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What were your biggest achievements this year?

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What have you done this year? What were your achievements in 2017? How did you plan your business success in 2017? Which challenges did you have to handle? Did you get out of the comfort zone? To learn what made many of our wedding planners proud this year, we’ve talked to some of them about their biggest achievements and challenges. Take a look at their stories:

Getting to know the international market

The wedding planner Carolee Higashino chose to move forward on an international level to educate herself on what is happening worldwide in the industry, not just locally. “WOW what a ride it has been! I dedicated my time to travel extensively and see what is happening in my profession across the globe. As my clients literally travel worldwide to my small spot in the middle of the sea this was invaluable. I am not proud but honored to have experienced so much culture and tradition and love that was shared with me on this journey”, explains Carolee.

Getting to know the international market was also one of the goals of Belief’s Retreat, which happened in November, at Riviera Maya. We’ve had wedding planners from different places around the world together – learning, getting inspired by each other and celebrating this year of hard work.

Celebrating years of hard work

Carolee Higashino says that this year, her company has celebrated creating over 10,000 weddings with worldwide clients. “We’ve been creating weddings for over 25 years….Yeah….that deserves a toast! Cheers!”, she tells.

In 2017, another wedding planner deserves a toast – Jacqueline Vazquez, whose company completed ten years.

Balancing family x work

A big challenge for Carolee Higashino this year was to combine work and home. “As for any business owner, this is most likely the double-edged sword.  For me this is huge.  The family is absolutely first so traveling was invasive to their time I am sure.  However after my dedication and my years spent in this industry it was imperative that I continue to grow and be present to listen to the needs of our clientele in moving forward.  As a commitment to my firm, I chose to delve into promoting my business to the highest level possible.  How have I done this?  Pretty much burnt the candle on both ends, drank chardonnay and loved my family every step of the way!”, says Carolee. 

Surprise wedding challenge

Wedding planner: Olivia Magalhães | Photo: Mariana Gama Photography

For the wedding planner Olivia Magalhães, this year’s biggest challenge was to plan a surprise wedding. “A Brazilian fiancé contacted me to say that he wanted to get married in Portugal. But it was a surprise for the bride. Well, I took a deep breath and thought, how could I organize a wedding without a bride? How was I supposed to know what she liked, which bouquet she would prefer or what kind of make-up and hairstyle she wanted? I confess it scared me a little”, Olivia says.

But she took a deep breath and accepted the challenge. “So we prepared everything from distance for this Elopement Wedding that took place last October. “The only tip the groom gave me was that they both were wine lovers and that they would come with their 5-year-old daughter”, Olivia remembers. Olivia started to pick the vendors – she chose the photographer, the make-up artist, and the hairdresser. “ Let’s pray she likes it“, she thought.

The next step was to find the perfect location. “I’ve picked one that I particularly love and that I believed they would love too. A fantastic hotel, about 1 hour from Lisbon, in the heart of Alentejo. This homestead, which is basically an ecological hotel with its own wine production, is, in fact, a fantastic place”, Olivia tells. Then, Olivia had also to choose the perfect officiant to celebrate the wedding, the cake, and the flowers.

The couple arrived in  Portugal four days before the wedding. When they arrived, the groom told her about his plans. “And I showed up at the hotel at lunchtime and voila: ‘I am your wedding planner'”, Olivia teases. Luckily, there was a great empathy between them. Once everything was ok, it was time to work – look for the dress, write texts for the votes, etc. The bride and groom spent two days in Lisbon and the day before the wedding they headed to the hotel.

“Me and my team showed up the next day and I was super curious to know what they found. I found them in the breakfast room and they were super happy! They loved the place. How nice! Let us then prepare everything. A little more than an hour from the ceremony we were still receiving the votes that their daughters sent from Brazil”, Olivia explains.

According to Olivia, the ceremony was beautiful, everything was wonderful. “When they started to read the vows, the bride got all emotional. Then when I looked back at the makeup artist and my partner, who was also attending the ceremony, they were both also crying! In the end, the groom hugged me and thanked me for all my work. Mission accomplished!”, states Olivia.

What about you? What were your challenges in 2017? What were your biggest accomplishments? What does make you feel proud of yourself?

First photo credit: Wedding planner: Carolee Higashino |Photo: Caitlyn Cathey

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