When I first began planning events some 4 or so years ago, I was overwhelmed by the amount of detail that went into planning even the smallest events. Not only was there so much information to retain, but there was a process for everything. I was the front line to the clients; fielding their (sometimes..dare I say..dumb?) questions, hounding them for event specifications and payments, and talking them into upgrading their bar or purchasing a balloon arch for their meeting (I was never able to pull that one off). Once I got the hang of the details, it became a breeze - inputting information in the system, sending emails using the same format, etc.
I swayed more toward the meetings and corporate events because they always seemed to know what they wanted and were about as emotionally attached to the program as I was (which was very little). In fact, I avoided any social events; reunions, birthday parties, and especially weddings; because I always saw myself as too impatient to want to deal with the changing minds, the "what do you think"s, and the calling it off at the last minute (which, surprisingly, I have yet to encounter). I wanted simple, straightforward, easy. Do you want flowers - yes or no? Bam, done. What dinner option? This one? Great.
The turning point for me was when I, completely unexpectedly, became engaged and found myself planning my own wedding. Up until that point, I had planned maybe 2 weddings (which I saw as a huge achievement - I had successfully avoided that which I knew I would hate!). Well, here I was, an event planner, with no idea where to even begin with my own wedding. It was...crazy. Trying to stay within a budget, keeping everyone happy (from the mother-in-law, to the best man, to the bridesmaids), and factoring every little thing that represents you and your fiance into your reception was overwhelming to say the least. Thankfully we pulled it off; looking back, I wouldn't have changed a thing. Including avoiding wedding planning.
I can honestly say that having to go through that whole process with A) little or no help, B) little or no money, and C) little or no experience, really helped mold me into the wedding planner I am today. I went from planning maybe 2 prior to 2012, to planning up toward 100-125 since then. What changed? The compassion. Before being the bride, I looked at brides as whiny, indecisive, frankly irritating clients (sorry to any brides who may be reading this). It just made my skin crawl at the thought of spending hours upon hours looking through linen swatches and floral photos, just for all of the choices to be changed the next day anyway. But now I understand what that feels like. I can communicate with my wedding clients with a sense of understanding; a sense of I know what you're going through and I want to make this as easy as I can for you.
Not to knock wedding planners who may have never been married (I am sure there are great planners out there who have never walked down the aisle), but I can say that I am a great wedding planner because of my experience being on the other side of that planning relationship.