Hey! So glad you’re here! Wedding planning is my jam, but I’m new to these blogging parts. Can you show your girl some grace for being a little long-winded in her first couple posts? ?♀️ Thanks in advance! Now let’s dive in to what the heck got me here!
1. Moved to the desert of New Mexico & prayed for the job I’d end up leaving
Just when I thought I was moving to Midland, Texas, skirrrrrttttttt…my then fiance (now hubs) was transferred to Hobbs, New Mexico. I was living life to the tune of Jake Owen’s song “Anywhere With You” so I packed up the Kia and hit the dusty trail. And it was dusty…windy, brown and flat. And didn’t have a Target…I quickly realized that there wasn’t much happenin’, especially in the middle of an oil downturn. When I began the job search, that became even more evident. I spent about a month praying for a job that would challenge me, grow me and get me out of my comfort zone. Enter Director of Student Life at the University of the Southwest. God sure does have a sense of humor.
The position’s main job duty was planning events for students, so that seemed totally up my ally. I applied, interviewed and was hired within 24 hours. Now that I’ve made a couple more trips around the sun, I probably should have taken that as a red flag, but I was young, needed a paycheck and thought I’d be planning events so all was right in my world.
Fast forward a few months and come to find out, I was a one woman “department”, my boss had no idea what I did or was supposed to be doing and in addition to planning events, I was also in charge of all the discipline for the university. LOL. Y’all, there were students I called into my office to reprimand that were older than me! The handbooks were poorly written and outdated and I spent more time giving out fines and community service than I did planning actual events. As I type this out, it doesn’t sound that bad, but it was hell. I was super unhappy, loathed going to work and it began to seep into my home life. The only thing that got me through that season was the fact that I was planning my own wedding.
I was intending to quit at the conclusion of that spring semester, but was presented with a new position under new leadership. Say no more! I began doing admissions and advising for the College of Education and worked directly under the dean. Dr. Scarlet Clouse to the rescue. This position was still a challenge until the very end, but going through it with a boss that cared more about me as a person than an employee and having counterparts that became close friends made all the difference. When I was contemplating quitting, I was trying to figure out if I was leaving my dark place too soon. Was God still trying to work on me? Did He still have things to teach me? Or did I need to say enough is enough, this place is crazy and go get my sanity back? I’m glad I held on until I did.
If my job situation had not reached the level of miserable and crazy that it did, I may have continued to coast in comfortable, semi-fulfilling job after job and never pressed into my actual dream of being a wedding planner.
I would have never met Scarlet, who ended up being one of my biggest encouragers and will be a forever friend. I wouldn’t have had the chance to work with and develop friendships with Amanda and Lauren, who kept me sane (or tried!). I wouldn’t have had the chance to make things better for the College of Education and serve its students in a way they hadn’t experienced in recent years. And I wouldn’t have met Abby Haggard, who is one of this world’s finest gems and introduced us to what would become our beloved home church.
It was no accident that we were placed in Hobbs for the time we were and that I was placed in those very positions. Even though it was roughhhh at times, I’m thankful for it all. God heard my prayer for a job and he heard my prayer to deliver me out of it. I just had to come to terms with his timing and his ways.
2. Booked a weekend-of planner for my own wedding
I give Cullen, my husband, credit for this one. We were meeting with our florist, who also has a planning arm of her business, and as she began to tell us about the weekend-of package, Cullen said “I want that!” Cullen booked her before I could even get a word out. That’s in my top 3 best gifts ever. I am not going to get into all the details as I plan to have Cullen share in a future post, but had we not booked a weekend-of planner, I wouldn’t know or understand the value in doing so like I do now. While this dream wasn’t specifically in mind when that decision was made, it has certainly played a part in it. I practiced what I am now preaching and that’s important.
3. Attended a WILD bible study and said my dream out loud to total strangers
My friend Abby text me in September 2017 asking if I wanted to join a bible study called WILD (Women In Leadership Development). It was going to be all about finding and developing your God-given gifts and using them. Sign me right on up! Then she explained that at the end of the 6 weeks, each person would have to present her “dream project” in front of the group. Oh lawd!!! While that was a bit intimidating, I welcomed the challenge and decided to go for it.
As the weeks progressed, an internal conflict began to ensue. The ladies around me wanted to be missionaries, start their own bible studies, create worship albums, join the worship team, etc. I wanted to be a wedding planner. I remember feeling guilty that my dream wasn’t “church related.” Should I be doing something else? Is this really what God has called me to do? Will being a wedding planner honor God? Comparison comes from the devil, y’all. The world needs people with different dreams and it’s okay that mine didn’t look like the rest. God blesses us all with unique gifts and talents and it’s our responsibility to steward them well. He places desires on our hearts on purpose, for a purpose. God can use me and I can honor him regardless of what my title is or what industry I work in. In fact, using the gifts and talents He gave me to help others succeed brings great honor to Him.
