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Julie Riley

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Years/Months in the Event Industry

10 Years’ experience

Years of Owning a Business

7 Years

Awards

What was your previous line of work and why did you decide to pursue a career in the Wedding Industry?

Account/Project Management.  I have always had a love for wedding and event planning.  I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and be in business for myself in the wedding industry.  Having a strong project management background has been really vital in being a successful wedding planner.  They are great skills to transition into the wedding planning industry.  Planning a wedding is essentially a really fun project  for an amazing couple on a specific timeline! 

What is your typical day like?

When I am not working a wedding or event, I try and make weekends about spending time with my family.  Monday – Friday I typically start my day with a thoughtful social media post (that I wrote out the night before) and then get my son ready for school.  Due to the pandemic he is only in school 2 days a week and then is remote the rest of the week, so there is a lot of juggling work/helping my son with school each day.  There is a lot of multi-tasking going on!

My son currently has a desk set up and he shares my home office.  I move to our dining room to take client calls when he is home.  (Hopefully he will be fully back in school during the 21-22 school year!)

After work/school we try and walk with our dog and then it’s typically time to do some house cleaning and get dinner ready.  In the warmer weather we try and be outside playing in our fenced in yard as much as possible. 

What inspires you?

Family and friendships inspire me.  I am a big advocate of work-life balance.  Work hard, and play hard.  My 6 year old son inspires me each day to continue to follow my dreams and be the best I can be.  My husband is very supportive of my dreams and is always encouraging me.

Other wedding professionals also inspire me to continue to pursue my dreams!

What are your favorite resources for your business?

My favorite resources as a wedding planner are inspirational wedding blogs like Style Me Pretty, The Knot, The Ruffled Blog, and Martha Stewart Weddings to name a few! I also enjoy following some local well known New England and U.S wedding planners on social media to gain inspiration from as well.

Wedding blogs are a great way to see upcoming wedding trends!

What advice would you give our recently graduated students just starting out in the industry?

If you are just starting out in the wedding/event industry with no experience I would recommend trying to work with another planner to gain experience, or try and work for a wedding venue or caterer.  This can be a great option to learn more about the industry!   Not everyone wants to own their own company and be a small business owner/independent wedding planner.  Some people do want to own their own wedding/event planning company and that is great!  If you are going that route I’d still recommend learning the ropes from someone else, or perhaps investing in a mentorship program. 

If you are starting out with no experience and you want to work for yourself I’d recommend asking family and friends who are getting married to assist in helping plan their weddings in exchange for professional photographs and for a review.  Be humble and patient!  It might take a few weddings to gain experience to lead to a paying job and that is ok! 

Planning and designing styled/editorial shoots is also a great way to gain experience.  You will not only get to plan and design the look you are going for, but you will get to forge lasting relationships with other wedding vendors and gain lovely professional pictures for your portfolio.

Vendor credits from photos provided for a winter blues styled shoot I plan and designed right before Christmas.

Vendor Team

Planning/Design: @somethingbleuweddings 

Photographer: @priscilakanelosphoto 

Flowers: @thedirtempress 

Cake: @whisk_by_maura 

Stationary/Calligraphy: @rosebudcalligraphy 

China/Cutlery/Napkins: @sparrowlanerentals 

Ballroom Chairs & Linens: @atent4rent 

Candlesticks & Candles: @athomestores  

Rug: @homegoods

Engagement Ring & Bands: @bluenilediamond 

Men’s Ring: @zalesjewelers 

Earrings: @katespadeny

Hair Comb: @macys

Shoes: @badgleymischka @badgleymischkabride 

Ring Box: @amazon//DesignSter