Wedding planning is no joke. There are so many parts to planning your big day, and for some brides, it鈥檚 easier聽to have an聽event planning pro come in and take care of everything. But if you鈥檙e a gal who adores every single detail of organizing a wedding and can keep cool under pressure, you might want to consider a future as a wedding planner. In this week鈥檚 How to Quit Your Day Job series, we chat with Shauna Gartz, who started her own event planning company聽Shauna Loves Planning. Below, Gartz shares her journey from corporate event planner to boss lady.

(Photo via聽Anne Liles Photography)

MEET THE WEDDING PLANNER聽PRO: SHAUNA GARTZ

After spending seven years planning events and weddings for corporations, wedding and event planner Shauna Gartz decided to take聽the leap聽and start her own company. Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, the mom of three sons turned her top-notch organizational skills, attention to detail, and love for weddings into a full-time career. On her website, happily married couples rave about Gartz鈥檚 ease and calm and how she took care of every wedding moment from start to finish. The planner extraordinaire lets us in on her day-to-day, what she loves most about her job, and how she turned聽her dream of working for herself into reality.

(Photo via聽Anne Liles Photography)

Brit + Co: What鈥檚 your morning routine?

Shauna Gartz: After I鈥檝e gotten my boys dressed and fed, made lunches, 聽and dropped everyone off at school or grandma and papa鈥檚 house, I treat myself to a cup of coffee. I can鈥檛 start my work day without it! As a wedding planner, I believe one of the most helpful things I can do for my couples is to make the planning process as easy and fun as possible. Responding to their emails or phone calls in a timely manner achieves both. (I can鈥檛 tell you how many of my clients have expressed their appreciation for this.) The first thing I do every morning is check my email and return any phone calls. If it鈥檚 an event day, then I pack my vehicle and head out the door to begin set up and installation. If it鈥檚 not an event day, then I鈥檓 usually working on whatever event needs my immediate attention. My boys are in preschool three days a week in the mornings, and then spend a couple afternoons each week with grandma and grandpa, so that鈥檚 when I get the majority of my work done. That and a few late nights here and there!

(Photo via Theo Milo聽Photography; Floral designs by聽Kim Fisher Designs)

B+C: What inspired you to start your company?

SG: I was working as an event planner for a golf and country club on an exclusive island, accessible by ferry boat only, with two young boys at home. I loved what I did, but I also wanted to be present in my boys鈥 lives while they were still young. I had been contemplating starting my own event and wedding planning business for about eight years, and finally one day it hit me just how much time I was wasting commuting to work. It was a 45-minute drive, followed by a 30-minute boat ride, followed by a 10-minute golf cart ride before I sat down at my desk. And I had to do it all over again to get home, which was three hours a day that I could have been either working or playing with my kids. The company I worked for was understanding and allowed me to work from home two days a week. I did that for about a year and a half, but I needed to work for myself from home.

(Photo via聽Anne Liles Photography; Floral designs by聽Fiore Fine Flowers)

B+C: How do you challenge yourself as an entrepreneur?

SG: I push myself to go outside of my comfort zone and take on various projects or tasks that are new to me, but things I still enjoy. My strengths are planning a wedding, but the business side of accounting, advertising, and social media upkeep are my weaknesses. My goal this past year has been to outsource any part of my business that doesn鈥檛 bring me joy so I can focus on what does.

(Photo via聽Anne Liles Photography; Floral designs by聽Fiore Fine Flowers)

B+C: Tell us about how your family and friends help support your business.

SG: My husband Matt is my number one supporter. There鈥檚 a wedding pastor I work with frequently who preaches at weddings that, 鈥渋n marriage, your successes are doubled because you have someone to share them with. Also in marriage, your sorrows are lessened because you have someone to share them with.鈥 Matt fully embodies this for me. He is excited for every step the company takes, for every great review received, for every compliment paid. He鈥檒l be the first to have my back and be there to steady me.

