SUPERMOMS in the Wedding Biz

January 28th, 2016

How do they do it?
Have you ever wondered how some people can multi-task and others can’t?
How do these women handle time consuming jobs, focus on emotionally charged clients, and do it MASTERFULLY, all while going through pregnancy, babies, & child rearing?

We call them SUPERMOMS! Here are five of our many amazing San Diego based industry professional friends who have proven it is not only possible but also desirable! These ladies pretty well cover the gamut of pregnancy thru youngins’…take a look…

I asked them each a few questions regarding pregnancy and/or raising kids while working full or part-tim, here’s the list of questions:
1. How long were you able to work while pregnant? If all the way thru term, was it difficult? If you had to or decided to stop early on in your pregnancy, why?
2. Do you feel your pregnancy helped get business or hurt it? Do you tell your clients or not? How do clients react to you when they hear you are pregnant and/or will be for their event?
3. What challenges did you face during the process of pregnancy or raising children while working?
4. Do you have suggestions for other people getting into this industry (particularly your end of it, whatever your job) who also want to start a family?
5. What is/was the most fun part of having babies in this industry?

**HOVER OVER EACH PHOTO FOR CAPTIONS & PHOTO CREDITS**

AS A PHOTOGRAPHER:
Meet Heather Elise Aronan of Heather Elise Photography – I start with Heather, because…SERIOUSLY, her baby was due YESTERDAY!!! January 27, 2016!!! While we were all waiting for the big news, Heather alerted me that not only is her due date postponed to Feb. 3, but she still plans to work this weekend’s San Diego Bridal Bazaar like a true Rockstar!!! Heather is also my paddle boarding buddy even up until two weeks before her due date! I just LOVE this woman, so all digits are crossed for Baby Aronan!!

Heather responded:
1. I suppose you could say I worked up until 1/25, only 2 days before due date since I was editing my last wedding of 2016 until then. However, my last shoot was December 13th. I feel like my belly was getting pretty large at that point, so I decided to hold off on any other shoots until after baby is born. I was still doing client meetings.

2. Neither. I was definitely CONCERNED that clients might think it would be a liability…but that was me overthinking it. I didn’t tell people until I was notably prego as I preferred to stay in the excitement of their wedding day and their love and less on my excitement for my new addition. To my surprise, at 38 weeks prego I booked a wedding. Definitely clients reacted with excitement for me…although I definitely try to bring the excitement back to them.

3. Fear of the huge shift that I am not just responsible for myself but now responsible for another human being. Oh and fear of no sleep. I prefer 8 to 9 hours and THAT will no longer be… haha! I am definitely nervous about scheduling appointments/shoots around baby. Thank goodness we have both grandmothers close to home so we will have support.

4. While of course I have a few challenges ahead of me I am SO grateful that this job allows me to stay home with baby and work at the same time. I am grateful to have watched my sister-in-law (also talented Carrie McCluskey Photography) have 3 kids while photographing weddings over the past decade, and she gives me hope that this is totally doable. I would advise if it’s possible…..have babies in the off season! Of course babies come when babies come but wow, so happy to have been able to relax a bit and enjoy pregnancy while not in the height of
the year….and definitely DON’T overthink things. I have found that continuing to work has helped keep things in perspective and not overthinking too much.

5. I would say it has been super fun sharing the news that we were prego with industry friends in person. Our community is pretty awesome and it was fun to feel excitement from vendor friends!

Reality Check from the beautiful Sara France of Sara France Photography & France Photographers

1. I shot weddings all the way until 3 weeks before my due date which ended up being 2 weeks before she was born. I even shot a 14 hour wedding in New York only 6 weeks before she was born and yes you can fly that late in your term. I did not have a hard time shooting while I was pregnant. The hardest part was just not being able to lay on the floor to get a shot but that is why we have awesome second photographers.

2. It for sure hurt business for me but I have two other photographers so I think it helped get them business sometimes. I noticed that when clients were interviewing me, even if their wedding was going to be far after I gave birth they were still concerned. I could tell they were wondering how things would change for me with a new baby and how that would effect them. Of course I knew that would not effect them at all I only told the clients that I thought it would effect but most of them knew already via social media. They were all super excited and supportive. For the NY client I brought an extra photographer just in case and I told him before I announced it on Social Media.

