is where I furthered my education (my master’s degree is in Tourism Administration from GWU) and it is where I am choosing to build and further my career. It’s a bit of a niche, which is why I never could’ve dreamed up this career in my younger years. But life is not a straight line. Sometimes we have to step away or even step down to see the clear path.