Managing a business that coordinates weddings and other events is just as important as pulling together a stress-free wedding, Rachel Welland says.
Welland, 33, is the owner of Bliss Events, where she is a wedding and event coordinator.
She also began teaching at the University of San Diego this year and will teach at Mesa College starting in 2015. Her classes cover how to start and own an event or wedding planning business in the event management certificate program.
One piece of advice she has for her students and those starting in the industry: “In order to be successful, you have to be equally skilled at planning events and running a business.”
Welland purchased Bliss Events in 2007 after graduating from University of Kansas with a degree in interior design. She worked in interior design before taking a job as a sales and marketing coordinator at L’Auberge Del Mar Resort & Spa.
“I think quitting a job that had a steady salary, income and benefits was a really nerve-racking thing,” Welland said.
The risk was worth it -- she broke even within a year of buying the company.
Welland said what makes her stand out from the competition is her experience working in a hotel, interior design background and knowledge of spatial planning, her organizational skills and passion and excitement for the business.
Welland comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her parents owned a variety of businesses in Oklahoma, and from them she learned the pros and cons of being an entrepreneur.
“The pros being you have more flexibility in your life and, depending on your business, your schedule can become more flexible,” Welland said. “And the cons being, you work really, really, really hard and you have to take risks -- which of course those risks could turn into really good things, or really bad things, depending on a lot of factors.
“I think I’ve learned the real, honest truth about owning your own business, but seeing them be successful and seeing them be happy made me realize that this is something I could do.”
Her biggest challenge is rain -- even in sunny San Diego.
“In eight wedding seasons, I’ve only had rain one time,” Welland said. “When it happens, it shocks everyone -- the vendors, the venue, me. It’s the biggest challenge I face, and luckily it’s a rare challenge because we’re in San Diego.”
The bulk of weddings are in July, August and September. She plans about 15 to 20 weddings per year and the business overall plans about 50 to 60 events per year.
Her business has grown since she bought it seven years ago. It went from just one coordinator -- herself -- to three coordinators, and its profit has also grown year after year.
Welland volunteers her time at Jewish Family Services, where she plans Brushes and Forks, a fundraiser event for young professionals. In addition, each year Bliss Events marks its birthday by donating to a charity, which is nominated by vendors, clients and Facebook fans. The company will turn 10 in April.