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Master Wedding Planner: Robyn Bruns, MWP™,
Red Letter Event Planning, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Family: I am married and a pet parent to Snickers.
Education: I have a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a Masters in public administration from the University of Illinois—Chicago.
Starting the business: I worked at a PR firm and thought, when I started my business, I would be doing primarily corporate events. However, people started contacting me about planning their weddings. I did not feel I had the education to plan weddings, so I took the Penn Foster course, to give me the foundation to be a good wedding planner. After finishing the course, I realized the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) membership was very valuable for continued education and networking. I started my business 13 years ago, and I have been a member of ABC that whole time.
Business changes: For our wedding management, we added on three hours of consultation time that can be used anytime after the contract is signed. The result is the client gets more than wedding-day management, which allows us to charge more. It has also improved relationships with our coordination clients; we get to know them throughout the planning process. Even if they are still doing the majority of planning on their own, this leads to more trust on their wedding day.

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Evaluating success: Success is when a client says, “This is exactly what I wanted. You made my wedding day enjoyable and went above and beyond what I expected.” Success is being known in your industry as a leader and having others want to learn from you.
On becoming a master: I proudly became a Master in November 2017. I presented for my Masters twice. The first time, I did not receive the designation. It was devastating, as I do not like to fail. However, from that failure, I learned quite a bit. One of the criticisms from the master panel was that they didn’t get to know me as a planner and person. I realized that I am like that in my business as well. In the year between presenting for my Masters, I made an effort to be more open about who I am as a planner and person, and the response from clients and potential clients has been amazing! The lesson I learned is that failure is not a stopping point, it is an arrow in a new direction to your goal.
Industry influencers: I am and will always be a Martha Stewart fan. She is the first woman entrepreneur to present entertaining, event planning, and wedding planning as a career option to many. Our industry benefits when it has professionals at all levels doing what we love but also making a profit.

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Inspiration: Cooking and entertaining.
On staying fresh: As the wedding season in North Idaho is short—Memorial Day to Labor Day, the late fall and winter is the time I use to focus, working on the business and updates for the new year. I also make a point of taking a vacation at least once a year and, because I have a great employee, I am able to even do this during wedding season. Having a reliable employee is important to avoid burnout in this industry.
Ideal client: My ideal client is one that is coming to the Inland Northwest for a destination wedding. The majority of our clients live in a state other than Idaho. I love working with clients that want to show off the natural beauty of our area to their guests. Outdoor weddings where the mountains and lakes are the background are hard to beat.
Favorite business book: I highly recommend Own It by Sallie Krawcheck.
Reading now: I am currently reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, a 500-Year History. The political science geek in me loves books like this.
Words of wisdom: Listen to your gut. If a situation, client, or idea doesn’t seem right, it probably is not. Also, we all love what we do, but make sure you are getting paid what you deserve and are running your business as a business, not a hobby. It is easy to get caught up in the glamour of wedding planning, but at the end of the day, you have to pay bills and make sure you are running a profitable business.

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little known fact: I love to sing—pretty much anywhere that is private—in the car, the kitchen while cooking, and at my desk, but I would be terrified to do so in public on a stage. My favorite thing to sing is ‘90s pop (please don’t judge). WPM

ABC Member Since: 2004 Revenue: 80% consulting, 10% day-of coordination, 10% corporate Employees: 1 part-time, 2 contractors
Contact: Robyn@RedLetterEventPlanning.com, www.RedLetterEventPlanning.com Social Media: Instagram.com/Redletterevent,
Facebook.com/Redlettereventplanning