If you are in love with the idea of having a destination wedding but don't know where to start, you will want to meet Elizabeth Buchanan (or Liz) of Paradise Weddings, a boutique destination wedding planning company in Calgary.
1. When did you start your business and what was your inspiration?
I started Paradise Weddings in December 2014 because I love what I do, and I saw no other choice. I have been planning destination weddings since 2008, and I want to continue for the rest of my career. Before I started my company, I was working in a position where I was burning out; I felt I was compromising my service and ethics (not to mention my health and sanity) so I had to leave. Now I have the freedom to do business the way I think it should be done, and I have complete control over the direction of my career.
2. What makes your business different from others?
I am trying to make planning a destination wedding a boutique experience. What I mean by this is a return to connecting with clients and really personalizing the service. Destination weddings are more in demand than ever, and obviously sales is a large part of what I do, I sell travel, but I won’t just sell anything to anyone, because I can't be everything to everyone. I limit the number of couples I work with every year, and work with local couples only (except on a referral basis), because I want to build relationships and offer a concierge travel experience to them and their guests.
3. What is the best part of your job?
I get to travel fairly often. The whole reason I got into the industry in the first place was my love of travel. Staying in the loop on resorts and their wedding offerings, and popular destinations involves travelling to them as regularly as is possible, because things are always changing. Familiarization tours and conferences are definitely work, but I still enjoy them (almost) as much as a holiday!
4. What do you hope to achieve with each wedding?
My goal is to have 100% client satisfaction. I want each couple to have the wedding of their dreams, and I want every guest to have an awesome holiday. It's not always easy to please everyone travelling in a large group, but I do whatever I can to make it as enjoyable for everyone as possible.
5. What was your most memorable wedding?
I have two. The first one I ever did, because it showed me my path. I had been a travel agent for a little while at that point, but I hadn't ever considered destination weddings. It sort of fell into my lap, and I am really happy that it did. The other of course was mine! We got married at a tiny boutique hotel in Negril, Jamaica with 24 of our friends and family there, and it was exactly what we hoped it would be.
6. Words that you live by?
Have fun, don’t take life too seriously, and laugh as much as possible!
Photo Credit: Facibeni Fotografia