Today’s interview is with WeddingPlannerLove’s Panache Event Group. First off, I just love that Stacey (the beautiful woman below!) has the title of “Celebration Specialist.” It sure does make Panache sound fun to work with! Thanks Stacey!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Panache Event Group is a small boutique firm in San Antonio, Texas that specializes in event planning and production. We do probably about 70% weddings and the rest is corporate and private events.
2. How did you get into wedding planning?
Actually, it wasn’t a wedding that struck my fancy, but a corporate event that lured me into this business. I was working at Dell and attended one of those big pep rally type shindigs. I was in awe of everything; the pyrotechnics, the massive projection screens, the tiny blimp hovering overhead dropping prizes, the explosion of applause as Michael Dell entered the stage like a rock star. I knew then I was in the wrong business. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I had to make a career change. So I went to work for an event rental company (The best place to start, in my opinion). I also moonlighted for a catering company on the weekends. I learned the basics – linen sizes, which glass to use for which beverage, how to set a table. Then I tackled the harder things such as how to install a level tent on unlevel ground, how to properly use electricity, and how to lay out a scaled model of the event space using PartyCAD. It was brilliant experience. I would have floundered on my own without it. After the birth of my first child and with years of experience under my belt, I knew I was ready to jump out on my own. So Panache Event Group was born.
3. What’s your favorite part of the job?
I love meeting new people and taking new clients. They are so sweet (usually) and when there is an instant rapport it’s an awesome feeling. Strange as it may sound, my favorite part of the actual event set-up is sound check. I can’t explain it, but when the band starts checking their equipment I always get chills. I also cry during the father-daughter dance. I have to leave the room when it starts. It’s so embarrassing.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?
Get proper experience first, before you open up shop. So many girls get married and think they can now plan anyone’s wedding because they had so much fun planning their own. That kind of thinking does a huge disservice to the entire event industry. It is fine to fall in love with this business after planning your wedding. But go to work first for an established company in the industry and soak in every bit of knowledge that you can. That will give you a solid foundation for when you do make the leap to business ownership. Also, a big part of the business is sales. If you hate sales, you may have a hard time.
5. What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I am currently studying calligraphy. You wouldn’t believe how therapeutic and relaxing it is. I also Irish dance. I LOVE to Irish dance.
6. Any great stories from working with a client?
I am so blessed to have some amazing past clients that I am so proud of. A favorite client of mine had recently beat lymphoma before she contacted me to plan her wedding. When I met her she just had an aura about her that drew you to her like a moth to a flame. She was loving, caring, funny and saw the best in everybody and everything. A month after her wedding I participated in a half-marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I ran in honor of her. When I got tired and thought I couldn’t make it, I thought of her and what she had endured and accomplished. I would smile and keep on going.
7. What is your current favorite color combination?
I’m kind of on a white kick right now. I’ve redecorated my office in all shades of whites. I redid our bed in all white, which we now refer to as the marshmallow. I’d love to do an eclectic all white wedding.
8. Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I love weddings that truly show the couple’s personality and originality. And I love weddings where the couple incorporates their culture. One bride introduced me to Nigerian chin chin and puff puff. Yum yum!