We had the opportunity to speak with the mastermind and founder of Touch of Jewel Events & Designs. Loved and adored by many, the company specializes in making wedding and event dreams come true! We sat down with Jewel, a Certified Wedding & Event Planner to discuss what she loves the most about what seems to be a stressful job, who she is past all the planning, and the inspiration to create her own company.
What inspired you to create Touch of Jewel?
Well, I got engaged in 2010 and at the time, I was looking for a wedding planner. I have a multi-cultural background, I am Nigerian and my fiancé at the time was British. We were going to have a large wedding so I was specifically looking for a planner who had experience with ethic and cultural weddings. There was a lot in the community that I was in and I interviewed quite a lot of planners but I didn’t find the person that I felt could take on the challenge.
I began the planning process myself with a two-year span to plan. I hired a coordinator for the wedding day. We had a two-day cultural wedding with over 800 guests for both days and I got a lot of questions about the wedding.
At the time, I had a lot of friends who got engaged and so I automatically fell into the role of “their planner” and began planning ethic and cultural weddings for a couple of years. I fell in love and wanted to get into it more. I looked into taking classes to become a certified wedding and event planner.
It wasn’t something I planned to do, I worked as an HR admin and a corporate trainer, I never would’ve thought that I would become a planner but getting to be apart of life coming together and combining families to become is special to me and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Who is Jewel, the woman behind all the beautiful weddings and events? What do you enjoy in life?
Outside of being a planner, I am a wife and mother of two beautiful boys. They keep me on my toes (laughs)! I am a very family-orientated person. When I am not planning with my clients, you will most likely find me hanging out with my family, traveling, or exposing my kids to different things that I was not able to do growing up. Outside of that, I am also involved in my church. I sing in the choir and I also play the drums. I love cooking as well, it relieves my stress. I can literally go to the kitchen and throw down a whole bunch of meals for no reason (laughs).
On top of that, I love educating and helping high schools in my community. I have been privileged to go schools and speak to students who are looking to get into the event planning industry. I like to give back in that way and I also have an internship program that I do with Touch of Jewel for up and coming planners who want to get into their own event planning business and they’re looking for someone to mentor them.
Last but not least, I, of course, love binge watching my Netflix shows (laughs).
What is the most rewarding aspect of this job title?
Getting to know my clients over a span of time allows me to find out that they are more to me than my clients. Whether it’s a wedding or a party, the relationship after the event really blossoms into a family. That is really rewarding to me, I mean you spend so much time together, you get to know a lot about them and they learn a lot about you as well. To know that my company or myself will always be a part of such a special day in my clients’ life is really rewarding to me. To know that they allowed me, a stranger to plan such a big event for them is very gratifying to me
What advice would you have for our readers who may be balling on a budget for their upcoming wedding?
I have quite a few! The very first thing that I would say and it may seem bias but I would highly recommend getting a professional wedding planner. They really help you manage your budgets very effectively and provide you with the best vendors that are within your price range.
Another advice would be to just be realistic. A lot of times we have clients who will break out the celebrity wedding photos for inspiration with a small budget but its just not realistic. Be open, especially if you’re working with a budget. When talking to vendors, let them know what your budget is and they may be able to customize something to help you fit that budget. Always have a budget and present it while being open to feedback as well.
The third piece of advice I have is to not be offended. Sometimes, you may come to a vendor with a lower budget and they may tell you they can’t work with you because of that budget. Don’t take it personally. Try to find vendors that will work with your budget, never ever let a vendor feel like they’re doing you a favor. You want to hire a vendor that is happy to work with you because they are the ones that will go above and beyond to deliver much more than what you’re actually paying.
Have a budget. It’s super important! Everyone has a budget. Before you invest in anything, you have an idea of what you need to put together before you get it. Get numbers together, get an idea of what the average cost of things you need, and it will help you put together a rough estimate of what you should spend on your wedding.
A lot of planners like myself offer consulting to potential clients that have a lot of questions. We offer a 90-minute session with potential clients to get a chance to pick our brains.
The last thing I would say is that clients on a budget should consider an all-inclusive option meaning selecting the vendors who have all the vendors within their package.
Where do you hope to see yourself and your career in the years to come?
Right now, I’m building Touch of Jewel events as an empire for my sons. My goal is to become a global firm! As for me as an individual, I try to use my skills and passion to travel the world to speak and provide the knowledge that I’ve learned along the way to inspire and teach professionals. Another one of my long term is to build a venue! I also plan on putting out educational courses as well to get into networking with other professionals and provide education on our industry.
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