Meet the Planners :: Aletha VanderMaasFriday, June 06, 2008
Name: Aletha VanderMaas
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Company Name: Pearls Events
Number of Years in Business: Less than one year
How did you get started in wedding planning?
Around ten years ago, I was a senior in high school, and took a job as a banquet server with my bff, Kate. We worked weddings every weekend, all summer long, and I always enjoyed it. I had fun waiting on brides and grooms, cutting wedding cakes, and helping the DJ's and photographers throughout the evening. One summer quickly turned into 2 years, and I quit when I moved to Chicago. While earning my B.A., I was determined to open my bridal salon, so I interned with a Chicago bridal designer to learn the ins and outs of both the bridal market & entrepreneurship. After a lot of research, I realized there was no way the Grand Rapids market could support another bridal store. After planning my own wedding and working with various vendors and venues, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. A few acquaintances asked me to help them at their own wedding, and before I knew it, word spread that I had gone into business. Clients were emailing and calling, and my '08 booked up before I knew it!
If you had to start over what one thing would you do differently?
I would have gotten the State of Michigan paperwork done before I started accepting clients. I didn't have my business name secured, and people were writing checks to Pearls Events, but I couldn't cash them for a few weeks.
What's your favorite item in your emergency kit?
The Tide stain stick! Brilliant!!
What is the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
I wish someone would have given me some great business advice! Working in the marketing field for four years taught me invaluable skills that I use every day.
What two people (past or present) would you have as guests at a dinner party and why?
This is a fun one: I would love to invite my Grandma, circa 1955, because I'd love to know how she got her hair into that beehive everyday, raised seven great kids, was an entrepreneur's wife and still looked amazing doing it all! I would also love to chat with Audrey Hepburn circa 1957, right when Funny Face released. I'd love to hear about her amazing career.
What are your three favorite blogs besides thesmartplanner.com?
I'm a photography blog stalker and my three local faves are: Amy Carroll Photography, Ben Harrison Photography, and Jessica Johnston Photography.