I think the event industry is one of the most exciting industries out there and always encourage people to do what they love!
Kathryn MacPhee

Kathryn Macphee

Owner, Lead Planner and Creative Producer

Location: Canada

KM Wedding & Event Co is a boutique event planning company based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, that specializes in planning & designing events all over the Maritimes and internationally.

We offer a wide variety of services to best suit our clients’ needs and create the event they have always dreamed of. We are passionate about creating beautiful events for all of our clients and want their planning experience to be fun, exciting and stress-free! We will work tirelessly to create a wonderful experience that their guests will talk about for years to come!

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

I cannot stress enough how important venue selection is. Carefully select your venue, and make sure you know what comes with it! Your venue will determine so many budget factors such as catering costs, rental costs, travel costs (for yourself and vendors), and so much more.

Some venues allow you to bring your own alcohol and food, while others require you to purchase from them. Some venues supply all the d├ęcor you may need, while other may not supply anything. If your venue is in a secluded location, you will probably need to pay for hotel rooms for yourselves and vendors, along with travel fees for each vendor who is on site for your wedding day.

Because this is one of the first decisions to be made, I often see couples locking themselves into a venue that will only stress the budget. There is no point in spending all of your budget on a venue if you cannot afford the rest of the wedding. Instead, carefully consider all of the factors when selecting your venue, this way you can spread your budget appropriately and work with the venue to create your dream day!

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

I have been in the event industry for much longer than I have been operating my own company, and my vendor relationships are one of the main reasons I have been successful as a company. With my prior experience in the industry, I have met so many amazing, talented vendors who have been so supportive through launching my company.

When I launched, I made sure to personally reach out to every vendor I know locally for many reasons. As an event planner, it is my job to know who can provide what, how well they do it and how much it costs. For me, vendor relationships are a key part of my business.

I like to stay in touch with my go-to vendors on a regular basis and collaborate when possible on styled shoots, blog posts, events, etc. I also like to touch base with any new vendors entering the market through a simple email or meeting them in person!

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?

I decided to take a business degree right out of high school with the intention to start my own business some day, however, that day came along much sooner than I thought it would. My goal was to work in the industry for about 10 years to learn all the ins and outs. After about 4 years in the industry, I got a job that was so close to my dream job. When my contract ended with that company, I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do and the best way to make it happen was to go out on my own.

I started building my brand and creating a business plan in May 2019 while working full time elsewhere. In November, I switched to part-time at my desk job and signed my first clients in December 2019. When I switched to part-time, I had started investing more time towards marketing my company and developing a solid brand. Although I am constantly working on improving my business, I can confidently say I am beyond happy with where I am at. I have been able to book my ideal clients, make more wonderful vendor connections and I cannot imagine doing anything else!

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

I remember my very first wedding so well!! I was an Assistant Events Manager at a resort, training to take over the department and had only attended maybe one or two weddings at this point in my life. We were getting ready to send the bride down the aisle. First went the parents, then the bridesmaids, then the flower girl… now time for the bride and her father… I don’t know who was more excited, the bride or me…

I think back on that day and can only imagine how crazy the bride must have thought I was because of my excitement level, but it is also the moment I fell in love with weddings and knew I was on the right career path. That wedding went perfectly and I realized how rewarding weddings are.

What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

There are definitely a few things that I wish I knew before starting my business!

First off, you do not have to listen to everybody’s opinion and take their advice. When I was developing my brand, so many people tried to tell my they didn’t like this or that, or I should do it this way, and I did change a few things. But after a little while, I realized that they are not my ideal clients, they will never hire me, and they do not know what my brand represents, so why would I take their advice? I am now very particular on the advice I take!

Second, It is okay to turn down a client if you are not the right fit! I always thought it was rude and not a good business practice to turn away customers, however, turning down clients because you are not the right fit will ultimately be better for both yourself and the client. The client can then go and find another vendor who is the right fit and you can find another client who is the right fit. In the event industry, specifically weddings, we work so closely with our clients, that our relationships are very important. If there is something holding that relationship back or we are not on the same page, this will reflect in the event and ultimately not give us great results.

A third thing I wish I new before starting my own business is that nobody will care about your business as much as you do. Don’t get me wrong, people will care and they will be encouraging but they will not know where the boundaries are and how much work it takes to run your own business. They will see you working from home on your own schedule and think that you are always available. It is so important to set boundaries and priorities, especially if working from home.

Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?

I would really just like to thank you for asking me to take part in this interview! I am so blessed to be one of the few people in this world who love my job. I think the event industry is one of the most exciting industries out there and always encourage people to do what they love!

Susan Null
Author: Susan Null

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