Student Feature: Diane Merriss
Company Name: Event Wedding Planning
Description: Event Wedding Planning is a full service wedding planning company that can customize any package to make it fit your exact needs. From the intimate weddings to the spectacular—we offer more personalized services, from multi-cultural weddings and events to destination weddings.
Region: Southern California and beyond
Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/EventWeddingPlanning1
Diane Merriss believes in the power of education. That’s why she’s enrolled in QC’s Wedding Planning course. Her career has come so far since then, and she is now the owner of her own thriving event and wedding planning business. We’re so proud to share her story with our readers today, from her personal insight into the planning industry, to some seriously incredible photos of her work. Make sure you scroll to the bottom to see them all!
Kerri & Jim’s Wedding, Photographed by Jen Lauren Grant Photography
What motivated you to start your career as a professional event and wedding planner and how did you career unfold?
I was into photography for such a long time, and experienced a lot of behind the scenes of weddings and events. I thought that I would love to do it too, as I had always loved to host get-togethers. My ultimate dream goal was to own a luxurious wedding and event venue along the coast. I had thought about that goal many times over the years. I finally decided to go to school to be a wedding planner and start from scratch so I could learn the real way to plan weddings professionally.
I then enrolled in QC Event School’s Wedding Planning course, completed my course, and started by business, Event Wedding Planning, immediately. Less than two years later, QC called to let me know that they added the Core Event course and wanted to see if I was interested. I enrolled and completed it quickly, changing my designation from IWPP to IEWP (International Event and Wedding Planning Professional).
Right after completing the Core Event program, I started Special Event Producers, which is the corporate and private events side of Event Wedding Planning. I have planned many events and still love every minute of what I do.
In 2011 I decided that, knowing all I do about events, it was time to bring in even more education to my business to help with design, color schemes, and so forth, so I went back to QC for the Design and Decorating course. I love it! Adding professional design elements to my business gives me a greater advantage for designing an event from scratch and putting together color schemes. Most seasoned planners seem to have an interior design background, or vice versa.
Great Gatsby Inspired Wedding Photographed by Lin & Jirsa Photography
What are some highlights of your career so far?
- Planning an entire wedding from scratch in less than three months! It was challenging but fun, and worth every moment. The wedding turned out beautifully, just the way the couple imagined.
- Having the opportunity to work with not only fabulous wedding couples, but also some amazing and talented wedding and event professionals, along with some amazing locations. We have developed long lasting relationships that are treasured by my business. I consider my preferred vendors and preferred locations like family, and I refer them to all my clients and to anyone needing their specific services.
- Lastly, I had the opportunity to add “private estates” to my business to rent out for events. Great properties with great possibilities—I am just blessed to have been part of the estate renting experience, as it felt like my own wedding venues!
How did your course prepare you for working in the field?
QC’s courses taught me a lot about the business end, which is so very valuable to any business. Learning how to properly price my services, the do’s and don’ts of business, and legal information has been so very priceless. My business is stricter because of this.
Learning the cultural diversities and traditions that were broken down into detail in the course has been such a blessing for my business as well. I love, love, love the religious traditions for weddings and events! That is one thing that has made my business stand out a little bit more from some of the others. The knowledge of different cultures and religious traditions has brought more business to my company and that is one thing I honestly cherish about my wedding business.
Rietkerk Wedding Photographed by Jim Kennedy Photographers
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?
My advice would be to finish all schooling first! I have many interns who want to “just be a planner already” and think they don’t need schooling. I quickly sit them down and tell them how important it is and how it benefits them for their own future businesses. Ultimately, having a certificate shows an employer how serious you are about this as a career and that it’s not just another job you are taking. Schooling shows you the back-end of running a successful business, how to run different types of events, and how to problem solve in worst-case scenarios, so it is very valuable to have.