3. My biggest challenge during pregnancy was convincing people that I was not disabled. I wanted them to treat me the same. I was still able to do all the things I could do when I was not pregnant. I just happened to be growing another human inside of me while I was doing all those things. My biggest challenge in raising Charlie has been in finding the right balance and the right boundaries. I have had to find a whole new workout, create a new schedule, and invite new people in my home to help.

4. Absolutely, I have been incredibly blessed to have my team around me. This would have been such a harder transition without them. I knew I wanted to start a family soon and I was able to expand my business to include 2 incredible photographers a couple years ago; without their support I do not know where I would be. Having a support team around you is keep to success in times like these.

5. Everyone tells you how much work it is to have a baby but no-one tells you how much fun it is. I have never enjoyed my life more than I do now that I have this ball of joy in my life. Yes she cries, yes she is needy at times but there is nothing like the feeling when she laughs and
hugs me. Sharing that with other people in the industry is the best. I feel like I have so many people supporting me and cheering me on. I love sharing this journey with everyone in the industry.

AS A WEDDING & EVENT COORDINATOR:
An amazing reality of female Wedding Coordinators seems to be that they all get pregnant! The large group of talented ladies from Bliss Events seem to have a new baby in the mix every season, and it’s just SO MUCH FUN! We love these ladies! Here are two mega-moms who gave us some amazing input & suggestions for women who want to have babies while working.

Rachel Welland, Owner of this fantastic Wedding & Event Coordinating & Design Company, has grown Bliss Events from a small event company to one of the finest & most respected in Southern California…all while raising two babies! Rachel is one of the strongest women I know, extremely detail-oriented, focused, and professional, so I was really interested in hearing her feedback.

1. I worked up until my due date! I had to slow down leading up to the due date, but I was sure to not schedule many meetings (or weddings) for a few weeks prior.

2. My clients were very supportive and excited for me! I was sure to reassure them that I would have extra assistance at their weddings and they were confident in me and my team.

3. While pregnant, I had to be sure to take some breaks when I was working at weddings (e.g. sitting down once in a while). While I was a new mom and was breastfeeding, I had to pump a few times during each wedding day (my shift is typically 10-to-12 hours!), which was a challenge to leave the event for about 20 minutes, but I would pick the best possible times when I would not be “missed”.

4. If possible, it would be best to work a few years and learn the job inside & out, as well as establishing routines and processes. Then it would be easier to be pregnant and have a child, if the business is already established and is in good order.

5. I have a flexible schedule with my career, which allows me time to spend with my child!

Paige Jensen, Coordinator & Designer at Bliss Events

With her two gorgeous munchables

With her two gorgeous munchables

1. I was able to work with the 1st baby up til the end, I had a wedding 2 weeks before she was due BUT actually she was early – probably due
to the fact that I was working and so active. With 2nd baby, I knew I wanted more time to myself and with my current li’l one so didn’t schedule much around the time of birth or directly after.

2. Physically & mentally, I had way more difficulty with the 2nd baby – everything just happened earlier and faster for me! Overall, from about 6 months on with both… I had to hire an extra assistant to come earlier and stay later just to be my “hands and legs” for the physical labor (moving belly bars, picking up boxes of personal items – all hard on the body). You don’t want to strain the belly area too much so having someone was really helpful.
Emotions, anxiety, mental focus are all a challenge; you are learning how to handle 2 full-time jobs.

3. If you had to or decided to stop early on in your pregnancy, why? I stopped early with my 2nd baby, to allow more time to focus on my older child a bit before the new baby came (and to prepare mentally!) Honestly, I had a wedding booked about 3 weeks before due date with clients who were BOTH DOCTORS; they weren’t comfortable knowing my 1st baby was early (as they were educated to ask me) and were afraid that they would be left without a Coordinator. They didn’t want that stress of not knowing, so we transferred them to my colleague. This worked out great – I am blessed to have our Bliss team for random situations like that.

4. I wouldn’t say it “hurt” my business. With my 1st child no-one had a problem; I had events leading right up to it and then 2 full service events 6 weeks after. With my 2nd, ONE couple was not comfortable having me due close to their wedding, so my colleague Staci took over. Always alerted clients in appropriate timing. ALL were elated, so excited for me. For the few who showed any concern for how that might affect their event, I was always able to walk them through my Plan B (extra assistants, a 2nd coordinator, mom bringing the baby for breastfeeding and myself arriving earlier to allow for that time, doing meetings and their timelines/stuff early and ahead of time, etc.)

