Transcript from the interview (available on youtube and spotify soon)
Thomas John (TJ): Hello, everyone! We’re incredibly excited to welcome Marisa Jenkins to our interview series today. Marisa is a renowned wedding planner and event coordinator, and the force behind Sweet Sunday Weddings and the blog, WeddingFrontier.com. Marisa, it’s a pleasure to have you here.
Marisa Jenkins (MJ): Thank you for having me, Thomas. I’m was looking forward to our conversation.
TJ: Great! So, how did you get your start in the wedding planning business?
MJ: I’ve always been drawn to the magic of weddings – the joy, the emotion, the unity. I started by helping to plan weddings for close friends and family, which eventually led me to pursue professional training in event planning. The joy I felt in contributing to someone’s special day was immense and I knew then, this was my calling.
TJ: That’s wonderful! Your passion truly shows in your work. What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your business, and how did you overcome them?
MJ: Like any new venture, it was a mix of excitement and uncertainty. One of the biggest challenges was standing out in a competitive industry. I made sure to offer something unique, which was personalized, creative, and stress-free planning. I built strong relationships with vendors and venues, and most importantly, I never stopped learning and adapting.
TJ: Your dedication definitely paid off. Speaking of challenges, how do you juggle being a mother and running a successful business?
MJ: It’s certainly not easy, but it’s all about balance and prioritizing. My family is my biggest motivation and they also happen to be my greatest supporters. We have a family calendar to keep track of everyone’s schedules, and I also make sure to set aside specific time for my kids every day, no matter how busy my schedule may be.
TJ: That’s very inspiring. Can you tell us more about WeddingFrontier.com? How did you come up with this idea?
MJ: I started WeddingFrontier.com as a way to extend my services to more couples, regardless of their location. I noticed a lack of straightforward, practical advice in the wedding planning space. So, I decided to use my years of expertise to simplify the process, making it less intimidating and more accessible to anyone planning a wedding.
TJ: Your blog is truly a boon for many brides and grooms out there. What do you think is the key to maintaining a successful blog?
MJ: Regular and relevant content is crucial. Listening to your audience and addressing their needs is key. I often take inspiration from questions I receive from my clients. If one person has a question or concern, there are likely others out there with the same query.
TJ: Marisa, could you please share with us more details about your journey from starting Sweet Sunday Weddings to where it is today?
MJ: Absolutely, Thomas. When I started Sweet Sunday Weddings, I was coming from a place of passion and drive, but I was also acutely aware of the intense competition in the industry. My first few events were mostly small, intimate affairs – family celebrations and weddings for close friends. Those early experiences were crucial in shaping my understanding of the business, and also in refining my own approach to event planning.
As the business grew, I realized the importance of creating a niche for myself. I chose to specialize in designing highly personalized weddings that truly reflected the couple’s individuality and shared story. I became deeply invested in understanding each couple’s vision and translating that into a unique, unforgettable experience.
Scaling the business was the next big challenge. I knew I couldn’t do everything alone, so I started building a team. Finding the right people – those who shared my passion for creating memorable experiences and had a similar work ethic – was critical. We’re a tight-knit group now and I think that camaraderie and shared passion shines through in our work.
I also made a point of building strong relationships within the industry. Having good relationships with vendors and venues can make a world of difference. They can help you pull off last-minute miracles and often go the extra mile if they know and respect you.
Overcoming these hurdles wasn’t easy and there were a lot of late nights and early mornings. But looking back, every challenge was a learning experience and each one brought me a step closer to where I am today.
TJ: Thank you for sharing that, Marisa. It’s clear that your success comes from a place of dedication and hard work. Now, let’s talk about balance. How do you manage the demands of being a mother, a businesswoman, and an industry leader without losing sight of your personal well-being?
MJ: This is a fantastic question, Thomas. The balancing act is a continuous process. As a mother, my children are at the forefront of everything I do. I want to be present for them while also setting an example as a woman who is passionate about her career.
The first thing that I’ve learned is that it’s crucial to set boundaries. When I’m working, I am completely dedicated to my clients. However, when it’s family time, I make sure that time is protected. For example, I have a rule that I don’t check my work emails during dinner or bedtime routines. It’s about giving your full attention to what’s in front of you.
I also believe it’s important to ask for help when you need it. I have a fantastic team that supports me and understands the importance of a work-life balance. They step in when needed, which allows me to have the time I need with my family.
Another thing that I’ve learned is that self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity. You can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s important to make time for yourself, to do things that recharge you. For me, it’s reading, yoga, and spending time in nature. It’s these moments of quiet that help me keep everything else in perspective.
I have a supportive partner who shares household and parenting responsibilities. It’s a team effort, and that helps alleviate a lot of the pressure.
TJ: You’ve mentioned that the idea for WeddingFrontier.com came from a perceived lack of practical advice in the wedding planning sphere. Could you elaborate more on the process of creating the blog and its evolution over time?
MJ: Of course. I noticed that a lot of the available wedding planning advice was either too generic or overly complicated. I wanted to create a space that offered practical, actionable advice to couples, and that’s how WeddingFrontier.com was born.
The initial stages involved a lot of research. I wanted to understand what information was already out there, and what gaps I could fill. I brainstormed topics based on my own experience and also sought feedback from past clients to understand what they wished they knew when they were planning their weddings.
Content creation is a significant part of running the blog. Each post requires a substantial amount of time for research, writing, editing, and optimizing for search engines. However, the most important aspect for me is ensuring the content is useful for my audience.
Over time, I’ve found that posts that offer real, actionable advice and break down complex processes into simple steps perform the best. I often use real examples from weddings I’ve planned, which helps readers visualize the process. I also encourage reader interaction by inviting questions and feedback, and those interactions often provide ideas for future blog posts.
Through the years, the blog has evolved into a community of its own. I’ve seen readers share their experiences, offer advice to each other, and even form friendships. It’s been incredible to watch it grow, and it’s gratifying to know I’ve created a resource that truly helps people navigate their wedding planning journey.
TJ: Lastly, what advice would you give to those aspiring to make a career in wedding planning?
MJ: Be patient and persistent. Success won’t come overnight, but if you’re passionate and dedicated, it will come. Build a robust network and keep honing your skills. And always remember, every wedding is unique, just like the couple. Your ability to understand and bring their vision to life is what will set you apart.
TJ: That’s fantastic advice, Marisa. Thank you so much for your time and for sharing your insights.
MJ: Thank you for having me, Thomas. It was a pleasure to be a part of this conversation.
TJ: That wraps up our interview with Marisa Jenkins, the heart and soul behind Sweet Sunday Weddings and WeddingFrontier.com. Be sure to check out her blog for some excellent tips on planning your dream wedding. Until next time, keep planning those memorable moments!