From the Experts, Wedding Planning Tips
The 5 Best (and Worst) Moments of My Wedding Planning Career
Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences. In addition to running her own business, Amira is also one of QC’s leading tutors for the Destination Wedding Planning course.
Over the years, I’ve had my highs and lows in the wedding industry. There have been countless great times, but admittedly, there have also been some… not-so-great times. The thing is, whether my experience was good or bad, they were all moments that helped me learn how to be better at what I do!
No wedding planning course can prepare you for every situation. This is just a fact. A wedding planning course can help guide you, but you will not always know how to handle a given scenario until you’re actually in the trenches, doing the work. Today, I’ll share my personal experience as an industry expert and let you in a few of the greatest moments in my career – and a few moments I easily could have done without!
1: My First Wedding
Seeing all the details and hard work come together on the wedding day is the BEST feeling. It’s a fast-paced day, with numerous check lists to ensure it all goes off without a hitch. It requires long hours, and at the end of the evening, your poor feet long to be propped up. After my first wedding, I was on Cloud Nine!
I didn’t want the day to end, even though I was physically exhausted. It was that very day that I knew I’d found my calling and would never look back. Even to this day, when I face challenges in this industry, I always look back to my first wedding and get re-charged again. It’s important to remember why you do this, and why you chose this career.
Personally, I really do love my job. There’s nothing like it!
VERDICT: This moment was definitely one of my best!
2: Saving the Day
This happened recently, actually, in light of all the border travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19. My clients were having a destination wedding in Mexico. Family was coming from the UK to Canada for a week, before departing to Mexico for the wedding festivities. Family arrived and within days, restrictions were put in place and flights were cancelled to Mexico.
Obviously, this kind of situation would be completely devastating for any couple. Think about it: not only could they not travel abroad as they’d planned, but their family had already traveled such a long way… for a wedding that couldn’t even happen anymore!
After lots of teary-eyed phone calls, the couple wanted to have a local wedding on the original wedding day. Their family was there, after all, so they figured, ‘Why not make the most of it?’ In less than a week, we made that happen. We hired new vendors, and had a micro-wedding at the couple’s home. One perk to this happening was that guests who couldn’t originally attend the wedding were now able to watch it live, via Zoom.
It was the most challenging wedding to do in such little time, but I’m so glad we were able to make it happen. It was truly magical – and even better that they still had their dream day, despite the circumstances. Sure, it wasn’t exactly Mexico on the beach, but Plan B was still pretty terrific!
VERDICT: Challenging, but definitely one of the most rewarding points of my career!
3: The Cake Mishap
This is one of those times where the worst thing that could have possibly happened, well, happened. And by that, I mean that the coveted wedding cake fell flat on the dance floor, as it was being delivered into the reception area. We were overseeing the set-up at the time.
Let me tell you: to watch it from across the room, happening in real time, was horrific. As the delivery person dropped it, it felt like my heart had stopped beating. Luckily, the cake was in a box, but that was only able to help the situation so much. We still needed to salvage it and work wonders to make it presentable. I won’t lie, it was in rough shape.
With the help of the venue’s catering team, my client’s cake was re-configured from 4 tiers to 3. The icing was re-done and patched up. By the end of it, even though the backside of the cake didn’t look all that aesthetically pleasing, the front looked a LOT better. It was in no way perfect, but we’d needed to improvise. After all, only the front of the cake needed to be seen for photos, right?
This is a perfect example of the importance of reaching out and relying on your vendors, in order for them to assist you when a problem arises. We all have the same goal in mind: to create the wedding of our clients’ dreams! What happens in the background may not always be pretty, but as wedding planners, we always need to be creative and keep moving things forward.
Mishaps are guaranteed to happen sometimes. It’s how you handle them that will truly define both you and your business!
VERDICT: One of the worst moments, hands-down… But still one of the best lessons in quick thinking!
4: Client Appreciation
The relationship that develops while working with couples is a special one. Often, I’ve found that even after the wedding, the friendship you’ve cultivated with your clients will only continue to grow. I keep in contact with most of my couples, and love to hear updates on their life journey. I had one particular couple that delivered a beautiful, heartfelt ‘Thank You’ at their reception. It was not only directed to the family and bridal party, but to me as well!
Honestly, it caught me off-guard. A couple days prior to the wedding, I had been asked to review that particular speech, and there had originally been no mention of me (which is to be expected). To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. It got me right in the feels! Their words were some of the most thoughtful and kindest things ever said to me.
It’s human nature to be emotional on wedding days. I get that way for most weddings. But at this wedding, that speech made me straight up ugly cry. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how incredible those clients were. Grateful clients like this are what keep us going!
VERDICT: Easily one of the single greatest moments of my wedding planning career!
5: The Case of the Missing Bride and Groom
Your wedding planning course will teach you all about the importance of creating strict schedules and timelines. Likewise, you’ll discover how critical it is to abide by them. Unfortunately, some things can only be taught through real-world experience. One such thing that your wedding planning course won’t be able to totally prepare you for is the sheer panic that can occur when those timelines are thrown out the window, and you’re forced to improvise!
I remember one time, after the ceremony, the bridal party and the couple went off-site for pictures. They had a limo to transport them all. After pictures were complete, the limo was to take the bridal party back first, and then return to pick up my clients and take them to the reception. The only problem? The limo driver ran into some car issues, and the limo wasn’t able to go back for the couple. Ugh!
Our clients’ phones were in the limo, so they had no way of getting a hold of me! Thank goodness the photographer was with them. They had a cell phone, and contacted me right away to let me know what was going on. After a lot of panic, and scrambling to find a solution, we ultimately ordered an Uber for the couple and their photographer.
This story DOES end on a high note, though. Miraculously, they actually arrived back with minutes to spare! They were beaming and laughing. Even though it wasn’t a big deal to them, it surely was to me. I was beyond relieved that they were able to make it back in time – and have a memorable story to tell!
VERDICT: 10/10 wouldn’t recommend, but if something like this happens, it’ll all be fine if you just stay calm!
Food for Thought
I could have easily gone on and one, listing 100+ memorable moments and reminiscing for hours… In this line of work, there’s rarely ever a day that doesn’t bring some sort of life lesson, learning curve, or feeling of joy. I’m sure this is a truth you’re all very familiar with.
Wedding planning isn’t easy. Those who say it is clearly aren’t doing it right. On the contrary, it definitely challenges you. But those challenges are part of what makes this profession so, so rewarding. A wedding planning course can (and will) teach you all about the foundation and the theory behind the craft. It’ll prepare you to be a qualified industry expert. But some of the most incredible parts of this job can only be learned out in the working world.
No matter how excited you are in the beginning, and no matter how amazing you find your learning experience, I promise you: it’s only going to get THAT MUCH BETTER as your journey continues to unfold!
As always, stay safe and healthy, my friends. Happy planning!