Today, we're thrilled to present you with an interview with our good friend Kawania "Kay" Wooten of Howerton and Wooten Events, a very talented wedding planner and all-around nice person. We were so excited for the chance to interview with her! Kay, get ready -- here we go!
How did you get started in the wedding business? I managed conferences and special events for almost 15 years. Everyone used to tell me that I should start my own event management business. I never did it because I was too chicken. In 2007, I found myself out of a job, so I took the leap. I have never looked back.
What do you do when you are not working? I happen to live with two of the coolest guys (husband and son) in town, so I enjoy spending time with them as much as I can.
I also bake. A lot.
How would you describe your approach to weddings? Weddings are very personal to everyone that attends. So, we approach weddings as if we are inviting 200 wedding guests to our home for dinner – and we ask each of the 200 wedding guests how they would like their steak cooked. Each (and every) wedding guest should feel welcomed and cared for.
What inspires you in your work? My little guy – He is typically around when I work in my home office. Knowing that my son watches me run my business makes me want to work a little harder, give a little more love to my clients and be more creative.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job? There is a moment right before the church doors open that causes me to get butterflies in my stomach. I know that the bride is my client – but, for a moment, I feel like I am sending my little sister (or brother) down the aisle.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? Wedding planners are not those flaky, over-bearing, out of control caricatures you see on TV. If you hire a professional wedding planner, you will most likely hire a savvy, creative businesswoman who truly cares about your wedding.
What do you think sets your company apart from other wedding planners? My team and I are very skilled at helping a bride and groom create a warm, intimate environment for their wedding guests. I think it is an incredible moment when a group of strangers feel as if they are a part of a community that is welcoming and fun.
What do you love about weddings? Working in the Washington DC area affords me the opportunity to work on numerous intercultural weddings. I love seeing a bride and groom bring together families from two different cultures and/or religions. It amplifies what’s good about our country’s melting pot.
What do you hate about weddings? Tardiness. When it comes to weddings, time truly is money. It really gets to me when vendors (who are typically paid for a set number of hours) are waiting around because the couple lost track of time.
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding? Definitely, a Baraat! It’s so full of life! And, I find everything about it to be pure eye candy.
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Five Things – 1. Be realistic about your budget. 2. Treat others (fiancé, family, wedding party and wedding vendors) with kindness and respect. 3. Keep a good sense of humor. ß That will go a long way. 4. Have fun. 5. Hire a wedding planner.
Who is your favorite artist or band? Victor Wooten. He is a talented bass player, and I love his last name.
What is the worst song of all time? I firmly believe that our words carry a great deal of energy. So, I consider the worst songs of all time to be songs that use the “N Word” or the “B Word.”
Open mic, final thoughts: It’s so easy to “get inside your own head” when you are planning your wedding. You get scared you will make the wrong decision. Or, you get worried that you won’t measure up. Take a deep breath, and let it go. Seek wise counsel from your professional wedding planner. And, make choices that feel right to you and your partner. You will be amazed how everything works out.
[Evan] Thanks Kay! It's so great to see how much you love what you do and it's great working with you! Thanks for taking the time to interview with us.