Welcome to our “Day in the Life” series! We feature wedding and event planners from around the world with many different levels of experience. If you would like to be featured, download our questionnaire here and email your responses and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are excited to feature New Jersey wedding planner Stephanie Berge today!
Name: Stephanie Berge
Business Names & Locations:
Jersey Cape Weddings & Events in Cape May, NJ
Old City Weddings & Events in Philadelphia, PA
Years Working in the Event Industry: 10
Years Owning Your Event Planning Business: 3
Business Facebook Page: jerseycapeweddingsandevents
What is your typical day like?
My typical day begins around 5:15 am with coffee and my laptop. I like to start my to-do list on emails early before anyone else is awake. Around 7 am, I make breakfast, get my son up for school, and send him off by 8 am.
I own two wedding planning business; one in Cape May, NJ, which are mostly all beach or winery weddings, and one in Philadelphia, PA, which is the total opposite and are mostly city events. I travel to Philly at least once a week, and on the other days, I work from home.
My daily to-do list is always mapped out, but consists of appointments, phone consults, marketing, answering emails, getting availability from other vendors, making new contacts in the industry, doing contracts, checking out what my couples have pinned, negotiating contracts, and my favorite part: making new friends.
Just about every day I get thrown curveballs from new inquiries, or an email or phone call that keeps me on my toes. Sad to say, most lunches are skipped, as I tend to look up when I am hungry and it’s already time to pick up my son from school. The rest of the afternoons is spent working from my laptop. Some evenings, due to the fact that a large majority of my clients work long hours and crazy schedules as well, I sometimes have phone appointments in the evenings, but I tend to cut off by 8:30/9:00 pm.
How did you get started in the industry?
Funny story, but I actually started my career in the real estate business in Atlantic City when I was young. I worked my way through the ranks, did great, and I thought one day; if I could sell anything, what would it be? Weddings! So I created a resume and went to every wedding venue within a drivable distance and gave it to them. Most wouldn’t even look at me, until one day one of the newest and nicest venues saw my background in sales and liked me personally, and gave me a shot! I was there for a few years, and within that amount time, had gotten an offer with a new company in corporate sales.
Within a year, I noticed quite a few locations across their properties that would be perfect for weddings. They gave me a shot too and allowed me to build a wedding brand for them. While getting an opportunity that most would dream of, I also got certified as a wedding and event planner and took every course I could get my hands on, from design, to management, to how to use Excel.
I’ve been pretty lucky throughout my career and have had wonderful people and organizations that believed in me. After quite a few years with them, I decided that I wanted more, clearly that’s just my personality, and I went out on my own. I hit the ground running and worked 80 hour weeks at bottom dollar to get my name out there. Guess what? It worked!
What inspires you?
Everything inspires me! I am a single mom of a soon to be 8 year old, so when it comes to being inspired and owning your own business, sometimes inspiration can come from me just wanting him to see that hard work pays off, and though mommy can’t be there all of the time, we get to do fun things together because of my career.
As far as wedding inspiration? I find it everywhere! I live on Pinterest, at Michaels, and one of my biggest passions is finding not only vendors who will work within my clients budgets, but also making their Pinterest board become a reality within their budgets.
I am always reading wedding blogs, and to be honest, a majority of my inspiration that motivates me as an entrepreneur are just plain old inspirational quotes. I know it sounds silly to some, but I have them printed out and taped on places like the inside of closet doors or cabinets in my house. Reading them keeps me on track and motivated.
What are your favorite online resources for your business?
My favorite online resources are definitely Planners Lounge and Book More Brides. I purchased the Wedding Planner’s Toolbox, which of course I still use, but I love getting the emails that always hit home with me. It’s hard not having anyone else in the planning field that gets what you go through on a daily basis. With Book More Brides, I tend to read more on their Facebook page where other vendors chime in on ways they market and help people with questions.
Aside from wedding and event planning, how do you spend your time?
What free time? I’m just kidding! Most of my free time is spent with my little man and family. We love boating, and living in a shore town, we can walk to the beach in the summer. We try to stay busy and do fun things when I am not working like vacation, or take long weekends. Philly is one of my favorite cities, which my son and I visit often together. I love it so much that I opened a second planning business there.
Stephanie, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and a day in your life. If you are an event planner and would like to be featured, download our questionnaire today and email it to us along with a photo. If you aren’t sure about being featured, take a few minutes to read how it can help your business.