Want to work in… weddings?
There’s something about a wedding that sends people a little crazy; either crazy with joy, crazy with stress, crazy with emotion or crazy with excess. It seems that in the last few years, the whole world has gone a bit crazy about weddings with global activity literally going through the proverbial church roof, Australia included.
CoEM lecturer Paul Boustani, formerly owner and operator of an event consultancy that specialised in wedding planning, confirms this growth via his first hand experience over many years, “The business of weddings has grown incredibly quickly over the last 10 years in Australia. I saw this by the increase in variety of suppliers and the breadth of available roles.”
Surely, that’s good news for those who sit at their desk dreaming about working with loved-up couples to create their perfect day or for those who are obsessed with the wedding or event design section of Pinterest and want to take their passion to the next level. Think independent or venue wedding planner. Think wedding stylist or designer. Think wedding venue or wedding sales. Yes, it’s a good time to stop dreaming and becoming clued up about what’s going on behind all that tule.
So, let’s hear from some CoEM friends who know weddings inside out; Paul Boustani, CoEM lecturer and currently freelance events consultant extraordinaire, Kirrily Brennan, CoEM graduate and former wedding and event coordinator with Trippas White Group and Jade Johnston, CoEM graduate and current event sales manager at Waterview in Bicentennial Park.
CoEM: Working inside the wedding industry, is it as glam as it all looks? Why?
Paul: The truth is yes AND no. It is glamorous in that you spend a lot of time working with beautiful products and services. You see a lot of sparkle and glamour in the planning and on the day of the wedding. The less glam side is the pressurised, emotionally charged environment your clients and suppliers often find themselves in. So much is invested and you only have one chance to get it right. The hours you have to put in to weddings from the after hours client meetings and communication through to the 18-20 hour days you have to invest on the big day can be very taxing.
Kirrily: Mostly, yes. Each and every day is different and includes tasks like site visits with my lovely brides and stylists. Taking people on a journey and seeing their face once it all comes together is priceless. Other not so glam tasks are responding to enquiries, chasing new business, putting together proposals or chasing down final details for run sheets.
Jade: Sometimes, definitely. What I love about weddings is that they have the ability to captivate peoples’ imaginations and take them to a place of pure happiness. It’s not so glamorous though, when you see people at their wits end and confused with their planning. But that’s usually forgotten on the day when they are so happy which is wonderful.
CoEM: What attributes would it be handy to have to work in weddings?
Paul: First and foremost, you have to LOVE weddings and events – it can be physically and emotionally very challenging – without the passion you just won’t survive. Besides that, a calm nature is important and you also need to be someone who is quite thick skinned when it comes to criticism and pressure.
Kirrily: It’s important to be a grounded person and to remember why you wanted to work in the industry in the first place. Some days are very intense so it’s important to be able to keep perspective around what’s important and what is not.
Jade: I would say the most invaluable attributes to have while working in the weddings sector would be to have high organisational skills and be a very effective communicator. Also great if you can be a good trouble shooter because there’s always things that can go wrong.
CoEM: What advice would you give someone trying to crack it in this particular part of the industry?
Paul: Get out there and get your hands dirty – get on-site for some weddings with a wedding planner or wedding florist or similar. Get some experience with weddings operations; volunteer your time, take up an internship or take a casual job as wait staff with a venue/caterer known for weddings.
Kirrily: Work hard in your course, push yourself and say ‘yes’ to every opportunity (paid or unpaid) that comes your way. Once you experience your first week in ‘events land’ you’ll be glad you challenged yourself and can now handle anything that comes your way!
Jade: Tailor your CV to be more specific for the position and if you do manage to get an interview, try and be confident. It’s great to do some voluntary work to understand how things really work in the real world too. This also, will give you more confidence in the interview and look good on your CV. Employers like an employee with a positive outlook that can display a ‘can do attitude’. It also helps to be presentable and professional at all times.