birthday cake for a party planned by Alicia Johnstone a QC Event School graduate

Graduate Features

Graduate Profile: Alicia Johnstone

QC Event School graduate feature Alicia Johnstone of Today and Forever Events
Photography by Sunmoon Media

Name: Alicia Johnstone

Location: Brighton, Ontario, Canada

QC Courses she’s taken:

Her Website: www.todayforeverevents.com

Social Media:

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Alicia Johnstone. I am 27 years old with a beautiful 8 year old daughter named Aurora. I also have a new addition coming to the family due April 15, 2019.

I’ve been doing variations of event planning since I was in high school, with school and family events as well as with the Girl Guides. I’ve always thought I was meant to be in accounting. I have two diplomas in accounting from Loyalist College. However, I didn’t realize I could actually make a career out of what I was passionate about until my best friend asked me to be her maid of honor! That is when I decided I wanted to become a wedding and event planner!

Why did you decide to go into event & wedding planning? What about it appeals to you?

lisa hughes photography and planning by Alicia Johnstone
Photography by Lisa Hughes

Like I mentioned, I’ve always loved creating events for family and friends! Once I started planning my best friend’s wedding, I knew I had to make it my career.

My favorite aspect of the planning process is combining mine and my client’s creativity to bring together the perfect event! With weddings, just being able to see the bride and groom be stress-free and happy-as-can-be on their special day is what makes all the planning worthwhile! My absolute favorite part of weddings is seeing the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time! It melts my heart!

What’s one thing that you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out in the business?

The one thing I wish someone had told me is that it could take years to gain the clientele needed to work full time! I knew there would be some clients who may not like anything I suggested. I knew there would be some who may be difficult to handle. And I knew it could take some time to get my feet off the ground. I, however, did not expect it to take as long as it has!

Carnival themed birthday party by Kayla Kristina Photography
Photography by Kayla Kristina Photography
Carnival themed birthday party by Kayla Kristina Photography
Photography by Lisa Hughes

What’s something that you still struggle with in regards to the planning process? How are you making improvements?

Something I still struggle with is negotiating pricing. I say this because in my area, there are many low income individuals and families who need the assistance but can’t afford the going rate. It’s difficult to be able to say that “this amount should cover the amount of time I put into a wedding” when every wedding is different. I am, however, slowly improving my estimation as I go. I keep track of my hours for each event, and have limited my time on the day-of the event to certain times, as per my packages.

We hear you have a baby on the way! What are your plans regarding motherhood and your career?

baby shower planned by Alicia Johnstone photographed Kayla Kristina Photography
Photography by Kayla Kristina Photography

I do have a baby on the way! We are very excited to be adding a new member to our family! In regards to juggling being a single mom of two and running my planning business, I have an amazing support system!

Luckily, the baby is due in mid-April, which still gives me time for one-on-one bonding with the newborn before wedding season is in full swing! I already have clients booked for 2019. With the assistance of my family and close friends, following through at 110% for my clients will be no issue!

What is your biggest career highlight so far?

My biggest career highlight so far is the custom candy cart that I created for Today & Forever Events (TFE). We rent it out for a discounted price to already booked clients, and full price for anyone else. They can choose what goes onto the cart and the color of canopy they would like! It is fully customizable!

Custom made candy cart for rental as part of Today and Forever Events' services
Photography by Sunmoon Media

Lisa Hughes photography of twelve sign
Photography by Lisa Hughes

Congratulations on becoming a QC Event School graduate! What do you think the future holds for you and your business?

Thank you! I’ve learned so much more in my courses compared to a generalized event management course! I believe the future holds many great challenges and success for TFE! We have recently added decor packages to the company and expanded to Calgary, Alberta. Next, I believe we’ll be adding a new product that’s free to our clients and available for purchase to the public…. but that is still trade secret until it’s completely finalized!

Inspired by Alicia’s journey? Upgrade your planning skills with online event planning courses!

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