Behind the Scenes of a Dream Wedding Planner: Her Company. Her Story. Meet Stephanie.
So here it is, the third edition of the RC&D mini series: Meet the Boss Behind the Brand. And I’m beyond excited to have the boss behind Viva L'Event with us to share her story and her passion for event planning. Okay, the floor's all yours!
Please introduce yourself and your business.
I am Stephanie, Owner and Creative Director of Viva L'Event a wedding planning and design company specializing in destination weddings. I was born and raised in the Windy City of Chicago and moved to the south in North Carolina 8 years ago.
Where are you physically located and where can we find you online?
I am located in Raleigh, North Carolina a perfect central point from the beach to the mountains.
How important has social media been for growing your business?
Social media is a great way to get your brand out to the public in a quick visual way. A way to not only showcase your work but also your personality, travel and my companies work. I don't separate my personal and business Instagram or instance because I want my viewers to see not only what is going on in my business but also show my personal life too. Now I don't show it all but it gives a look into my life day to day. As a destination planner and designer it's also a way for me to showcase and look into other vendors all over the world.
How did you get started as an event planner?
I went to school with a passion in marketing and advertising and minored in graphic arts but I always had a passion for event planning. Back when I went to school hospitality wasn't an option but in total I am happy that I went with a marketing communications degree. I think this has helped me overall in running my business. I would encourage other students to look into having a business background too. After graduating from college in 2002 I worked at a Media agency in downtown Chicago and even though it was great I knew there was a passion still in event planning. I started just networking and found a friend of a coworker that did corporate event planning so I reached out to her through Facebook. We talked for months and one day she said "would you be interested in interviewing for a event planning/promotions position?" I was worried because more promotions positions just seem like this sales position but I went for it. Two interviews later I was now managing and planning events for the 7 states in the Midwest and part of a National travel destination planner in the US and Caribbean. I met my significant other at a meeting in St. Louis and we ended up moving to NC together as he had received a promotion. Long story short I left the business I was working for due to new parent company ownership and not wanting to move back so I started working for a planner in Raleigh, NC and then was hired back to work from home by previous company. The company I was working for was selling off and then I began my business 6 years ago.
What was one of the challenges of starting your company?
When I started my business I had a partner and unfortunately after one year in business something happened that I didn't see coming and I had to separate from the partnership. It was like starting completely over but in the end it was for the better for many reasons.
How many employees do you have? Do you outsource any aspects of your business?
I currently have 4 employees and some with me from the beginning. I always have wonderful partnerships with the schools and offer internships throughout the year as well. I also outsource my legal, part of my accounting currently.
Can you walk us through a typical day running your business?
There is no typical day to what I do. Everyday is different which is something I love. Some people prefer to have the same and routine this always keeps me going. Now this doesn't mean I don't have a routine in what I do. Each week there are To Do's and items I need to do. There are meetings I set and some weeks we have our events on the weekends too. I also have clients that live out of state and out of state weddings so some weeks I am also traveling to see them and have meetings. I start off my day at my computer every day and sending out updates and emails. Everyone always asks me how do you keep your clients straight and how do I do what I do. For me it's easy because every couple is so different and each special day is so drastically different. I love that! Different couples, different families and different guests.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own business?
Think of what you want your company your brand to represent. What is your true passion, not necessarily what will just make money but to make you happy. I truly believe if you do what you love and love what you do you will make money but that won't be what's important. This is how I feel so blessed today, I don't make millions but I LOVE what I do!
Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I love Muay Thai and I used to train in it, it's an amazing sport!! I also played soccer and was in gymnastics and dance growing up. I am also HUGE sports fan in general specifically the Steelers and the Chicago Cubs. I know weird mix right but my significant other he is from Pittsburgh. I became a huge fan growing up with NFL season tickets to the Chicago Bears with my family and I just got sucked into the Steelers amazing team!!!
Sending snail mail can be a great way to personalize a message or stand out from your competition. When do you use snail mail in your business?
I send items in the mail from my welcome packages to say thank you for selecting working with me and vendor thank you notes. I think it's very important to still send a hand written note. These days sometimes with everything in social media and online we lose the face to face or hand written in the mail notes. I love receiving pieces in the mail still to this day!
We're all loving this, Stephanie! What else can you share with us?
I have wanted to adopt a french bulldog and hopefully one day I will be able to. If you meet me I look taller sitting down so don't be surprised if you meet me sitting down and I stand up, at 5'0 tall! Pretty funny right!
Thank you Stephanie and Team Hive for letting us explore your world of creating beautiful weddings! To keep up with Stephanie and her top notch team, you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter and like them on Facebook.
I’d love to hear you’re thoughts about this interview in the comments below. And if you have suggestions for future brand interviews or would like your business featured, click here for more details.