Back in 2012, I was in the midst of a rebranding and considering some ideas to grow my business that I had never tried before. I had put a call out on our blog that I was looking for wedding directors. I think it was a month or two after I put that note out that I got an email from my friend Julie Lowry, owner of Chanterelle Photography. Julie told me that she had given my info to one of her recent brides (Courtney) because she had been talking about wanting to get into wedding planning. She went on to say, “I wouldn’t have given her your info if I didn’t think she would be good at it.” Julie is the last person who would ever give a false compliment, so you could say I was intrigued.
With Julie’s high regard for her, I happily met with Courtney. It was an easy meeting. We both seemed to be on the same level. The way we approached business. The way we wanted to reach goals. The passion for helping brides through their wedding day. It really did fit from the very beginning. With most new things, I thought I would give it a try and if it didn’t work, then we would regroup and move on.
That was about 2 years ago. Now, I couldn’t imagine my business without Courtney. She serves as a wedding planner and director for the Birmingham area and also oversees all our marketing efforts both locally and online. We are far from being the same person. She’s a girly girl. I’m the least touchy-feely person ever. We laugh about how she’s “in tune with her emotions” and how I just find emotions to be annoying. She has sincerely immersed herself into the wedding world and Birmingham’s wedding world specifically. She is an advocate for her brides and yet connects with the vendors on a personal level. She is tireless. Multiple people (including myself) have asked her, “When do you sleep?” I have come to trust her completely and beyond that have gained a friend I never knew I needed. So, enjoy our interview with her. Everyone who has worked with her already knows how lucky they are to have gained her in their lives. Until next time… XOXO, Julie
How did you get involved with weddings? It’s actually a pretty good story…after planning my own wedding in September of 2012 I couldn’t get vendors, friends or family to stop telling me I really needed to be doing this professionally. In fact, our wedding photographer, Julie Lowry of Chanterelle Photography was instrumental in this. She connected me to Julie Bunkley and the rest is history.
How would you describe yourself? Oh man, that’s tough. I’m so many different things all at once. I guess you could say I’m complicated. I’m much more of a Scarlet than a Melanie, although I do have my soft spots. I’m a dreamer and doer with an entrepreneurial flair. I don’t have much likeness for risk and I have to make my bed and check off my to-do list every single day. I’m goofy, talkative and loud, yet take myself way too seriously. I can’t cook, but I love to bake and can make a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies. I’m happiest when I’m being productive.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up, and did you ever imagine this is what you would be doing with your life? I can vividly remember standing in line in second grade one day talking to my best friends Jasmine and Lindsey about this. I wanted to be three things: a lawyer, a teacher, and the President. I know, try to hold back the laughs on that last one! However, once I reached middle and early high school I had aspirations to become a journalist/news anchor. By my senior year I was much more focused on corporate America and anything business/marketing related. I was even voted “Most Likely To Own My Own Business.” So I guess, in a way, I fulfilled that promise!
What lessons has your work life taught you? Take each day as it comes. For as much of a Type A-planner-organizer-orchestrator-logistics maker-double checker that I am, I have realized that we can all benefit more from living in the now. I read this quote today from the Dalai Lama and it really struck me: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly, live.”
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently? I can’t say that I would do anything differently, specifically. I truly feel that every step (and misstep) has brought me to here and I am so happy and thankful for that. I most definitely have a peace about where I am in my life.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful in wedding planning? 1. Listening 2. Negotiating 3. Problem Solving
What motivates you? I’ve always really been self-motivated. I think though, just the beauty of life in general and that you can do and be anything you want is what motivates me. I really want to be the best version of myself and what my calling is for in this life.
How do you generate new ideas? I like to collaborate with others and just talk things through and throw everything against the wall, so to speak, and see what sticks. I like to read and see movies. Albeit I don’t always have a lot of time for either. In general, I like to see new people, places, and things and from those experiences I get inspiration for all sorts of good stuff.
What is your guilty pleasure? Sweets. Carbs. Coke. The Good Wife. Pedicures. Mexican food. And Drybar…in no particular order.
What has been the happiest moment in your life? Hands down walking down the aisle to my husband, proclaiming our vows before God and our closest friends and family and being pronounced man and wife!
Who is your spirit animal? Depends who you ask! My husband would probably say a stubborn mule. Ha! But, in all reality, probably an eagle or a tiger. I am a strong and independent woman (shout out Bey!) and I feel like those animals embody that.
Who would play you in a movie? Reese Witherspoon, maybe. Or Elizabeth Banks. I like them both and they can pull of the right amount of sweet and sass.
What is your pet peeve? The silliest things drive me nuts. When the garbage can is not quite full, but yet it’s full “enough,” I can’t stand if my husband doesn’t empty it. People and businesses that can’t return a phone call within 24-48 hours. Completely unacceptable in my book. Folks on the road who don’t use their blinkers. People who don’t RSVP. The list could go on…
One thing you never leave the house without. My Drivers License. Believe it or not, I’ve actually left my house on several occasions without my cell phone to purposefully “check out” for a little.
Early bird or night owl? I’m actually a decent mix of both! Just depends what night of the week (and time of the year) you catch me on!
What is your greatest adventure? This beautiful life that I have been blessed with is definitely my greatest adventure. Just all of it. Balancing all the ups and downs of a marriage, family, friends, corporate America, self-employment and running a small business. To have kids, to not have kids, building a home, to get a puppy, to not get a puppy…it’s all these little decisions that make my life my biggest (and proudest) adventure. Thanks for being a part!