The University of Montana - Communication Studies
Friends have said that Megan Clark is the life of the party, so it should only be fitting that she plans parties, weddings and events for a living. As an event planner and the owner of the Seattle-based Clutch Events, Megan spends her time organizing, planning, perfecting and making sure every client's dream day or dream event goes off without a hitch. She started Clutch Events four years ago with a goal of planning three weddings the first year and five the next. Well, for this ambitious woman that turned into eight weddings her first year and even a string of corporate events. Aside from her job, Megan says she loves Doritos, puppies and the color pink. Read on to see what it's like to plan a wedding — for a living!
What would you try if you knew you could not fail?
How did you discover your current job?
I'm a planner by nature, but it was when I started helping my girlfriends plan their own weddings that I realized I had a real talent at planning events.
What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?
Really, it has been a snowball effect. My initial goal when I started out was to do three weddings the first year, five the next and to grow from there. Clutch Events got off the ground much faster than that. I did eight weddings my first year and being active really helped my brand grow. Outside of weddings, I also do a lot of corporate events, which became a great balance for me to move along the spectrum from logistics to creative.
Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?
Yes! Kelly Simants of Sweet Pea Events, who is an established planner, was my mentor as I started my own company. She helped my confidence a lot! I can't tell you how nice it is to have a go-to person when you are starting up a company on your own to ask questions to!
What is your typical day like? Does it ever change?
No two days are ever alike! Since the majority of my weddings are in the spring and summer months I have big changes in my schedule based on the seasons. The spring and summers are busy with a lot of 'doing,' and the fall and winter are busy with a lot of planning. It's important as a planner to schedule your time wisely between answering e-mails/requests, staying on top of current clients, meeting with new clients and venturing out into the field to meet vendors and explore venues so that you are in the know in your area!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Giving couples of a sense of calm on their wedding day! Receiving a phone call or e-mail after a wedding from a bride/groom saying that I made their day exactly what they envisioned is the best reward!
What is the most challenging part?
Budget issues are always a challenge! You want each bride to feel that she has endless possibilities to plan her wedding. If she has a tight budget, it's all about getting creative and showing her different options at a lower price point that still works with her vision and style.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
Summer weekends! You have to be willing to sacrifice your social life when your family and friends are free and are wanting to plan vacations and nights out. It's all about making a conscience choice of putting your business first!
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Be positive and confident in your business! Stay true to who you are, what you want your company to portray and the person you want to be to your clients! Every planner is different, and you can't try and be someone else if that isn't your style.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
My industry is run by females! We are definitely the majority! In this day and age I don't see a challenge in being a male versus a female. Thank goodness!
Who are your role models?
My role models are local, independent business owners that rock their business! I surround myself with strong women who run their own event planning companies, photography businesses, etc. It's empowering to be in their company!
Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?
What would you try if you knew you could not fail? I'm not sure who said it, but I love it. It gives you endless possibilities! I'm very goal-orientated, and so coming up with an idea and then figuring out how to achieve it is something I love to do. You can't be afraid to fail along the way either. If you are afraid to fail or look silly, you will be paralyzed with fear in doing this career.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Get experience wherever you can! Help plan your friends' weddings, get involved with an established planner as an assistant or offer your services to a venue to get your feet wet. Also, look online for event planning groups and clubs that you can join, and attend their meetings to get established.