5. During pregnancy, Baby Brain… (it’s so TRUE) Just use more post-its and reminders for the basics, haha. Physical hindrances just to do my job on auto-pilot require extra hands on deck. After the pregnancy: Oh man- I mean you are learning a whole new full time job- mother. And then still doing your passion and regular work and all from the same house/office/work zone so I would say it’s The balance (of all that). Every baby & mother/professional is different. For me, I realized instead of getting 10 things done in a day, I had to be stoked on getting only 1-2.

Prioritize my time with work, hubby, the baby, house work, ME time- all important.
::Great routines for the kids
::Naps to help my lack of sleep
The mental struggle is toughest: you’re playing with your new baby but in the back of your mind- you are thinking- “I can do this table like this for this bride” and “oh got to get back to this one on her schedule when she comes to visit,” and “oh yeah- need to answer that blog questionnaire from Elaine with Sweet Cheeks” (hehe). On the flip-side, you are working when your baby is napping, and you’re as efficient as possible, but it’s a race against the clock for when they get up and then BOOM your work stops– your work mind flow stops and you go attend to your baby and have to come back to it maybe 5 hours later or the next day. It’s just tougher than I thought it would be but then again- you just power through!

6. I wouldn’t try to start a business and have a baby at same time- start the job, then have babies OR vice versa. Both will be your “babies” and require your full attention to do them right and 100% successfully (notice I didn’t say perfectly because no one is and no one way to do all this is perfect). Other advice: DIVE IN! YOU WILL FIGURE IT OUT and YOU WILL DO A GREAT JOB and THE BEST JOB THAT YOU CAN DO at both!

Another thing: I think having a team to rely on (like when I had to drop a few weddings from my due date) and just for support because on our team we are all moms and planners- it’s wonderful and makes you feel like you are not alone doing either. And last: Once you are “in it”- working and pregnant or going to have a baby- check out nanny or daycare (doesn’t need to be full-time or it can be) but just prepare- BE A PLANNER for your life and your baby’s life so that you know she/he will be well taken care of when you do have a wedding or a meeting or need office time and on the other end you know that you can expect that time to focus fully 100% on your clients.

7. I am fortunate to maximize both of the greatest jobs at the same time! Coordinating requires LOTS of logistics constantly, but I am home with my babies WHEN I WANT TO BE and then working WHEN I WANT TO BE. Freedom & flexibility- not always easy to choose one over the other. I’d stop trying to do both, but then I wouldn’t be able to do the 2 best passions of my life: planning events & raising kiddos. Our industry is mostly about events centered around LOVE, so many of these couples I am marrying will have babies one day, and MANY people in our industry already have families around. So it’s a great industry with lots of LOVE for kids/babies and support, which is huge… they do say “It takes a village to raise kids” and our industry is an incredible “village”.

AS A FLORIST:
Breesa Everett of BLOOMS by Breesa Lee – An incredibly talented floral designer, we are blessed to work with her often these days! Not only do I appreciate Breesa’s realistic answers, I also respect her efforts to maintain family sanity via the signature in her emails…which reads: “Office hours are kept Monday – Wednesday and we leave the rest of the week for event production and family time. Please allow a few extra days for an email response – we want to make sure we answer all your questions.”

1) I worked as much as I could until the day before I went into labor, with some adjustments. I worked like normal until 4 weeks before my due date and then after that I did whatever work I could while sitting down. It was so hot around that time – my feet would get so swollen and I had to work with them up on a chair!

2) I met with clients while pregnant but only took on clients if their wedding was at least a month before I was due or 3 months after I was due. I didn’t want to take the chance of being unable to follow through with the flowers for their event. Everyone I met with was very understanding and pretty amazed!

3) I think the most difficult thing about the balance of having a family while owning a business is all the “extra” stuff. It’s not just finding time to answer emails and put together arrangements. It’s the social aspect of the industry as well. It’s so important to have great vendor relationships and the time required for that is something I didn’t anticipate. Luckily, as my daughter gets older I can find time for the get-togethers in the evenings or she can come along to coffee dates once in a while.

4) My suggestion for florists planning a family is: be easy on yourself. Be as sweet to yourself as you’re going to be to the new baby. Give yourself time and understanding. It’s probably not going to work out how you think it is but it will work out somehow. Your family will find its groove.

5) This industry is full of moms! It’s amazing – the support I’ve found was really a surprise. If you show up to a meeting totally frazzled from your day, you’ll get a look of complete understanding. It’s really wonderful.

THANK YOU to all of these beautiful ladies – all FRIENDS and RESPECTED PROFESSIONALS!!!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply