New Year’s resolutions often fall into a handful of different categories. Leading a healthier lifestyle, whether that be through diet and exercise or cutting back on bad habits, is always a popular one.

I personally loathe going to the gym in January with all the “resolutioners” as I call them.

But making general resolutions never really gets the job done. If you don’t know the “why” behind the New Year’s resolution, you’re likely to fail. This means getting really specific about what you want to change and how you will do it.

So what makes you want to change something? I always found reflecting on the past helped me shape the “why” behind any resolutions I made. More importantly, that “why” made it possible to achieve the goals I wanted to reach.

As 2019 comes to a close, I decided to look back on my year as a wedding planner. What did I learn? What am I proud of? All of the questions I asked myself, I then asked several wedding professionals.

In this blog, you’ll hear plenty of bold honesty…and hopefully, it will help you make some New Year’s resolutions of your own. (Perhaps like commenting on blogs such as this one, for starters…)

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New Year’s Resolutions: Inside The Wedding Industry

At the end of every year, it’s next to impossible not to set goals to be more successful for the year coming up. Let’s say you want to lose weight like everyone else, and you set the goal to go to the gym more.

Why aren’t you already going to the gym? 9 times out of 10 people will say they don’t have enough time. So, shouldn’t your resolution be to create more time for yourself? After all, you’re not just going to start going to the gym with the same exact schedule you already have.

It’s about getting specific: figuring out what your goals are, why they exist and how you’re going to reach them. Saying you want to lose weight is a New Year’s resolution quote.

That’s worthless.

outdoor ceremony space with white and green flowers
Milton Gil Photography

For 2020, my business resolution was originally just to do better. Better, to me, means more business, more clients, more money and just more. Meanwhile, I already have so much on my plate and I always have, and more is the last thing I should resolve to have.

Adjusting my mindset, I realized that I actually want to resolve to do business better. I want different things including types of clients and work opportunities. It was important to sit down with myself and figure out what those differences are and how I would attain them. It’s not a perfect science, but I know my goals AKA resolutions for 2020.

Other wedding industry resolutions? I asked around and got some crazy different answers (which I thought was pretty cool):

– “Our 2020 resolution is to choose a non-profit to commit our time and donations,”  Alicia, ILE Events

four ladies together
ILE Events

The idea of giving instead of taking or making the new year about a new you, isn’t one I hear that much. In fact, plenty of people decide to resolve making themselves better in some way, shape, or form. There’s nothing wrong with that either, believe me, I’m not judging anyone’s resolutions here. I just found it incredibly refreshing to hear a resolution that was about giving back.

– “My main goal for 2020 is to create a better work/life balance,” Michelle, Michelle Elise Artistry

If there was ever a resolution I could relate to, this one is it. As a business owner, wife, and mom, it is a constant struggle for me to find that work/life balance. Personally, I have found that setting boundaries is a great way to lay the foundation for this goal.

bride walking down aisle outdoors
Milton Gil Photography

“In our industry, it is easy to say “Yes” to every bride who inquires, and fill the calendar quickly. My company is blessed to do over 100 weddings a year, but that means almost every weekend is filled with work. As a new mother, I want to prioritize family time as much as possible and let my team begin to take on more weddings instead of myself,” –Michelle

Realizing how fortunate you are to have what you already have, is the first step in choosing your resolution. Too often we hear things like “Oh, I wish I had your problems”, when really, we should be encouraging one another to do what’s right for them. Being grateful is a resolution in itself that plenty of people should make.

– “To book more Monday through Thursday weddings,” Devin, Tom, and Elizabeth, Park Chateau Estate.

You don’t get more specific than that wedding industry resolution, and it’s such a clear 2020 goal. With weddings getting more and more expensive, couples are always looking for ways to cut costs. The fact that this luxury venue is attempting to give brides and grooms their dream day without going totally broke, is a sign of major hope and a damn good resolution.

You Live, You Learn

“I learned that it is impossible to manage a company and team of our size by myself. Last year I hired an assistant, who has been the greatest asset to the company…after several years of being stubborn I gave in for the support. I should have done this much earlier!” Michelle

Lessons learned are the first step in figuring out how to grow in business and in life in general. Asking for help isn’t always easy, but hiring help is even harder.

bride getting make up done
Jennifer Larsen Photography

Back in 2018, I actually hired an assistant that was part of my day to day office life. I thought I had found someone with the drive and ambition that matched my own, and let my guard down by handing over major responsibilities. It’s not easy for me to ask for help or trust someone with the business that is attached to my last name.

After years of being told by others that I needed to hire an assistant, someone right walked into my life. Then in early 2019, she walked right out of it…disappeared and flat out abandoned clients. She left everything including our friendship, and I haven’t really been looking for a replacement because that burn still stings.

Like Michelle, I was stubborn for years and should’ve given in and gotten support. I applaud her and anyone else that let their guard down and let someone in to assist. Perhaps one day I will do the same again.

