Student Feature: Katherine Snow
Name: Katherine Snow
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia, United States
QC Event Planning Courses completed:
Website: QC Student Profile Site
Tell us about yourself!
I am a mother to 6-year-old twins and married to an amazingly supportive husband. I have been in the education field for 10+ years. But have since decided to transition into professional event planning because it has always been my passion.
I started by planning my own wedding in 2007 with my mom. Having loved dress shopping so much, I even debated becoming a wedding dress model! I am now on my third marriage (I was just practicing until I found the right one) and still planned every little detail of my wedding. Everything from the venue to the flowers and down to the favors, etc.
I then started birthday and party planning for my daughter and family. Eventually, I moved into family reunions. From there, I have now expanded into planning larger-scale events in Washington D.C with military organizations. With each event, I acquire new knowledge and bring in past event’s ideas into my new ones.
Why did you decide to transition into a second career in wedding planner?
Photo by Katie Gallagher
My love of event planning in both private and corporate settings came from my love of engaging with people. I enjoy seeing people’s excitement when you bring their dream event to life, in a way they couldn’t imagine possible. I enjoy taking part in a client’s special day or an event that has significant meaning to others. Knowing I can make someone’s dreams come true for a day or even a couple of hours is definitely one of the main reasons I transitioned over to a career in wedding planning.
You’ve planned events with various non-profit organizations. Do you have advice for planners transitioning to the non-profit sector?
Non-profit events are very tricky. They require a lot of patience and decision-making skills that you may not anticipate. Unfortunately, with non-profits, you usually have to deal with more than one person when making decisions. So you need to be on top of what they want and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Anyone looking to enter the non-profit sector should be patient. They must understand that there will be many people chiming in with ideas. But few people will probably be involved in the actual planning process unless they are made to. With this in mind, continue to keep great notes, and gather as much information as possible. Oh, and find a favorite Starbucks drink because you will be there daily as a stress reliever!
What was the most difficult part of planning your own wedding that you are now wise to with your wedding planning course?
Photo by Katie Gallagher
The most difficult process for my wedding planning was budgeting and finding a venue. Unfortunately, when we have champagne taste on a beer budget, it can be hard to plan your own wedding.
Once you know this, you could be a great person to help those who don’t know how to create a realistic budget. In these cases, I would definitely set a budget right off the bat. From that point, finding a venue becomes clearer (not necessarily easier) but at least you’ll know where to look.
I would advise anyone looking to plan the perfect wedding that money doesn’t dictate how great a wedding can be. You can plan a dream wedding on $5000 that’s as picture-perfect as one on $20,000. It’s all in how you plan it, where you find your vendors, and how willing you are to DIY some aspects yourself, i.e. wedding favors, invitations, etc. Nothing is impossible!
Why is it important for you to earn a wedding planner certification?
First and foremost, becoming a certified wedding planner is super important because it adds credibility to your name. It also gives you the knowledge that you may have not known—how to deal with difficult guests, clients, situations, etc. If you have prior knowledge on how to deal with tricky situations, it becomes easier to deal with such issues when they actually arise.
I learned about a variety of scenarios and issues from QC that I don’t think I would have thought of. I have spoken to a couple of sources in my area and have been told that people call themselves wedding planners when they’re not qualified. Many “wedding planners” have no knowledge of how to deal with difficult issues when they happen.
As a graduate of both the Corporate Event Planning course and the Wedding Planning Course, I am able to solve these issues and produce a successful event or wedding.
Why did you choose QC over other wedding planning schools?
I chose QC because it had great reviews, and I liked how professional the website was. It was nice to come to a place that was a one-stop-shop. The tutors were reputable, and I was able to add to my education in different fields like makeup, writing, interior decorating, etc. I liked that I was able to continue my education through easy payments and still be able to keep moving forward. It definitely made things easier for me. The tutors I had were great, helpful, and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed my time!
Your mother’s a wedding florist. From this additional perspective, what’s one thing that wedding planners should do when working with a florist?
Knowing what you want is very important. I would tell the bride to have a few pictures of wedding themes and styles they like and the types of bouquets and centerpieces they would like to have. I say this for two reasons.
- Having reference photos give you (the planner) a better idea of what your clients want
- Not all ideas can be used due to budget restraints. For example, floral decor can be an expensive portion of the wedding, sometimes more than what we think. It’s best to have several ideas about they want. You and your clients should be willing to change and tweak a few things in case your vendors can’t make accommodations or if the budget is tight.
If your clients wish to keep their flowers longer than the wedding, I suggest silk flowers. They are gorgeous, come in any style and color you want, and last a lifetime. A good wedding florist will want to sit down to discuss ideas and event logistics. From that point, you will want to book the florist about nine months to a year ahead.
What’s part of the wedding planning process do you still struggle with? How are you making improvements?
One thing I’m still struggling with is finding clientele and convincing people to give me the opportunity to gain experience. Unfortunately, there are several positions or opportunities where they want experienced people but don’t want to give you the experience. For this reason, the best I can do at the moment is look for starting points, internships, and volunteering. Networking is also very big, so I am currently working on that aspect of my event planning career.