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Life & Work with Michele Workman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michele Workman.

Hi Michele, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up in Illinois and lived there my whole life until moving to Chapel Hill, NC in 2017. Most of my career up to that point was spent in social services. Right out of college, I worked in foster care for several years and then spent a couple of years in medical sales. In 2008, I started working at a local hospital in Peoria, Illinois where I did medical social service. I worked for that hospital until 2017 when my husband, myself and our youngest son moved to NC.

For the first several months after moving to NC, I applied for various jobs, none of which felt like a good fit for me. I was beginning to feel discouraged and was tired of applying for jobs that I really did not want. One evening, while speaking with my husband, he encouraged me to really think of something that I would truly enjoy and pursue that. After giving it some thought, I realized my truest desire was to be a wedding planner. After all, I had always been very involved in planning/coordinating various school and church events along with a couple of weddings. I enjoyed every event I planned but weddings were always my favorite!

During high school, I really fell in love with weddings when I worked at a local floral shop. I always enjoyed seeing the vision each bride had for her wedding decor/florals. Then, as an adult, I married a pastor and have thoroughly enjoyed each and every wedding that I’ve had the privilege of attending alongside him.

So, after deciding that wedding planning was it, I searched for a course to take in order to learn all of the things I would need to know in order to pursue my own business in the wedding industry. I found an online course through Ashworth College and signed myself up to begin as soon as possible. That course was invaluable as I learned so much about etiquette, various cultural traditions and how to start my own business!

After finishing that course, I began steps toward launching my very own business which I named I Do Weddings By Michele. That was terrifying but also extremely empowering! I also began visiting various wedding shows including Forever and Company (formerly Forever Bridal). I really felt welcomed by the people at the Forever Bridal wedding show and decided I was going to become a vendor at their January 2019 show. So, in January 2019, I launched my business and was a vendor at the Forever Bridal Winter Show. This is where I landed my first seven clients!! I was pumped….and terrified! I will forever be grateful for Forever and Company and their community of vendors that helped to guide me and make me feel so at home in my new profession!

Last year was a really tough year for weddings but I was able to use that time to become a Certified Wedding Planner through The Association of Bridal Consultants, certified in Wedding Design Fundamentals through The Bridal Society as well as certification in Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED through the American Red Cross. My business is now fully insured. I was also fortunate to have some couples who were able to shorten their guest list and still make their 2020 weddings happen.

This is a new year and business is booming! Couples are feeling much more comfortable with going ahead with planning and it seems they are relying on planners to assist with much more than just day of coordination. I couldn’t be happier with the way this journey is unfolding. I LOVE what I do and I LOVE the couples I work with! Weddings are the best!!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has not been entirely smooth! As I was beginning this journey, I had to fight against the fear of failure and use lots of self-talk to step out of the comfort zone that I had always kept myself in. I cried to my husband lots because I had no idea how to start a business and there were days I wanted to give up. But, my love of weddings and the joy I feel when I am doing anything wedding-related helped me see that this is where I was supposed to be.

The pandemic really put a halt on my business for several months. I very quickly had to learn how to navigate several postponements and cancellations. Would I refund money, charge a postponement fee and what would I do for the clients that canceled altogether. I had to revise my contract to include the pandemic and any issues that may arise due to COVID 19. Financially, this has been rough also because I have been paid for all of the postponements from 2020 but I’m doing those weddings this year. This has prevented me from taking new weddings on those rescheduled dates.

I still wouldn’t want to be doing anything else though!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I offer three different packages to my couples. Full service wedding planning, partial planning and day of coordination. I am happy to do any of the three packages but feel I do best with full-service wedding planning. I really enjoy helping my couples every step of the way. I can give recommendations for the best vendors which includes those who excel in their area and offer the best prices.

I am definitely and extrovert and develop really good relationships with my couples. I care about their event and how it all unfolds. I feel like my prices set me apart from others also. My goal is not to make as much money as possible but to provide the best service I possibly can. My husband and I really enjoy doing weddings together, so I often offer his officiating services to my clients. I am responsive and willing to do what it takes to make every wedding as smooth and perfect as can be.

I am most proud of my Google reviews. I have 26 – 5 star reviews! I love my couples and they are usually willing to write reviews for me as a result of the service I have provided for them. This is one of my favorites:

Allison C., married on 08/08/2020
5.0
Unmatched Quality in Every Way

Michele is an absolute rock star at wedding planning and coordination! We hired her as our day-of coordinator for our August 2020 wedding in Chapel Hill, NC. Under normal circumstances, she kept up-to-date with us regarding our planning efforts and vendor choices as well as providing recommendations when we needed help. Overall, she also kept in close touch as to our morale and provided a much-needed crutch of support and encouragement as we barreled headfirst into one problem after the next related to organizing a wedding during a global pandemic. I cannot recommend Michele enough to every couple looking for a little extra support during their wedding planning process. Choosing “I Do Weddings By Michele” turned out to be one of the best choices we could have made for our big day. She’s kind, courteous, and thoughtful, and despite the crazy days leading up to the wedding (all due to making sure every last detail was in place to keep the wedding festivities COVID-safe for our guests), the actual rehearsal dinner and wedding day went so smoothly – no hiccups, no problems, and nothing to distract from a blissfully special weekend. The smoothness of the weekend was due to in large part to Michele’s top-notch coordination!

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I grew up in East Peoria, Illinois. I have one sister who was not my biggest fan when we were kids. I borrowed her clothes (without asking, of course) and oftentimes returned them stained. She did not appreciate a little sister who wanted to dress and be just like her. I loved to bother her when she had friends around. My parents are still married, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. I was always very close to my maternal grandmother, she was a very special woman. She lived in a rural area and we often took evening walks to catch fireflies. My sister, cousins and I spent the night there together very often and she spoiled us rotten when we were with her!

I’ve always been an extrovert and mostly hyper. I remember always getting in trouble at school for nonstop talking and getting in trouble at home because I would not settle down. Friends were always very important to me and I spent lots of time with them in middle and high school. I never sat still and had lots of energy.

I did not do any sports as a kid but I did take dance and acrobat classes until high school. I also really liked to eat as a kid. I was pretty overweight until I was 19 years old (which is why I did not have the confidence to play sports). At that time, I began exercising consistently and lost quite a bit of weight. I have been able to keep that weight off since that time due to lifestyle changes and determination.

I am a very joyful person and a very positive thinker. I love to spend time with others. I have always loved being outdoors. I rode my bike tons as a kid and played lots of Barbies with friends.

Pricing:

  • The Complete Package (full service wedding planning) starts at $2900
  • Picking Up Where You Left Off (partial wedding planning) starts at $2,000
  • The Finishing Touch (day of coordination) starts at $1200

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Timmester Photography Amanda Sutton Photography Chelsea Renay Photography Carly Hinson Photography MKM Photography Photos by Clay

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