6 Things I’ve Learned From Being a Toronto Wedding Planner, Business Owner and Seeker of Happiness

Since launching my business in 2013 and becoming a Toronto wedding planner, I’ve learned not only a great deal about the wedding industry, but also a tremendous amount about who I am and who I want to be in this world. Here are 6 enlightenments I’ve taken away from a couple of the best years of my life

1. Drive

I am pretty sure that 58.5% of the successes I have experienced with Blush + Bowties have to due with me being an incredibly persistent person. Everyday I do something to move my business forward. Everyday I try to learn something new about the industry and explore the type wedding planner I want to be.

I am never standing still but always moving forward.

Any bumps along the road may have slowed me down for a second, but I keep driving with my eyes on the horizon. I know that sounds a little hokey and metaphorical, but I truly believe persistence is the key to success.

2. Staying Curious

I watch a lot of informative and inspirational videos. Videos about being a business owner, being a woman entrepreneur, and even talks on finding happiness. One video that has stuck in my mind is a short segment with Elizabeth Gilbert speaking about passion. Passion is a word that has tripped me up for many years. I grew up acting, went to university for acting, and was very convinced this was the only career path for my future, because it was my passion. Well, as it turned out, I was not cut out for the world of showbiz and spent a lot of time feeling lost about what I should do with this precious life of mine.

Then I started to think about other aspects of life I was curious about, wedding planning being one of them.

I realized, you might not know what you are passionate about until you begin exploring nuggets of life that you are curious about. If it doesn’t work out . . . ok well it didn’t work out. But when you do find something that brings you fulfillment and you can make a career out of it . . . well you’ve just hit the jackpot.

3. Running Your Own Business is Kind of Terrifying (and that’s a good thing )

Doing what you love isn’t easy. Actually it’s really hard. You have to fight for what you love everyday, you have to be determined, you have to put yourself out there, you have make sacrifices, you have to step out your comfort zone.

But all these scary things actually contribute to the excitement of being a business owner.

For me, being an entrepreneur and running my own company is terrifying because I care so very deeply about what I do and my clients. And you know what, caring feels pretty damn amazing. It’s the stress and anxiety that comes with fear that is not so great. But once I came to terms with the fact that I may indeed be in a perpetual state of fear (well not really but you get the jist) all that stress started to melt away. It’s natural to be a little scared when you are doing something important. I have learned to look at this natural emotion as a positive, as evidence that I am doing something right.

4. Fill Your Day With Importance

“Here’s the truth. We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. The unimportant ones are basically killing time.”  I LOVE this quote from Mark Manson’s article entitled “7 Strange Questions that Help you Find your Life Purpose”.

I have learned to become much more aware of my time and what I do with it.

My husband and I got rid of cable. I have tried to be conscious of my time on the internet and just clicking on random gossipy articles about celebrities or silly quizzes, and instead if I need a little break, choose a poignant article to read. I have made more time for friends who I love and who make me laugh. I have embarked on a career path where my time goes to helping couples plan the wedding of their dreams which at the same time brings me immense fulfillment both creativity and personally. I mean hey, don’t get me wrong, I still catch myself killing time on youtube after one cat massaging cat video turns into 10, but I have just become much more conscious of my actions and have learned to treat the very precious moments of my day with a little more care. And now here is a link to a video of cat massaging a cat. You’re welcome.

5. Networking is Connecting

I have met so many wonderful people since becoming a wedding planner. Toronto has so many amazing and talented people working in the wedding industry. When I began going to wedding shows, open houses, and industry nights I was a little intimidated. Not many people would peg me as a shy person, but I do have my introverted moments.

But what I’ve learned is to simply connect with people and that this is synonymous with networking.

Networking isn’t about trying to sell myself and what I do, it’s about collaboration and authenticity. It goes back to the curiosity thing I was talking about. About genuinely wanting to hear someone’s story, about their successes, and about their growth. From this desire to connect authentically, I have made so many wonderful relationships.

6. Kindness, Courtesy, Gratitude

As a wedding planner (and member of the human race), I have learned that being kind, courteous, and grateful is always the best choice. Period. When I first launched Blush + Bowties some advised me that in business, you have to be a “ball buster” to make it. That being a biatch will get you what you want and faster. I chose not to listen to this piece of advice. I have found that kindness is a much better tactic than being demanding, pushy, and rude. I still get the job done, I just do it with a smile on my face and politely. I communicate with so many people a day, whether it’s over the phone, email or in person. It brightens my day when someone is chipper and appreciative, and I strive to always give this positivity back.

It just feels so much better to be nice.

I hope to make this a recurring post as I learn and grow as a wedding planner, business owner, and person. Now lets get out there and do what makes us happy. I feel it necessary to end this post with, I admit, a slightly cheesy, yet totally awesome and inspirational quote.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” Steve Jobs

By Certified Wedding Planner Alexandra McNamara