Monica Lattimer has over 15 years in the event industry. After college, she worked at Channel 8, a local news company and planned a 1000 invitee sales event and LOVED IT!
From there, she went on to do smaller events for friends and family as well as weddings. Monica transitioned into her own company the same month she got pregnant and last year, she started a wedding expo, Your Wedding Marketplace. According to both the vendors and brides, it was a success.
Over the last couple of years, Monica has learned to hone in on time management, communication, and networking. This has led to reviews stating that they are “impressed with the planning, organization and mostly my communication.” Now she is trying to enhance those skills in others on the planner level. Show them what it takes to be reputable in the business.
What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?
Day of Coordinator for weddings has been trending lately and I am all for it! It is one of my favorite things to do. It is a really long day, but to know that the bride/groom and bridal party can all relax and enjoy their day and not worry about if there are enough chairs at each table, really makes my heart happy. I’m also a really big fan of the donut wall trend. It is such a simple idea that companies and brides have turned more elegant. It’s a surprising yet enjoyable trend, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in the market.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Relationships with vendors are at the top of my list of importance. In my opinion, the best way to work with reputable vendors is to become a reputable vendor. Communication is key to any relationship, and as long as those lines are open and you are willing to be flexible (which you should be in this business) then you will be in good standing. Knowing what each of you is doing and your specific roles for each event is a roadmap to success.
What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?
Pick a date far enough out that you can have some control. If this is your first one, you don’t want to do it in 2 months (though it is possible, I don’t recommend it). Also, be sure it is not a major date (holidays, super bowl, cinco de mayo, etc) or one that is big in the town you are in. In MA they have the Big E, if you are trying to run something small in the midst of those few weeks, the traffic is horrendous. You don’t want to do that. Also, I would start gathering as many volunteers and donations as soon as you have a date/cause.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Professionally the most exciting thing on the horizon for me is that I am starting an online course to teach people how to event plan. I want to show people who have always had a passion for planning how to bring that out. A lot of women (mostly) are coming to me with a lack of confidence in the knowledge that they already have. We will go over that, as well as time management, networking, communication, and pushing through the struggles of an event.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
One of the first events I ever planned was a 1000 invitee sales event. It was so chaotic and I strived in it. I absolutely loved it, it brought out a side of me that up until that point I didn’t realize I had. It went well and I learned a lot of lessons. One being that when you invite 1000 people, that doesn’t mean you will have 1000 people show up. That is what RSVPs are for, and even then only about 20% of those will actually be there. It was an important lesson that I am happy I had learned early on in my career.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
Expenses. They are truly overall the place and you really aren’t sure how to budget things appropriately. I wish I had more capital when I first started out so that the lessons I learned weren’t as expensive. Marketing is key, but there are ways to do that on a MUCH cheaper level than what I did. Also, that you should keep a journal of what you are doing for each event. At the end, you will see how many hours it took, and in the future, if it would take that long. For instance, when you made a timeline for a wedding, is this something that in the future I will have to do from scratch? Probably not, I can use what I have and change some of the information. It saves a lot of time and energy when you already have a beginning step.