Let’s Get Personal: Taking on Assistants & Learning As I Go

  • 1
  • November 06, 2013

First let me apologize for letting it go until 2pm before I even started blogging today! The Day Job had me pretending I was a graphic designer and it always takes WAY longer than I think to create fliers/graphics for them. But let’s get into today’s personal post.

Let’s Get Personal: Taking on Assistants & Learning As I Go

bree me personal blogging

[Image: Val & Sarah]

Over the past few weeks, I started receiving emails from people that wanted my help/advice on breaking into the wedding planning business. I must admit that I was pretty shocked to not only get one, but 4 of these emails so far. I am so new to this business myself, it sort of caught me off guard that people wanted to learn from me. I mean, I only just finished my first year as a “wedding coordinator” and I, myself, feel like I have so much still to learn! Though my first year went smoothly and really so much more so than I had thought, surely I cannot be in a place to be teaching others what to do in this business. I mean – I haven’t even taken any classes, or have no educational background in event planning what so ever. I planned my own wedding and loved it, started a blog, and fell into coordinating and welp, now here I am.

I have to admit, I don’t know the first thing about taking on assistants. I am fortunate enough to have the world’s BEST (and most affordable ;) assistant through my husband, but there have been a few weddings this year where I certainly could have used an extra set of hands to help with setup! I am still learning how to navigate this territory though – when to know whether I will need an assistant or not, what to charge my clients if additional hands are needed for setup, and then what to give an assistant. And then there is the contract/liability side of taking someone on in my business too. Protecting myself, protecting my clients AND protecting the assistant – well these are all things I will need to take some time to read up on and learn about in the off-season.

But here is the other thing I have learned so far through these email exchanges (and even a few coffee dates): everyone has something to share. Even though I haven’t been at this game long, and I am far from considering myself a professional, I have learned A LOT and I am more than happy to share what I’ve learned with others that want to get in on this business. As we’ve already talked about in our “competitors are the new colleagues” post, I don’t view these new planners as a threat. Maybe I am naive, or maybe I just haven’t had a bad experience yet, but I have only gotten to where I am now by others being generous and open with me (here’s looking at you Danielle Pasternak) so why shouldn’t I return that favor?

So while I am still learning as I go, I am excited (OK and nervous) at the prospect of taking on assistants into the crazy world of Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination. But hey, if it means that I can get some awesome help from up and comers, and help them in return, AND learn in the process, well then I am completely game. I’ll let you know how it goes ;)

So what do you think? Have you been approached by wedding business newbies for help? Are you as open/into helping them as I am, or have you been burned in the past?

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4 Comments

  • Abby Grace says:

    This is something photogs experience a lot! It can be a difficult road to maneuver, just because training someone new to help out at weddings takes up attention and energy that I need to be putting toward my couple, so I’ve tried to take on a few different assistants and use the same round of people during wedding season. It’s not that I’m opposed to having someone new in, but it causes WAY more stress because I’m constantly worrying about where they are, if they’re getting underfoot. Whenever I get emails asking to assist or second shoot, I typically try to point them toward photographers I know that are readily accepting new sets of hands, so that way it’s a win for everyone :).

    • Bree Ryback says:

      thanks for sharing abby! i am sure it is just as difficult for photographers and other wedding vendors as it is for coordinators. It’s def not as easy as just saying “yes! come help!” and I know I still have A LOT to learn!

  • I’m still very new to it all as well and people have come to me asking questions and while I’m totally humbled by it I feel the same as you in that I still have a ton to learn…but I LOVE when people are open to discussing their journey and offer tips and advice…and I too see it as colleagues vs competitors…and my hubby has also been my assistant :) …until recently I added an extra set hands on an as needed basis. Good luck with your journey…hopefully we cross paths at some point!

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