Hi! I’m Stephanie. I’m a bubbly, organization-obsessed Vancouver-based Wedding and Proposal Planner. You can usually find me behind my Macbook double fisting two cups of cold coffee (because who ever gets to it when it’s hot) and happy dancing to some Country tunes on Spotify. I believe in strong relationships and building that foundation during the planning process. I enjoy helping time-strapped couples plan, simplify and personalize their once-in-a-lifetime moment, so it turns out to be everything they ever hoped it would be (and then some). I am the happy owner of Sweetheart Events and the first one to congratulate you on this exciting journey you are about to begin.
Q&A WITH STEPHANIE REITSMA
Who is Stephanie, how would you describe her?
LOL this might be the hardest question on your list. I am a bubbly, organization-obsessed individual. I swear EVERYTHING is in my calendar! I love chasing my passion, I am a workaholic and I like to say that I am in competition with the Gilmore Girls with how much coffee I consume. You can usually find me dancing in my car, snuggling with my cat Molly or hanging out in any exposed brick coffee shop.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Being the oldest of five, I often found my time spent taking care of my siblings instead of dreaming over Pinterest (that wasn’t even a thing back then) but instead I thought success was a cubicle in the middle of our corporate concrete jungle working Monday to Friday 9-5. Big dreams I know! What changed you might ask? My dad was an entrepreneur and seeing his passion, his flexible work schedule and him being his own boss was very inspiring.
What core values do you bring from your personal life to your business?
Authenticity, Honesty, Positivity and Commitment to creating strong relationships.
Name a woman whom you admire and look up to and explain why.
Jenna Kutcher. Jenna is truly authentic in every part of her business. I came across her Instagram last year and started listening to her Goal Digger Podcast every Monday and Wednesday. It’s a great way to start the day and get that motivation kick. Being authentic is scary and she inspires me to share more of the raw behind what I do.
If you were given 5 more hours in a day what would you do with them?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say working or sleep hahaha. I truly love my job and the to do lists never end but I’d love to explore more of Vancouver. The summer months always seem to disappear too quickly so I would love to play tourist in my own city more.
ABOUT THE EVENT BIZ
At what point in your life did you find an interest in event planning?
My interest began when I met Dawn from Go Golf Events at a morning BNI event. I had just moved out to the city from small town Abbotsford and I attended a networking event with a friend. She was looking for an intern and I thought it would be fun. After a summer of golf fundraising events, I came across a respectful wedding planning company and applied. Not getting the job had me determined to prove them wrong and that I was perfect for the position. The next year, they hired me and my journey in wedding planning began.
Who or what inspires you in the industry?
There are so many creative individuals that inspire me in this city but it truly is my clients and my team. It is a huge honour when a couple chooses me to plan such a memorable event. My clients have such beautiful love stories and it inspires me to find the ideal way to fully represent it to their guests on the big day. I also have an incredible team of women that keep me inspired. We all bring a different perspective with each event we plan and they inspire me to be a better boss everyday.
What is the most memorable event you have planned? And what was the best compliment that you have ever received from a client?
Every event that I plan is memorable but one that stands out amongst the others is Meghan and Zach. They hired me for my Finishing Touch package and during the planning process they decided the wedding they were planning was not them at all but what they thought was expected of them. They scraped the entire plan and chose to have a wedding that reflected them and their story beautifully. You can read about it here: http://sweetheartevents.ca/meghan-zach-hycroft-manor-wedding-vancouver/
The best compliment that I have ever received was just this past April. The bride and groom had just left and the Maid of Honour came up to me. She hugged me, thanked me for giving her best friend the wedding of her dreams and as she was leaving she said that I chose the right profession as a wedding planner. She told me that my passion for what I do really showed through my work.
Christine Pienaar Photography
How would you describe your brand to those who are being introduced to it for the first time?
Playful, authentic and enthusiastic! Fun fact, the logo is actually created from my thumbprints. What better way to fully personalize my business than with my own fingerprint!
When you hit a creative rut, what do you do to get out of it?
I blast the tunes and go for a walk to clear my head. When I’m back in the office I review the couple’s questionnaire (from the beginning of the planning process) and brainstorm ideas how to fully represent them.
LIFE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR
What was the best business advice you were given when you were starting out?
Stay in your own lane. It is so easy to get caught up with what your industry peers are doing and what is on trend. I have to admit, it is not always easy to stay in your own lane with so many fantastic ideas on social media now. Taking it back to my, “why”, helps me keep focused and create unique content. I am proud to call myself the Original Proposal Planner in Vancouver and creating a niche that benefits both men and women looking to pop the question in a personalized way.
What does success mean to you?
Turning thirty was both exciting and challenging for me. In preparation for my milestone birthday, I wrote this blog post all about what I thought success was and how I define it now:
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in running your own business?
Life of an entrepreneur is the most challenging journey and balance is a unicorn. I’ve always wanted to chase my dream instead of building someone else’s. It’s been the hardest but most rewarding four years of my life. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is mistakes will happen. It’s what you learn from them that defines your success and makes you better. Building strong relationships is so important. Building your own business is a lonely one and having a support system is crucial.
What is your favorite thing to come home to after a long day at work?
My cat, Molly (insert crazy cat lady life) and a glass of Cab Sauv!
What has been your most useful tool in business?
Skype, 17hats and Google Drive! With the majority of our clients choosing Vancouver as their wedding destination we use these tools daily to ensure an easy planning process for everyone.
See Sweetheart Events Ad on Page 24 of the Spring 2017 Issue of I Like Her Style Vancouver
Top Photo Headshot: Christine Pienaar Photography