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 Chicago wedding planner Marissa Iles today!
Name: Marissa Iles
Business Name & Location: Magnificent M.Iles Events in Chicago, IL
Years Working in the Event Industry: 12
Years Owning Your Event Planning Business: 2
Business Facebook Page: Magnificent M.Iles Events
What is your typical day like?
I usually work on my business before (between 6am-8am) and after (between 6pm-10pm) my full-time job, assuming I don’t have other plans with my family/friends, appointments, or errands to run. The first task of my day is typically responding to inquiries for quotes received from WeddingWire, The Knot, Facebook, or my website. My lunch usually consists of grabbing fast food while following up with clients and/or vendors. The last tasks of my day are sending notes from my meetings with clients or vendors and working on my social media posting plan for Instagram and Facebook.
How did you get started in the industry?
I unexpectedly helped with my first wedding in 2007. I was the date of one of the groomsmen, and when we came into town the night before the wedding, things were a bit chaotic. I did what I could to help with decor, music, communicating with the bride’s parents, keeping the wedding party on schedule, etc. It was a challenge but by the end of it I felt so accomplished!
When I graduated from college I pursued jobs related to my education. I worked in student finance for about 5 years when I decided I needed to do a career reboot into the event planning industry. I had found from helping my family/friends/co-workers with their events, that event planning was what I truly loved to do. It allowed me to express myself creatively and it didn’t feel like work.
To gain more experience for my transition to full-time wedding planning, I obtained an Event Management & Design Certificate and I took on part-time jobs in the event industry as a Wedding Planner Assistant and Event Coordinator. The satisfaction in helping people with such important days, working with the vendors, and managing the emotions was amazing for me.
It took me about 4 years before I was able to transition into a full-time event management role. At some points, I considered starting my own event planning business or franchise, but I wasn’t sure I had enough experience, funds, or business mindset. I am grateful to have obtained my full-time event management jobs because they have afforded me the flexibility and knowledge to pursue my dreams.
My friend wanted to hire me as an event management contractor part-time for her company. For the company to pay me, I needed a business name, logo, and so on. I decided that I could do this while maintaining my full-time position, so I started researching, attending workshops, utilizing the SBA, getting a SCORE mentor, and talking to other business owners in my spare time. Before I knew it, I had started my own business!
I will be celebrating my three-year wedding planner business anniversary in August. While my goals aren’t elaborate due to funding and balancing a full-time job with a family – I have been achieving my goals. I’m honored for all the opportunity, experience, and support I have gained along this journey.
What inspires you?
Seeing events, venues, décor, and potential clients are all things that inspire me. I get ideas from Instagram, Pinterest, and magazines then I enjoy challenging myself to consider how I can make an event occur wherever I go.
What are your favorite online resources for your business?
My favorite online resources are Wedding Wire, The Knot, EventMB, and Planner’s Lounge.
Aside from wedding and event planning, how do you spend your time?
My hobbies include playing badminton, going to the movies, and walking at the Morton Arboretum. These are all things that help me relax and make sure I take time for myself so I can do more for others.
Marissa, 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.