Jyl Deering—wedding planner and coordinator for Chancey Charm—wasn’t one of those little girls who played “bride” when she was growing up. Nor did she spend her weekends binge watching Say Yes to the Dress (but, uh, maybe I’m the only one who does that).
During her freshmen year, though, she started working at a bridal boutique and ended up loving it. She soon realized she wanted to learn a lot more about working in the wedding industry.
“I saw the girls leave with their dresses but never got to see them walk down the aisle, exchange vows, or anything else about the big day,” she explains. “I loved working there, but I felt like I was missing out.” So, she chose to take a college internship in hotels and catering in order to play a bigger role on wedding day.
Itching to venture out of small-town Massachusetts, she applied to Disney World’s college program and spent a year working in the front offices of their hotels.
“It was an amazing experience,” she shares. “It taught me hospitality at the highest level.” From there, Deering worked in a few different sales and events positions up and down the East Coast. But, she began to really miss working on weddings.
“I spent time as a sales manager at a truly world class hotel in the mountains of North Carolina,” she shares. “They do these breathtaking high-end weddings, and I got to sell the venue to couples and also execute details like reserving hotel blocks and creating reception menus.”
A few years later, Deering decided to move back to Massachusetts to be closer to family. She started working at Chancey Charm as soon as she moved back.
“I researched starting my own business, but it was super expensive to build a decent website, get a lawyer, draw up contracts—you get the picture,” she explains. “The agency had all that ready for me. As soon as I finished relocating, I was already getting clients.”
But, because she wasn’t sure how steady the income would be, she got a full-time job at a seasonal hotel, where she ran corporate events and small weddings. After 10 months, it became clear she had enough business to leave the resort and coordinate weddings full-time. And she hasn’t looked back since.
To learn more about what it’s like to be a wedding planner, keep reading.
What Are Your Main Responsibilities as a Wedding Planner?
I’m pretty much a one-woman show for the business side—staffing, paying bills, social media, and event execution. On week days, I craft timelines, contact vendors, try to book new clients, and spend time on the road meeting new vendors. Weekends, of course, are dedicated to ensuring the event goes smoothly. (And, yes, I work a lot of weekends. Probably around 40 each year.)
And throughout it all, I’m replying to the bride’s questions and concerns about anything—from approving invitation wording to tracking their RSVPs and so much more. Weddings are extremely emotional and involve a lot of people and ideas. It’s my job to make everyone comfortable and happy.
What’s One Thing You Wish People Understood About Your Industry?
Everyone thinks it’s just parties and pretty dresses. Or that we get to drink champagne and look at flowers and linens all day. In reality, though, it can be stressful. We work around the clock, year-round. And on the wedding day, we’re hustling around behind the scenes the whole time. To be honest, we can be kind of sweaty and gross by the end of the day (See, not that glamorous!).
At the end of all the chaos, though, I get to see a couple join together and throw a fabulous party. What’s better than that?
What Advice Do You Have for Finding Success in This Business?
Get completely immersed. Always say yes to a job you’re offered, even if you don’t get paid. You might network there and meet someone! Learn things like being a waitress, a bartender, even a valet. It’s truly a customer service job, and having grace under pressure is key to success.
Like Tim Gunn (from Project Runway) says, we have to “ Make it work,” and that’s my motto—find a way to make it work!
TopicsCareer Stories , Weddings , Syndication , Career Paths , Event Planning , Finding Your Passion
Abby is a writer, career coach, and health educator living in Portland, Maine. When she’s not trying to make the world a happier and healthier place, you can find her cuddling with her cats, hunting down the city's best coffee and grilled cheese, or dipping her toes in the Atlantic. Say hi on Twitter .More from this Author