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 photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are excited to feature Erin from Simply Southern Wedding & Event Design today!
Name: Erin Padgett
Business Name & Location: Simply Southern Wedding & Event Design, Charlotte, North Carolina
Years Working in the Event Industry: 5 years
Years Owning Your Event Planning Business: 1 year
What is your typical day like?
No two days are ever the same! My day typically starts around 8:30am with a great breakfast (my favorite meal of the day) and an ice cold Dr. Pepper. I am not a huge coffee drinker, but I am addicted to Dr. Pepper! Like most people, I start my day by checking emails and tackling the must-do’s right off the bat. I have an ongoing to-do list on my desk that I refer to all the time and the must-do’s for the day are starred. I have a BIG love for checking things off a list – seriously one of the best feelings! After emails and most important tasks are done, I usually have a meeting(s) with either a current bride, a vendor or a potential client. For lunch, I either grab it at home or eat out while I am running to meetings. During the afternoon, I generally log some office time working on wedding day timelines, vendor contracts, reception layouts or my next inspiration blog. Even though I don’t always succeed at this, I try to end my day when my amazing husband gets home (around 6pm) so we can spend some time together. My husband, Jonathan, and my two fur-babies are my family and I love hanging with them more than anything! For dinner, I am either cooking up something yummy in the kitchen, Jonathan is grilling or we are out with friends. I am also addicted to reality TV, so I have a few shows that I DVR and curl up on the couch to watch them to cap off the day!
How did you get started in the industry?
I started in the event industry as a banquet server for a country club. I was 16 and it was my first job. This is where I saw wedding after wedding happen and kept thinking to myself how much I loved seeing a blank room turn into a beautiful reception space. I worked my way up to banquet manager through high school and then when I went off to college, they offered me the position of wedding coordinator. Needless to say, I took it happily!! So there I was, 19 years old, a full time college student at UNC Charlotte and coordinating weddings for my local country club. I felt like I was living the dream.
Then at the age of 21 – a super cute, small town guy and I met, and things changed. We dated briefly, quickly fell in love and got engaged within 5 months. He worked a 9-5 job and I was working evenings and weekends and something had to give. So I quit my job and took a new position as a wedding director for a full service planning company. While the hours were less, the overall job was not as fulfilling as I was hoping and after one year, I decided to make a complete change.
A few months later, I put my Public Relations degree to work as a marketing manager for a PR firm. I loved it! Creative, fulfilling, enjoyable, good pay – everything you could ask for, until the owner went out of business, leaving me with no job and an ugly small claims issue for unpaid earnings. Luckily for me, my mother was the best example of how to handle “not so great” situations – so I took her advice and put on my best stilettos and went back to interviewing.
I landed a job as a sales and marketing manager for a printing company. It was small and family owned and I loved the 9-5 aspect of the job along with the people I got to work with. I learned so much during my 2 years there and I was so fortunate to have the job and learn the behind the scenes of design, colors and proper sales techniques. It was only when I had some medical issues that I had to leave the job and tend to my health.
After about a year and a half of dealing with medical stuff (luckily – I am perfectly healthy now!) I realized that no one can create my life except for me and that I wanted to be doing things I was truly passionate about. So my husband (that cute, small-town guy) and I were out to dinner at Five Guys when he told me that he thought I should start a wedding planning company because that is what I was doing when we first met and I was truly happy. I had been thinking about it also, so it was so refreshing to hear him support me! So, no lie, we wrote out a business plan on the back of our Five Guys receipt and the next day I started the research and ideas for my new company! My first official client signed on with me on October 31, 2013 and to date, I have been fortunate enough to have either started or completed 30 events – 27 weddings and 3 events to be exact. I truly know God led me to this place and if not for all the other jobs, I would never have gotten here.
Where do you find design inspiration?
Like all other planners out there, I use Pinterest, but I am not into copying someone else’s work – more into using it as inspiration only. I subscribe to multiple magazines, Southern Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides and get all my local publications. I tend to find inspiration in random places too – I created a styled photo shoot from the colors in my bathroom rug and am planning a 30th birthday party for myself (yippee!) using colors from my husbands favorite suit and tie.
What are your favorite online resources for your business?
I love Every Last Detail, Planner’s Lounge and Heather Crabtree for daily business ideas and tips. I also follow the blogs of Hey Gorgeous Events and The NotWedding for great inspiration and real life weddings!
Erin, 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.