Needless to say, I got over my little “Oh no, have I got this all wrong?” fit aka told Satan to shove it and continued to press into my wedding planning dream. Throughout those 6 weeks, this dream was affirmed by a handful of different people on random occasions. One night I turned to Cullen and said, “You know what? I may not be hearing straight from God himself, but I believe he’s been nudging me through other people.” Pay close attention to what others notice in you. In that moment, I decided that I was going to start doing small things to get me closer to my dream. I couldn’t sleep that night, so I went out to the couch to do my WILD homework. What do you know? Right there on page 30, it read, “Start now! Take the small steps towards your destiny.” Talk about confirmation.
I told my boss about it the next day and before I could finish, she was texting her sister, who works at a prominent hotel in Marfa, Texas that hosts all kinds of beautiful weddings. You never know who might help you explore your dream and get your foot in the door. It might be your very own boss! I didn’t end up getting to do any work there due to some personnel changes, but the possibility really got my wheels turning, lit a fire in me and gave me a couple good talking points for my presentation!
Speaking of, I told fear to sit on down and I nailed it. While saying your dream out loud is terrifying, it is powerful and freeing! It also welcomes accountability, which is huge. I had two options after that night: I could talk about it and keep thinking about it or I could talk about it and go be about it. I chose the latter.
4. Slid into the DM’s of a bride I had only met once
“Hey! Do y’all have a weekend-of or day-of wedding planner/coordinator?”
“Nope. Lol my friend Becca and my mom are doing it.”
I then explained a bit about my situation and how I was beginning to take small steps toward my dream. I asked if she’d be willing to let me come on board for weekend-of coordination and was thrilled at her response.
“Girl!!! I will tell my mom because she will absolutely LOVE someone to coordinate things! (Plus I’ll be glad she won’t be so stressed).”
We met at Starbucks two days later and I took over with only 3 weeks to go! (I’ll be expanding more on that adventure in a future post.) I learned at a very young age that you’ll never know if you never ask! What started with a simple message led to a host of headaches saved for a sweet couple and mother of the bride, one heck of a good time and my feet a few inches deeper into my dream. I’m not sure where I’d be if I hadn’t taken this step and I’m glad I don’t have to find out! Shout out to Jacquie and Adam for taking a chance on me and allowing me to gain invaluable wedding planning experience that I will carry with me forever.
5. Fired off an email to our own wedding planner and asked if I could make a trip to Breckenridge to shadow her
I came to the conclusion that the only way for me to get better at planning weddings was by…planning weddings, so I went back to my wedding roots. I loved the experience we had with our planner and I love the mountains, so I figured why not learn from one of the best in my favorite place? Thankfully, she was excited and willing to have me. She put me to work as one of the assistants for a big, beautiful wedding at the top of Keystone. And when I say put to work, I mean to put to work! My back and feet hurt so bad by the end of night, I could barely move. But I was so overjoyed and couldn’t wait to do it again (with Advil of course). One of the biggest takeaways from that wedding was if you show up, carry yourself like you belong there and do good work, people will respect you and treat you like you’ve been doing it for years. I didn’t let the “Who do you think you are? You don’t know enough!” thoughts keep me from stepping up to uncomfortable or new tasks or answering questions from the couple and guests. Another major takeaway was hearing my own planner admit that she still Googles answers sometimes. The perfectionist in me struggled with thinking I had to know everything before I could get this dream off the ground. I realized I would have to give myself permission to be a beginner. No one starts as an expert and I am no exception. Huge thank you to Kayle, Natalie and the rest of the Petal & Bean team! (Follow them on Pinterest for some big time floral inspiration!) I left Colorado with another wedding under my belt, a whole new bucket of knowledge and a refreshed motivation to keep going and do the dang thing.
6. Shared a post on Facebook about my dream and booked my first paying client a month later
Big whoop, a Facebook post? Y’all, presenting my dream to my little bible study was one thing, but sharing it with the world of social media was a different beast. Facebook official is a real thing. Once you “book”, you can’t go back. A couple days after the Colorado wedding, I posted about my experience and briefly mentioned my dream followed up with a soft call for any brides needing a weekend-of coordinator to let me be their gal.
There is victory is vulnerability, y’all! I received a message from an inquiring bride that led to booking my first paying gig! Three feelings I never want to forget: getting that message, receiving my first check and having someone trust me and believe in me enough to send the check!
Since beginning this journey, it has been so cool to see the timing of God in all of this. Any time I found myself overwhelmed or discouraged or doubtful, I’d soon get a random text or message from an inquiring bride or friend who wanted to pass along my contact info. While not all of these leads came to fruition, they kept my spark lit and reaffirmed that I was moving in the right direction. Brynn & David, thank you for trusting me with your day and for coming alongside me in my beginning stages. I will treasure y’all forever! I can’t wait until July!!!
7. Said peace out to my husband and fun things for a month to build the bones of my website
There’s nothing that will force you to get your butt in gear quite like booking your first paying client. Luckily, I already had my logo and branding solidified, but had to button up my investment packages and finalize a contract among other things. One beast I hadn’t started yet, though, was my website.