2019 was absolutely a year to learn some hard lessons in the wedding industry. In fact, the wedding world has changed so much over the past year, it’s impossible to list all the changes without talking about social media:

“Social media plays a huge roll in the wedding industry,” Park Chateau Team

For the wedding professionals that have been around for awhile, many are realizing how essential a strong social media presence is. Gone are the days of brides stacking countless wedding magazines in their bedrooms.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, to name a few, are at the double tap of every bride/groom’s finger tips. They have so many tips, tricks, and inspiration photos for couples to explore instantaneously,” Park Chateau Team

white and green floral staircase with bride and groom
Milton Gil Photography

But social media doesn’t tell us everything. How many times have you seen a Facebook status talking about how fantastic someone’s relationship is, when you know it’s total bullshit? Yeah, me too.

“Real connections to real people are more important than vendor listings. With real people you  are able to understand the processes, values, and goals of your peers’ company; something a listing does not tell you,” Alicia ILE Events

Nothing beats authenticity at the end of the day…and when do people really want to be authentic? When they’re wedding planning. This means striking a balance between real and social media contact only, so that as a professional, you get the business you need.

Reflecting For Resolutions

I mentioned earlier that you cannot decide your New Year’s resolutions without some reflection. What do you want to change and why? For me, this means looking at things I am grateful for. If you don’t express gratitude, you’re always going to be miserable. This is why I asked wedding pros about not just their favorite wedding moment of 2019, but their biggest accomplishment as well…

“[Our favorite wedding moment this year was] being able to salvage our bride’s brother surprise with the legendary Konpa Singer, Alan Cave.  Someone let the secret out to the bride of her brother’s plan! I told the bride I spoke with Alan’s agent and your brother missed the deadline and Alan was booked with another performance. She was upset but we went on with the planning. At the reception I couldn’t wait for the moment during their first dance as husband and wife; the music began and from the stairs at the Venetian enters Alan Cave!” Alicia ILE Events

As a fellow wedding planner, I have to agree that saving the day for a couple is always a high moment for me. One of the biggest blessings of my career is seeing the reaction of my couples on the wedding day…especially when I fix something they were freaking about.

In 2019, I had a few of these moments with my team…from intercepting stationery on the wedding day that I told my bride was already there, to hijacking a surprise performance that would’ve embarrassed the bride. As a planner, if it’s not in you to be the fairy godmother, it’s time to pick a different career.

“The biggest accomplishment the business saw this year was not only breaking records for the number of weddings Michelle Elise Artistry has ever done, but the amount of weddings/brides my Lead Stylists did,” Michelle, Michelle Elise Artistry

Setting a goal for yourself can be a really scary thing, which is why so many people refuse to do it. The thing is, if you look at things as impossible, you’ll never push yourself to get there. It’s totally OK to fail, because it makes the times you succeed that much sweeter.

While I can’t really go into detail about my best new experience of 2019 as a wedding planner, I will say that it was something I needed…I needed to prove to myself that I had grown from a situation and that I was a better planner now than I was then. It’ll be a little bit into 2020 before I can divulge further, but I will say this: put yourself in situations that scare TF out of you…it’ll be worth it.

outside park chateau grounds
Milton Gil Photography

New Year’s Resolutions: Inspired

If you’re not consistently inspired by others, then you won’t grow in your business. It’s natural to feel jealous or envious every once in awhile, but you should learn from your peers.

Just because someone does what you wish you could, doesn’t mean beating yourself up is acceptable. It’s necessary to look to others for inspiration to become the best version of ourselves that we can be.

Sometimes we learn the most from those excelling in what we already do…

“I want to shout out Jessica Ferarra from BeYoutiful Bride. This Fall I had the honor of taking a bridal hair class with Jess and realized how differently artists can approach the same type of work. She is an amazing inspiration to many stylists in the industry, and it was wonderful and refreshing to have a new perspective on hair design,” Michelle, Michelle Elise Artistry

Sometimes we learn the most from the team that surrounds us every day…

“We wish we could pinpoint one person,  but we would like to highlight the staff here at Park Chateau. Everyone here inspires one another – our chef who comes up with creative new ideas, our attendant staff who helps out our couples on their wedding day, our management staff who strives to create dream weddings for our clients and most importantly our service staff who gives 100% effort for every wedding they work,” Park Chateau Team

No matter whom you learn from, all that matter is that you learn. And maybe that can be your New Year’s resolution for 2020…to learn more. Open your mind and look around because the key to what you really want could be closer than you think.

bride hair and makeup done
Dyanna Lamora

I would like to thank the incredible wedding professionals that contributed to this blog: Alicia of ILE Events, Michelle of Michelle Elise Artistry, and Tom Casella, Devin Castellano and Elizabeth Marino from Park Chateau Estate. Please visit their websites and follow them on social media to get inspiration for your wedding day or be inspired for your own wedding business.

My best wishes for all of you as we enter 2020. The excitement I feel for this upcoming year is incredibly different than before. I have no idea what’s about to happen, but I’ll throw out a New Year’s resolution’s quote…or rather a quote that I think is perfect for a new year…

“Could be?
Who knows?
There’s something due any day
I will know, right away
Soon as it shows…

Could it be, yes it could
Something’s comin’, something good
If I can wait
Something’s comin’
I don’t know what it is
But it is gonna be great…”

-West Side Story-

Happy New Year everyone. It’s gonna be big.

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