Event Planning - The Inside Scoop
by Jane Rae Events
This week I have a special interview to share with you guys! Katie from Simply Devine by Jane Rae Events is a local event planner here in Sioux Falls. I recently got to sit down with her and ask her a little bit about what she does and what she thinks about working in the wedding industry.
When did you start planning events?
I’ve been planning events on my own since January 2017. I always wanted to have my own business and I knew that Sioux Falls could use an event planner. For the size of the city and the number of weddings held here, I believed I could make it work!
What did you try for exposure at first?
I put together a few displays downtown at first! I put them in some shop windows so I could get my name out there and people could see an example of my work.
(This is actually how I found Katie! I saw a display and wanted her to plan my parent's anniversary party. I kept her card in my wallet for months. So that worked!)
What have your biggest struggles been?
It’s been difficult not having return clientele. Because weddings are planned so far out, it was hard to get my name out there. For example, a wedding is planned usually over a year out, so clients don’t get to see the results for that much time. In the meantime, they wouldn’t necessarily refer their friends here because they haven’t seen how things turn out. And with event planning, there are very few big life events that a single client needs to plan.
How did you get started?
As I mentioned, I got started on my own in January of 2017. Later that year, in the fall, Simply Devine Event Planning out of Huron approached me. They had already been in business for ten years and were quite established, but the decided it was time to sell. It was the perfect opportunity! It took 6 26-foot trucks to move all of their supplies over to Sioux Falls. We moved everything over in December and then moved to our current location in January. Simply Devine already had 32 weddings booked out and I soon booked 30 more myself. Our grand opening was in April and soon I decided it was time to hire on some new faces! Rachel joined the team, then another event planner, Ashley. And currently we have four interns with us for the summer.
What’s the process for planning a wedding?
A bride usually reaches out to us through our website or Facebook page. This is typically over a year before their wedding date. We book an initial meeting, where we discuss their preferences and the initial details- date, color scheme, guest list, and what they already have booked. We offer three different fully-customizable packages. Each couple is unique, so we make sure and let them know how flexible we are with planning. We are not a cookie cutter event planning service! I love to look at your Pinterest boards and see how we can make your dream wedding come to life. After our initial meeting, I will present a proposal to the couple and decide what we are going to move forward with. Our second meeting is the design meeting, so we will discuss the nitty gritty details. This is one of my favorite parts because a bride and groom get to see how a picture from Pinterest will come to life from local vendors in their venue. Most couples go away from that meeting feeling relieved because the major planning is finally over!
What types of planning do you offer?
We offer full design & setup, partial design & setup, and event planning (day-of coordination.) Most brides that opt for full-planning are living in a different part of the country or are at school full time and need someone to do the leg work for them. Most weddings I plan around here are partial or day-of coordination.
What’s the difference between design & setup and event planning?
The major difference is that design and setup is not as hands-on as event planning. So with our first option, we go through the design process and set everything up for your big day. We will typically spend around 4-5 hours getting everything ready and then disappear for you to enjoy it. If a couple wants a more hands-on experience with event planning, we will coordinate the arrival of vendors, making sure everyone arrives on time, does their job, and gets everything where it should be. Our team manages everything, so when a fire needs to be put out, we make sure that things go smoothly and the couple never has to find out that anything went wrong. This option gives the couple peace of mind so they won’t have to worry! They just have to show up and get married. We will typically spend 12-14 hours coordinating a wedding, from 8:00 am until the dance starts. Many couples choose to combine these options.
What do you recommend for brides trying to figure out how to plan a wedding?
One thing I would recommend is giving yourself plenty of time to plan. Schedule a meeting with an event planner over a year in advance. Be open and honest about what you want, what you don’t want, and your price point. A good event planner will take all of this information into consideration and make your dream wedding a reality.
What types of brides have you worked with?
I’ve worked with all different kinds of brides. Like I mentioned, some are from South Dakota but living in a different area currently and coming home to get married. They need hands-on planning and someone to know what is available locally. Some brides are also busy working on a degree and need that full planning. Other brides want to be very involved in the process!
How far have you traveled for a wedding?
Well, the business moved from Huron to Sioux Falls, so we travel to a lot of small towns throughout South Dakota. We visit Aberdeen quite often since they don’t have an event planning service. I really don’t want to close the door to traveling for planning a wedding, so I’ve even gone as far as Omaha and Montana!
What’s the best part about your job?
I’d have to say that seeing how the little things really matter and that the smallest details can make such a difference. It warms my heart to see how happy these details can make the couple! I also enjoy bringing Jetta and Bella, my dogs, to work once a week!