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 York wedding planner Samantha Nelson today!
Name: Samantha Nelson
Business Name & Location: Ellicottville Events, Ellicottville, NY
Years Working in the Event Industry: 3
Years Owning Your Event Planning Business: 3
Business Facebook Page: EVL Events
What is your typical day like?
Planning events has been my official full-time job for the past two years!
I am an early morning person and love routine. I typically get my son ready for daycare around 7am so I can try to be in the office by 8am. I currently have an office that I go to, but starting this month, I will be switching up locations!
The first thing I do when I get in the office is to respond to emails. Unopened or not responding to emails as soon as possible is something that makes my skin crawl! I am not entirely sure why, but I have to stay on top of them or I go crazy.
If I am in the office all day, I typically go to lunch at one of my fave little local lunch spots with my hubby or bring something to eat. I often travel to Buffalo, New York, which is an hour away, so I am typically eating lunch on the road on those days.
My goal is to get as much work done as early as possible. In the off season, I like to take half days so I can pick my son up and have Mommy & Westie time! I know he’s only little once, so I try and spend as much time as I can with him.
How did you get started in the industry?
When I worked for a local newspaper, my colleague and I really wanted to start our own wedding planning business. We thought that this would be the most fun career in the world, but at the time I was in my mid-twenties and had no clue how to get it started! It was something that I always placed on the backburner.
Fast forward 7 years later and I found that passion when my husband and I planned our own wedding in 2013. We didn’t have a traditional wedding, we opted for an 80s themed wedding that was out of this world! We planned everything in 3 short months and I loved it so much.
After our wedding I had some friends come up and ask to help with birthdays, showers, etc. Then, one of my husband’s college friends hired me to coordinate their wedding! Everyone complimented me on my attention to detail and what a wonderful job I did. I had to figure out a way to bring my passion to life and finally do what I love!
Finally, in December of 2017, my husband convinced me to quit my full-time job and start my own wedding planning business. While I was getting things going, I was just going to help him in his office. I built my website, created a Facebook business page, attended 1 bridal show, and my business started to take off. During my first full year in 2018, I had 13 weddings! I was in my glory and really loved doing it!
I became so busy, that I wasn’t able to help my husband and had to focus on my newly growing business. It grew faster than I could even imagine. Last year, I achieved sooo much! I nearly doubled the number of weddings from 2018, was featured in local blogs, on Wedding Chicks, and was just named New York’s Wedding Planner of the Year! I could not be prouder of my accomplishments and cannot wait to see what this year brings.
I took my wedding planner and designer certification through The Bridal Society. During my first year, I booked 2 of my weddings from the bridal show I participated in. I booked 3 weddings through social media (this has actually been my main moneymaker), 2 from Wedding Wire, and booked 6 weddings from referrals (both from vendors and friends).
I get asked a ton by new planners in the area of how I did so much during my first year, but in all honesty, I hustled. I spent a little money upfront doing the bridal show and paying for a Wedding Wire profile. I worked my social media and make contacts by hitting the pavement, phones, and email!
What inspires you?
I am inspired by so much. The amazing women in my industry are my biggest inspirations. I have met and am still meeting so many great people and love to see them grow and become successful as well. My number one boss babe Rachel Hollis is a huge inspiration! She definitely helped me get over my mom-guilt of wanting to have something succeed so bad.
Jenna Kutcher has some great podcasts that I enjoy listening to as well as Mary Swaffield from The WebPreneur Community and Amber Ford from Refine.
I look forward to my emails from Debbie from The Planners Lounge to keep up on tips and tricks and much more!
What are your favorite online resources for your business?
Refine for Wedding Planners, The Bridal Society, and Planner’s Lounge.
Aside from wedding and event planning, how do you spend your time?
I spend all of my free time with my family. I have a 3-year-old son, Weston, and my husband John. We love to go on vacations and our favorite way to vacation is on a cruise. We try to take 1-2 cruises a year. I have a long bucket list of places I want to travel and cruises I want to take.
We also like to ski, shop, and spend time with our friends. I love to read anything from mindless fiction to reading empowering Boss Babes like Rachel Hollis.
Samantha, 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.