Happy #WeddingWednesday, Planner Friends! Today on The Bridal Society’s blog, we have a Society Planner Spotlight featuring Kate Jimenze of Big Day Celebrations.
Katie received her wedding planning certification through The Bridal Society in Orlando back in 2011. After working at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida for almost 3.5 years as their Sr. Wedding Coordinator and Catering Manager, she is officially out on her own pursuing a successful wedding planning career with Big Day Celebrations on a full-time basis. She says that leaving her 9-5 job and pursuing her passion for wedding planning was a huge accomplishment for her, and she is in love with her new dream ‘job’. She’s been on her own for over a year, and couldn’t be happier!
Get to Know Katie
What do you love most about being a wedding planner?
I absolutely love what I do. So much so, I like to say I have a ‘wedding brain.’ I love meeting with couples, hearing their vision of the big day, and helping to guide them as they plan. I love pulling the big day all together and actually prefer day-of coordination as opposed to partial or full-service planning. Yes, that may be weird, but it’s true!
What is your average week like?
My average week consists of lots of emailing, texting and phone calls, initial meetings, final walk throughs, vendor meetings with clients, and of course, networking. I will say that now that I am on my own, life isn’t nearly as hectic as it was when I worked for Mission Inn. I have more down-time and I spend that with my husband. We eat dinner at home together almost every night, and part of my day is exploring new vegetarian recipes for me to make for us.
What is the best way you have found to acquire clients?
It is safe to say that at least 75% of my clients come from vendor or venue referrals. During my time at Mission Inn, I made wonderful relationships with some of Orlando’s top vendors and got to know them very well. When I went out on my own, I had that in my back pocket, which was a huge blessing. I didn’t necessarily have to start fresh because I knew so many people in the wedding industry already! I do still do many of my weddings at Mission Inn as well, and it’s wonderful having a venue refer you pretty regularly. I also am really into SEO and love to learn about it daily. Through everything I have learned so far, I have been getting lots of clients who have found me simply by Google searching. SEO is definitely a huge thing in today’s world and it’s very important to stay on top of it.
What advice can you give and/or have you received that you can pass on to new/existing planners?
Network! Yes, we all know that it isn’t necessarily the most fun thing in the world (maybe it’s fun to some people, but not to met at least- just being honest here), but it is so important! You need to get out there at least once a month, meet new people, and keep your face out there. I also make sure I treat all of the vendors I work with on wedding day like they are on a silver platter. Doing anything you can to assist the and if they need anything (like a bottle of water on a hot day) get it for them if you can. It goes a long way and it’s those little things that will make you stand out from the rest. They will remember you and in the end maybe send a few couples your way.
What is one item you cannot live without on a wedding day?
My Totty. What is a Totty you ask? My super awesome hip belt. It keeps me organized and I love it! I can carry my IPad, phone, and lots of wedding-day necessities in it. Everything is there at your hips and so easily accessible.
What is your favorite moment on a couple’s wedding day?
My favorite moment on wedding day is when my couples see their reception space for the first time. All of that hard work and planning has paid off and their reactions are priceless. It’s even more heartwarming knowing I helped make their dream a reality. It is the best feeling in the world! That and first looks. I LOVE first looks!
What is your favorite activity when not coordinating a wedding?
My husband and I travel all over the world when we are not coordinating weddings! We have been to Paris, London, Ireland, Austria, Peru, Guatemala, and Japan. It’s our hobby. What makes it unique is that most of the time it is for free or hardly anything at all. My husband has figured out how to utilize credit card points, airline frequent flyer miles, and hotel points to redeem them in the best way possible to get the most bang for your buck (or points in this matter!) In January, we are taking 3-4 weeks off and going to New Zealand! Bonus of being your own boss – you can take a month off and not feel bad about it!