Graduate Feature: Natalie Conte
Location: Niagara, Ontario, Canada
QC Courses she’s taken: Wedding Planning Course
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I casually started my business in 2013 right after I became a certified planner. I did a couple weddings here and there to get my feet wet and ease into things. In 2014 I started to take a harder look at my business and began networking and preparing for bridal shows. Shortly after that, things were picking up, and I learned so much along the way!
Planning weddings is something I am very passionate about—I love seeing the look on everyone’s face when they enter the reception for the first time. I care a lot about my clients. So taking on fewer weddings to start was better than taking on too much, because I want to give 100 percent to my clients. I work hard, I play fair and when it comes down to it, I really enjoy what I do!
Why did you decide to go into event planning? What about it appeals to you?
I’ve always been a planner at heart. I’ve been planning social get-togethers among friends and family for as long as I can remember. I am extremely organized, so post it notes, calendars and different colored sharpies excite me.
Some people may find certain aspects of planning overwhelming. I, on the other hand, love creating lists and checking off the items. I also love coordinating on the wedding day. Seeing all the details unfold, all the work and preparation that went into planning, and everything that creates someone’s special day. Knowing I am the planner behind it all puts a smile on my face. I also get to work with amazing vendors, and that makes my job that much more enjoyable.
What’s one thing that you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out in the business?
Photography: Krista Fox Photography
Well someone told me about quality over quantity, and I am glad they did. Instead of taking on too many weddings just for the sake of numbers, I take on less, which allows me to provide the best service for my clients. Each year you learn more about yourself and what you can handle and you continuously grow. New businesses should focus on perfecting their services and learning the ins and outs before expanding.
It looks like you do destination wedding planning! That must come with its own obstacles. What’s the most challenging thing you had to do when planning this type of wedding?
I offer this package because I know the challenges couples face when planning in an unfamiliar setting. Some of my clients are coming to Niagara for their destination wedding. They don’t know who to contact or what is acceptable in terms of costs for supplies and vendors. Imagine going to a country where you don’t speak the same language and you are trying to communicate your needs—it can be very stressful! That’s why I offer a destination package to travel to Cuba, or Mexico, or wherever, to take the stress away from clients and help them get what they need for their wedding.
How do you think QC Event School has prepared you for working in the field?
Photography: Krista Fox Photography
This course allowed me to experience what real wedding planning is all about. They gave me mock weddings with a budget and had me contact vendors for pricing. It was very “real”. I still have all my books full of information that I look at from time to time. The course prepared me with weekly planning assignments, and those assignments had again, very real scenarios to what happens today. There was a lot of reading to do, but the information was organized into categories making it very useful for reference later on. Each chapter throughout the course taught me something new about the world of wedding planning.
Congratulations on becoming a QC Event School graduate! What do you think the future holds for you and your business?
Currently I am engaged and planning my very own real wedding! This journey has brought so many wonderful opportunities already for my business. You can follow my planning series blog on my website or through The Wedding Opera. Relating to other engaged brides has been a lot of fun. I know there are more weddings to be planned in the future, and it’s exciting expanding my portfolio and watching my very own business grow. I look forward to all the new places, experiences and opportunities my business will bring me. As I always say, happy planning!
Photography: Captivate Photo + Cinema