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 Michigan wedding planner Tami Santini today!
Name: Tami Santini
Business Name & Location: Paradise Getaways, Michigan
Years Working in the Event Industry: 11
Years Owning Your Event Planning Business: 11
Business Facebook Page: Paradise Getaways
What is your typical day like?
I discovered that all the successful people that I follow are early risers, so I bit the bullet and decided to do the same. Before you stop reading, I’m not one of those 4am peeps, but I get up before 5:30am.
I start with a devotion/prayer, enjoy some freshly brewed coffee, review my dreams/goals, pray with my husband and then go workout. I’ve been on a beachbody kick for my workouts lately, but I like to mix it up as I have a nice home gym. I work from home and my goal is to be ready to roll by 9am but some days if I work late the night before, I give myself some flexibility.
My day mostly consists of standing at my computer, deep in thought or conversation with either myself or a client, responding to wedding guest needs, consulting with new clients, posting on social media, delegating tasks to my admin, and creating content. Depending on my schedule, I am usually done working by 6pm. Oh, and due to my early wake-up call, I often take a 22-minute power nap in my recliner – gamechanger!
How did you get started in the industry?
I started my travel agency in late 2007 and it wasn’t long after I opened my business that I knew I wanted to focus on the romance travel market. After planning my first destination wedding, I realized how much easier it was for me to make money with planning weddings vs. planning individual trips.
The beauty of a destination wedding is that I get hired by one client, but that one client turns into dozens of clients because of all their friends and family attending the wedding. This niche in the industry has blessed me tremendously! I’ve been able to go on bucket list trips with my family, pay cash for college for my daughters, retire my husband from his teaching job to work with me full time, remodel my kitchen, and so much more!
I have a degree in Sociology and Psychology which has helped me deal with people over the years. I’ve invested a lot of time going to on-site visits and getting wedding training with several resort brands. The travel industry has a lot of certifications and specialist programs. I have several that focus more on the luxury travel market as well as wedding specialist for brands like Sandals & Beaches, Karisma, Playa etc.
What inspires you?
I live in Michigan, so a warm sunny day always inspires me (haha)! For personal, spiritual, and business growth, I like to follow the podcasts of Terri Savelle Foy and Dave Anderson (The Gamechanger Life). I’m big into mindset and productivity hacks so I like Brendon Burchard and Dean Graziosi.
My children inspire me. I have one daughter who is launching a journal she created and another who is already an author. Wow!
The Bible is my biggest inspiration. So many stories of divine strategy, breakthrough and victory.
What are your favorite online resources for your business?
I have so many! Let’s be real, working from home has a different set of challenges and I am all for technology making my life easier.
Since I can work with nationwide clientele, I start the “sales” process with a phone consultation, and I use Timetrade so that potential clients can schedule a complimentary consultation with me. It’s inexpensive and an easy way to ensure that the phone isn’t ringing at all hours. If anyone calls the office and just wants to start dumping their information out, I take their email address and send them a link to schedule a consultation. This allows me to have available times to be focused on the couple.
I’m an expert at destination weddings but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert at everything a business owner needs for success, so I find myself learning tips about social media from Chalene Johnson, but I also follow influencers on social media (doesn’t matter the industry) to see how they do things to connect with their community and keep their audience engaged.
I used to advertise to affluent areas on Wedding Wire, but I can’t take any new clients right now, so I pulled away from paid advertising and just have my free local listing since I use Wedding Wire to collect reviews. This article on Planner’s Lounge has good advice on marketing for destination weddings.
Since I don’t have a physical workspace for team members, I use RingCentral for the business phone. We have departments set up and it is a round-robin call structure that goes to our cell phones. Additionally, Ring Central allows me to text my clients from my ring central app and that way they DON’T HAVE MY CELL NUMBER! Can I get an “Amen” to that?
I used to use Ruby Receptionists before I had a team and that was a great service to help me sound bigger than I was, ensure that every call was answered live, plus their app allowed me to enter a status so that if I was in a meeting (even if it was a meeting with myself), the receptionist would say that I was in a meeting and take a message. Again, this made me sound like I had a receptionist right in my office and allowed me more freedom instead of feeling “trapped” at my desk. BRILLIANT! #workfromhomehack
Aside from wedding and event planning, how do you spend your time?
For fun, I like to read and watch a few hours of TV each week. My main focus outside of business is family and church. I am married and have five beautiful daughters, one son-in-law, one fur granddog and I’m in ministry at my church. We also spend time with my twin sister and her husband.
In the travel industry, there are a ton of perks and one of them is travel for pennies on the dollar. I earn free nights and can always get discounted rates if I want to go somewhere that I haven’t sold before. My favorite destinations so far are Hawaii, Bora Bora and St. Lucia.
I love traveling with my husband and my family, but I travel often for business to see resort properties and learn about what the destinations offer couples and their guests. I’ve had great experiences on these trips such as swimming with sharks, ziplining, catamaran cruises, riding a camel, lavish receptions, and dance parties. Since I meet up with other professional wedding planners, I always make new friends and lasting memories!
Outside of family and travel, I am trying to find the work/ life balance and create a better future for my family. I’ve finally realized my purpose in life and I’m currently transitioning into this, hence my four-hour workday goal.
Tami, 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.