My family has also helped in numerous ways, from proofreading my website before launch, to congratulatory texts and phone calls and spreading the news on social media. My in-laws and parents provide ongoing help with babysitting our three boys whenever I have an event or a project that needs my attention. I launched Shauna Loves Planning in October 2015 鈥 six months after having my second son 鈥 and then in April 2017, right at the start of my wedding season, I gave birth to my third son. Fortunately, I have an amazing assistant, Ashley Pate, who has worked with me since the beginning, and was able to run that first wedding of the 2017 season solo so I could recover a bit from the delivery. The following weekend, at our second wedding of the year, my husband accompanied our week-old son to his very first wedding so that I didn鈥檛 have to be away from him all day, while my mom, who was staying with us for a month, stayed home with our two older boys. It really does take a village!

(Photo via Theo Milo聽Photography; Floral designs by Special Arrangements by Lyn Moser)

B+C: What鈥檚 the best advice you鈥檝e ever gotten?

SG: When I first got into wedding planning, I worked for a country club as their in-house event planner and catering sales manager. Lindsey Cheek, the woman whom I was replacing, came back to train me for a couple days and she said something that has stayed with me since: 鈥淵ou have to be the voice and advocate for your couples.鈥 What she meant is that it was my responsibility to make sure that no corners were cut and no details were missed. At every wedding, there are a hundred moving parts and dozens of vendors working together to produce the most perfect day for two very special people. As a wedding聽planner, it鈥檚聽my responsibility to make sure that everyone did what they were supposed to do because there are no do-overs at a wedding.

B+C: What do you love about your job?

SG: That I get to be there for the happiest day in two people鈥檚 lives. [And] I love the whole process of finding out who my clients are, what they like to do, and what their styles are, and developing a vision around it. I love working with some of the very best vendors in the industry. One of my absolute favorite bakeries, One Belle Bakery, I discovered through working in the wedding industry and they have since created every cake, cupcake, and cookie for every birthday or special event my family has celebrated. I met photographer Theo Milo聽while working, and he has since photographed each of my children shortly after birth and every year following. A favorite florist of mine, Kim Fisher Designs, not only did the flowers for my own wedding and a large percentage of my clients鈥 weddings, but they have also become like family to me. My clients all tell me that I make them feel calm because I鈥檓 calm. There鈥檚 a reason why I鈥檓 calm before a wedding 鈥 when you surround yourself with some of the very best vendors in the business, it鈥檚 easy.

(Photo via Theo Milo聽Photography; Floral designs by聽Kim Fisher Designs)

B+C: Name two female heroes who you think should get a shout-out.

SG: My mother Joani Harris was a working mom, but I don鈥檛 ever remember her not being there. She gave and never needed anything in return (except hugs). She was always so patient 鈥斅爏omething that did not get passed down to me unfortunately 鈥斅燽ut because of that, she is someone I aspire to be more like.

I think every woman in my life has been an inspiration for me. I take little pieces of each of them with me, in everything I do and everywhere I go. My sister, best friends, aunts and grandmothers, previous coworkers and employers, teachers and coaches, and even now, my brides. I鈥檝e had such an astounding group of women play so many important roles in my life. I really don鈥檛 think I鈥檇 be the woman, mom, or business owner I am today without their influence.

B+C: If you could tell aspiring creative women anything, what would it be?

SG: Just do it! I can鈥檛 tell you how many times I thought about creating my own wedding and event planning company before I finally did it. I was pretty sure I could do it, but for years, doubt always found a way to creep in. The safety net of an employer was too alluring. Until one day I decided that I don鈥檛 want to look back on my life with regrets. I would much rather have tried and failed than never even tried. Not only am I doing what I love and working for myself, but I also get to control how much I work and when I work. Being a mom of three young boys has its challenges, but I get to be there for each of those challenges, each adventure, and each new milestone. Yes, I trade in my mommy hat for my planner hat some weekends and I still struggle with balancing both worlds, but I manage because both are important to me. Being a mom makes me a better planner and being a planner makes me a better mom. I know where to find a face painter at the last minute, as well as the best birthday cakes and a thousand other things I never would have thought of if it hadn鈥檛 been for my chosen career path.

If you鈥檙e thinking about doing something and wondering if you can or should, start doing it. Take the steps toward making it happen and the rest will follow. For me, it was creating my website. One night I got on my computer and started designing pages and writing content. The next day I worked on it a bit more and when I got it to a point where I was happy with it, I set the next steps in motion. So start taking the steps to get you where you want to be!

What鈥檚 your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!