Today, we are delighted to share an interview with you that we had with Janice Carnevale of Bellwether Events. She is an amazing wedding planner who always puts her clients first, so it was a great pleasure to find out more about her. Get ready - here's Janice!
How did you get started in the wedding business? After college I was unable to find a job in Pittsburgh, where I wanted to live. So I came home (I was born and raised in the DC suburbs) and took some part time work at the Spirit of Washington, where I had worked the three previous summers. Eventually I took a full time position selling packages to large groups. One of my assigned markets was wedding events. This was in 2002 and the tourism market had been crushed since 9/11. So begrudgingly the company looked to the wedding market to fill in some much needed gaps in the revenue stream. I got to explore different marketing strategies with the wedding market, and I worked with some wonderful couples who let me cut my teeth while planning their special day!
What do you do when you are not working? I spend a lot of time working for Internet Miniature Pinscher Service, an international miniature pinscher rescue. I work with volunteers, shelters, applicants, and surrender-ers to find new homes for homeless min pins. These days my husband and I are doing some small renovations to our condo. Those two things are taking up most of my free time right now. On a true day off I enjoy reading, crosswords and antiquing. And I am completely obsessed with Twitter and Pinterest.
How would you describe your approach to weddings? I think your engagement should be fun. You should enjoy planning the big (or small) party while not losing sight of the huge importance of the wedding ceremony and the marriage. I think your ceremony should be personalized and your party should reflect you both as individuals and as a couple. I think your wedding should be original but you also need to be classy. I am here to help you have fun, relieve stress, and execute your ideas about your wedding day.
What inspires you in your work? I don't take the ideas seen in blogs and magazines and push them onto my clients. Instead while I get to know my clients, we discover (within their hobbies, how they met, their best childhood memories or where they like to eat) a vision or feeling or theme that will inspire the design of wedding.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job? So many of my clients are completely relaxed and happy on their wedding day. And that is what all the planning and preparation is about: they are with their friends and family, and I am in the background, with the whole team of vendors working together like clockwork.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? I hope that people know how much I truly love my job. I love all aspects of it - working with the clients, making them and their guests happy, working with other vendors in the industry. I love how all the piece of the puzzle come together on the wedding day to celebrate the couple and their love for each other.
What do you think sets your company apart from other wedding planners? I think every planner offers something unique because they themselves are unique. In my business, it is very important that the client connect with you on a personal level. If they don't like you, as a person, they will never trust you. And if they don't trust you, it will be a terrible experience for all involved. So if you are comfortable with someone who wear jeans all the time, gives good hugs, doesn't mince words and loves dogs, I think you should hire me to plan your wedding.
What do you love about weddings? Sending the couple down the aisle always gets me emotional. And I love wedding music. I love a good DJ or a good band. I can always be found singing and fist-pumping along in a corner of the reception.
What do you hate about weddings? The stressors that are placed upon the couple - generally from the family (albeit some are well-intentioned) but also pressure put on them by major industry players, telling couples that they have to do things a certain way, to act a certain way, dress a certain way etc. My clients are often so relieved when I assure them that the world will not end if they don't have a guest book or favors or custom toasting flutes.
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding? I had a groom and his best man sing a song to the bride during the reception. It was a surprise to her, and it was quite beautiful! Recently we had a big trampoline at the reception for wedding party portraits. That has produced some really fun photos!
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Set a guest list and the overall budget before doing anything else. Those two items will dictate everything about all future decisions around the wedding planning.
Who is your favorite artist or band? Punchline is my favorite band. I have known them for over 10 years, and I went to college with the lead guitarist. They recently played my 30th birthday party, and I also walked down the aisle at my wedding to their instrumental song Yearlong Winter.
What is the worst song of all time? For some reason, I really don't like "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge. I can't explain why, but I really don't care for that song!
Open mic, final thoughts: This is pretty dorky but I am secretly becoming a little crafter! I used to claim that I wasn't very creative; that my strengths were primarily in the in the logistical planning. And I would say that I am still stronger on the planning side of it. But I'm slowly becoming a little DIY-er, much to my delight! Wait till you see everything I am doing for my 4/23 wedding with Evan at AVAM!
[Evan] Thanks Janice! It's always great working with you and seeing how much you enjoy planning your events! Thank you so much for taking the time to interview with us!