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James Madison University – Williamsburg Wedding Planner

SUMMARY: Jessica Aiken (’10) is taking the marriage planning business by storm because the founding father of her personal Wedding Firm of Williamsburg. What started as a dream job class process grew right into a full-blown six-figure enterprise.

Creator: Brittany Bell, Scholar Writing Assistant, Workplace of Alumni Relations

When Jessica Aiken (’10) was 17, she dreamed of proudly owning her personal wedding ceremony planning firm. With onerous work and willpower, she was capable of obtain her dream after commencement. At present she is the founder and proprietor of the Wedding Firm of Williamsburg, a famend wedding ceremony planning firm that makes six figures and plans round 30 to 40 weddings yearly.

In highschool, Aiken had a knack for planning and working social occasions. She was the yearbook government, did advertising and marketing, and attended many committees for occasions just like the promenade. Aiken, a hopeless romantic, immersed himself within the wedding ceremony enterprise early on after graduating from highschool, working for a neighborhood wedding ceremony planner. She stayed along with her for 5 years and labored via the summer time when she was doing her bachelor’s diploma at JMU.

After graduating from JMU with a significant in communications, Aiken made his method into the marriage occasions business, working for numerous venues, resorts and extra. In July 2012, her then boyfriend Tristan Aiken (’09) wrote a test for $ 500 and requested her to take it to the financial institution and settle it. From there, Wedding Firm of Williamsburg was born.

Aiken spent the following six years balancing the beginnings of her firm with a full-time job. She labored at Kingsmill Resort after which William and Mary, gaining extra information of the business and constructing her personal enterprise from the bottom up.

“It was exhausting, however I cherished it; it was my ardour, ”stated Aiken. “I knew issues would finally repay if I stick to them, and I knew that something I did would convey me lots nearer to full-time.”

In 2017, Aiken was lastly capable of transfer to full-time head of the Wedding Firm of Williamsburg. The leap was instantly price it. Aiken achieved the five-year aim she set for herself throughout the first 12 months of a six-figure revenue and a group of planners to run the present.

“Inside 10 months of leaving, I had tripled my gross sales and tripled the quantity of labor we might do. It was simply superb to see, ”stated Aiken.

Enterprise is booming now. With a reliable group of a number of planners and interns, the corporate can maintain a number of weddings per day all year long. Though the corporate is predicated in Williamsburg, they’re able to journey and host weddings anyplace in Virginia. Aiken’s newest enterprise with the corporate is growth. She and Tristan are on the lookout for actual property and have their very own venue to host weddings and provide their purchasers.

Aiken prides itself on the corporate’s mission. Their aim is to supply their prospects southern hospitality. The planners stick with the couple the entire day, assist with images, meeting and dismantling and supply meals for in between. Her aim is to make her prospects really feel like friends at their very own wedding ceremony, particularly the households who often assist out on the working day.

“We prefer to see ourselves as a concierge service,” stated Aiken. “We simply go one step additional and ensure they are often loved all day.”

As Aiken appears to be like again on every little thing that has introduced her goals to life, a flash of purple and gold involves thoughts. Whereas she already knew she needed to personal a marriage planning firm, Aiken had no concept the place to start out till she took a communications research course at JMU with Physician Timothy Ball, an adjunct professor within the Faculty of Communications Research. For a challenge within the class, the scholars had to think about a dream job and create a marketing strategy. Aiken determined to create a marriage planning web site and give you a plan of motion.

“It actually helped me and paved the best way for what I needed to attain sooner or later,” mirrored Aiken. The foundations she laid for the task stayed along with her and have become the true foundations of the Wedding Firm of Williamsburg.

5 years in the past, Aiken had the possibility to reconnect with Ball and let him know what was coming to her profession plan. “It was actually what I had achieved and Professor Ball stated, ‘It is so nice to see you probably did precisely what you got down to do,'” stated Aiken. “It was form of a circle factor.”

Based on Aiken, it’s Ball’s instructing, because of the alternatives at JMU and her personal husband’s encouragement, which have introduced her to the place she is now. When she’s not working the corporate, Aiken is comfortable to be the lead planner for a number of the weddings. Regardless of being the proprietor, her favourite pastime within the business is attending to know the {couples} and bringing their dream wedding ceremony to life.

“Seeing the households on the marriage day and the happiness and pleasure that you just partake in and that you’ve got delivered to life is like essentially the most pleasant expertise you’ll be able to think about.”

Photograph credit score: Luke and Ashley Pictures

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