I often hear, “You have the best job ever!” Yes!!! Yes, I do!!! For me personally, I believe I have the best job ever. Of course, there are times that it’s super hard, times when I cry and sweat over super small things—but the truth is I would not have it any other way.
I feel that everyone has a calling in life and a unique set of skills that they develop and discover, whether that happens early or later in life. Fortunately for me, my skills developed at the “perfect” time. I say “perfect” because at the time that they were emerging, I was kind of in a hard spot in my life. But looking back, it was DEFINITELY the PERFECT time for them to start growing and shining.
During my junior year in college (2009…WHAT A YEAR!?), I did a lot of soul-searching as I went through a tough breakup and a huge recession hit the business world. I will not bore you with the month-by-month breakdown, but bottom line, one of my roommates “K” made the simple suggestion that we serve at a local wedding venue—it was a way to get me out of the apartment and make some money. I really, truly had NO CLUE what I was in for, and little did I know that my future career was going to stem from those late evenings working in college.
“K” and I served several times during that spring semester, and each time I got more and more excited to be a part of the weddings and events that were taking place. Mid-semester, I realized I had fallen in love with the wedding world, so I contacted EVERY top venue in the Kansas City area to see if I could work as an intern, server, bartender, front desk person, anything that would allow me to dip my pinky toe into the Kansas City wedding industry.
I made call after call after call from my personalized spreadsheet of venues in between classes and study halls, and I landed my very first interview with The Clubhouse on Baltimore, now known as Brass on Baltimore. Nervous and excited, I timidly walked in 30 minutes early and sat down with Deb; General Manger of The Brass on Baltimore. Shortly after I arrived home from the interview and tour, I checked my email and couldn’t believe my eyes… They hired me as their intern for the summer of 2009.
The opportunities were endless during my internship. I took on as much as I was given and more. From early morning set-ups to late, late-night teardowns, those 18+ hour days seemed like nothing to this wide-eyed, eager-to-learn wedding intern.
Now fast forward one year to spring 2010: I was preparing for graduation and still interning with The Brass on Baltimore but did not have a full-time job lined up for post-graduation as many of my other classmates did. So instead of throwing caution to the wind by going on a “party” spring break trip, I pulled up those grown-up pants and headed back to Kansas City to put in the order for my LLC—one of the hardest yet best decisions I have ever made. Celebrations of Love was born!
Five and a half years later, I now have an amazing company with incredible contacts in the wedding industry, people all over the United States whom I could count on in a heartbeat (and vice versa from me to them!). Celebrations of Love has ventured to Washington DC, Las Vegas, Saint Louis, Topeka and countless events in Kansas City and its surrounding suburbs.
I have been running my business full-time for over a full year now and there is no turning back. My next step is to spread the joy that Celebrations of Love has brought to me… More details to come on this new adventure in the coming months.
Christine M Darden