Today we’d like to introduce you to Naomi Bennett.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was 14 years old when I first realized that my dream was to become a wedding planner. As a little girl, I had the opportunity to attend a lot of weddings and quickly fell in love with the wonder and the magic of it all. However, wedding planning would remain nothing but a distant dream for many years. I had no idea how to even start my journey and I honestly didn’t think my dream would ever come true. As a young girl, I often found myself going back and forth about what my future career path would be, but I never lost sight of that dream, my dream of someday making other’s dreams a reality.
After I turned 18, I found myself planning events for my High School Fellowship. It was only then that I realized how much I truly enjoyed and excelled at event planning. I realized I could keep a cool, calm composure throughout events, even when things went wrong or didn’t play out as planned. These experiences helped me finally realized that I could pursue wedding planning seriously and bring what had only been a dream into reality. So, I went off to college with a single goal: to start up my wedding planning career. However, as of yet, I had no intentions of starting my own business. My plan was to finish college and find a job as a wedding planning assistant and make my way from there.
However, life had other ideas for me. Throughout college, I soon found out how difficult it can be for those without experience to find work within the industry. None of the companies I interviewed at were willing to take me on without at least five years of experience. I thought to myself, “How can I possibly get five years of experience?” However, while I was completing my Wedding Planner Certification, an opportunity to intern with an experienced wedding planner presented itself. A friend of mine put me in touch with a small business owner named Joy. Joy’s company, Fascinare Events, didn’t have any official internships, but she kindly allowed me to accompany her on a few of her weddings to get some hands on experience. Honestly, those weddings inspired me in more ways than I can express. Joy is not only a kind and gracious person, she is this amazing boss babe with so many weddings under her belt, slaying it as a small business owner. I feel so incredibly blessed that I got to learn from her and act as “intern” for a while.
Soon after my second wedding with Joy, I received my first inquiry for Day of Coordination Services Inquiry. To me, this was such an incredible opportunity. I remember feeling just how huge and scary it all seemed, but also equally exciting. I accepted, and Claudine and Ruslan became my first ever clients. At just 19 years old, I had the amazing opportunity to coordinate a wedding on my own. I can still remember how the venue managers had looked at me, probably thinking that I didn’t know what I was doing. But it was all so worth it. Claudine and Ruslan’s wedding was a beautiful and touching day that changed my life.
Claudine and Ruslan’s wedding became the start of my journey as a solo wedding planner and small business owner. Though that first wedding didn’t launch my career instantly, it did create opportunities that I would never have had otherwise. Because of that wedding, I was able to book two more clients and over the next few years, I began to grow my business one client at a time. It wasn’t always fun or easy, and business did not always come quickly. There were definitely some slow months where nothing would pan out. However, I was able to persevere through it all. I continued to work off of referrals and word of mouth from family and friends.
In 2018, I made the decision to join Southern California Bride’s Vendor Network. Truthfully, this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Though my initial hope for joining was to gain new clients, to my surprise I also gained an incredible community of vendors who offer respect, support, encouragement, and love. I feel so blessed and overwhelmed when I think about where I am now compared to where I was just a couple of years ago. I have an amazing and supportive network of vendors and friends and awesome clients that I do not deserve.
Since the start of Bowties & Bouquets in 2015, I’ve connected with so many amazing brides and vendors who have become some of my dearest friends. It has now been five amazing years since I officially opened Bowties & Bouquets for business and I am blessed to have a growing team of assistant coordinators and interns. I am also proud to have received publications for my work with Wedding Chicks and Chic Vintage Brides, and I’ve had the opportunity to plan and design some really fun and unique Styled Editorials.
The journey to get here has been a crazy one but I’m truly grateful for every chapter of it. My story is not a get rich quick story nor a famous overnight story. It’s one that has required great resilience, determination, motivation, and strength. I am so thankful and overjoyed for the journey I am on, and everyone who has supported me along it.
Has it been a smooth road?
The journey to get here has not always been easy or ideal. I have faced a lot of opposition and negativity starting out in both my personal life and in the industry.
I started Bowties & Bouquets when I was just 19 years old. I also grew up in an Asian American community and those of you familiar with Asian American communities might be able to imagine some of the questions, opposition, and judgment that I faced for choosing this career path. People laughed in my face. They told me “you’ll regret it, you’ll fail, you should get a real job”. There are those in my life who still don’t support my decision to pursue my dream.
Getting started in the industry was no joke either. Back in 2014, the Wedding Industry was extremely competitive. It was impossible to find a company that would even consider letting me join their team, either as an intern or an assistant. If it wasn’t for Joy being willing to take a chance on me and let me shadow her business, I never would have gotten to where I am today.
Throughout my journey, I’ve faced a lot of failures and a lot of opinions about me, some good, others not so much. I lost my third client because the Mother of the Groom ridiculed me for my age. This was a huge slap in the face but I learned to stand strong despite the negativity, and I learned how to get back up time after time after time. I used to be so afraid of my failures, afraid of messing up. Yet here I am now, able to embrace my failures because each failure has taught me a valuable lesson. My failures teach me how to be a better professional, a better business owner, and a better person. I think it’s important to remember that our failures remind us of what we need to learn. They challenge us and take us to new heights. I love every single one of my failures. I and my business would not be where I am without them.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Bowties & Bouquets story. Tell us more about the business.
Bowties & Bouquets is a Wedding & Event Planning Company, proudly servicing clients all over Southern California & beyond. We specialize in Day of Coordination, Partial Wedding Planning and Full Wedding Planning Packages. Bowties & Bouquets was founded with the goal to be established with commitment, honesty and dependability. I am 100% dedicated to each of my clients and my greatest desire is to bring my client’s dreams to life.
I am a visual storyteller and lover of creating magical moments. Every single one of my clients is so unique and each one has a very special story. My greatest joy is getting to tell that story through the planning and design. I want each detail of your wedding — the flowers, the dress, the decor — to tell the guest something about the special couple.
My dream is for each wedding to be unique with personal touches. Couples typically get overwhelmed with all of the details, the stress of planning, the decision making. What I like to tell my clients is to remember that this wedding day is about them, it’s about their love story and celebrating their union. Weddings are all luxurious and I love love love the details so much but I always want my clients to enjoy their day, and to savor it. Each wedding is truly a once in a lifetime moment. The planning process is meant to be enjoyed and savored and I love helping my clients have those moments.
Our bookings include access to our list of Rental Items and Exclusive Discounts to Minted, Friar Tux & The Black Tux.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the South Bay! It’s been home to me forever. It’s so peaceful and calming and who can complain about living so close to the beach? Driving along the coast with the windows down and music blaring is one of my favorite feelings.
The Greater Los Angeles area is truly the city of opportunity. It’s the city where dreams are made. It’s the city where MY dreams were made.
Oh yeah and the food. BOMB.
Downside to this beautiful city? The LA traffic is no joke, folks! ’Nuff said.
- Day of Coordination | Packages start at $1,200
- Partial Service Wedding Planning | Packages start at $2,750
- Full Service Wedding Planning & Design: Packages start at $4,500
Danielle Bacon Photography, Manya Photography, Sun & Sparrow Photography, XO & Fetti