This week it’s time to meet Gabriela Sousa, a certificate Miami wedding planner. Follow the interview below to know more about Gabriela.
1. Why Did You Get Started in This Business?? How Long Ago?
I’ve been completely submerged in the wedding world for about 6 years since I attended my first wedding ever. I had always been involved with the planning aspects of any club or organization I was part of, but I had no idea it could be a career. When I attended that first wedding, I talked to the planner and realized that it was something I’d like to try. The day after that wedding I started looking for opportunities in the wedding field and I haven’t looked back since
2. How Was it at the Beginning?
The beginning was difficult. Finding a paying job in the wedding field without experience is nearly impossible. I was lucky to find a couple of internships that gave me hands-on experience, and gave me a great foundation for my career (shout out to the Delray Beach Marriott who took me in and had patience to explain everything to me – like what a BEO is. And to The Biltmore who saw potential in me!)==
3. Tell About your Background Before This…
I have a Bachelors of Business Administration in Management and a Certificate of Wedding and Event Planning from Florida International University. During my college years, I was involved in various clubs and organizations and held offices in most of them, where my duties were to work with various budgets to plan and execute events. Before working in the wedding industry I worked in fine dining restaurants, where I was able to learn a great deal about food pairings and customer service.
4. How Did you Become Successful or Bootstrapped?
I tried learning as much as I could. I didn’t try to become a wedding planner right away, I wanted to see events from every possible angle, so I also have experience with conventions, corporate events, festivals and sporting events. When I had a pretty good idea that my heart belonged to weddings, I worked with venues, hotels, caterers and planners, so it gave me a well-rounded idea of everything that goes into a wedding. I also became a Certified Wedding Planner through The Bridal Society, Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute and Florida International University.
5. What Do You Sell?
Essentially, I sell “piece of mind”. Planning a wedding is time-consuming, and can easily get overwhelming, so my overall goal is to have the couple enjoy the process. On the wedding day, I want the couple and their loved ones to have a good time. It truly breaks my heart when I talk to brides who didn’t have a planner and they say they couldn’t wait to get the wedding over with because it was such a headache or that they were so busy making sure everything was going as planned that they didn’t really have fun. This should never be your feelings towards your wedding.
6. How Many Wedding Do You Do a Year?
From all the years I’ve been involved with weddings, between the weddings I plan and assist, I have on average 30 weddings a year.
7. What Makes Your Product Unique?
I get very involved and take each of my weddings very personally. I like truly getting to know my couples to make the process more enjoyable for each of them. To me, the wedding is not just about that day, but the journey the couple is on as they prepare to start their lives together, and I want to make sure it’s the best journey possible.
8. Is There Something That You Think Should be Improved in Your Product?
Of course! I believe in constant improvement, and that you never reach a point where you know everything. Because of that, I’m always trying to learn something new or focus on areas where I can grow. Currently, I’m working on my blogging skills. I want to be able to give wedding tips and tricks as well as tell some of my couples’ stories.
9. What is the Most Important Thing in Your Product?
The most important thing I can offer couples is reliability. I want couples to be able to trust me and to know that I will do everything in my power to help them.
10. Who Are You? Bio, Kids, Husband, Passions and Hobbies.
Hi! I’m Gabriela! I am actually currently engaged myself, so it’s been very interesting to be a “bride” for a change. It’s been an incredible experience as I’m able to identify with my clients because of this, and have since adjusted a few things in the company to better serve my engaged couples. I live with my dear fiancé and have a dog (Sunny) who has my heart. I love traveling, scuba diving, and spending time with family and friends.
11. Tell Me a Question That You Will Never Answer!
One of the most common questions I get when I say I’m a wedding planner is “Who has been your worst bride?” I will never answer that question for a couple of different reasons. 1. I’ve been very lucky and that all of my couples have been beyond amazing and such pleasures 2. Even if I were to have a difficult client, I would never categorize anybody into what that question entails.
12. Have You Had Any Difficulty? What Was the Worst Moment?
Every wedding has its own difficulties and challenges, and a good planner has the ability to foresee any challenges and to find solutions or best alternatives if anything goes south. I’ve experienced a fair share of difficulties, but those always provide a learning opportunity. I’ve had photographers cancel just days before a wedding, a maid of honor cutting her toe open just minutes before she was to walk down the aisle or the officiant getting into a car accident on the way to the wedding.
13. Something You Regret? You Take Back?
There’s nothing I “regret”. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and many things I’d definitely do different now, but all of these scenarios have provided me with lessons on how to better myself and the company to better serve my couples.
13. The Best Moments?
The best moments are always towards the end of the night when you see that the couple is truly enjoying themselves, you look around and see that the family is having a good time and that no matter what has happened throughout the day, the couple is happily married.
14. The Best Client?
I’ve had some AMAZING clients; I really have been so lucky with my couples! They have all been such sweet people that I couldn’t possibly pick a “best” one. I have been honored with the opportunity to plan and coordinate the weddings of some dear friends that I’ve known for a few years, and those have been extra special for sure.
15. If Clients Want to Hire You, What is The Process?
If clients want to hire me, they can call or email me, we would then set up a phone call or in-person meeting to get to know each other. Wedding planning can get very personal, so I believe it’s important for couples to get to know me so we can decide if we’re a good fit for each other. From here, I’d send them a contract and we would start working together right away.
16. What Happens After They Hire You?
After they hire me, we start working together right away. Whether they just got engaged and are starting the planning from scratch, or if they’ve already got some things taken care of, we’d pick up on the next natural step in the planning process.