This weekend I tried the new Instagram quiz feature and asked all of my Instagram followers when they thought AYE was “created.” So many were surprised by the answer being 2012 (which is years earlier than many thought), and so I wanted to share the full story here because… it’s kind of a special one. And it’s a story that I hope inspires anyone reading who might be in pursuit of motivation and inspiration to make big things happen for themselves!
Rewind to 2012. I was 22 years old and about to graduate from Boston University. A hospitality major with concentrations in Event Management, PR and Social Media Marketing, I had been an intern for almost 3 years for 3 different wedding planning and event companies, one very well known company and two smaller boutique companies. I had jumped head first into event planning and while I gained extremely valuable experience and felt like I was in my element, it was tedious and difficult work as an intern. At every company I would look for potential trajectory to grow into a full time role after college, but every opportunity would prove to be an internship only. It wasn’t that I wasn’t experienced and a viable candidate, and my bosses did want to hold onto me — it was the sad fact that there were NO jobs. The job market was pretty tepid at the time, making the event industry an even harder than usual one to break into in a full-time role. And after three years I needed a job, not an internship.
And then my golden ticket arrived. After interviewing with so many companies to only be offered more “intensive” internships, I got my break. Before I graduated, I was fortunate enough to receive a verbal offer for an event planning assistant position at a prominent catering and event company. I was ecstatic. I dreamed of working on weddings, galas, corporate events and everything in between from start to finish with the reward of seeing these celebrations come to fruition after the creativity and expertise invested into it. I couldn’t wait to start.
But the day I was about to sign my job offer, I remember getting a phone call during one of my last classes at BU. I went into the hall to listen to the voicemail left on my phone, and learned that the position I was intended to fill was not opening like they had thought it would. Without getting into the background and to make a long story short, the event planning assistant position was not ready and it was unknown as to when it would become ready. Instead, the company offered me a role as an administrative assistant managing the office with a non-promise of the ability to grow there as time continued. This was a secretary role, far from event planning. As much the offer was kind and I was grateful that the company was finding a place for me, disappointment set in instantly. The job search had been so long and challenging, and this just felt like a sucker punch. I walked back into my last class and sat down in my seat for one last time, starting to question everything I had just put into the last four years. To say that was a profound moment is an understatement.
Feeling defeated and about to graduate from college, I contemplated taking the job. I confided in my entrepreneurial mom and her response was comforting yet inspiring. She challenged me to think outside the box, take the job but make my career “happen” for myself. Over the next few days, I realized that I had to refuse to back down. Job hunting was over, now I was determine to show my value and worth. I took the job offer with the intention of excelling so hard that I would will myself to grow up the ranks. But I also put another plan into place. I had always wondered about what it would take for me to open my own wedding planning business, but never really had the momentum to “figure out” how to have a small business. Now I had the momentum. With my education and experience surrounded by my parents’ small business, I wrote a one page business plan for a wedding planning business. Then I bought a domain name. As insurance, I put a renew date on the domain name for 3 years (for 2015) and thought “if after 6 years of experience and 3 years working for this company, if I’m not truly a wedding and event planner by then, I’ll open this business.” And I called it Always Yours or Always Yours Events.
I went to work just a couple weeks after graduation and within six months I moved into that event assistant role when it became available. I grew quickly at the catering company and became an Event Producer the year after that with hundreds of events under my belt, from 200 person private estate weddings to 800 person galas to small dinners for former President Barack Obama. The experience I gained there was INVALUABLE. I cannot stress enough how beyond grateful that the company found a place for me there. And I cannot stress how pivotal and crucial it was that I took that administrative position. But over it all, I took out that business plan and chose Always Yours Events.
I chose to pursue Always Yours Events because in just those couple of years I had realized that a bigger mission was in my heart. Every event I worked on would come and go successfully, but still I felt a twinge like something was missing when I would drive home from my events in the middle of the night. I suddenly was hyper aware that something bigger was fueling me and my career choice.
Over time, I went back to my tucked away business plan and reworked it. I recognized a purpose to plan and design awe inspiring, magical celebrations…dream weddings. I craved to have a close relationships with my couples because honestly, a relationship and deeper understanding of a couple, their styles and personalities help further the distinctiveness of a wedding and help foster that magical feeling I’m always striving towards. With relationships with my couples, I felt like I could “see” more clearly into their celebration. Highly personalized weddings and milestones were where I found joy.
In 2015, I took a giant leap and went full time with AYE in 2015, before that domain name was set to renew (it poetically would actually renew months later during the weekend of my first AYE wedding). It was created years before in 2012 by a tenacious graduate who was on the cusp of discovering a deeply rooted mission and passion for something greater. Always Yours Events was years in the making, and ultimately became the embodiment of my mission with experience, hard work, passion and tenacity in the foundation.
You know how in a challenging or trying time someone will offer you advice and say “one day you’ll look back on this and realize there was a purpose?” It’s true.