We had the good fortune of connecting with Jane Gerwin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jane, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As cliche as it sounds I have found the saying “No risk, No reward” to be extremely true. It’s funny because in my personal life I am definitely not a risk taker. I am so careful and calculated and am always thinking of worst case scenarios. But when it comes to business I am definitely a “dive right in” type person. When I first started Jane Alexandra Events I just figured that I didn’t have anything to lose. I knew I could always go back to a 9-5 corporate job and the financial risk was surprisingly low to initially start my business. The reality of the true risk of this career became clear when I worked my first wedding. The thought of being responsible for one of the most important days in a couples life was a heavy weight to bare. I didn’t sleep at all the night before and I was so nervous that I was going to ruin their wedding. The toughest part about being a wedding planner is that anything that goes wrong ends up being your fault. If you refereed a vendor who didn’t do a good job that is on you, if you don’t allot enough time for photos before the sun goes down that is on you, if the DJ announces the best man for his speech but he is outside at the bar that is on you, if the bride isn’t ready in time for ceremony that is on you, and the list goes on and on. You have to be a strong person to handle that type of responsibility. One big mistake can lead to a bad review which can destroy your reputation. All I can say from my experience is that doing something you love is definitely worth the risks that come with it. Find something that challenges you… something that makes you nervous and excited at the same time and go for it! Also try your best not to burden your mind with “what if’s” and surround yourself with people who bring you light and joy, who will hold your hand and walk with you when you are afraid instead of holding you back.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started Jane Alexandra Events back in 2015 after planning my own wedding. I loved everything about the planning process and realized I had found a career I knew I would be passionate about. I love a timeless aesthetic with a bit of a modern twist. That way when my clients look back on their wedding in twenty years it doesn’t feel outdated but still has a uniqueness that reflects them as a couple. The last thing I want is for them to look back and say “what was I thinking!” It is also so important to me for guests to enter their wedding and immediately think “this is so them!”. The only way to accomplish this is to truly get to know my clients on a personal level so that I can incorporate little aspects of their relationship into their wedding. This doesn’t always have to be super obvious it can even be something as simple as the color palette choice or a custom logo. I am so excited that I have finally built a brand that has helped me to attract my ideal client but it was definitely not easy getting here. In the beginning I felt like I really couldn’t afford to say no. I took any client who was willing to hire me even if I felt like maybe we didn’t click or if their aesthetic didn’t make me excited. I just wanted to book as many clients as possible to help get my name out there and stretch my referral reach as far as possible. This definitely lead to me overworking myself and realizing that I couldn’t continue on like that for much longer or I would loose my passion for what I do. Trust me it is really hard to learn to say no and I am still not great at it but I have found that raising my prices and being more selective on which clients I take on has really helped me get to a place where I am able to truly connect with my clients and love the planning process. Every time I have taken on a client just for money and not for a personal connection or an exciting vision I find myself regretting it. It helps to tell myself that every time I say yes to a client I shouldn’t I am making myself unavailable for potentially booking a dream client on that date. Another lesson I learned early on is that I cannot do this alone. Throughout the years I have been lucky enough to build a team of amazing women who I trust to execute a wedding just as I would. It was really important to me to find people who are really passionate about wedding planning and who excel in customer service. I think sometimes people make the mistake of not seeing the wedding industry as a customer service job. How we deal with clients and vendors will directly affect our business. If people are unhappy with your service then they will not refer you. Being courteous goes a long way. Whenever I bring someone new onto my team I always say whatever happens just “be nice and put a smile on your face”. Now that isn’t always easy and there are definitely situations where that just isn’t possible but I really believe this really does help us to create great relationships with clients, guests, and vendors. Owning your own business is HARD WORK and wedding planning is far from glamorous. I know it may look that way on Instagram but I swear I do not look cute after a twelve hour wedding day. I am typically sweating and my feet hurt and my hair is a tangled mess. But the sense of accomplishment is unparalleled and worth every blister. The feeling at the end of the night when I get to hug my clients (pre COVID of course) and they genuinely thank me is the reason I love what I do!
I would walk around 3rd Street Promenade and do some shopping then stop for dinner and drinks at The Misfit. They have the best cocktails and the food is also delicious! I would definitely fit in a Kings game if they were here during Hockey season as well as see a musical at the Pantages Theatre. I also love walking around the LACMA and the Griffith Observatory. Another great place to visit is the Biltmore hotel. It has so much history and afterwards you can have dinner at Perch on the rooftop. I would also spend a day in the Arts district. I love checking out all the small galleries there and they have a lot of great restaurants to eat at.. I have always wanted to eat at Bestia but its so hard to get a reservation! If they aren’t from the area you also can’t do a trip to LA without In N Out Burger!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my Shoutout to my amazing Jane Alexandra Events team who has stood by me through this crazy year and have helped me to grow my business. Thank you Katie, Chloe, Cyrstal, and Juliana! I truly could not do this without you. I am endlessly grateful to have you as a part of my team but also as a part of my life! I also want to dedicate this to my husband, Cole who never once thought I was crazy for wanting to start my own business and has been so supportive every step of the way. Love you!
Katrina Jayne Photography Lucas Rossi Photography