I was briefly talking to a guy the other day about an upcoming wedding. He said, “Yeah, I thought about planning weddings and events…but I realized that stuff is for the ladies.” Little did he know that’s my profession.
You may not believe it…but there are many times I get a surprised reaction (or a pause) when I tell someone that I plan/design weddings and events. Better yet, when they presume that I’m gay simply because I know how to produce beautiful, creative, and kick-ass experiences.
Welcome to the Life and Times of a (Straight) Male Event Planner/Designer. I get it…I’m an anomaly. After all, straight men aren’t usually encouraged to be involved in these things. Heck, many people act as though a wedding is meant for brides. Last time I checked, it takes two to tango. My weddings are meant for couples
I don’t drink Starbucks pumpkin spiced lattes. I don’t use the words “gorg”, “totes”, “adorbs”, or “swoon”. I don’t really care about the latest designer bags. I suck at calligraphy, and have no desire to learn it. I don’t obsess over sparkles and chevron patterns. I don’t have a small, fluffy dog with a collar adorned in glitter. And I certainly don’t take photos of my laptop placed on a desk, next to a notepad…and a Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte.
Does this mean I’m not able to bond with a bride and bridesmaids during wedding planning? Does this mean I’m not creative or trendy enough to understand color combinations, design tablescapes, and produce an “intimately gorgeous” setting? Or better yet, does this mean I don’t have, or express, heartfelt emotions?
I always connect with the bride AND the groom, the mothers AND the fathers, and the bridesmaids AND the groomsmen. I’ve finished zipping up brides’ wedding dresses, tying grooms’ ties, and putting on corsages and boutonnieres. I make a conscious effort to attend every rehearsal dinner; not for the food, but to build rapport with the family and close friends. Every client I work with knows without a shadow-of-a-doubt, that I’m on their
side and only want what’s best for them
. I make certain that every single client is as involved as they want to be in the planning for their event. My way of doing business is working with
clients as opposed to working for
Whether it’s immaculate centerpieces, breathtaking bouquets, extensive drape work, exceptional lighting and ambiance, or even an aisle runner with a super-cool flower petal design…9 times out of 10 I will recommend or find a way to make it look even more beautiful. Not just for my portfolio or photo-ops, but to see the look on clients’ and guests’ faces when they finally get to experience it.
My emotions aren’t just heartfelt, they’re visible. Every time I gaze out at a crowd of happy event guests, I smile and reflect for a few seconds about how amazing it is to be able to entertain people and enhance the joy in their lives. Likewise, I’m also in the background of every wedding ceremony with my fist pumping from exuberance or my eyes tearing up during the exchange of vows. Not from all of the hard work, but from the fact that a couple trusted me in executing the most special day of their lives. That level of responsibility is something that I truly cherish, and never take for granted.
I care about growth. I care about people and relationships. And I care about creating memorable experiences in peoples’ lives. Anybody is capable of being an event planner and designer, whether it’s weddings, corporate events, social events, public events, or a combination of the above. I personally do all of them, because I want as many people as possible to understand that men should plan and design more events. After all, isn’t a more diverse industry a better thing for everyone involved? Doing things through the same general lens creates a limitation on innovation, creativity, and new perspectives!