Today I am feeling a little inspired! It’s Friday, it’s going to be a high of 77 degrees and for some reason the beautiful weather is having me reflect on the last five years of Wedding Company of Williamsburg. For those of you who know me or who have read my about me page, you know this story. But for those of you who don’t know of how Wedding Company of Williamsburg came to be, I invite you to read on (I promise it’s a fun little story and might even inspire you).
I have been very fortunate to have known what I wanted to do as a career since I was in high school. At 17, I realized that if I wanted to work in the event/wedding industry I would have to have experience. Sure, education was just as important, but no one was going to hire a young kid out of College to plan and execute events at $100,000 levels for their most VIP clients, without experience. That’s when I decided to apply for an internship as a wedding planning assistant which forever changed my life. I became obsessed with weddings. I couldn’t get enough of the love the couples shared, the happiness of the families coming together and of course the stunning centerpieces and decor. I began dreaming of my future. I knew I wanted to live in Williamsburg with my future husband (I totally knew Tristan who I was dating at the time was going to be my future hubby (cue the aww’s)) have a bunch of babies, a wedding planning business and maybe even a wedding venue. I had big dreams and I knew it would take all the right choices and experience to get me there. With the support of my family, my boyfriend and my big dreams I made my way onto Radford University.
If you meet any of my Raddy friends they will tell you, I talked about my dreams of wedding planning all the time. I can only imagine how obnoxious it must have been! While attending Radford, I studied Communications Studies with a concentration in Organizational Communication. I continued with my wedding planning internship and came home every chance I could. While my time at Radford were some of the best years of my life, I made the difficult decision to transfer to James Madison University, a school a little closer to home (do you see a theme here? I love Williamsburg). I graduated 2 years later and that was when reality hit. I had to get a decent job and there weren’t that many hospitality avenues available back in little old Williamsburg. After multiple interviews for local hotels and resorts, I was told I just didn’t have the experience needed. I was devastated. This was my fear all along. I knew I had to get “in” somehow. I ended up landing a job at a local event rental company (shout out to Steve Rose, the best boss I ever had- Williamsburg Event Rentals). This is where I believe everything started to fall into place. I met local vendors and learned what they needed to execute events. I got to be a part of some incredible local events and learned everything you need to know about tents, tables, chairs, linens, etc. After about 10 months of working there, I received a call from Kingsmill Resort. They wanted me! The experience and knowledge I gained at Williamsburg Event Rentals was exactly what they were looking for. I took the job and became the Lead Wedding Planner and landed my dream job. During that year, I gained best friends, a ton of experience with event management systems, executed over the top weddings and events, and was living the dream. I didn’t know how it could get any better. But one day, I felt like something was missing. My favorite part of the wedding planning process was working with the couples and I was limited as to how much I could help them in the role I was in. I knew I wanted to expand but I was terrified of leaving a dream job to take a chance on building my own business. I knew nothing about owning a business and had never taken business classes. I was overwhelmed and the fear ate away at me. I just didn’t know if I could make the jump.
QUICK NOTE FROM JESS: (Okay…this is my favorite part of the story. If somehow, I have intrigued you enough to read up to this point…keep reading…I think you will love this as much as I do).
In July 2012, I came home to my boyfriend sitting in the kitchen. On the kitchen table was a check written out to me for $500.00. I had no idea why my boyfriend was writing me a check for a lot of money (okay ya’ll I was 21…$500 was a ton of money).He explained to me that it was time – time for me to live out my dream. He was giving me $500 to start my business and he wanted me to match his kind/generous donation to open it. I was stunned! I knew he believed in me, but I don’t think I realized how much. Within the week, we went to the bank and opened Wedding Company of Williamsburg. That was in August of 2012.
Now five years later, my boyfriend is now my husband. We are executing around 15-20 weddings a year and Wedding Co. is more successful than I ever thought it would be. I am so thankful that five years ago, my boyfriend believed in me, more than I believed in myself.
I can’t imagine being anywhere else than where I am today. I wrote this post today, because I think there are so many people out there like me at 21. Fear can keep you from living your dreams. I know there are risks involved but whatever your change may be, put your fear aside and jump in! You will never know how successful you will be without going for it! Live those dreams and be the #bosslady or #bossman you want to be!
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