If you've been following my blog since the beginning or read my recent #throwbackblogpost, then you'll know that I was once a wedding planner. So when giffgaff got in touch and asked me to write a feature based on a time when I made a positive change in my life as part of their We're All The Boss campaign, I was reminded of the time when I first began my wedding planning journey. When, perhaps I was a bit crazy, a little naive, but mostly feeling determined, adventurous and brave...a time when no one else was giving me a chance or opportunity, a time when I decided to become the boss.
Once I had decided that I wanted to become a wedding planner, I knew that I needed to gain some experience in the field. I mean who was going to place the biggest day of their lives into the hands of someone who couldn't even remember the last wedding they went to, let alone plan it? So I started to contact the few wedding planners in the UK to see if they would consider taking me on for work experience. Oh how naive I was...back then there were only a handful of planners in the UK. Wedding planning over here only seemed to exist for Royals, Socialites and Celebrities, so the chances of any of them taking on little old me to help plan Cheryl & Ashley Cole's nuptials were pretty slim to none (good job really as I would probably have told her he was a knob in our first meeting!)
Needless to say the responses to my initial pleads were zero. So I had to think bigger. Where in the world could I gain experience in wedding planning? Where do people have planners for every event? Where oh where? Why New York of course! With only a handful of emails sent to random planners found on Google- I received one very amazing reply- an invitation to spend two weeks with a very successful planner Sidekick Events. Within a few hours of accepting the offer, I'd booked my flight and a room in a YMCA on 63rd Street, Central Park West. Eek! I then had to break it to my parents that I was off to New York, just a few weeks before Christmas 2006, to stay in a hostel (which I still can't believe I did) to meet a stranger I met off the internet. This was crazy stuff for a twenty two year old home loving girl who still woke her Dad up to get spiders out of her room and let her parents know if she was staying out late. But I did it and like the geek I am, I kept a diary and a copy of the emails I sent home whilst I was there and as I re-read my little adventure it brought back a wave of memories and emotions that I experienced throughout my life changing trip.
Lucky for me, my mentor didn't turn out to be a crazed kidnapper. She turned out to be Ellen- the event planning extraordinaire, who taught me more about the wedding planning business in two weeks, than I could have ever fathomed out for myself in two years and for that I will be eternally grateful to that amazing woman. I spent two weeks following a very cool, super smart and uber creative planner around, hopping in and out of taxis, visiting some amazing venues in and around New York. We met her suppliers in unusual nooks and crannies, had meetings with her clients in swanky cafes, in their penthouse apartments, overlooking Central Park and in their enormous corner offices on 6th Avenue. We had our nails done before attending a friends restaurant opening and ate out in some amazing restaurants that I could never have a) afforded or b) had the guts to go in and eat on my lonesome!
But it wasn't all fun and glamour. Looking back through my diary, I'm reminded of how unbelievably nervous I was about travelling everywhere alone and how lonely I was on this trip. Long evenings and weekends spent alone in such a fantastic city isn't always a barrel on laughs. Every meal and ticket for one reminded me of just how important life is better shared with someone. I missed home terribly and with the Christmas festivities in full swing I definitely felt a little lost in New York. I was also in the midst of my Coeliac diagnosis which meant I was suffering big time in a place where gluten is the devil, tempting you in the forms of giant pizza slices, delicious sandwiches and my first ever burrito (which of course I threw up...nice!)
It was still to this day one of the most exciting, nerve wrecking, brave, crazy, overwhelming and down right brilliant experiences of my life and without it I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have achieved half the career opportunities I've been lucky enough to have... and you know I've had a few! It taught me that taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone can be so rewarding in understanding who you are and what you want to achieve in life. I came home feeling very chuffed with myself, bursting with ideas and confidence to start an exciting new chapter.
giffgaff's campaign is all about taking charge of your life and pushing yourself in new directions. When have you made any positive changes in your life? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments below!
Until next time,
With Love & Being The Boss,
Disclosure: This feature is in collaboration with giffgaff as part of their 'We're All The Boss Campaign'