Today, I am interviewing the amazing event planner, Ileana Then. Ileana was one of my wonderful guests at my recent PB and Friends Event last month, and I am pleased to share more about her below. I will be profiling all of my guests in the coming weeks in my Up Close and Personal series.
Tell us a little about yourself and your journey into wedding and event planning.
I decided to become a Wedding and Event Planner after I planned and decorated my own wedding in 2008. Before that, I was working as an architect and jewelry designer. My life changed after that day; I had found my true passion. I got on a plane to Miami, Florida and enrolled in the LWPI (Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute) and haven’t looked back!
What do you enjoy most about being a planner and what do you find is most challenging?
I do it for the flowers! I truly love working with them. I love the dreaming and designing part of it, and seeing that vision come to life! That is my favorite part. I also love to see the brides’ faces and their unexpected reactions when they see everything we have done for them. I love the adrenaline, the rush.
What is the most rewarding event that you have ever worked on?
For me, each and every event I have worked on has been greatly rewarding. It doesn’t matter how big or small, or for who the event was, I always learned something new. As a bonus, I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way. The best reward I can get is to see my clients happy.
What was the most challenging?
Every event has its challenges, some big or some small. The most challenging event has to be the huge corporate Christmas party. It was 1000 guests on the outskirts of our city. The venue the client picked didn’t work very well with us, and they delivered us around the hall only five hours prior to the guests’ arrival. It was crazy, I’ll say.
What are you most inspired by?
That’s a tricky question. I get inspired by pretty much anything around me, from a piece of fabric to a Hollywood classic. However, when I’m working with my clients vision, I like to get a good read from them. I ask them what they like to eat or drink or do, and it’s by looking at them and talking to them where my ideas start growing. From there, our love story — I like to call it — begins.
If you could change anything about our industry, what would it be?
The disloyalty of some colleagues.
What is the best compliment you have ever received from a client?
The best two compliments ever from my brides:
1. “You made our dream wedding come true. Everything was like I dreamt it.” That was great right there. But then she added, “but also, you fulfilled my mom’s dream.”
2. The other compliment I’ve gotten from three different brides is, “You are my guardian angel”.
Have you ever thought of quitting? If so, how did you move through that time?
Can you tell us how you felt about the event as an attendee? What did you like and not like about it? I promise our technology will be better next time.
The experience was like no other. I feel so grateful and blessed. There’s nothing I would change. I loved how open and welcoming the entire staff was to us. It was great to see how you all work together, and get along like a huge family. The best part was learning so much from all of you. I’ll say it again, “Thank you!”
What are the three best pieces of advice you would give someone who is just starting out?
Never give up! Follow your dreams! Love what you do, and believe in yourself!
We all have someone — a client, a friend, a mentor — who challenged and inspired us to go for our dreams. Tell us a little bit about who this person is for you.
My family, friends, and staff. They have believed in me since day one. They love me, have trust in me, and are always there for me, no matter what. They are the ones that encourage me to keep going, they give me hope, and support me in every event. They are the ones that lift me up when I need it, and the first ones to ground me. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.