I plan to continue the development of my educational platform called WEDology toolKIT and continue speaking nationally about an industry I’m so passionate about.

Desiree Dent

President & Lead Planner

Location: Chicago, IL

Dejanae Events LLC is an awarding-winning wedding and event planning company located in Chicago’s upbeat Hyde Park neighborhood. The DE Team takes pride in assisting couples with planning the most memorable days of their lives. Our motto “The Essence of Event Planning” reveals the depth we will go to make sure you and your partner have a splendid wedding day! We work with some of the finest creative partners in the industry.

Friendly, detailed and professional service are qualities that have given us longevity in the business. We are dedicated to providing our clients with peace of mind while giving 100% to each and every event.

Desireé established Dejanae Events LLC, an award-winning wedding & event planning company, 20 years ago in April 2000. The DE Team and she have since coordinated hundreds of weddings employing their knowledge and research to assist couples with their special day while maintaining their specialized budget.

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

Vendor relationships are the foundation of any wedding and event planning business. You must surround yourself with an awesome group of creative partners so that when you come together to execute an event…nothing but greatness is demonstrated. In order to get to this point, you should take the time to get to know your vendors and understand their business dynamics. DO NOT SKIP THIS PROCESS. Vendors breathe life into your business. You should ABSOLUTELY want the BEST on your team.

When trying to cultivate a new partnership, introduce yourself to the creative partner. Ask to take him/her out for coffee to learn of their business details and offerings. Keep in touch and be responsive to their requests and/or inquiries. Vendor relationships should happen organically and they take time. Do not force it.

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

I’m so excited about 2020 and what’s to come for me personally and professionally. With 20 years of wedding and event planning, my daughter has been by my side (or on my hip) for her entire life. She’s now a Senior in High School and with her attending college in the fall, I’m about to be an empty-nester. What do I do with all this free time? Well, I plan to continue the development of my educational platform called WEDology toolKIT and continue speaking nationally about an industry I’m so passionate about.

As for me personally, well all I’ll say is my eyes and heart are open. LOL!

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 was inspired to launch Dejanae Events after planning my wedding in 2000. I knew enough about the industry to be dangerous because planning events for family and friends was in my DNA. Planning my wedding was easy, but there was no one present to implement the wedding day. I was in tears by the end of my special day and my resistance was so low that I was sick on the honeymoon.

Upon my return home, I vowed that no one would have to feel like I did on their wedding day. I found a mail-order course to take regarding wedding planning and within 2 short months, I started planning for friends. After launching the business, which I called Desiree the Bridal Planner, I became pregnant and ended up changing the name to my daughter’s name since she instantly became my inspiration.

It took years to attract my client base through networking, bridal shows, and advertising. There were years that I simply took whatever budget and event I could get in order to build a portfolio. I was finally able to move full-time in Dejanae Events in 2006 after 16 months of careful planning and restructuring. It wasn’t the easiest road and there were plenty of setbacks and financial mistakes. But in the end, I needed to endure it all to create this award-winning wedding & event planning company.

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

Wow! My first wedding was insane. I had 5 months to plan this wedding with no vendor support and a very limited budget. First, I didn’t charge enough as a wedding and event planning company, but I learned that lesson quickly.

After sourcing a venue and vendors for this client, the implementation day arrived. I was smart enough to have a second coordinator with me, but with no formal training, I was completely unaware of the challenges the day would bring. The floor plan was set up incorrectly, guests brought additional people, the DJ didn’t have all the requested music and the caterer refused to cut and plate the wedding. It was insane and I was not fully equipped to handle all the issues.

But regardless of everything, the couple was unaware of all the fires we had to put out and happy with our service in the end. That’s good but I knew immediately after that wedding that it was work, not a hobby and to seek formal training and mentorship.

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

When starting Dejanae Events, I wish I’d known the importance of establishing vendor relationships. As a planner, we manage the wedding and event “project”. In order for the “project” to be successful, we need to establish a great support system a.k.a. a great team. We are only as good as our worst vendor. So planners must be selective and diligently vet the potential vendor before bringing them onto the team. This protects both our business and our clients.

 

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