About Christina Sloan Events
Planner name: Christina Sloan
Service area: Based in Alabama, serving brides throughout the Southeast and beyond
Years in business: 4
Size of team: 3
Niche or specialty services
We offer full service planning and design, with event management and in-house floral design. Everything we do is done the only way we know how – with Southern hospitality. To us, that isn’t just a kitchy phrase, it’s a way of life. It’s a feeling of being greeted with a big ol’ hug and ushered into a welcoming home to sit and visit for a while. We love to love on our couples – they aren’t just “clients,” they become our family.
What made you want to get into the wedding planning business?
From a very young age, I have loved parties and had a flair for the dramatic. On top of that, I grew up as a very organized, very analytical type A+ person, which lends itself well to event planning. (I am somewhat of an anomaly in the creative industry as an equally right and left brained planner and designer!) I’ve always loved weddings, not because they’re big and grand, but because they represent the first day of a couple’s lives together. As cheesy as it sounds, I love love and I am so humbled and honored to get to be a part of one of the biggest days of a couple’s lives.
How long did you assist or work for another company before starting your own business?
I didn’t! I am completely self-taught (often times, the hard way). I definitely recommend to anyone thinking of becoming a planner to get some experience by working with someone else. Find out what works for them and what doesn’t, so that you can adapt and tweak that into what works for you. Although I didn’t work for another company, I did invest a lot of time and resources into educating myself on the wedding industry. It was only after several years of learning through practice with friends, family, and friends of friends, that I started my own official company.
If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?
I would trust myself. I would be more confident in my own skills and abilities, instead of questioning every decision I made. I spent a lot of time in those first few years stressing and worrying that I wasn’t doing it the “right” way or that I was going to mess everything up. But who’s to say what the right way is? It’s my business, so the only right way is the one that’s right for me. My path isn’t always going to look like someone else’s and that’s perfectly fine! It wasn’t until I really embraced this that things started changing in my business. It allowed me to be authentic and intentional in my relationships with my couples, as well as in my business. Having the confidence to say “This is me. This is my business. And it’s okay if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s version of ‘success.'” was a complete game changer for me, both personally and professionally.
What are three traits that YOU have that you feel are needed in a wedding planner?
1. Intense organization skills and attention to details (it’s where the love is, after all!).
2. The ability to have a plan in place but be able to be flexible in the approach. Wedding days are anything but predictable, and sometimes we have to take an approach we never would have otherwise to achieve the end result.
3. A background in psychology – I sometimes joke that being a wedding planner is about 40% being a therapist, but there is a lot of truth to that. It takes patience, compassion, and the ability to understand why someone thinks / feels / reacts the way they do in order to serve them well. My original career path began in psychology, and I feel like it’s been CRUCIAL to my success in the wedding industry.
What areas do you need in improvement in when it comes to your business?
I struggle a lot with the backend of business – accounting and bookkeeping, business plans, etc. It just doesn’t interest me at all. But luckily, I have a husband who is more business-minded – I dream big and he makes sure it all fits into what we can do business-wise. I think most creatives probably struggle with that aspect. Another big one for me is setting boundaries. I want to be available to my brides for whatever they need, but that often comes at the expense of family or personal time. I’m a people pleaser and have a hard time saying no. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I don’t want to potentially miss out on something great. The thing I’ve found, though, is that by never saying no, I’m never able to say yes to the things I really want and need to be doing. It’s a struggle, but I’m working on it.
One of my absolute favorites was this fall. The woodland design was something that took me out of my own comfort zone, but the bride trusted me to dream up a design and execute it, and it turned out so gorgeous! From the décor to the flowers to the vendors to the weather, everything lined up perfectly for the most amazing day. It was a labor of love for me and my team, but I have never seen a happier bride and groom (and parents, too!), and it made it all so worth it. Being able to think outside the box, stretch my design skills to their limits, and see it all come to fruition on the wedding day (when, honestly, some elements were not able to be installed or “practiced” before hand, which caused me all kinds of anxiety!) was more than I could have hoped for.
What are some wedding day challenges that you’ve experienced and how did you work through them?
Oh my goodness. I’ve had my assistant get into an accident when she had to leave to run a last minute errand for the bride, a groomsman who was a no-show because he was arrested the night before, a photographer that didn’t show and didn’t call until the last minute to let us know (one of many reasons I firmly believe all brides should trust the recommendations of their planner, rather than going with the lowest priced option!), a literal fight – as in, fist fight – between families, a drunk father of the bride who spent the evening yelling obscenities at the vendors…just to name a few! I think all wedding planners have many stories of things that go wrong, so I take solace that I’m not alone in the craziness! My approach to all of them – and any future situations – is to breathe, attempt to be the voice of reason, and take charge of the situation. The relationship I have with my brides is very important to me and I spent a lot of time before the wedding day talking with her, getting to know her, hearing her hopes and wishes, and listening to her dreams (and fears) for her wedding day and her marriage. I earn her trust, and when a situation or challenge comes up, I don’t want to burden her or stress her out with it. I take charge and handle it, knowing she trusts my judgment, and even if that means having to ask someone to step away and calm down or leave.
What are your favorite wedding trends?
I’m not a huge fan of trends, in general, especially when it comes to weddings. I prefer a classic, timeless approach, but what I do love is a bride who isn’t afraid of color. The color trends over the past several years have been so wonderful! From a pop of bright fuchsia to bold jewel tones to a metallic palette, I love incorporating color into a wedding day. The Pantone Color of the Year trend has been on the rise with brides lately, and I couldn’t be happier about that! I also love the “unplugged” trend when it comes to the ceremony. I preach this to all of my brides, and I’m hoping one day it’s more mainstream and less of a trend.
And what do you wish would go away already?
Oh goodness, I feel like I’m going to get myself in trouble with some brides here! I’m going to speak in a bit of a broad sense, but I still view it as a trend – Pinterest. I have such a love / hate relationship with Pinterest! I love that I can curate gorgeous boards and find almost anything on there. I love that brides can show me images that speak to their heart so I can get a visual sense of what they love (and what they don’t). But that’s where it ends. I feel like so many brides try to have “Pinterest perfect” weddings, and then feel let down when the reality isn’t what they hoped. For one, most of the things you see on Pinterest are not real life – they are styled shoots and carefully curated photos to represent a small snippet of an event – and they are not financially feasible for the majority of us. I’m a big believer in having a wedding day that represents the couple with lots of personal touches, but since Pinterest has made it’s big debut, getting brides to think outside the box and plan their own wedding, rather than a “Pinterest wedding” can sometimes be a challenge.
Where do you envision yourself and your business in five years? Ten years?
In five years, I hope to be continuing down the path I’m currently on working with amazing couples in planning and design, while also having added an educational component to my business for creatives. I have some pretty exciting things in the works now that I can’t share just yet (I know – I hate when people do that, too!), but within five years I hope to have it all solidified as a part of my brand. In ten years, I’d love to have transitioned into serving only full design clients, so that I can be truly intentional in my service to them.
What is something you wish you could tell all aspiring planners?
Find your community! It’s so important to have those people you can call your tribe. The ones who just get it. They understand the industry. They know the struggles and they know the triumphs. They celebrate with you and they raise you up when you’ve had a bad day. I spent a lot of years trying to do it all on my own, and it is a lonely road. I had friends and family who were so supportive, but having someone in the creative industry that you can text about something your husband just doesn’t understand is invaluable.
Visit Christina Sloan Events here!