The nerd and creative in me wanted to build it and thankfully so, because I didn’t have the funds to hire someone. I knew it was going to take an insane amount of time, so one day I told Cullen that he wouldn’t be seeing me in the evenings for a while. While still working a full-time job, that was the only time I had to dedicate to my website. So, for a month or so, Cullen graciously rode solo and my laptop and I became besties in the confines of our guest room turned office. During this time, I realized the amount of discipline it was going to take to make this thing happen. And it’s still a work in progress! That first month was really just getting it started.
If you’re reading this, you’re looking at a product of late nights, squinted eyes, support tickets on support tickets, prayers that changes saved, prayers for my sanity when they didn’t, extreme thought, hours of time, tedious revisions and a whole lot of heart. I knew that this was the stage most people give up and I refused to be most people.
8. Took on a last minute, rescue mission wedding
Okay, I took on my very first wedding planning gig 3 weeks out, but this was a whole different ball game. I had been privy to some of the plans or lack thereof for my brother-in-law’s wedding through discussions with family and as time went on with little promise in sight, I couldn’t not offer to help. It’s my desire for every couple to have the best day ever and thinking of my own family not having that just wasn’t going to fly. I needed more experience and they needed help, so it was a win-win. I reached out to my now sister-in-law and with her enthusiastic blessing, I got to work. All from 12 hours away.
I won’t go into all of the details, but here’s a glimpse of what I walked into 3 weeks out: some invites were still being delivered, no songs had been selected for the ceremony or reception, the bar situation hadn’t been confirmed, caterer almost had to back out due to another event, a bridesmaid backed out, no linens (I found a great deal in Hobbs, so I transported them to Missouri and back), no solid plan for centerpieces (venue had vases and our cousins came in clutch with fresh flowers with only hours notice), officiant had never done a wedding before (I wrote entire ceremony script)…you get the gist! Resourceful was my middle name during those three weeks.
This was the biggest challenge by far, but it was so worth it and the big day went off without a hitch! Cory and Randi, thank you for allowing me to help and for stretching me in ways I hadn’t been stretched yet.
9. Attended Business Boutique in Nashville
I discovered Christy Wright’s Business Boutique podcast about the time I began this journey. The mission of Business Boutique is to equip women to make money doing what the love. I was and still am all ears! Each year, there is a Business Boutique conference held in Nashville with keynote speakers, breakout sessions on specific business topics, etc.
As I continued to hear promotions for the 2018 event and eager to learn any and everything, I bought my ticket and booked my flight! Of course, after consulting with my money-conscience husband and having the “there needs to be a return on this investment” talk with him and myself. Things get serious when money is forked out and rightfully so. I am so happy I went (and that my dear friend, Danielle, joined me!) and I highly recommend it to anyone with dreams of starting a business, that’s new to business or wants to improve an already established business. I left Nashville empowered, inspired, confident and ready to do it scared!
10. Burned my plow and claimed my place
While I was going through the WILD bible study, my friend Abby sent me an interview between T.D. Jakes and Steven Furtick along with a text that said, “Oh girl, ready yo self!” The next hour and 45 minutes spoke right to my heart and I have rewatched that video multiple times along this journey.
T.D. Jakes said, “Just because you can work a plow, it don’t make you a farmer.” Come on, that’ll preach! In that moment, I realized that I can be great at a lot of jobs, but I have seeds deep down that cannot grow to be fruitful if I am not doing what I am truly called to do. He said, “There are people in this room with dormant seeds laying inside of them, that if they get in the right atmosphere they’re going to turn them into things never seen before.” That is what I’m ready to step into.
With Cullen’s new job requiring us to move to Houston, it led to a natural departure from my j-o-b. I said goodbye on March 1st and I couldn’t be more excited and expectant for what’s next. I burned my plow! So no, I’m not looking for a job in Houston. I’m going to BE my job and live out my dream of planning + doing weddings full-time! I am claiming my place in the wedding planning industry and as an entrepreneur. Because by golly, there IS room for me and what I bring to the table and I refuse to believe otherwise. I invite all the prayers, positive thoughts, referrals and encouragement that you have to give. The hard work is just beginning! All glory and honor to my good, good Father who gives provision where there is vision.
Disclaimer: 10 steps is an extreme understatement. In this highlight reel life we live in, it’s important for me to share that there were also (and will continue to be) stacks of books read, podcasts listened to, videos watched, hours of research clocked, brainstorming sessions had, notes jotted, tears cried and prayers said that led to this moment. And I couldn’t have made it this far without the support of my husband, family, friends and my amazing couples. Y’all mean the world to me and all deserve an award for how well you love me and champion me.
I think my “call to action” at the end of these are supposed to tie back into my business somehow, but today I am going to call YOU to action for YOU. What is one step you can take to get you closer to your dream? Okay, now go take it!
Dotted & Crossed,
P.S. Okay, maybe I will ask one thing. If you haven’t already, head over to my Facebook and Instagram to support this dream with a like and follow + to make sure you don’t miss out on future shenanigans!