by Kim Choy
When Jennifer Maxwell got married in 2006 it was a fabulous day celebrated with close friends and family. However, there were a few mishaps, Jen wanted to ensure that other brides didn’t make the same mistakes she made for her wedding and wanted to share her knowledge with them. A year after her wedding she decided to take the WPIC Course.
“It became my mission to ensure every bride has a gorgeous wedding” ~ Jennifer Maxwell
Before planning Jen did many things! She ran a daycare in the Beaches for ten years, and then went back to university for a degree in theatre where for 8 years, she landed different roles in commercials. Her last “job” was a customer service representative for a home health company, here she learned a lot about networking, which is a must have for the wedding industry.
It was at these places that she was often the one organizing company functions and parties for staff and guests. It was something she always offered to do, and something she enjoyed. Jennifer decided to open up her own wedding planning company and put her passion for planning into her own business.
She wanted brides to be wise and educated about the way they plan their wedding, and know where and why to spend money on certain aspects without cutting corners on the wrong things. After a discussion with her boss and the support of her husband, Jen decided that running her own company would provide more joy and freedom in her life. Jennifer decided to name her company a very fitting, Wise Bride.
To make Wise Bride fulltime, she needed the help of her husband who carried them through the transition. During this time Jen took on short term contracts with other organizations and kept acting for a bit. After gaining enough experience and learning to charge more for services she started to put limits on what “full planning” meant so that profits were growing and not giving away her time for free.
“A wedding is more than just a party, it’s a significant commitment that a couple celebrates and shares”
~ Jen Maxwell
To market her company she started telling anyone who would listen what she did, and networked like crazy! Bridal shows were visited; business cards collected and follow-ups were made with every vendor she came in contact with.
Jen’s favourite part of the wedding planning process is the creative brainstorming portion. So many couples have a vision for their wedding but are not quite sure how to narrow the scope, Jen is there to help her couples define a theme or structure for their wedding so that it suits who they are as a couple.
The best part of Jen’s job is when the dancing begins at the reception. This is when all the major events are completed and she can sit back and enjoy watching her couple have a great time at the party they planned together. Some other favourites:
Seeing the bride for the first time
Sending her bride down the aisle
Bringing the couple into the reception room for the first time and seeing their faces
The worst part Jen’s job is the end of each wedding night. Although Jennifer keeps in touch with many of her couples, this means that her job for this wedding is done, and it’s time to say goodbye to a couple she has worked with for months.
Jen’s favourite wedding detail a wedding she was an assistant for Claudia Kent, at Nestleton Waters Inn on September 11, 2010. The groom is a fire fighter and they wanted that day to mean more than just a sad reminder of the tragic event on 9/11. Each of the groomsmen and groom (all fire figthers) had personalized fire hats made with their nicknames embossed on the hat. These hats sat on the head table for all to see.
There are many people that Jen admires in the wedding industry. Clauida Kent has always been a great source of inspiration and calm and is always just a phone call away. Claudia always seems to have just the right thing to say. Nancy Lee is gracious and so service oriented, which are wonderful qualities in a planner. Jen also admires fellow rockstar wedding planners Melissa Nowakowski, Jolyn Saramanga and Denise Georgiou who are all supporting their families and running a business with style and balance. Jen lives vicariously through WPIC’s traveling Crystal Adair-Benning who travels the world to plan weddings. Michael Coombs and Bill McElree are also admired by Jen who continue to work hard to ensure every couple’s wedding is a personal event. Then there’s Danielle Andrews Sunkel and Tracey Manailescu for creating the entire WPIC Family, where everyone can count on each other for awesome wedding support and incredible learning opportunities.
“I Heart Colin Cowie!!!” – Jennifer Maxwell
At the 6th Annual Wedding Professionals Conference in Nassau November 2010, Jen had the pleasure to meet Colin Cowie. Jen appreciated Colin’s amazing weddings and events he creates and also because his whole life is about elegance. Jane Dayus-Hinch is another favourite of Jen’s. Jen knows Jane personally and notes that what makes Jane special is her spunky, down-to-earth nature. Jen recently put together a very successful WPIC Get Together featuring Jane Dayus-Hinch.
Jen’s goal for 2011 is to maximize her time and reaching as many brides she can. She has had to reevaluate how to manage her business and family after having her son a year and a half ago, and she will have to do that again, since she is expecting again in September! She is currently focusing on teaching wedding planning courses for brides.
Congratulations Jen on your business, your career and your little one on the way!