Career of a professional event planner

QC Event School Graduate: Amy Petit

Name: Amy Petit

Location: North Andover, MA (Boston area)

Program: Event and Wedding Planning CourseIEWP certified


Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I live just north of Boston with my loving and supportive husband and our sweet little boy, both of whom are my world. I am also the owner of AJ Petit Events.

Being able to pursue my passion and still take care of my family is a blessing. I am so thankful that my business gives me time and a flexible schedule so that I can be home with our son and not miss out on precious milestones.

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When I am not working, I love shopping, trying new restaurants, spending time with family and friends, going dancing, visiting wineries, reading, and traveling. Since I was young I have always enjoyed traveling and experiencing new places around the world and their culture, especially the food and architecture. There is so much inspiration out there!

What made you decide to start a career as a professional in the wedding and event industry?

My journey began after I received my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Merrimack College. After college I worked in Human Resources for years and little did I know how this would prepare me for my future in event planning. My favorite part of my job was planning corporate events for the employees! I loved seeing how events brought everyone together and made lasting memories.

During my HR career, I planned my own destination wedding in St. Lucia and a local wedding reception when we came back home. I truly had my dream wedding that I wanted since I was a little girl! This experience inspired me so much and uncovered my passion even more for planning events, especially weddings.

After many years of nudging from family members, I decided to take a leap of faith and leave my corporate 9 to 5 job so I could pursue my dream and follow my passion. Over the last year I did a lot of reading and research as event planning is a complete career change for me and I needed to sharpen my skills and learn as much as possible.

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You planned your own destination wedding in St. Lucia! What made you decide to take the reins? Were there challenges?

Planning a destination wedding was a LOT of work, but it had always been my dream, so I made it happen. I love to travel and I wanted something intimate and unique. Our wedding was so intimate with 18 guests total and I can honestly remember the entire day.

We were married in a gazebo overlooking the ocean and the landscape was a beautiful backdrop. With a destination wedding in a stunning setting, the location supplied the theme. When you choose an amazing location, it doesn’t take much to dress it up. That simplified a lot of things and let me focus on what the day truly meant for both of us. I wouldn’t change anything about it!

Throughout the week all of our guests had become close and we were able to spend quality time with them so we weren’t trying to squeeze it all into a five hour wedding. It was one big party by the wedding day and my husband and I could cherish every moment!

I did most of the planning here in the US (I chose the location within the Sandals Resort for the rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception. I also chose my dress, jewelry, bridesmaid/groomsmen attire, flowers, food selections, table setting decor, photographer, invitations and save-the-dates, music selections/playlists, officiant, welcome bags/favors, booked hair and makeup appointments, guest lists, travel documents, and room blocks.) I had lots of spreadsheets and walked around with a binder full of documents daily to keep myself on task since our engagement was only nine months long. I was in my glory checking things off my lists!

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Photo Credit: Ramblefree Photo Co.

I had a few phone meetings with the Sandals Resort Day of Coordinator (DOC) before the wedding to customize my options. We reviewed all of my details, timelines, etc. when we arrived a few days before the wedding. I loved our DOC as she literally thought of everything, kept us on schedule, and made us feel comfortable. We wanted our guests to blow bubbles during the recessional, but that was accidentally missed. She thought quickly on her feet and then decided to have our guests blow bubbles onto the dance floor for our first dance. It was so romantic and magical and I’ll never forget it!

The biggest challenge was traveling with silk flowers and not having them damaged while we were flying to St. Lucia. I wanted a keepsake from the wedding and so I chose silk flowers. Traveling with all the fragile bouquets and boutonnieres was a lot of work. Also traveling with your wedding dress is no easy task either! Ensuring that it didn’t get dirty or ruined before the wedding and going through all the security checkpoints at the airport was a little nerve wracking! But all of it made it there safely and untouched. Thank God!

Your portfolio features a gorgeous styled shoot. Where did you get the inspiration?

The photographer I collaborated with was inspired by bringing rustic, outdoorsy elements into a light-filled industrial space. The shoot was inspired by a bride who adores both organic decor and a clean, modern industrial style. I treat styled shoots as if I were hired by a client. I love taking their vision and creating something beautiful. For this particular styled shoot, the photographer told me she wanted “rustic chic” and this is what I created!

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Photo Credit: Fritzmean Photography

What are some highlights of your career so far?

Starting my own business has been the biggest highlight so far! I’ve thought about it for years and finally took the leap of faith to go into business for myself. It is a lot of work and decision making, but so rewarding at the same time. But when you’re pursuing your passion, it doesn’t feel like work!

Collaborated on two amazing styled shoots and both of them have been published. I’ve been featured in Borrowed and Blue and Rustic Wedding Chic.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with some amazing and talented wedding and event professionals. In the process they have become my preferred vendors and good friends. We all support one another and I refer them to my clients or anyone else needing their specific services.

I have been asked to participate in a large bridal expo as well as a trunk show. Currently, I am preparing for both.

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Photo Credit: Ramblefree Photo Co.

How did your coursework prepare you for working in the field?

I loved the course and learned a lot! I’ve always been good at the planning and organization aspect of things, but there is so much more to event planning that goes on behind the scenes. It definitely challenged me to think of things I might not think of or prepare myself for situations I might not have been ready for.

The mock wedding assignments were extremely helpful as they required me to contact “real” vendors and see what was available in my area. The timing is perfect as I’m growing my business and selecting my preferred vendors. I also like how the information for each type of event is broken into different categories that I can refer to later on.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out with their training or career?

I was always waiting for the “perfect time” and there is no perfect time to get started! It can be very intimidating when you’re just starting out and feeling like you don’t have the experience, underestimating yourself, or comparing yourself to others. Trust me, I had a lot of fear and doubt in the beginning! I wanted to have all the knowledge first, but that can result in missed opportunities. Experience is just as important as knowledge. So you have to be confident and believe in yourself and just start taking steps even if they’re baby steps. All that matters is that you just keep moving forward.

The biggest thing that is driving me to put myself out there is my faith and God. The more focus and work you put into something, the more you will see things start to happen. Go chase your dreams!

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and begin to network with other vendors. Networking has been so beneficial for me! The referrals and support I’ve received is priceless. Be open to learning from others and you can save yourself a lot of stress and time.

What do you think the future holds for you and your event planning business?

Being fairly new, we are starting to gain momentum and get our brand out there. I see the company growing. I would love to expand to destination weddings someday or luxury events and weddings! I am excited for this journey and to see what the future holds for us!

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Inspired by Amy’s journey as an event planner? Find out if you’re ready to start your wedding and event planner training!

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